Saturday, June 16, 2007

Otak Otak Blangah/Jantan

To most people there is only one type of Otak Otak but to the Peranakans besides Otak Otak wrapped in banana leaves in the home there are different variations of this favourite food.

1) Otak Otak Puteh

Otak Otak Puteh is like the normal Otak Otak except that it is white in colour without any rempah - spice paste. The fish must be of excellent quality to make this.

2) Otak Otak Jantan/Blangah

The other version is simpler to cook using just the round flattish fish ball it is cooked in the same rempah - spice mix with coconut milk added. Why did one dish end up with two different names?

Well the term blangah means a indian clay pot and it is this pot that gives the name to the dish. As in those days earthen pots are use to cook coconut based dishes and for curries.

The other name has a more colourful origin the word Jantan in Malay means Male as the other version is wrapped in banana leaves this Otak Otak must be the male version as it is not wrapped and is terlanjang - naked.

There are many ways to prepare this dish Grill, Steam, Baked so what ever way is your favourite Cheers to Otak Otak....

Friday, March 16, 2007

Gambang Kromong

What is Gambang Kromong? was the first thought that flash in my mind when knowledgeable peranakans introduce me to this form of music.

Gambang kromong refers to a type of ensemble, based in and around Jakarta, that combines Indonesian and Chinese instruments and styles. Its name derives from two of the instruments played: the gambang, a xylophone, and the kromong, a set of kettle-gongs on a rack. These are combined with instruments originating from China: a two-stringed fiddle and a side-blown flute. The remaining instruments in the core ensemble are percussion (hanging gongs, drums, and a set of clashing metal plates). Male and female singers, who sing lyrics in the popular Malay form of pantun, round out the ensemble. Western instruments may also be added, including electric guitars, trumpets, clarinets, saxophones, and electronic keyboards.

The music is performed and patronized by two groups who live in and around Jakarta (in Bekasi, northern Bogor, and Tangerang): Peranakan, people of mixed Chinese and Pribumi (native Indonesian) ancestry; and Betawi, who are considered Pribumi. Ensembles accompany male-female dancing at Peranakan weddings and other family celebrations. In this context, female dancers are hired as partners for men. Ensembles also accompany a form of popular theater called lenong.

Ethnomusicologist Philip Yampolsky has identified two repertoires that are part of modern performance practice: lagu lama, older songs oriented toward Chinese musical features; and lagu sayur, newer songs that tend to be based in Malay musical idioms. Lagu lama melodies were probably brought from the Fujian province of southern China to the Dutch colonial city of Batavia, presumably in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. At that time, gambang kromong groups played for private weddings and parties. During the latter part of the nineteenth century, as the music became part of a more public sphere, the instrumentation embraced Indonesian instruments, including drums, gongs, and kromong. The lagu sayur repertoire emerged at this time, and in the early twentieth century embraced popular songs in the region around Batavia. The music became even more hybrid in the 1920s and 1930s, as it blended with U.S. and European popular music and jazz. A genre called gambang moderen ("modern gambang [kromong]"), associated with the actor and popular music composer Benyamin S. (1939–1995), is an important marker of Betawi cultural identity in contemporary Indonesia.

More information:

Music of Indonesia, Vol. 3: Music from the Outskirts of Jakarta: Gambang Kromong

Monday, March 05, 2007

Chap Goh Meh

Yesterday was the last day of Chinese New Year or as it has been called Chap Goh Meh in Hokkien. As usual we had our reunion dinner but this time it was done at my home and we had a Tok Panjang meal of gargantuan proportions.

My cousin Tachi Gek came with her family to join us this time round and we had a grand old time with mum telling us the traditions and pratices of the Peranakan community in the old days.

Mum told us stories before the Japanese war when her uncles would makan angin in thier kreta kuda - horse carriages and cars after dinner going round city centre.

The young nyonyas and bibiks acting as chaperone would have to wait for the next day Chap Lark Meh for thier turn. This would be the only time for the young ladies to venture out and be seen as in those days genteel young ladies are not allowed to go out in public.

We ended the night watching the Peranakan Association play Bibik Behind Bars...

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Chicken Stew Recipe for Phebes

A question posted by............

Phebes said......

Hey, I think this must be the chicken stew I remember eating as a little girl, with a dark coloured gravy and kayu manis, very wangi. I have tried and tried to find the recipe with no sucess. If you're feeling generous, please share!

Sorry for the long delay in replying to your request for Chicken Stew you would need the following ingredients.

Chicken - a whole chicken chopped and cut to 8 or 12 pieces
4 Local Potatoes - peeled and cut into pieces.
3 Carrots - peeled and cut into pieces.
3 Tomatoes - quartered
3 Bombay Onions or in our local term know as Bawang Benggala :-) - peeled and quartered.
1 can Button Mushrooms
6 Bawang Merah/ Shallots peeled and pounded.

Cooking Oil, Salt, Sugar, Pepper, Black Soya Sauce and Water

1 stick Kulit Kayu Manis/Cinnamon

Marinate Chicken with 1 tbs of Dark Soya Sauce, 1 tsp Pepper and leave it for an hour or more.

Heat a frying pan till hot add oil fry the potatoes till they are nice and crisp on the outside remove and drain on paper towels. Fry and sear the chicken till they are brown remove and drain on paper towels.

Heat a frying pan till very hot, add around 3 tbs oil. Add the Cinnamon stick stir fry for a short time, add the pounded shallots and contine to stir fry till it smells really good...add the chicken continue to fry...for a short while before adding the carrots, onions stir fry again for a short while...add your potatoes and button mushrooms pour water just enough to cover the ingredients..when the stew is cook add your tomatoes continue to cook till the tomatoes have soften but still retain thier shape.

Season with salt, pepper and if you want the stew to be thick you can mix courflour in a bowl with some water to a paste add this to your stew.

Happy tryin and do tell me the results...

Monday, February 19, 2007

Slamat Toan Baru

Slamat Toan Baru to all Bibik Bibik, Encik Encik, Nyonya Nyonya and Baba Baba.
Boleh panjang panjang umor, untong untong, kuat kuat.