Ikan Kembong or Kan Bong Ngii is a favourite fish amongst the Malays and many Non Malays in Miri. And one of the favourite ways of cooking this very sweet fish is using banana leaves to wrap them and have the fish steamed or baked..or plain "charcoal grilled" like satay. To this fish is added a very spicy and chilli-hot sauce and the fish sort of cooks in a juicy sauce...The aroma brought forth by grilled banana leaves
add to the flavour of the fish. all the juices from the fish will be contained in the banana leaf wrap. Besides the banana leaf also helps the plant to be clean . And the fish is also protected from flies and other insects. What a neat way of cooking!!
the look of the dish is also very charming and attractive.
Another favourite dish is the beef and towgeh soup which could have originated from Thailand. the soup is darkened by soy sauce and the beef is boiled to absolutely tender and can be easily cut by a spoon!! An important ingredient is the use of lengkuas to help make the soup very nourishing. The crispy towgeh makes the dish very delightful. If you put in 50 cents worth of the sprouts or towgeh you already have your required vegetables for the meal.
Each time I make this soup or order this soup I would think of a Thai friend who used to live in Kampong Baru in Sibu. She was also my hairdresser and the wife a an Iban friend. Perhaps once a week or once a fortnight I would visit her to have my hair done. In those days my hair was still coal black...She would have been able to give me a good hair dying session today if she was in Miri..
.And of course this was the soup she taught me to make. She had a young son then and was most helpful in getting me a Malay traditional midwife to "arrange my womb" before I had my next baby...and I was given the "traditional post delivery bath" in her home!! I am eternally grateful to her for her moral support and kindness. She has a heart of gold. She can be said to be my first Thai friend in my life. Perhaps one day I would be able to meet up with her again if I have her contact as we have lost touch in the last 30 years and she has moved on in life... May be some one could help them.
A simple cucumber salad can complete the meal!!
Some rice with these two dishes would make an evening meal very comforting. How nice it is to celebrate the end of a hardworking day with two good and nourishing rewards....