|Dr. Lee Su Kim's new book "Kebaya Tales"|
After the formal launching of the book, attended and assisted by local dignitaries, we were treated to the kebaya fashion show, which was truly "eye candy" for all who were present.
The Nyonya Kebaya is a beautiful, translucent, figure-hugging embroidered blouse worn with a batik sarong by nyonyas. A nyonya kebaya is not only intricate in design, they are extremely colorful. As the embroidery are hand made, I view it as work of art. It is indeed a traditional costume that is timeless. It is an attire suitable for all occasions and they make the lady look elegant, feminine, alluring, sensual and glamorous. Furthermore, it is fashionable for all ages. However, an authentic nyonya kebaya tends to come with a price tag that is not within the budget of many people. One set of kebaya (blouse and sarong) will cost at least RM700.00 (US$250.00) and above depending on how much embroidery is involved.
|Lovely Nyonyas in a row|
|Aren't they beautiful?|
|Look at the intricate embroidery on the kebaya blouses - LOVELY!|
|Look at the embroidery in the blouses... fabulous!|
|Look at these lovely sarongs, which feature the Batik designs that are traditional in Southeast Asia but are world renowned for colorful inventiveness.|
I love Nyonya food, and one dish that is so simple to make yet extremely delicious, is for Birthday occasions. It is called simply Nyonya Birthday Mee and most Malaysians are familiar with this popular dish. Noodles are normally served at birthday celebrations because they are considered a symbol for longevity, the association being the obvious - long noodles, long life. Today was a test run of this dish for me as I've not made it before. I am happy to report that the outcome was great (as certified by Stitch). My mum's birthday is around the corner, I think I will make this again on her birthday and surprise her.
Larglely adapted from Vivien Quahe-Seah’s Cookbook titled “Food for Thought”
Nyonya Birthday Mee (Fried Noodles), and a fruit/chili side salad, Nyonya Style
10 medium prawns with shell removed and reserved
1.5 cloves garlic, pounded
1 1/2 tsp tau cheo, (fermented soya bean sauce) pounded
1 ½ lbs Shanghai noodles, (or your favorite egg noodle) boiled to al dente, drained and soaked in a cool bath
2 cups taugay (bean sprouts)
20 medium size tua tow (clams)
2 ozs chye sim, (choy sum), washed and cut into bite size pieces
Make 1 ½ cups stock from prawn shells - Simmer prawn shells in 2 cups of water with a bit of salt until reduced by 1/2 cup.
Ingredients for Seasoning:
A dash of white ground pepper
A dash of sugar
Ingredients for Garnishing:
1/2 cup shredded cucumber without skin and seed vein removed
4 medium shallots, diced
2 stalks coriander parsley
1 fresh red chilli
Method for Preparing Garnish:
Beat eggs and fry in wok with a little oil, swirling the wok to make egg into a thin omelette. Shred the omelette finely. Fry sliced shallots in oil till golden brown and drain oil completely. Wash parsley and pluck into sprigs. Wash and slice red chillies finely.
Method for frying noodles:
Heat oil in wok and fry garlic and tau cheo till fragrant. Add prawns and fry till cooked. Add stalk of chye sim (choy sum) and fry for 2 mins followed by the leaves stir fry till half cooked . Add tua tow (clams), ½ cup stock and tua tow have opened up. Add in taugay (bean sprout), noodle and balance of stock and fry till cooked. Add ground white pepper and sugar. Mix well and add garnishing and serve hot.
Note: We recommend serving the noodles with sambal belacan (buh lah chan), pineapple, and cucumber salad.
Sambal Belacan Pineapple and Cucumber Salad
30g toasted belacan crumbled (belacan is a shrimp paste available in most Asian markets)
250g fresh red chillies, washed and diced
1 head (bulb) garlic
1 tbs sugar
2 tbs lime juice
1 tsp oil
salt to taste
½ cucumber, diced without the center
¼ pineapple diced
Method for making sambal belacan:
Put A in blender and pulse till mixture is slightly course. Add B and mix well. Heat oil and add mixture. Stir fry till fragrant and the color of chili mixture turns darker red. Add salt to taste
Method for making the salad:
Toss D with 2 tbs of sambal belacan until well mixed and let it sit in the fridge for 1 hour before serving.
Note: store the balance of the sambal belacan in the fridge for use later.