Friday 30 November 2012

X-Files : Return of my kidnapped soul

X-Files : Return of my kidnapped soul


I personally experienced this in 1980. I had just arrived home from work in the evening. As I stepped through the front door of my home, I suddenly felt awful. I felt nauseous, giddy and all my limbs had gone numb. Before I lost consciousness, I managed a loud scream that attracted the attention of my mum and brother who were at home.

My brother rushed me to the district hospital. The hospital attendant had done the routine check on my vital organs, blood pressure, blood sugar and found nothing wrong with me. I did not know for how long I had been unconscious but at some point of time I was aware of my surroundings even though I could not open my eyes nor could I speak and respond normally.  I could hear the hospital attendant talking. I was very angry that the hospital attendant slapped my face several times trying to revive me. I got real furious when he accused me of pretending to be unconscious because I was trying to get attention or that I could have quarrelled with my boyfriend and thus was trying to get sympathy or attention. Unfortunately, even though I could hear everything I could not open my eyes, nor could I speak.  I just lay motionless on the hospital bed unable to move, not even a muscle.              

All of a sudden, I found myself in pitch darkness. "Someone" was with me, guiding me along. I could not see anything but I sensed that I was been transported at high speed along a dark and narrow road which seemed endless. I use the word "transported" because I was not walking and neither was I flying. Yet I was moved along at high speed. The "someone" beside me did not say anything but I could sense his presence. Yes, my senses told me this "being" was a man.

Unbeknown to me then, after my brother had rushed me to the hospital, he immediately rushed to a temple to consult a medium. The temple medium informed my brother that I was possessed by an evil spirit. The medium gave instructions to my brother to perform on-the-spot prayers at the roadside, at specific directions and with specific offerings. At each road junction, my brother was to call out my name to guide my soul back.

The prayers were very powerful and effective. No sooner had the prayers been over than I woke up and saw my dishevelled brother standing next to my bed beaming down at me.

For weeks after this incident, my family would not allow me to go out at night, for fear that I would lose my soul  to evil spirits again!

Glutinous Rice Chicken ( Loh Mai kai ) 糯米鸡

Glutinous Rice Chicken ( Loh Mai Kai) 糯米鸡


   Tasty loh mai kai for dim sum


The loh mai kai is popularly eaten for breakfast. It is sold at most coffee shops run by the Chinese. However, the loh mai kai sold at most coffee shops are average in taste only, while the ones sold at dim sum outlets fare better. I remember it used to cost slightly more than a ringgit (dollar) to buy one from the shop but now it costs three ringgit just for one loh mai kai and most often the taste of the store-bought ones is not totally satisfactory. 

SK made one batch last week but he did not want to post it yet as he thought he could improve on the basic recipe before sharing it here. This improved version is so much tastier than the batch last week. We gave this the thumbs up!



600g glutinous rice( soaked for 3 hours )
2 chicken drumsticks ( chopped into bite-sized pieces )
10 dried mushrooms ( soaked and halved )
4 Chinese sausages ( sliced diagonally )
4 tbsp cooking oil for oiling the bottom of the rice bowls
500 ml water

N.B. I used the Hong Kong lap chai sausage (香港粒仔蜡肠)


Chicken Marinade


1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp ginger juice
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dark soy sauce

Mushroom Marinade


2 tbsp shao hsing wine
2 Chinese soup spoons cooking oil
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp sugar

Squeeze out the water from the mushrooms. Place marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix well then add in the mushrooms and mix thoroughly.

Seasoning For The Glutinous Rice 


1 1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp shallot oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp shao hsing wine

 Marinated chicken pieces

 Sliced Chinese sausages

 Marinated mushrooms

 Left : teaspoon (tsp). Right : Tablespoon (tbsp)

 The loh mai kai covered with an aluminium foil



1.  Drain the glutinous rice, add in 500 ml of water and steam for 25 minutes. Stir in the seasoning whilst still hot. Mix well and set aside.
2.  Marinate the chicken pieces for 1 hour
3.  Marinate the mushrooms for 1 hour
4.  Oil the bottom of a porcelain Chinese rice bowl. Place in 1 piece each of the chicken, mushroom and sausage.
5.  Spoon glutinous rice on top and press it down and level the glutinous rice over the chicken, mushroom and sausage with the back of the spoon
6.  Cover the bowl with aluminium foil and steam for 25 minutes

Note :
1)  You can read up on how to make shallot oil
2)  You can read up on the technique of steaming food here


Thursday 29 November 2012

Mangosteen 山竹

Mangosteen 山竹


  Fresh and ripe mangosteens

While durian is dubbed as the king of fruits in Malaysia, the queen of fruits is indisputably the mangosteen. Some sources reported the mangosteen to be a tropical evergreen fruit. The fact is, the mangosteen is a seasonal fruit. You don't get it throughout the year. The durian and the mangosteen season usually go hand in hand. While the durian is believed to warm up your body the mangosteen cools it and that means they complement each other.

The mangosteen may not look very attractive but once the rind is removed you will see white juicy flesh which is sweet, tangy and very tasty. Be very careful when opening the fruit because the juice from the purple rind stains clothing and it is impossible to remove. And one more thing, the purple rind is not edible as it is bitter.

How do you open the mangosteen? Easy. Just remove the green stem, place the mangosteen between your palms and give it a gentle squeeze. The rind will break open to reveal the inside as shown in the picture below. 

A point of interest, on the bottom of the rind, you will find raised ridges arranged like spokes of a wheel. These raised ridges will correspond to the number of the wedges of flesh inside the mangosteen. The fruit below has seven pieces of flesh. Now, if you were to check the bottom of the fruit you will find seven raised ridges.

 Sweet and juicy white flesh appears once the rind is removed

Tips on choosing mangosteen

The stem must look fresh and green as in the top picture. The rind must be light or dark purple, indicating ripeness. If it is yellowish, then it is not ripe. Take a mangosteen and use your fingers to press the rind softly if the rind is soft then it is a good one. If the rind is hard then it is either overripe or no longer fresh.

 A mound of mangosteen

The Burmese (Dhammikarama) Buddhist Temple, Penang 槟城缅佛寺

The Burmese (Dhammikarama) Buddhist Temple, Penang 槟城缅佛寺

( 11th November 2012 )

The Burmese Buddhist Temple is just across the temple of the Reclining Buddha in Jalan Burmah. It was not very busy because our visit there was after 5.30 P.M. Most of the petty traders outside the temple were seen packing up and closing shop for the day. The temple was still open and we took a quick tour of its surrounding.

There was a long corridor leading to the main temple. On both sides of this corridor, huge paintings were hung up on both sides of the wall depicting the life story of Buddha and the related events of Buddhism. The paintings told  very descriptive stories. The main temple was brightly lit with flashing neon lights. 

The photos below were taken inside the compound of the temple.

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Stir-Fried White Crab Mushrooms With Shrimps 神农白雪菇炒虾

Stir-Fried White Crab Mushrooms With Shrimps 神农白雪菇炒虾


Crunchy white crab mushrooms and succulent shrimps


300g white crab mushrooms ( remove the roots, halve or quarter each strand of the white crab mushrooms otherwise it may not cook thoroughly )
2 tbsp cooking oil
150 shrimps ( shelled and with veins removed )
1 tbsp minced garlic

Sauce Ingredients

1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Dissolve the sauce ingredients in 1 Chinese rice bowl of water

Cornflour Solution


1 tsp cornflour 
2 tbsp water

Dissolve the cornflour in 2 tbsp of water 

Raw white crab mushrooms



1.  Heat 2 tbsp cooking oil in a wok
2.  Add in the minced garlic and stir-fry until light brown and fragrant
3.  Add in the dissolved sauce ingredients and bring to the boil
4.  Add in the shrimps and white crab mushrooms and let simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir as it simmers.
5.  Add in the cornflour solution and let it simmer for 1 minute
6.  Dish up and serve 


The Reclining Buddha Temple, Penang (Wat Chayamangkalaram) 槟城睡佛庙

The Reclining Buddha Temple, Penang (Wat Chayamangkalaram) 槟城睡佛庙

( 11th November 2012 )

 The giant statue of the reclining Buddha inside the temple, all 33m of it.

We spent some time driving around, looking for this temple. We finally found the location at  5.00 P.M. sharp. We were glad that the temple was still open at this hour which was the closing hour for most establishments. Many other tourists and devotees were seen thronging the temple as well. 

The statue of the reclining Buddha was awesome. It occupies almost the entire breadth of the temple. 

We could see many floral arrangements lined up on several huge tables in front of the reclining statue in readiness to celebrate the oncoming loy krathong festival. At another corner, a continuous stream of eager people were seen lining up for a "turn of the wheel" for reading a prediction. You need to slot in a 50 cent coin and the wheel will spin and indicate a number. You then pick a leaflet of the corresponding number to read your fortune or guidance that you were seeking. 

 The entrance to the Wat Chayamangkalaram where the reclining Buddha is housed

 The guardians at the entrance of the main door


Tuesday 27 November 2012

Fresh Matrimony Vine leaves Soup ( Kow Kee Chye ) 枸杞菜汤

Fresh Matrimony Vine leaves Soup ( Kow Kee Chye )


  Yummy Soup



400g fresh matrimony vine leaves ( kow kee chye ) - pluck leaves and discard thorny stems. Wash and drain
150g pork slices
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sesame oil
1 litre chicken stock
500 ml water
1 egg ( beaten )

How To Marinate Pork Slices

1.  Mix 1/2 tsp Shao Hsing wine with the pork slices in a bowl
2.  Add in 1 tsp of cornflour and mix thoroughly


1.  Put the chicken stock and water into a pot and bring it to the boil
2.  Add in the pork slices and stir, let it cook for 3 minutes
3.  Add in the fresh matrimony vine leaves and let it simmer for 2 minutes
4.  Add in the beaten egg and stir for 1 minute
5.  Add salt to taste
6.  Use a ladle and scoop the soup into a large bowl
7.  Add the sesame oil to the soup

Monday 26 November 2012

Soy Sauce Hard Tail Scad (Cincaru) Fish 酱油硬尾鱼

Soy Sauce Hard Tail Scad (Cincaru) Fish 酱油硬尾鱼


 Fragrant Hard Tail (cincaru) fish in hot soya sauce is rather appetising

When I was young I disliked the hard tail scad fish because it has a dark coloured strip of flesh across its body. As a kid back then, I refused to eat the darker band of flesh. I ate only the whitish parts. As I grew older I began to like the whole fish and now I eat all parts of the fish.

It was ironic that when I cooked this dish for the family years ago, my youngest son YS said exactly the same things I did long time ago. He complained and fussed about the band of dark coloured flesh and refused to eat it!

Today, when SK cooked this cincaru fish, YS, who is now fifteen years old, loves the dish! He polished off the whole fish leaving only the head and the bones! Well, I guess, Like mother, like son!



2 cincaru fish
10g small chilli padi ( chopped )
2 tbsp minced garlic
3 tbsp cooking oil
1 1/2 Chinese soup spoons of soy sauce
1 Chinese rice bowl of water
Enough oil for frying the fish



The cincaru fish fried until crispy

1.  In a wok, use enough oil to fry the cincaru fish until light brown and crispy over medium flame
2.  Dish up and set aside
3.  In a clean wok heat 3 tbsp of cooking oil and stir-fry the minced garlic till light brown and fragrant
4.  Add 1 Chinese rice bowl of water and bring it to the boil
5.  Add in the fried fish and the chopped chili padi and let it simmer for 3 minutes
6.  Lastly, add in the 1 1/2 Chinese soup spoons of soy sauce and let it simmer for another minute
7.  Dish up and serve immediately

Playing With My Aunt's Bangle

Playing With My Aunt's Bangle

My third aunt went for a rest and recreation trip with her children and their families in a popular resort. They went in a few cars and booked a few rooms to spend the night. After dinner the young people all went out to enjoy the nightlife of the hotel cum resort. My aunt opted to stay in the hotel room to watch TV instead. 

Soon, she retired to bed. She slept fitfully and had awakened a few times during the night. She could not remember for sure what actually happened but she thought she heard the connecting door of the bedroom suites, swung to and fro on a few occasions. In her half awake state, my aunt thought her children or her grandchildren had returned for the night. It was only after the trip that the children and grandchildren disclosed that nobody came back to the rooms until the wee hours of the next morning and the whole gang all came back together and not individually.

 Well, you see, my aunt wore a jade bangle. We know it is not easy to put on or remove the type of jade bangle which looks like a doughnut. My aunt could remember that when she awakened, the jade bangle was removed from her wrist and lying next to her hand. She was puzzled how the bangle could have came off so easily. But she did not suspect anything and proceeded to the toilet and use soap to lubricate her wrist before she managed to put the bangle on again. After some time she went back to sleep again. The next time the bangle came off again but she just ignored it. She held onto the bangle and continued to sleep. Guess what ? When she awakened again, the bangle was put back on her wrist!  Someone or something had put it back on her wrist while she was asleep!

Sunday 25 November 2012

Stir-Fried Shimeji And Buna Shimeji Mushrooms With Shrimps 白玉灵兰菇炒虾

Stir-Fried Shimeji And Buna Shimeji Mushrooms With Shrimps 白玉灵兰菇炒虾

Smooth and crunchy mushrooms with succulent shrimps, what a combination!


1 punnet Shimeji mushrooms ( white type )
1 punnet Buna Shimeji mushrooms ( brown type )
150g shrimps, remove the shells and veins
1 tbsp minced garlic
4 tbsp cooking oil

Left: Buna Shimeji mushrooms. Right: Shimeji mushrooms


Sauce Ingredients


1 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp shao hsing wine 
1 tsp cornflour
3/4 Chinese rice bowl water

Dissolve all the sauce ingredients and water in a large bowl


1.  Cut off the roots of the Shimeji mushrooms
2.  Wash and clean them and separate them into individual strands
3.  Heat a wok, add in 2 tbsp of cooking oil
4.  Saute half of the minced garlic until light brown and fragrant
5.  Add in the shrimps and stir-fry until they turn pinkish. Dish up and set aside.
6.  Immediately, add in another 2 tbsp cooking oil into the wok
7.  Add in the remaining half of the minced garlic and stir-fry until light brown and fragrant
8.  Add in the two types of Shimeji mushrooms and stir-fry for 2 minutes over high heat
9.  Pour in the sauce ingredients and allow to simmer for 2 to 3 minutes
10.  Add in the fried shrimps and mix well
11.  Switch off the flame and dish up immediately

Saturday 24 November 2012

Xiamen, China 中国厦门

Xiamen, China 中国厦门

( 22nd April 2006 )

Beautiful blooms all around Xiamen city

From Chaozhou, SK's cousin helped us to book a tour to nearby Xiamen in Fujian province. It was very cheap to visit Xiamen from Chaozhou. If I remember correctly, we spent about four hundred renminbi per head for a  3 days 2 nights trip from Chaozhou to Xiamen by coach. The cost included hotel accommodations, food and entrance tickets to places we visited plus the boat ride to Gulangyu, a resort island near to Xiamen. 

However, because of time constraint, the tour covered only a small portion of the many island attractions, since it was only a day trip. Our accommodations was in Xiamen and not in Gulangyu island.  

 The sign says "One country two systems-Reunite China" and it is facing Taiwan

 Tan Kah Kee's home in Xiamen

A long pavilion near Tan Kah Kee Park

 A memorial dedicated to Tan Kah Kee at Kah Kee Park

 Tan Kah Kee's grave

 This is a statue of a labourer seen at a stop between the border of Fujian and Chaozhou

Galloping horses seen at the same place

Inside the Nanputuo Temple

Inside the Nanputuo Temple

Nanputuo Temple 南普陀寺

  In the five photos above, Xiamen is in the background separated by the sea whereas in the foreground are homes on Gulangyu

 The beaches on the coast of Gulangyu

The cable cars from the foothill to the higher parts of Gulangyu

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