Once I wrote about our kopi (local for coffee) culture in Travel Malaysia Guide, talking about the evolution of the way we enjoy our coffee in generations from your old local kopitiams to the giant coffee franchises to our very own upper class kopitiam chains.
Ah indeed we have came a long way as coffee drinkers.
Either it is due to my taste bud being accustomed to our local coffee, or it is just me, I find that Malaysian coffee is one of the best, probably only topped by Hong Kong which is very similar to what we have, in terms of Asian coffee. But don’t let me tell you about it, you should go and try it out yourself and then let me know! For locals alike, do you think you know our Malaysian coffee well?
If you want to try and enjoy some of our local coffee or if you’re local to rediscover your love for local coffee, here are some good to know lingo for ordering the local Malaysian kopi to your liking:
Kopi O – black coffee
Kopi – coffee with condensed milk
Kopi C – coffee with evaporated milk
From here you can customize your coffee to your liking with:
For cold iced coffee, you add Peng at the end
For extra thick coffee you add Gao at the end
For less sugar (less sweet) you add Cheah (for north) and Xiu Dai (for south) at the end.
For without sugar, you add Kosong at the end, but bear in mind it only works for Kopi O or Kopi C, as condensed milk comes with sugar by default thus cannot be made without, that’s local tip for you so that you won’t be getting a stare back as response.
So for example if you want a cup of black coffee extra thick with less sugar you will say “Kopi O Gao Cheah”. Phew, how’s that for a highly customized coffee!
Where to find good local Malaysian coffee
You may find local kopi in the many Chinese eateries or hawker stalls restaurant, but not in proper dining or upscale Chinese restaurants, which actually serves Chinese tea instead. You may also succumb and try our mid-range kopitiam chains which you mostly would not miss if you hang around malls or popular districts.
If you know any good places in Malaysia for a good cup of coffee do let us know!
Two years ago around this time, Ah Ma left this world. I was there standing by her bedside while I sense her leaving, it is hard to put into words for the feeling.
Ten years ago Ah Ma passed me a chiffon baking pan when I asked her for the recipe as she makes a mean chiffon cake. She uses to make it a lot when I was younger, and I remember it soft, fluffy and huge! Of course the chiffon pan was huge too, and believe me, when I say it’s huge it is. I believe it can actually fit a 10 eggs recipe easily.
Six years ago I tried my hand first time beating the egg whites stiff and make a green tea chiffon cake in inspiration of Ah Ma, and looking back, I have come a long way. Now I can beat egg whites with confidence, but not exactly to perfection though at least I can tell which state it is in. As I lamented then, I couldn’t use the chiffon pan that Ah Ma gave me because it does not fit into my mini toaster oven. Though my mini oven has served me well in all my baking endeavours for all these years, I have to say I am rejoicing over my new built-in oven finally!
But I digress, yes Ah Ma, suddenly I have overwhelming thoughts of her. For the past two years, I have still been wishing Ah Ma on her birthday but I never really did remember her going away date. Maybe naturally I believe in celebrating life rather than death. But my sister mentioned it that day, so I thought hey I should bake something in memory of Ah Ma then, and so I did.
I didn’t manage to bake a chiffon cake as good as Ah Ma’s, but I believe she would be proud of me nonetheless for my
Honey Chiffon Cake
As my chiffon pan was huge as mentioned, it was actually a 9-inch pan. The recipe turns out too little for it, so I would recommend using a 7-inch chiffon pan if you have one. Using a larger pan also yielded a larger surface of baking, thus making it slightly over-baked than I would have liked it. If I am ever to repeat this, I will surely double/triple the recipe. Other than that, I also found that the cake has softened nicely and the flavours developed more distinctly after a day, so if you can bear it, let it sit a day before devouring it, you won’t regret it!
Egg yolks 3
Honey 4 tbsp
Oil 3 tbsp
Water 1 tbsp
Flour 85 gm
Baking powder 1 tsp
Egg whites 4 (please note the difference)
Cream of tartar 1/8 tsp
Sugar 1 tbsp
Preheat oven to 170 degrees.
Sift flour and baking powder together. (I sifted twice to make it lighter and finer)
Mix in the salt.
Whisk the wet ingredients together till well combined.
Fold in the earlier flour mixture to create a batter.
Beat the egg whites with cream of tartar and sugar till stiff peak.
Fold and whisk about 1/3 portion of it into the earlier batter to loosen it.
Then gently fold in the rest of beaten egg whites, be careful not to flatten it.
Pour into a 7-inch chiffon pan
Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes.
Invert pan immediately after baking.
After cooled, run a knife around it and remove from pan.
It was a nondescript rest day for me. I woke up in the middle of the day, feeling happy as it has been a while since I woke up with the sun high above the sky. Yes I am crazy like that, happy over little things like this. So I roll a bit more in my bed and let my mind wander. What should I do? It is a weekday, and everyone I know is busy running in their rat race and I for one is still looking for my own race. What should I break fast with? Suddenly I have a thought. What about the almond yogurt cake I’ve been wanting to make? I should also use up my huge tub of yogurt that is only halfway through so far. By the way, I am a yogurt enthusiast, I always have a tub sitting around. Plain yogurt goes wonders with fruits and nuts, kiwi is my current obsession.
Anyway the thought of baking got me jumping out of bed. So I quickly look for the said recipe and my mind start working. Alright I don’t want a cake, it’ll be too big for me to finish and too troublesome. I shall make it into little cups. Then I tweak around base on whim, fancy and whatever is in my pantry. By the end of it, my end result got me scratching my head.
First of all, I could not decide whether it is a cupcake or a muffin. If I adapted a cake recipe and make it into little cups, does that make it a cupcake? Some say that muffin is made from quick breads and cupcakes from cakes. So it is possible mine is a cupcake. But wait a minute. Others say it depends on the method that you use. If you beat/cream it then it is a cupcake, if you fold/mix then it is a muffin. But what bout me who first beat the wet ingredients and then fold in the dry ingredients? Hah, that got them, didn’t it? Some even say that a cupcake without the frosting and the little things that make it nice is a muffin. Mostly though people agree that cupcake is sweeter and has higher fat content while muffin is lighter, less sweet and less fat. Thus with that, I have to christened my creation a muffin! Although it started from a cake, it ended up as a muffin, how amazing.
My next headache was the name, as I have added few more ingredients into the recipe, which kind of highlight the taste of the muffin, thus it should be in the name. So pardon the long name, it is necessary, at least I decided on the muffin no?
I wanted to be healthy and use the white whole wheat flour that I discovered in Chang Tung, Taman Megah, Malaysia. Then I realize I don’t have sugar! So I decided to use Gula Melaka (Malacca Palm Sugar) instead, which I melted with some water and sub it with sugar, feeling a bit apprehensive about the extra liquid, thus I compensated with more ground almond and by whim reduced the oil as well. And oh, why not throw in some fruits for good measure? Kiwi? Orange? Banana? Apples? Ah yes, that’s it. Apples it is, and a green one seems to fit. Also, I actually ground the almonds myself, just put whole almond into your grinder and give it a little spin, it is that easy to make.
Just a warning though, this is kind of still a work in progress recipe, though mine does turn out well, in fact it tasted like our Malaysian Malaikoh (steamed Malay cakes) due to the Gula Melaka and it also amazingly have little holes to boot! But it was a little dry at the sides, so I might need to re-look into the baking time and heat. Anyway, be bold and try my recipe below and feel free to tweak! That’s part of the fun in baking.
White whole wheat flour 3/4 cup
Baking Powder 1/2 tbsp
Yogurt 1/2 cup
Gula Melaka 1/2 cup (melted with some water)
Oil 1 tbsp
Ground almonds 4 tbsp
Vanilla 1/4 tsp
Green apple 1 (cubed)
Preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F). Line muffin pan with muffin cups
In a large mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, the oil and the sugar. Beat till smooth, during which add in the egg.
In a medium bowl combine the flour, the baking powder, the salt, and the almonds.
Add the flour mixture to the batter in three or four additions, and stir until just combined. Do not overmix.
Spoon mixture into muffin cups till 1/2 full and top with cubed apples.
Put into the oven to bake, for 40 minutes or until the cake tester comes out clean (I just poked with a butter knife). If yours brown too fast, cover the top with foil, mine did not though.
Let cool and munch away with your best choice of drink. (Black coffee for me the addict, of course 😉
Makes 5 muffins (yes it is an odd number in the usual 6 holes muffin pan)
Only a few days, but with peace and chaos, romance and angst, bitter and sweet, all rolled into one giant ball of yarn, I must say Paris is something. I think it will be something for everyone, be it what it is that they experience to a degree somewhat.
It is just because Paris has character. You may see it. You may hear it. Or you may feel it. Someone almost always leave Paris a little bit changed by it. At least I did.
You cannot help being fazed by the chaotic way the rues (streets) are structured (though I must say the new looking signs on every street are really helpful when one is staring at the ready to fall apart tourist map), and the crowd that are a mix of local and tourists, mostly tourists, and the same proportion of people who are there to solely earn from the tourists, which kind of anger you especially if they provoke or shows some sort of threat. if you have been there you would know what i mean. This is where Paris can be chaos and angst.
But you also cannot help being overwhelmed by the romance of the city. The feel of things being the way they are, just so. Paris has a sort of foreboding force not to be ignored. River seine. Oh how can one not be almost swept away by it, even though there are no big current. In fact it is the serenity that pulls you along. It brings you to places you always wanted to go, or almost did, and possibly someday will. River seine shows you it is possible. This where Paris can be peace and romance.
And so while I was walking along, almost aimlessly, although I am sort of looking at the map, I am also sort of bumming around, just because I like it that way. I like the random way of things during my travels, yet I could not help wanting to go some of the places that I heard or read beforehand, thus the need for the map to route me once in a while. Suddenly I walked pass this sandwich place that has a long line of queue outside.
I am pretty guilty of the mantra “I want to eat where the locals eat”
My hands shot up to my eyes, I look at the watch, great lunch time! Almost that is, 11.37am, oh well, who knows what is lunch time in this part of the world, for me I say it is. So I happily join in the long queue.
While waiting the line, I was fascinated by everything around me, there are a mixture of students and young working adults. I love the details of their fashion. Their clever layering in the not too cold weather. The working crowd is sort of posh in the way they carry themselves while the youngsters show vibrancy and youth. The incessant chatters between the youths in contrast to the deep in concentration i-want-my-sandwich-fast-so-i-can-go-back-to-work adults.
With all that and I have have yet to even look at the long list of how you can have your sandwich. Ham? Cheese? Plain? Toasted? I can’t remember most of the fanciful stuff but in the end, I chose the most basic of le sandwich I can find. Yes just stick slices of smoke sausages into my baguette and I am good to go. So they did and off I walk with the precious prize in my hand.
I pondered a bit at that time. Is it lunch time yet? Should I eat now? Later? Oh well better when it’s hot. But just an excuse of course, for who in the right mind could walk around with a toasty wonderful smelling sandwich in their hands and not eat it? What more this is THE parisian sandwich I am talking about. Yes, le sandwich. So yes, I ate it while walking along the street towards Arc de Triomphe.
When I sank my teeth into it, I moan in ecstasy. Yes it is that good. How can something so simple can be so good boggles my mind. And how I know no such simplicity goodness to be found back where I came from tightens my heart. The baguette is absolutely the way a good baguette should be. It has just the right warmth, toasty with outer crust that crunches and inner bread that is soft and sweet. Ah and the sausages. Slightly salty that cuts through the bread very well, literarily or non literarily.
While enjoying le sandwich, I think to myself “How can I eat another sandwich normally again?” And this is where Paris can be bittersweet.
Pomme de Pain All over Paris if you keep your eyes open (or nose for that matter)