Once again our fabulous hostess with the most-ess, Joo Lee Chang, brings us a step-by-step how to guide guaranteed to fill our kitchen’s with heavenly smells, and our dining tables with hopeful visitors. For more excellent recipes head over to cjllatter.wordpress.com or keep an eye out here on My Grey Nomads. Looking is low-cal.
Hi Guys, we spent Easter in Penang and arrived to find out that there was a Penang Food Festival event happening on the island in April. Curious to find out about it, I asked our Uber driver, (Uber is really inexpensive in Penang), but I digress, his opinion about the festival.
Blunt and to the point, he said that the hawkers whose food was popular and sought after would not bother with the festival as they have enough on their hands without having to relocate for the festival. So all I would be getting at the festival would be mediocre local food by hawkers who aren’t really all that good but was hoping to increase their sales and perhaps established a clientele. And he is right! Sought after hawker food in Penang is one of the locals favourite pastime. They will go to extraordinary lengths to go to the right place and the right vendor!
There are two stalls that sells fried carrot cake aka Char Koay Kak in Penang, one opens in the morning and the other at night. Both stalls does the dish really well and both are not attached to any designated hawker stall. They just have a cart that they park in one location and they sell their wares there. Locals come at regular intervals by car, pull up and place their order and take away their dish to eat in the comfort of their homes. When I was patronising the evening stall, he managed to sell an additional 12 packets in the time (10 mins) after I placed my order.
So if you are in Penang, and if you like to try this dish, Macalister Lane is the morning shift and Burma Road (just outside Union School (SJK Union) is the evening stall.
One of the more common sights that are now missing from the streets of Penang was the little old man (usually Indian) who travels around on a tricycle with a huge cache of bread, nyonya cakes, as well as Indian, Malay and Chinese desserts. They announce their presence with their bells and was very much our afternoon treat when I was growing up.
One of the items was Curry puffs. Deep fried little pastries stuff with a potato curry. They were delicious and we were restricted to only one piece at a time. Recently with my discovery of fresh curry leaves available in HK, and experimenting with non-dairy pastry, I decided to see if I could make them.
The pastry is made with hot oil and is now added to my list.
The filling is usually made with only potatoes but you can add chopped up chicken or beef or pork. If you are vegetarian, skip the meat, and for the lactose intolerant, you have to try this!
Chop up 2 chicken thighs and one potato and one onion into bite size. You don’t need to be precise. Keep to one sideMince 2 cloves of garlicHeat up 3 tbsp of oil in your pan. When oil is hot, fry your garlic until they start turning golden brown, and add your chopped onion. Sauté until onion is soft.Add your prepared chicken and 3 Tbsp of curry powder and 5-6 sprigs of curry leaves. Stir briskly to coat chicken and then add your chopped potato. Cook until both chicken and potato is tender. Turn off heat and allow to cool.
(You can get curry powder now almost anywhere. Be sure to buy the one that is for meat.)
In a mixing bowl, place 220 grams of flour and a generous pinch of salt. Stir well to mix it and make a well. Have a 1/2 cup of cold water standing by. Heat up 120ml of oil in a saucepan. When oil is hot, do not let it smoke, pour the hot oil into the flour well. Stir with a wooden spoon to mix. When the dough is cool enough to handle, slowly add the cold water until your dough becomes smooth. Remove from the bowl and place on a cold surface to knead. Try not to handle the pastry too much. Separate the dough into golf ball pieces. Using your rolling pin, roll out the dough into a circle, place the circle of pastry onto your left hand, place 1 tbsp. of the curried mixture onto one half of the pastry. Fold the pastry over the mixture and seal. Using your thumb and forefinger, pinch one corner of the pastry and crimp it. Continue along the edge until you achieve the above result. Be patient. It takes practice and you have enough filling to practice it about 14 times.Heat up enough oil in a saucepan for deep frying and when oil is hot enough, turn heat down to medium and gently fry the curry puffs until golden brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool and then…..Enjoy