Saturday, April 12, 2008

Of Rice and Malaysian...

Yes, I am talking about rice, our staple food. That we cannot do without. It is our basic that we take daily. From breakfast to dinner and at time during teatimes where we had traditional cakes made of rice. Goreng Pisang [fried banana] cannot be Goreng Pisang without been coated with the rice flour. It would not taste as good with other flour. At time we just took this commodity for granted, as though that it is always there when we need it. That is why in the Malay culture it is a sin to throw even a single grain of this wonder grain call rice. It must be given due respect for it has been the staple food of Asian for centuries. In fact that's what made the Asian race resilience all the centuries.

Another aspect that should be known about rice is that it does not take much doing to get it cooked and ready to eat. Whereas for wheat, it take many process before it could be eaten. In rice what one got to do is to wash it and steam cooks it. And Voila! In mere fifteen minutes your get to enjoy it. As for wheat it surely takes more then fifteen minutes to even get a bun baked. So as you can see, indeed Rice is a wonder grain. It grows fast and with the husk taken, it is ready to be cook unlike the wheat where it had to be turned into flour, kneaded into dough and then bakes before it could be eaten. That my friends are the wonder of rice.

Friends, there are news of shortage of rice in some part of Asia and this actually worry us as well. As for me I know very well when it is almost impossible to get rice daily during the Japanese occupation of Malaya from 1941 to 1945. Folks who could not get rice had to do with eating Ubi Kayu [tapioca] and if they get little of it, they would used is for making porridge, so that whatever rice they had could be use for a longer period. Well, that was then but now our markets are full of all sorts of varieties of rice. Both the local and the imported one are available all the times. From the cheapest to the dearest one where price is not controlled. So when news that there are shortages of rice in some countries in this part of the world, we in Malaysia began to fear of rice shortage as well. To allay that fear the authority has assured consumers that there are ample stocks of rice in this country.

So folks do takes it easy and continue to enjoy this wonderful grain that we call Rice. The Ikan Asam Pedas [fish stewed in sort of hot/sour] as shown in the image above is great to go with the white Rice. It is one of the Malay traditional dishes that had been around for a long time and it surely could not be enjoyed without that wonderful white Rice. Have a nice day.


Anonymous said...

Hi Idrus,

Thanks ever so much for the mouth-watering photo of Ikan Asam Pedas and your explanation of that dish. Steamed white rice as in the other photo is one of my favorite foods, and it is one of the very few things I can cook edibly.

Unfortunately the supply and price of food, all over the world, including here, is fast becoming a serious concern. Food has become highly politicized.

There is also the new twist that a lot of grain is now being diverted to produce fuel, a more lucrative use.

Pak Idrus said...

louis, thanks for the visit and the comments regarding this posting. Well, Ikan Asam Pedas is my favorite, at lease once a forth night. The best part is the head of King Fish and never a day I am without white rice. It keep me healthy as well.

It look like nothing has gone down in price. Every items has gone up and we have to be careful with our budget.

Like you said one of the factor is the use of grain and other vegetable oil for commercial fuel. What a shame our food produce has gone that way. But that is our world, so let conserved energy.

Have a nice day.

tokasid said...

Salam Pak Idrus:

The ikan Asam Pedas is sure a must for many. Take it with steamy hot rice.

I was glad I went to see you yesterday.I had a wonderful time talking to you and I learned a lot from you, from your experiences and you readings.

InsyaALLAh when you come again to Melaka, lets have lunch at my teratak.

Pak Zawi said...

Pak Idrus,
What happened to the country's plan to produce sufficient rice for the country's need? Isn't that was the reason for the formation of Lembaga Padi dan Beras Negara (which became Bernas) which was later hijacked by an ex Menteri Besar to be turned into his personal cash cow?
Now Bernas is enjoying the monopoly for the import of rice and the owner can always make a profit no matter at what price the rice is imported.
This is one failure of the present government that must be immediately addressed.

cakapaje said...

Salam Pak Idrus,

Hmm...hang on, my ;hmm...'is for the Ikan Asam Pedas more than the rice itself! Don't get me wrong, I do love rice, but not the sticky kind except when I eat pulut or nasi beriyani, off course. But that Asam Pedas...

Here at my house, apart from eating it with rice, my emak and I do enjoy eating Asam Pedas with bread, as one would with soup. Do give it a try :)

Pak Idrus said...

tokasid, thanks for the visit, the greeting as well and the additional info regarding our Ikan Asam Pedah and the White rice. I believe that in thousand of years from now, the Ikan Asam Pedas and that steamy white rice would still be there for our species to enjoy.

As for that chats we have had at my condo in Malacca, I am indeed glad that despite your busy schedule you took the time to come and see me. What a chats we had!!, some five hours of continues interchange of ideas and information from one generation to another. You are indeed full of knowledge yourself, I am glad for that. Your generation, the generation of my children are the present and the future of our Malaysia. I am indeed glad that we agreed in so many areas which surely augur well for the future of Malaysian.

Would be too glad to have another discussion with you. In fact it do polished up my brain and that as an MD you know too well is good for a healthy life.

Would do that lunch when I am next in Malacca. Have a nice day and take care.

Pak Idrus said...

zawi, thanks for the visit and the additional information on this very important commodity. The Rice.

Well, I hope they bring back the Rice Board and see that this vital commodity is kept as a national treasure and not to be made as a treasury for an individual. Remember it is because of the Bread issue that trigger the French Revolution. Rice is not just rice, it is the core of our survival.

Have a nice day and cool down!!. Getting heated would do no good for your health. Take care.

Pak Idrus said...

cakapaje, thanks for the visit, the greeting as well as sharing your thoughts on this wonderful dishes of ours, Ikan Asam Pedas.

True it goes well with everything. Use it to dunk bread is just great and tasty as well. And of course savor it by itself. Eat all that fleshy fish that had been well marinated in that Asam Pedas stew; it is indeed out of this would. It is authentically ours and should be kept forever and ever. A delicacy that are enjoyed by all, turning simple dinner into a great dinning and enjoyable too.

Have a nice day and take care.

Anonymous said...

Salam Pak Idrus,
I guess you have try this Sarawak Bario Rice.Very nice for making fish or chicken porridge .
Have a nice day.

Pak Idrus said...

awang, thanks for the visit.

Yes I have tried Bario Rice. It is one of the best rice that I had ever tasted. I have been to that enchanting place call Bario and when I came back, we brought many bags of the wonderful grain call the Bario Rice. I still buy it here whenever I find it at the supermarket.

Have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

PI, rice is very special to me.

On a few occassions, I have had eaten rice with water and soya sauce. Mom usually prepared 2 dishes each meal and whatever leftover/our shares would go to the dog or chickens if we missed our mealtimes.

Since primary school days, I have learned to make sambal udang kering to go with rice with a stone pounder. Sometimes, I did fry the sambal with wild kangkung from the gutter. I can still remember the kind of satisfaction of cooking and savouring such a simple rice meals.

Have a nice day..

Anonymous said...

Assalamu'alaikum Pak Idrus

Menghargai rezeki yang di anugerah Allah itu suatu keperibadian yang mulia begitu kita diajarkan kerana membazir itu sifatnya syaitan.

Saya pun begitu gusar juga akan makin kurangnya bekalan beras dinegara kita. Ini kerana bertambahnya bilangan penduduk dan berkurang tanah yang dusahakan, malah terdapat tanah paya telah diubah kegunaannya menjadi tapak industri, pendidikan dan juga perumahan. Yang lebih membingungkan saya banyak tanah yang terbiar tidak diusahakan dan ada yang sudah tidak sesuai untuk ditanam padi kerana sistem taliair yang dibina dulu tidak berfungsi lagi. Pada hemat saya, usaha menggiatkan sektor pertanian tidang kelihatan cukup agresif. Malah yang lebih difokuskan ialah kepada kegiatan downstream, memproses bahan dan produk pertanian.

Namun demikian, Pak Idrus tampaknya seluruh alam ini bergantung besar dengan bekalan beras dari Thailand dan Vietnam. Di benua Afrika pun mereka mengimpot beras dari mereka. Nasi juga makan utama mereka. Tapi mujurlah mereka kebiasaannya menjadikan kentang, pisang, millet dan ubi kayu (casava) sebagai makanan kedua mereka.

Menariknya Pak Idrus, mereka makan pisang (seperti pisang tanduk)dipotong bulat dan digoreng. Malah dijadikan hidangan direstoran. Mereka juga banyak makan ubi kayu (casava)yang digoreng. Pak Idrus, di Nigeria, sudah dijalankan kajian tentang ramainya kelahiran bayi kembar oleh satu badan NGO. NGO tersebut yakin kerana banyak makan casava menjadikan mereka meperolehi bayi kembar.

Pak Idrus, namiun hidangan nasi dengan ikan masak asam pedas memang menyelerakan. Ini membuat saya tambah rindu akan kampung halaman

Terima kasih

Pak Idrus said...

anonymous [4.47PM], thanks for the visit and sharing your thoughts on Rice. Like you rice is special to me and for that I give it my due respect and never ever allow rice to goes to waste.

Not many people of the present generation know that living without the basic need like rice was real in those days. I know one our neighbor in the forties who borrow rice from us and then add scraped coconut and then cook it so that he could feed his family. During that period because we have rice to spare, we do help those neighbors when they need to borrow. We did not loan but instead just give it to them. I know of a China man near our house who cooked rice with sweet potato and its leaves. He was a friend and live at my brother house until he died of old age.

So in our home now I never allow to even throw a grain of this wonderful rice. Have a nice day and thanks for your story; take care.

Pak Idrus said...

mamadou, thanks for the visit, the greetings, as well as the good words on this posting. Well, I had always treasured rice, starting from my childhood. It is a commodity that we all my give due respect. The Nasi is what we are today.

I have been to Africa before. It was way back in 1976 when I attended a Commonwealth Youth Meeting in Accra, Ghana. And then I drop and just visit a few capital before going home via London. My experiences there was indeed sort of a cultural shock and I found new meaning of what Africa is all about. I have eaten the Pisang Tanduk and the gravy made of raw Palm Oil and visited some of the old civilization in Ghana. Saw of what color meant to those folks. The wear all strong color that we could not ever imagine that people with dark color skin would wear. Well, their civilization goes back thousand of years and at that time of the world history some of the African countries already had a civil society of a sort.

More Malaysian should visit Africa and see for themselves the diversity of culture among the African. Most people here think of African as one group of people. It is only been there that you know the are just like us Asian with many races. Even in those day Accra in Ghana and Lagos in Nigeria was already a modern city. And I believe like your images shows they like us are progressing well toward a modern society. Thanks for those images.

What about writing more about the countries that you work now. Not many people in this part of the world have any ideas of these countries. Perhaps it would 'celikkan mata orang Malaysia' [open the eyes of Malaysian].

As for Rice we must do something serious, It is not just a commodity but a a security aspect of living as well.

Have a nice day; hope to meet you when you are home. Take care.