Sunday, January 07, 2007


Tok Ku,

I suppose there is a perfectly logical explanation for your Nasi Dagang problem. Generally, there are two types of Nasi Dagang available in the East Coast, namely, Nasi Dagang Kelantan (NDK) and Nasi Dagang Trengganu. (NDT) There are two distinct features. The Kelantan version has dark red plus white rice due to partial polishing of the glutinous rice and the gravy is rather thick (using nyor gula) and sweet (using gula putih). On the other hand, the Nasi Dagang Trengganu uses the white glutinous rice mixed with normal rice in certain ratio (secret recipe) and the gravy is rather yellowish and not sweet. I suppose you took the Trengganu Nasi (glutinous plus white rice) and the Kelantan Gravy (sweet gravy). On the other hand, when in Primula you took the full Trengganu version (rice & gravy). If you were in Kota Baru, they will serve you the full Kelantan version. (Dark red rice & sweet gravy). Of course, you and I prefer the better Trengganu version with Original Recipe. The nasi dagang is now being modified where the acar timun mentah is added to it now instead of using only the old yellow cucumber cooked with the gravy. I prefer the acar to accompany it since sometimes, it neutralize the fishy (hanyir) taste of the tuna fish. The tuna fish is sometimes boiled separately (rebus and not singang with asam garam lengkuas) which explained its level of hanyirness and it is put into the gravy “on the rock”.

It is the same with nasi beriyani – it should be both the beriyani gravy but the beriyani rice. Beriyani rice is much nicer in taste since it is the long grain and expensive type of rice known as Bhasmathi rice or the Malay just called it Beras Mati (literally the Dead Rice). So, the next time you order for the beriyani make sure you take the beriyani rice and beriyani gravy. If not it is not so nice since you’re taking the beriyani gravy (plus meat) but not a berani rice (takut rice). By the way, there seems to be a third version of the nasi dagang. My encounter with the third kind of nasi dagang is in KL. The red glutinous rice was just boiled (tanok) in the normal way and it did not undergo the “arong” process and the nasi dagang rice is soft (lembek) and stick to one another. The gravy and tuna fish is cooked with lots of chili padi (lada kecik /ladi API) and of course it is damn hot and that’s the time you wish that it should be sweet. After some inquiry with the kitchen of the stall , I discovered it was cooked by a Negori Chef who stated that “ nasi dagang lauk lomak cili api pun sodaap…..I told him that it is not Nasi Dagang and it should be called “ Nasi Semenda” ( Semenda= Dagang ??) Since it is very very “podeh “

As to the road sign, the Trenganunized version should be written as “Pusak Banndo” ; “ Kuatang “ ; “ Pula Ghedang” ;”Paso Keda Payang”; “Tamang Sah Banndo “ and the Majeleh Banndorang Kuale Ganu Kite should approve it.


Tok Ku - Eid Adha Mubarak

I participated in this year Qurban. One Kedah –Kelantan bull for seven of us in the family. We bought it from an oil palm estate. It was rather cheap at RM 4.50 per kilogram live weight for 270 kilo costing RM 1,300 inclusive of slaughter, lapah & transport. After the solat Eid, we went down to the field. The bull is tied to a tree. When the slaughtering team gets the bull on the ground but it was getting wild. Some team member got scared and the bull ran away. Fortunately, there are spare bulls and cow around. If not, I will get the bull shit or the cow dung. I was not daring enough to slit the bull’s throat but just hold the held head and read my niat. The semi pro butcher did the slaughtering and the blood shoot out into the dig drain. The bull did a few “heritage kicks” (tending pusaka) and then laid still.

Then, it was deskinned and degutted and cut into the four quarters which is hung up to be deboned (dilapah). The deskinning (lapah kulit) is very tricky since you have to forgo the meat leaving it stuck to the skin so as not to spoil the hide. This deliberate left over meat is known as the love meat (daging kasih) and I suppose it is called such since it is left there for the love of the hide. It is different from other love meat – the meaty body parts with which you make love. The worst task to be given is to clean the large intestine (perut besar @ perut tuala) and perut tembusu (small intestine) where the unprocessed bullshit or cow dung has to be cleaned. Water is not sufficient to take away the stench but the lime water (kapur) has to be used. The deboned meat is cut into smaller pieces and packed in one kati or one kilo plastic bags to be distributed to the needy. The choice parts of the balls and the tails since they are suppose to have aphrodisiac value.

The bones are good for making soup with still lots of meat sticking to it since those who deboned are amateurs. Nevertheless, when you have cut and slice so much of meat and even you yourself start smelling like meat, you may have no appetite to slurp the bone soup unless it is a special ox tail or testicles plus the tender projectile soup (termed as torpedo soup probably due to its shape or due to its effect on the one who consume it.

If I am no mistaken , qurban is not compulsory for the Hajj ( please correct me if I am wrong here) On the other hand , the dam ( penalty) is obligatory if you break the major hajj rules. The famous penalty is that one has to slaughter a camel that is imposed if you‘re to have sex during the ihram. That’s why the male and female potential hajis and hajjah are kept separate. It is not that many do not want to share a room with the wife (besides it may cost a load of Riyals) but they fear factor of Dam Unta is there. When the period of forbidden sex is over, usually there is one room kept free and some couples may sheepishly get the keys from the manager and try to get some barakah in the Holy land. It is not easy to get such barakah in Mecca especially during the hajj season.

I did my qurban during my hajj. I did not do it through the modern method or buying coupon but by traditional way. During the stay in Mina, we had lots of free time especially after the stoning the devils and shaving bald. Rather than drinking the Arab Tea Tarik which is in fact more of D-I-Y TEA ENJUT - you ‘re given in cup of hot water in a plastic cup , a tea bag to jerk and a few packets of sugar and powder milk and then you start jiggling. I took a taxi with one of the hajji guides and went to the nearest Arab village. There was a place where the Arab Badawi was selling the animals for Qurban sacrifice. The price for each sheep is just one third of the coupon qurban price and so I bought three sheep. Here the guide who speaks Arabic is very helpful in bargaining and that’s how we got it rather cheap. One thing I observed the bargaining by the Arabs is so furious - which is more like quarrelling. I saw one camel on a Nissan pick up beeping away. We try to bargain for it but it was too expansive and we left the camel with its tears literally and physically running down the eyes. There were a number of the qurban butchers around and we can ask them to help with the slaughtering for a small tip. In fact, they prefer the DIY qurban but I was too scared to do it fearing that the sheep may run away half way during the process. Nevertheless, the butcher helped to slaughter it single handedly for all the three sheep. The sheep did not struggle much but seems to be willing to be sacrificed and the camel when not offered for sacrifice having tears in its eyes. These are two things which my grand mother used to tell me stories of her Mecca days that I saw with my own eyes. Masya Allah…..