Monday, May 26, 2008

Of wedding, nasi beriani, tapai pulut and kuih suji

Any kenduri in my grandfather's house back in my hometown Kota Tinggi ("KT"), Johore, means a marathon of cooking-cleaning-eating marathon. I was back in KT last weekend for my cousin's wedding. Hers was agreed upon in the shortest period of time - circa 1.5 months. In spite of that, everything went on smoothly. Alhamdullillah. My Mak Long and Pak Long will definitely feel her absence as my beautiful young cousin hardly leaves house without one of them. She will follow her husband to start a new life together in KL, where her husband is working. My Chu (youngest auntie from my mom's side) said perhaps Allah has made everything easy for her in this matter for she accompanied Keno (he was adopted by my grandfather during his early teen years after he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and his parents apparently abandoned him. He is in his 70's now) for Keno's medical checkup, checking on his medications and monthly trip to the bank to withdraw Keno's pension.

That statement makes me pondered in silence - was i not good enough to other that I am still unmarried? However, that negative thought flew out the window as i regained 'my conciousness' that I am who I am today for me to serve better cause instead of getting hitched, at this point of time. Of course, i want to get marry one fine day (the weather has been thunderous so far forecast in malaysia is so unreliable). Anyway, as usual, the million dollar question popped up too often, my rebuttal bank almost dried out of idea to counter such curiosity. One joke i made was that my groom was left stranded by Sheikh Muszaphar at ISS. Last year, i told them i was waiting for Pak Lah (Selisih malaikat 44 P). My aunties were making jokes of me, asking me to get hitched while they are still strong to help and cook kuih kacau. Those jokes kept us awake till late at night even after heavy-duty cooking.

We also had tapai pulut for dessert. I told them that the air tapai is good for skin just like SKII. They were laughing that they rather not put that on as it will attract ants and their face will get swollen. So, isn't that great - instant, enviromentally-friendly botox treatment? hehhehehehhe... By the way, i forgot to try one (the tapai not the ants ok ;), so i will make a point to experiment it on myself in near future... Ill let you know of the outcome, ok? But let me tell you that our hands were almost free of wrinkles after handling those tapai. I was told by that to prepare tapai is not easy. The person who is preparing must be clean - physically and spiritually and the glutinuous rice needs to be washed till the water become clear. Only then you can get a perfect tapai pulut. They say a woman cannot prepare it when she is having her menses as the tapai will turn red. I wonder what is the chemistry behinds it.

My uncle from Penang told me that i look young when we met last weekend. Yippe! I was over the moon because i hardly use any face cream and i rather spend my money on others than facial treatments. He thinks it is in our genes as he remembered telling my auntie how young my mother looks like when my aunt brought him to meet my parents - that was 20 years ago. Alhamdullilah. Well, it is not that I want to look young but I like to show others that if we feel good about ourselves, we look good.

The chef for the wedding was my uncle. So, we had sumptious nasi beriani with ayam masak merah, daging and kambing masak beriani, dalca and acar rampai. A great granduncle of ours was a cook with the Johor Palace so it is natural that he is a great cook too.

My auntie made kuih kacau suji - one of my favourite traditional kuih. This kuih is so ancient that you would not find it in any other house except my grandfather's house (Well, that is what people complained - it is such a rarity). Hence, it is most sought after during the wedding. Everyone wanted to sample some and perhaps, bring back to relish it more. My auntie used more than coconut milk from more than 60 coconuts, tens of sugar and tepung suji and cooked them over slow fire. After such tender loving cooking, the taste of kuih is so heavenly. My mother asked me and my cousins to learn from my auntie as she does not want this tradition to die with her generation. Insya Allah. Apart from Laksa Johor, various kuih kacau are one of classic Johorean cuisine.

I had an enjoyable weekend and now back in The Little Red Dot, I am nursing aching limbs as if I have trekked in the jungle. Where's my painkiller?

No comments: