Monday, January 10, 2011

Cooking Trauma and Laksam

Cooking is not exactly my favourite pastime, it is more of a chore, something that I have to do rather than something that I love to do. To say that I hate ccoking is a very strong statement, I do once in a while enjoy cooking or baking, when I have all the time in the world and not rushing to finish it in a hurry. But these moments is actually few and far between.

When I first came to the Netherlands, I did not expect to experience any culture shock because I used to live in UK once upon a time :) Amsterdam couldn't be any different from London, could it? I knew how cold the winter was and how I hated it. I knew that I would not miss my working life because I had been itching to quit my job practically from the moment I started working!! Yeah... I was that bad!! Of course my guilty concience would never allow me to quit. And that's why I still worked to the very end until we came here. Ohh... I digress. Let's just say that I knew what to expect !! Boy, was I wrong !!

The shock does not come in the form of how tall the Dutch are, how alien it sounds when they speak with all these "idgham" and "kh" sound or how one has to look down when one walks in case one accidently steps on "booby trap" by man's best friend. It actually comes from unexpected source, cooking !! I never realise that it would stress me to think of what to cook based on my limited gourmet recipes (it should be easy since I don't have that many right?), or that cooking itself and cleaning up can sometimes exerts ones power. The fact that I had long staying visitor who came two weeks after we arrived did not make cooking anymore endearing to me. Cooking for my own family is fine, but cooking in large amount is very stressful for me, I would be full of anxiety. Of course to me, cooking for 4 guests is 2 extra guests too many!!! Ha..ha..ha..

Having said all these things, I admit that living here in a foreign land in a way force me to cook and experimenting on dishes that I had never cooked in my life. Some of the dishes was so unexpected that even my mother did not believe that I made it from scratch. One of them is laksam. I love laksam, I grew up thinking that laksam was a northen dish, all because my uncle's (he married my aunt) niece used to make and sell laksam when I was small. Everytime I went to my auntie's house, I would eat laksam. But in KL, if you want to eat laksam you have to find stalls operated by orang pantai timur.

Anyway, last year we were invited to a Patani's house and they served laksam among other things. It had been sooo long since I ate laksam that I had more than two helpings. Needless to say I interrogated the helpful hostess and she obligingly explained to me. I didn't know that we had to steam the noodle. We came home with more "tapau" from the gracious hostess. My many queries must have convinced her of my love for laksam :D

Anyway, let's just say that I just had to try to cook it. The recipe that I finally used was taken from Myresepi if I'm not mistaken. And this is the end result....

Hmm... sedappp... if I may say so :D

The still uncut steamed noodle.

When I told my mother that I made laksam, she thought I used the dried kueyteow as the noodle. Was she surprised!!! he..he.. Still she seemed to be unconvinced because she said "kukus atas tudung periuk???" Yes Mak... I used tudung periuk and the bottom part of the springform (see the square designs on some of the noodle?)

I did enjoy making and eating the laksam and feel very proud of my own accomplishment :D I had since then cooked it for 3 more times and enjoyed every minute of it. This is one of the few and far between occasion.


Cat-in-Sydney said...

Mother of Ilham,
I love laksam for the "kuah"....fishy, that's why. purrrr.....meow!

Hanis MY said...

Laksam is one of my fav and urs looked soo professional... terrornya sis buat kagumlah!

I amsterdam said...

Dear Cats,

I think we will be good neighbours when you move here. We all love fishy food :D

I amsterdam said...

Hi Hanis,

He..he.. I was surprised myself and when I tasted it, hmm... not bad!!!

RR said...

Kak IA....I'm so proud of u! The Laksam looks so delicious....and I'm sure the good as it's look. Terliur juga lah bila tengok gambar nya..!!!

I amsterdam said...

Dear RR !!

Where have you been?? Too bz with the kids? Blog tu dah naik sawang ke?? He..he..

Sedap juga la(perasan kejap).., 3 hari lepas tu DH suruh buat lagi he..he..

Nana said...

Wah sedapnya!!!
When there is a will, there is a way! I agree, when we are put in a situation like yours and mine, we just have to do it. Jadi ke tak lain citer kan? Asalkan ada rupa, we are half satisfied. If it tastes great, we are super super satisfied! Good job!

i amsterdam said...

Dear Nana,

Betulla.. kadang2 kita kena keluar dari "comfort zone" baru boleh belajar benda baru :D

Cheqna said...

that laksam looks delicious..congrats my dear...u'll come back as a chef nanti..

p/s - we dont have to pack instant noodles eh if we come and visit u? ;)

i amsterdam said...


Uhh..uhh.. that day will never come i think, masak pun ada hari juga... kdg2 menjadi, kdg2 x jadi..

instant noodle for u to eat? no...

but for us to eat.. yes har..har..har..