Malayan cooking

In Brighton – along with the books on how to fish and Hüsker Dü I picked up a book on Malaysian cooking. My eye was caught by the cover as we walked by the shop and I was obliged to go in, have a look and then buy it. £5.00 for the Persatuan Wanita Keristian Di-Malaya The Young Women’s Christian Association of Malaya International Cookery Book (Ninth Edition 1962).

Somewhat disappointedly  there is not much Malayan cooking. It was edited by a Mrs A.E. Llewellyn and the first chapter is entitled The Importance of Diet in Child Healt and it goes on from there. But there is a small section on Malayan fish including pictutes of the alarming looking Parang Dorab.

Some of the recipes are fairly alarming too including one for something called mince in batter which is just what it says. Mince mixed with batter and then baked until set.

There are small sections at the end of the book on Indonesian and Malayan cooking and there I found a recipe for Rendang Këring.

The recipe starts with ‘one katty of meat’ and goes on with very few concessions to someone trying to trace the ingredients in Birkenhead calling for such wonders as Jintan Manis, Lengkuas and 30 seeds of Halba. There is a glossary in the book which may help but in the meantime I have a recipe for Chicken Rendang in a book of Indonesian cooking and we are eating that tonight with rice, prawn crackers and a cucumber salad.

It is straight-foward to make as all you do is cook coconut milk with various herbs and spices (turmeric, ginger, garlic, onion, galangal,coriander seeds and lemon grass) until the coconut milk has started to thicken. This takes about an hour. You can then add chopped up pieces of chicken (or aubergine and chick-peas for the veg alternative) and let all that cook through. The idea is to cook it so that the coconut milk has all but disappeared and the chicken is left to fry off in the oil at the bottom of the pan.



I have spent too much time this week away from home but it is now late on Saturday afternoon and the weather has been almost warm enough for a barbeque. I would be planning one for tomorrow but I have been told that not all mothers want to celebrate their Mothering Sunday with a barbeque. No doubt I will need to wait until Father’s Day.

Monday some of us were in Brighton for the day to provide company for an interview  at the University. I liked Brighton. Just off from the part of the University we were concerned with we found ourselves in The Lanes – a dozen or so tight lanes full of shops selling the sort of things that I like, records and CDs, books about Hüsker Dü and books about fishing, plates and odd bits of cutlery and plenty of places to eat. We had lunch in a place selling Mexican Streetfood. It was a riot of loud bad taste colours starting with the bright red hair of the chap behind the bar who sent us to our seat.

We had got there early (not wanting to be late for the interview at 2.00pm) and there was plenty of room. But within twenty minutes the place was packed and they were pulling in chairs around small tables to squeeze people in.

After the interview we found ourselves a place to drink coffee and hot chocolate. There was just a window out onto the street, a table and two chairs. We sat down and had our drinks with some biscuits. As we talked through the questions the young woman behind the counter asked if we were from Liverpool. We were of course and so she told us that she was from there as well. It seemed to me that all of our accents had been smoothed out.

Aubergine with pomegranate and yogurt.

Before I forget. I made this with three thin purple aubergines from the grocers. I cut them into chunks about three quarters of an inch thick which I salted for an hour or so.

To cook I fried a sliced red onion in olive oil until it was almost burnt. I added chopped garlic and then the aubergines which I cooked through until they were soft turning them every so often. When they were done I stirred in a couple of good tablespoons   pomegranate molasses.

The aubergine mixture was then laid over a plateful of yogurt. If they had been to hand I would have decorated the dish with some pomegranate seeds.

A new butcher

There was a new butcher working out of the back of The International Store this morning. He was an older man with slight features and studious glasses. It was difficult to place his features and voice but he could have come from the North Africa or the Middle East. He called everyone “Brother.”

He wore a dirty blood stained white apron with cut off sleeves over a pale blue shirt. On his left hand he wore a metal glove. He needed it as he wielded a heavy sharp knife in his other hand with almost wilful abandon. Before he got to me he sorted out a chicken, using the knife to peel away the skin and then to cut into pieces. The knife was about 18 inches long and 3 inches thick, he never seemed to have it out of his hand.

I bought 12 lamb chops and we had them this evening with salads and aubergine with pomegranate and yogurt.