Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Long Forgotten Food 2 - Ikan Kekek

Why all the fuss for Ikan Kekek? Firstly it was nostalgia and memories of comfort food brought about by tete a tete with fellow Babas and Nyonyas. So to the local wet markets, I went searching for Ikan Kekek. In Ang Mo Kio the fish stall holders told me "Must Order" but they were not able to assure me when they will be able to get the fish. In Chong Pang the stall holder wife told me "Why do you want this fish, no one wants to eat it to little meat and lots of bones" A thought came to my mind- have we be come so affluent that we do not eat such fish any more? Is that why there is no supply as there is no demand for this fish or could it be due to all the land reclamation, over fishing???

What do you cook Ikan Kekek with? Well you cook it with a rempah mixture of lengkuas (Blue Ginger), kunyit(Tumeric), bawang merah(Shallots), fresh red chillies and belachan (Shrimp Paste) which makes Kuah Pedas Nanas (Spicy Pineapple Gravy) The rempah is boil with water or stock with the pineapple and season with salt and sugar. Add the fish when you are ready to EAT and boil till it is cooked.

Guess i will have to continue searching and maybe be lucky one day or not sing the old children song Ikan Kekek and dream of silvery fishes....

Ikan kekek Mak Iloi, Iloi
Ikan gelama Mak Iloi, Iloi
Mari adik Mak Iloi, Iloi
Menyanyi sama Mak Iloi, Iloi
Ada satu si ikan parang
Badannya banyak berbelang
Isi sikit, banyak tulang
Sedap di makan, masak panggang

Ikan Kekek - Common Pony Fish - Leiognathus equulus

Ikan Kekek is silvery with a brown saddle on the caudal peduncle. It has faint bars on the back and sometimes a dark blotch on the forehead. The anal fin is yellowish.

Like all species in the genus Leiognathus, it can extend its mouth into a downward pointing tube. This species grows to 25cm in length.

It if found in estuarine and coastal waters. It is also found in muddy river mouths and sometimes ascends into freshwaters. When freshly caught it exudes lots of slime.