Feasting on the Eve

Each year, we have a feast at my Grandma’s place. For Xmas? Well, everyone loves eating so we’ll take any festivity as a reason to come together and showcase our cooking talents.
Ya, did I say talents? Yep, we’re a highly kiasu cooking family. We love to cook up a storm and then sit down for a great big feasting.
We try to outdo each other each year…. but Christmas isn’t the only time we do this cooking do. We do it about 3 or 4 times a year, depending on our moods. Usually it’s because there are folks converging in my Grandma’s place – either someone far away comes home, or just the KL-based relatives coming back.
Anyhow, it’s very Malaysian to bond at the makan table. It’s almost unthinkable to have a party without good old Malaysian food.
We’re not even Christians for heaven’s sakes (though we have this tradition of having a potluck every year, complete with tree and presents from the time Grandpa was alive). The four foot plastic tree is long gone because my Godmother threw it out once the plastic base broke. Even the gift-giving has somewhat disappeared (because it’s really tough finding the perfect gift for your loved ones). But the Feast remains the highlight. It’s either a BBQ or a potluck.
But BBQ seems to be losing lustre as health takes precedence. Too heaty. Too much meat. Too much washing and cleaning up.
So potluck it was last night.
Each year I try to outdo myself…. but I’ve often stuck with simpler food. Like KFC-style coleslaw or kiwi and peach sandwiches. This year, Nic and I decided to cook something far more substantial – Sarawak laksa.
It’s nothing like Penang laksa so I knew it was going to surprise everyone’s tastebuds. Sarawak laksa does not a good picture make, the soup is murky and dark and frankly, not an appealing dish if you’re looking to wow the folks. Yet, it tastes good. The secret lies in the soup. And we used Barrett’s Sarawak laksa paste, the best made in Sarawak laksa paste I know. 😉
Getting the paste made all the difference. Just add the paste to a pot of good chicken/prawn stock and simmer for 2 hours. Strain and add in seasoning (salt, sugar, fish sauce) and don’t forget the thick santan. A good, fresh santan makes it creamier and the richness offsets the spiciness. Then just ladle the soup over blanched rice vermicelli and garnish with cooked prawns, shredded chicken, julienned omelette and sprigs of coriander.
Just before eating, squeeze some lime over the soup and add a good spoonful of sambal belacan sarawak (but of course!).

Here’s how Sarawak laksa looks like!
Besides the laksa, we had wine, yam kuih, deepfried soft-shell crabs, Peking duck, roti jala, curried wild boar, kiwi and peach sandwiches, and the customary turkey and meatloaf.

Aunt’s yam kuih with the extra crunchy dried prawn topping.

The turkey and meatloaf came from our neighbour Auntie. We’re not big on turkey.

Fresh from her trip to Langkawi, Cousin Yi gave me a bottle for wine…shared all around.

Uncle’s special curried wild boar with roti jala. Note: You can get wild boar meat from Perak Lane, according to him. I thought he’d gone wild boar hunting!

Kiwi fruit and canned peach sandwiches, a recipe I passed on to Cousin Yi… it’s healthy and most of all, yummy.
Auntie Jo, fresh from her cheesecake lessons in KL, baked a super moist chocolate cake. It was topped by Auntie Moy’s homemade chocolate sauce (the secret to a glaze is to add butter when you’re melting the chocolate).

More dessert came around – fruit rojak with Penang rojak sauce (again, a secret recipe of my Auntie Moy’s husband) and Cousin Jessie’s konyaku jelly.

Cousin’s mixed fruit konnyaku jelly cooled everyone down.
In case you’re wondering what happened to the Peking duck photo, let’s just say it was so good and crispy that everyone ate it up before any photos could be taken! It’s that incredible. That was bought off a hawker stall in Ayer Itam, near BCB Bank. At RM30 per duck, it was really cheap and delicious! Not to mention fatty as hell.
More feasting means more fasting later!

3 thoughts on “Feasting on the Eve”

  1. The food looks so tantalizing that it’s making me swallow. Question on the sandwich : won’t the peach and kiwi make the bread soggy? And the jelly, what is it that gave the brownish tinge?

  2. Hi Lydia
    Ya I know. Reading about my own posting means salivating again! The butter and mayo on the bread prevents the kiwi/peach from making it soggy. Plus it must be chilled at least 1 hour before eating. The brownish tinge in the jelly comes from the sea coconut syrup.

  3. not bad at all mate.
    if the dishes are contributed on a ‘mystery’ basis, wat if one relative decides to do penang laksa, the other johor laksa, selangor laksa….it’d be a laksa feast!…..emmm, quite a international buffet u hv there..hehehehehe.

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