May 31, 2015

Sibu Tales : 8 Treasure Rice and REcipes

When I was newly married and posted to Sibu, I was very eager to copy hundreds of recipes into a recipe book by hand. I would copy pages and pages of recipes from newspapers, magazines, and recipe books. I even got a friend to help me. I completed a thick exercise book of 400 pages, and then started another one.

Interestingly, in my earnestness, I did not cook very much following the recipes. Instead I depended on the well tested dishes that I learned from my mother, my grandmother and my aunts. Simple homecooked dishes.

Then a friend also told me that when you look at recipes, they are supposed to be guidelines only. Every one would have his own recipe of the same dish. And even if it is very different from the recipe in the book, once the family likes his or her cooking, it is a good recipe. You do not have to follow the recipe in a book exactly. I took her advice and have been cooking my way most of the time. If people say that I am not following a book recipe, I just shrug my shoulders and say that I am doing it my way and my children and family like it.

Recently I did some research on the 8 treasure rice and lo and behold, I have more than 10 different recipes.

In fact one of the chefs in a restaurant said exactly what my friend said so many years ago in Sibu. If your elders have been making a recipe handed down from many years ago that is already a great recipe. But then if you wish to modernise it, again, it will be an innovative fusion dish. You do not have to follow exactly the next village's recipe. What is important is taste, flavour , presentation and how popular it is with friends and relatives.

So recipes are just guidelines and you can be innovative.

So for your own 8 treasure Rice, you can add cherries, winter melon, red dates, black dates, peanuts, walnuts, and two more...or change some of the fruits in the least. It only has to be sweet, colourful and tasty with the glutinous rice...

Happy cooking!!

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