What I see, hear and feel

What I see and did..
Biei-Furano, Hokkaido

Friday, August 16, 2013

Sabah Yellow Rice (Nasi Kuning)

When I was small, besides eating fried mee for breakfast, I also took 'nasi kuning'. But fried mee was more frequent. I remember very well eating nasi kuning when we went out to the Tawau town. Young kids peddled these two main food at the jetty, selling to the boat passengers.

I dont know the origin of this yellow rice but I grew up with it. It's the mixed chilli paste, bumbu bali (sambal bali) which produce its distinctive taste. The sambal should be dry not watery. Since my mother did not have a blender, all ingredients were pounded in a mortar. Thus, the pounded dried chillies were quite coarse. The types of fish used are the smaller ones, not the mackerels or red snappers. A condiment is added which is the serunding kelapa, a savory grated coconut, fried til dry enough to not get spoilt easily. We may also add plain boiled egg to the rice. What actually made it aromatic and delicious is because the yellow rice is wrapped in banana leaves, after being cooked in coconut milk with pandan leaves. Just think of nasi lemak.

Nowadays, the nasi kuning is sold in a plastic container, which is more convenient. With this, the  nasi kuning has lost its aroma that comes with the banana leaves.

This is the closest to the flavor and taste of the  yesteryear yellow rice. They are in the spicy fish and the banana leaves. I found it in my kampung, the former Wallace Bay.

When my mother cooks the yellow rice, not only we have fish but spicy prawns and eggs too as shown below.
 Spicy fried fish
Spicy fried boiled eggs
 Spicy fried prawns
 Savoury Grated Coconut / Serunding Kelapa
My mother's serunding kelapa has a long un-fridgerator shelf life and the flavor doesn't diminished. In fact, it becomes more flavorful. 
 Crispy fried shallots which is prepared in advance. My mother is really an expert in frying shallots to their golden color and maintain their crispiness for a long time. 
 The ready to cook yellow rice. Just like we cook nasi lemak but without herbs
Buffet spread
The yellow rice assemble. Without the banana leaves, the yellow rice quite lost its nostalgic aroma of the yesteryear.

As the conclusion, the yellow rice set is more like the nasi lemak in concept. I could not make one exactly like what I used to eat when I was a kid but maybe that is only in my mind. The taste and flavor, I mean. 

~~~~~~ REVISIT~~~~~~~

Last week, almost the last day of Syawal this year, we invited our family, relatives and immediate neighbors for a small gathering at our house. Instead of the usual western regular dishes, my husband wanted me to serve our guests with yellow rice and mee tauhu. Oh well..I had never cook large servings and imagine my nervousness of having to prepare them for the first time. 
 Send by my mother through the Pos Laju. I specifically asked my mother to make it moist and add more fish. The taste is really great and went very, very well with the whole set. I still have another packet in the fridge. Thank you mamak! 
 I cooked about 12 cups of rice with half-kg of coconut milk and add water till it reached the needed amount. I used basmathi rice. Turned out well. Initiall, I wanted to line the rice dish with banana leaves but no one could get it from our surau. 
 The bumbu bali fish. I also prepared boiled eggs just like the nasi lemak.

I guess my guests were happy with the food and we were quite busy telling them about these dishes commonly prepared in Tawau, Sabah. That was their first time tasting my hometown traditional food.

The next day, my daughters 'tapau' the left-overs to her office and I wrapped them (also for her officemates) in the banana leaves. They tasted better and I received some compliments from her friends.



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