Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tell-A-Tale (Part 8): Emak...Nasi Lemak...Gempak...

Who is your favourite chef in the whole wide world?
I am sure you have one.

I am no food critic, nor am I qualified to be one.
But to me, a good chef should fit a stringent set of criteria.

Let me describe my favourite chef and the set she owns.
Through one of her pièce de résistance, the Nasi Lemak.


* Individuality *


An ability to distinguish oneself from the mainstream yet maintaining a high level of taste that impresses tastebuds of many.


* Nutritionist *

Nutritious food need not always be boring. Think silky smooth steamed eggplants/okra, sweet/sour ripe pineapple pieces and crunchy, cooling cucumber cuts. And tell me you are not salivating already.


* Creativity *

Manipulation of the abundance of flavours, textures and scents. Addition of crispy salted fish to an already tantalizing ensemble. Exudation of a mild, appetising aroma. Stimulation of the senses.


* Perfectionistic *

An enhancement that distinguishes the inspired from the required. Like the use of smaller, crunchy anchovies for a more subtle flavour and refined texture. Not forgetting peanuts. Roasted.


* Holistic *

Completing completeness. A side meat to fill the missing gap between the fluffy brown rice and a rich sauce/sambal that comes in form of turmeric powder-marinated fried kampung (free range) chicken.


* Attitude *

Best represented by a bowl of spicy, real spicy sambal. Accessorized by a combustion of tang from the tamarind slices & juice, sweetness & crunch from the onions, savouriness of the anchovies and fragrance of the torch ginger bud (bunga kantan). Fiery and leaves one sweating buckets and teary-eyed. Move along now, Spice Girls.


* Passion & Dedication *

The urge to achieve the ultimate culinary experience. To create a dish of utmost satisfaction. Like a plate of perfect nasi lemak.


* TLC *
Like creating this feast for her family on the day of her own celebration. A celebration of overpriced carnations, overcrowded restaurants and overhyped perfumes. "Things are getting expensive. And you'll never know what kinda food they’ve stocked up for the weekend crowd. Especially this weekend". (An educationist as well).

For all the criteria mentioned above (and a prized possession of -10 Michelin stars), she is absolutely my favourite chef of all time. And I am ever grateful for that.

I am sure many of you will agree.

***********
Before you start calling me Si Tenggang or Anti-Confucianism for allowing my favourite chef to heave over dinner last Sunday night, I should mention that I did take her out for dim sum that particular morning. And her comment on the food? !@#$#%&;;%! I don't call her my Gordon Ramsay for nothing.

31 comments:

PureGlutton said...

Oohh...nasi lemak - the alltime m'sian favourite, more so when it's cooked by mothers with lotsa TLC! Can see the love and care wafting from the meal! Yummyy!

Kenny Mah said...

One's favourite food --- deconstructed? To its very elements... of which TLC must be the most essential flavouring of all. :)

Reminds me: I haven't had my own dear Mom's nasi lemak in ages... *drools*

Precious Pea said...

My favourite chef?? Can I name two??? My mum and my bro-in-law (he is a real chef by profession). Hehehe..lucky me!

ling239 said...

she is such a great chef !!
so very lucky of u...
my mum cant cook that well, but still the best for us ^O^

CUMI & CIKI said...

i take it mum is a world class chef, with a prolific vocab.. lol.. :):)

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Brilliantly told and a great tribute to your mum. :-) So is the Weekend Bitch gonna host dinner soon? :-)

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

wow...wat a loving gift..infact a priceless mastercard ad isnt?

Xiu Long Bao said...

Dimsum of @#$%^ quality on mother's day?

Fair enough, I didnt even go back during mother's day.

fatboybakes said...

wah, your mother malay ah?
si tenggang...now i bet you 99% of the youth of today, including the elderly lemongrass, have no clue who he is.

Nic (KHKL) said...

pureglutton, yupe! absolutely agree! and on your previous question on what i had for dinner on mother's day, the answer is nasi lemak! a very nice nasi lemak :)

kenny, yeah, deconstruction. aiyah, i should have included that word in my post. well, TLC is the essential flavouring, but my vote still goes to the sambal! *shame on u, nic*

reminds you: time to head home for the upcoming holiday! ;)

precious pea, aiyer, tak achi (fair) liddat! haha! guess you'll nvr run out of good food then..lucky u indeed! wah, that means your family got 3 good cooks, right? ;)

ling239, she is indeed! that's how i became "fei fei pak pak" or "fat fat white white" i guess...haha! yalor, i agree with u...sometimes it's the effort they put in! lucky us :)

cumi & ciki, haha! she is definitely a class of her own, i guess...as for prolific vocab, hmmm, it gets even better when the son's up to no good...complete with an 8-octave pitch...haha!

lyrical lemongrass, thank you, thank you! well, i was inspired by a great inspiration, i guess ;) ohh, hosting a dinner? The weekend bitch is so gonna have to learn from fbb first. that includes making an edible cake myself...lol!

joe, haha, i guess this is the cheapest and most stress-free gift that i could think of...me cheapskate hor? hehe...mastercard ad? that would be cool! but i was thinking of brand's essence of chicken..hehe...

xiu long bao, ya lor! should have gone to another place instead...what to do..sigh...

aiyer, u also very filial mah...celebrated in advance. bought a delicious gift somemore ;)

fatboybakes, lol! no lar. she's capable of other dishes as well. well, mostly chinese fare lar.

hey, isn't si tenggang an iconic character (along with pak pandir and sang kancil) in our textbooks? dunno what's in the textbooks these days though. lemongrass dunno this character meh? hmm...

Precious Pea said...

Eh?? Who is the 3rd?? *scratching my head*

Simon Seow said...

Ah, I miss mum's cooking. Woot, tomorrow going to Singapore. Any place that I can bring my mum to chow?

Nic (KHKL) said...

precious pea, 3 = your mum, your bro-in-law and...you lah! i've seen some of your creations on your blog and other ppl's blog before..those delicious looking chicken wings and siu yoke...hehe...but me no chance to taste though :(

simon, wah, singapore got lotsa nice things to eat...hmmm, lets see...dunno your mum's taste but the safest bet would be crystal jade la mian (takashimaya fountain basement) or tony roma's pork ribs at suntec city? contact me lar 2moro if u want info. :)

little inbox said...

Oh lucky you, lucky me, haha! I have a marvelous cook mama also. :)

fatboybakes said...

ah, versatile woman!!! i dunno if i would like to be "gordon ramsay" though...does your good mother swear a lot? cant imagine...
i mean, if you tell me Lemongrass is gordon ramsay, (minus the culinary skills), i say yeah, sounds about right.

team bsg said...

We almost thought you were talking about us , or issit the back streets ? Gluttons ?

actually a genuine chef cum authentic
eater is one who never complains about real food

Nic (KHKL) said...

little inbox, hey, thanks for stopping by! lucky you, lucky me..hmm, lucky us! hehehe...it's great to have a good chef in the house..i'm sure u r a good cook yrself ;)

fatboybakes, hehehe...oh, not so much on cursing but yeah, my mum's kinda tough on me when i was young...almost gordon ramsay-like. kinda helped in the long run lar..hehe...
lemongrass/gordon ramsay? sure ar not? she seems more like nigella lawson (yes, minus that culinary skill and now, hair lar) when we meet...

team bsg, hmm, now that u mentioned it, all the criteria do apply to almost everyone, eh? including gluttons like us. *enlighted*
o' sagely team bsg, i cunt agree more! i've been yearning for real food ever since my ohana-chan month ended..that reminds me of that stephen chow show, god of cookery! that char siew rice!

Lianne said...

*shake head* lucky, lucky you ...

Nic (KHKL) said...

lianne, *nodding, nodding* yupe, yupe...hehe...too bad the son cant catch at least a bit of those culinary skills...sigh...

Camemberu said...

I say, Malaysian-written food blogs are still the most creative I've seen! ;-) I always marvel at the many unusual ways you present your posts!

Gosh, I haven't heard the name Si Tenggang in eons!

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Eeyer...I cant believe you flers have been talking behind my back. FBB, I DON'T SWEAR LIKE GORDON RAMSAY, YOU FOOL.

But he's right on Si Tenggang Tunggang Langgang though. Who da heck is da dude? Was he cute?

Good luck with your new lean mean mixing machine. Can't wait to hear of your adventures.

Big Boys Oven said...

walio! yours look the best of all!

Nic (KHKL) said...

camemberu, thanks for the compliment...that coming from a fellow malaysian with a fantastic food blog herself really means a lot to me! i hope my posts are not too self-indulging though..i'll try ;)

lyrical lemongrass, no lar, where got talking behind your back. in fact i equate you to nigella lawson leh! :)

oh, STTL is quite an a** actually. kinda like rags to riches, then forgets his own roots, then kena curse by his mom and turned into a stone. as i guess he shd be cute lar cos he's bad mah. women tend to like the baddies. no wonder i'm still single :P

thanks for the wishes! i'll do all i can to prevent to x-files episodes...hehe

big boys oven, hehe...thanks, thanks! i guess u must be referring to my mum's cooking lar, hor? and yesss, it's the best of all! to me, at least.. ;)

Keropok Man said...

i miss my nasi lemak.

mum has not been cooking nasi lemak for so long. hmmmm mesti balik kampung and ask mak to cook it.


ey, one of these days we should go out and have nasi lemak! :-)

Nic (KHKL) said...

keropok man, mum's food is the best, isn't it ;)

hey, ya lor, we should meet for nasi lemak lar....stay on the same island, but never met before oso..haha!

Keropok Man said...

ya lor! where's the nice nasi lemak store that is comparable to mum's cooking in this island? :-)

wmw said...

Thank goodness I finally ate SS2 Nasi Lemak this morning. Was craving for it since I got back!

J2Kfm said...

I love nasi lemak too, and your pic had me drooling ... the food shot, i mean. =P
my Mum has not been cooking for years, therefore number of chef in family? NONE.

Nic (KHKL) said...

keropok man, hmmm, i was hoping that you'll tell me...haha! cos the only place i know where one has to queue for the nasi lemak is in boon lay :)

wmw, oh, the one one with the wooden bucket to store the rice one ar??? hehehe....nothing beats nasi lemak, eh? not even the egyptian nuts, eh? hehehe...

j2fkm, thanks! you know, i also salivated thinking about mum'm sambal ikan bilis, hehe....none? time to get some recipes from our beloved food bloggers, i'd say :)

Keropok Man said...

boon lay is so far away!
is the queue from boon lay to pasir ris yet? LOL...

Nic (KHKL) said...

keropok man, no lar! haha! anyway, my email add is blacktiewhitelie@yahoo.com

give me a buzz lar if u wanna meet up for nasi lemak! salivating already!! ;>