For Christmas Eve dinner, we decided to cook nasi ulum to go with the feast. Much time is needed to prepare the ingredients as it involves the tedious task in cutting the herbs and shredding the fish. As not all herbs can be obtained here we used the most common ones like lemon grass stalk, kaffir lime leaves, curry leaves, mint leaves and Thai basil leaves. Kaffir lime leaves help to bring out the fragrance of the dish.
Ginger flower is one of the herbs used. Coincidentally I found it in the wet market
Besides the herbal leaves, dried shrimps and belachan chilly are also one of the ingredients for the rice. Soak shrimps, cut into small pieces and fry till crispy. Cut all herbal leaves and fresh ginger thinly
Fry ikan kunning till crispy and shred the flesh from the bones. Make sure the fish is devoid of bones before mixing to the rice
Cook jasmin or basmatic rice. While still hot mix in the herbs, fried shrimps, fish and herbs. Mix in the chilly paste. Squeeze juices from 2 limes to the rice. Mix all together and season with a dash of pepper
Life has been busy. Just came back from Hong Kong to be followed by X'mas. The Hong Kong weather is extremely cold & wet this year and has been raining everyday non-stop. It was a hassle and no fun running in the rain.
Quite a feast for Christmas dinner, too many dishes on the table and has left out the salad, turnip soup and smoked salmon.
Aiyu Jelly or simply 愛玉, known as ice jelly in Singapore. It is a jelly made from the seeds of the figs found in Taiwan and East Asian countries. We were told from young that the jelly is made from banana but found out was not true.
Fruits of the plant resemble large fig fruits the size of small mangoes and are harvested from September through January just before the fruit ripens to a dark purple. The fruits are then halved and turned inside out to dry over the course of several days. The dry fruits can be sold as is, or as dried aiyu seeds (愛玉子, pinyin: aiyu zi) which are then be pulled off the skin and sold separately.
We bought many packets from Taiwan in the form of dried seeds. 1 bag can make numerous bowls of aiyu jelly. Some places sold aiyu seeds sticked to the fruit skin.
The aiyu seeds are placed in a cheese cloth
The bag and its contents are submerged in cold water and rubbed. A slimy gel will be extracted from the bag of aiyu seeds as it is squeezed and massaged. This is known as "washing aiyu" (洗愛玉). After several minutes of massaging and washing, no more of the yellowish tea-coloured gel will be extracted, and the contents of the bag are discarded.
The washed gel is then allowed to set into a jelly either in a cool location or in the refrigerator.