Last Saturday, I finally managed to go back to my hometown. The journey was smooth and as usual, when I’m around, it is definitely the time for ‘makan-makan’ and I would be more than willing to prepare/ try dishes with my siblings and my nephew and nieces, as well as my cousins. Yup! We love food very, very much. Get-togethers mean food, lots of fun and more food!
When it comes to food, we prefer home-cooked meals. Why? It has been practised since I was a wee girl. Frankly,being born into a large family certainly has its advantages. Half of the period of my younger years were filled with a lot of trial and error sessions in my Mak’s kitchen. Mak believes that any dishes are possible to be prepared at home. You just name any dish and she would try to get it done. Since my Ayah does not really favour eating out, except on certain special family ocassions, he is very lucky to have Mak who is willing to slave herself cooking all his favourite dishes. Having a father (who thinks that wives who do not cook are lazy wives-please pardon him), certainly motivated Mak to spend more time in the kitchen. I do not blame my Ayah because his late mom (my Nenek) was a superb cook. It was from her that Mak learned how to make salted duck eggs, salted fish, shrimp paste (yes, you read it right-we used homemade ‘belacan’ in our cooking when Nenek was around) and those wonderful mouth-watering ‘kuih’. My Ayah also firmly believes that homemade dishes are certainly better in terms of freshness and taste. Have I told you that we got to enjoy fresh fish because he loves fishing? Unfortunately, his heart condition had forced him to forget his favourite activity.
Having parents who are very passionate in home-prepared food is one of the reasons why I am into cooking. Mak used to mention that cooking equals love. To instil love between family members, Mak believes that home-cooked meals should be prepared with love and care. When you cook for your family, you actually show that you love them. I believe that this is very true. We can venture any eateries, taste different types of food but there would always be one dish that we keep dear to our hearts. It can be a simple chicken curry or a very elaborate ‘rendang’ but the one, specially treasured dish, can only be prepared by mothers for they keep that special ingredient called ‘a mother’s touch’. I can prove this just by taking Mr K as an example. He enjoys the food I prepared but I can never match his mom’s ‘cucur udang’. No matter how hard I try ( and I had personally witnessed how my mom-in-law prepared hers step-by-step since we live under the same roof), my version could never reach that standard. Now I have understood what ‘air tangan ibu’ in cooking means. So, loving mothers, cook for your children.
Want to know how I spent my limited time in Padang Jambu? Just moments after arriving, I had this scrumptious fit-for-a king fruit . Of course, I did not stop at only one fruit. I do not know about other durian lovers but I find freshly-opened durian tastes better than its ready-packed cousins. It has what true durian lovers call as ‘the kick’. That aromatic smell and sweet-custardy-slightly bitter heavenly taste!
Durian! Glorious Durian!
Later that evening, we had these. Specially plucked from its tree in front of the house. Mak had painstakingly taken the trouble to keep the fruits on the tree just to show to my children. Ahh…..a grandmother’s love. Priceless!
Sweet home-grown rambutans
Savouring-the-durian episode just did not really end after the durian-eating session . My younger sister had mentioned her craving for ‘kuih koci with sweet coconut and durian filling’ using the durian flesh which Mak had graded as not good enough. My sister’s request had produced this.
‘Kuih Koci’ with sweet coconut and durian filling
Last but not least, I had to do my share. I was asked to prepare this chicken dish.
Spicy Sticky Chicken
So…what do you think? Did I have a great time? It was superbly fantastic. By the way, have I told you that my Atush had actually asked if we could delay going back to PJ? I found this to be rather touching and I am looking forward to my next ‘balik kampung’ trip. Till then, have a fun Sunday!