Friday, October 27, 2006

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri

I went to Hanoi for the long DeepaRaya holiday, so I missed out on lots of Raya and Deepavali open houses this year. Luckily, my childhood friend held his balik kampung open house today, so I popped over to his place for some good old Raya cheer and also to chow down on my favourite Raya goodies.

Quite frankly, my favourite thing about Raya would be the opportunity to visit friends and of course the Raya food. I would usually have a whole list of friends to visit, most of them would insist on me coming the first day of Raya, as it's the only day cooked food like rendang and ketupat is served. Come on the second day and all you get are cookies and Sprite.

Zai's wife, Lina had been slaving all day preparing the feast while Zai was busy looking after the kids. They have two boys and a girl. As she was proudly bringing out the fruits of her labour, I could smell the sweet aroma of beef rendang wafting through the air and filling the dining hall. Mmm....what a perfect way to whet one's apetite for what's to come.

This year, they've decided to make nasi empit to complement the meat dishes, which quite frankly I can never get enough of. And by the looks of the neatly cut cubes of steaming white rice nuggets, I could see they were prepared with much tender loving care. Oh my stomach was really growling!

Also, not forgetting Zai's mom's speciality, dried sambal kacang that is filled with lentils, peanuts and shrimp. She usually makes this only on Raya One, so I really appreciate her preparing it today, which was Raya Four. This is her family's secret recipe, one that has been in her family for four generations. I hope Lina has managed to procure it from her, otherwise I just might have to steal the recipe for myself. Oh, the lengths I'll go to for delicious food.

And finally, the piece de resistance, the coconut lodeh, a mixture of potatoes, shrimp, rice vermicelli and cuttlefish cooked in a fresh coconut santan broth that is the perfect foil to the heavy meat dishes. Can we eat now?

The beef rendang was delicious. Tender and exquisitely aromatic, I just know that the taste shall linger in my memories long after the last bite. Caving into temptation, Zai joined me for his 'second helping' of lunch, and we both had a wonderful time feasting on his wife's culinary marvels and chatting about old times. Before long, I too was going for seconds... and thirds. I can't remember having eaten so much for a long time.

Lina then had to step out with her mother-in-law to go visit an aunt across town, but not before imploring me to save some space in my stomach for the Raya cookies that has been laid out in the verandah. Wow, more food. This must be why Zai seems to be putting on the pounds lately.

Zai flatly denies having gained weight, and insisted that he had actually lost a few pounds these past few months, as he munches on his fifth jam tart. As mouth watering as those tarts were, I could only allow myself to take one.... ok, two.

Then Zai proudly showed me his 'contribution' to this year's Raya goodies, mini anchovy spring rolls. They were fried golden brown, crispy, and very tasty, I must say. I was quite impressed with him, till he accidentally let it slip that most of the 'rejects' had been sifted out (and into his stomach, I'm sure!)

So many different cookies to choose from, so little time. My lunch hour was almost up. I decided that to do justice to all of their hard work in preparing these Raya goodies, I would taste one of each. I am such a good friend. Hehehe.

All too soon, I had to go, but not before him giving me some of the delicious spring rolls to bring back home. (Actually, according to his daughter, he only sat there frying the whole lot in a huge wok, making sure they don't get burnt.) I can already see myself happily munching away these crunchy morsels of delight while watching CSI tonight. Sigh, there goes my diet. :-)


Maaf Zahir Batin


Anonymous said...

I did not eat any lemang or rendang or ......... was too bz working ......

Anyway ... looks yummy ....

Shah said...

Alamak. I'm gonna gain sooooo much weight this month just from seeing all the food on everyone's blog... Ye lah the pics get me craving for the real thing so after that makan makan makan....