Thursday, 24 September 2015

Mad Cooking 4 : The Masak Lemak Cili Padi Wannabe


I shouldn't be posting this horrible mess. But what the heck! This Masak Lemak Cili Padi (MLCP) was doomed right from the get go. Just look at it. The gravy is thin and watery and those messy looking bits are the coarsely pounded spice paste. Gaarkk....

It started with these half dead cili padi. Found buried underneath my heap of vegetables in the fridge drawer.


And not only that, I found two small bundles of almost dead serai (lemongrass). They were all shriveled but still had the lemongrass fragrance. I don't like to waste. It was the cili padi that got me thinking of MLCP. A dish that had me intrigued some years back because the recipe called for 20 cili padi. 20!!


Then I poked around for ginger. My ginger was also expiring and it was a bit wrinkled. As for kunyit (turmeric), I had fresh ones because I just bought them to cook something else (which I didn't). 

I defrosted two chicken legs and I found 3 packets of santan in the pantry. I only needed one, so I was all set. But the santan was not the usual brand that I like.

So, now I had to pound the spice paste - cili padi, ginger, turmeric and lemongrass. What? No onions? No garlic? Nope, there are neither onions nor garlic in the recipe. Right. Pound, pound, pound. The serai was old and fibrous and at the end of the session, I had coarse strands in my spice paste.


After checking the recipe again, I put the spice paste, turmeric leaf (from my garden) and chicken in a casserole dish and added water. Just bring to the boil until the chicken is tender before adding thick santan. 

I didn't have potatoes, so I added the 3 hard boiled eggs that were sitting in the fridge since...since don't know when. By now, you can see that this dish was an excuse to use up expiring ingredients (cili padi, lemongrass, ginger and eggs). 


When it was time to add santan, disaster! The santan was so very watery. I cannot believe it. The usual brand that I use, Harmuni, is very thick. But I couldn't get that brand and hence picked up two other brands to try. So I tossed it and opened another pack. This one was not that watery but still not thick enough. That left me with no choice but to use it.

After adding salt, I had a taste. Not bad. This curry actually taste pretty good. And of course it was hot due to the cili padi. But not so hot that I could not tolerate it. This MLCP is promising and I have to cook it again. 


This below average dish is due to me using less than pristine ingredients. I should know better. Always use fresh ingredients. Don't try to save near expired ingredients, just toss it!

But having said that, this MLCP was edible and I actually slurped quite a bit of the diluted gravy. Imagine what it would be like had I used fresh and proper ingredients.

I will attempt this dish again sometime soon and share the recipe. I did question the absence of onions and garlic. How could anything taste good without onions or garlic? Trust me, MLCP is a very tasty dish in spite of the absence of my two must-have ingredients.

30 comments:

  1. Now THAT looks like something to die for!!! I want!!!!! Never mind that it is watery, can go well with the rice. I like it HOT!!! Yum yummmm!!!!

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    1. Well, well! It was not too bad in spite of all that. I finish it up and I did cook it again. Will put it up soon :)

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    1. Can tahan the hot cili padi? hee..hee...

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  3. It looks tasty. Hmm ... I like to dip some french toast with it ^-^!

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    1. Karen, it goes will with bread, so yes, nice with toast!

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  4. 20 cili padi??? I can handle spicy, but I don't think I will go anywhere near this one... :/

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    1. hah..hah,,it will make your eyes water!

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  5. wah.. this dish contains 20 cili padi in it?? and i suspect you actually had more because the packet of cili padi you had there that you wanted to clear stock has more than 20 obviously.. so did you actually pound all those 40+ cili padi into the dish?? OMG, this dish doesn't look any hot at all from the color, indeed it just look mild and quite inviting but don't judge by the look.. it could be one that make smokes coming out from your ears and nose, hahahaha!! i definitely will not touch this.. i could take very hot food when i was young, but i guess not now, even AFC's hot & spicy will send me directly to the toilet, hahahaha!! okay, if i am going to cook this, maybe i will just put 5?? anyway, i actually like the idea of eggs with this curry, so 2 for you and 1 for your partner?? :p

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    1. In spite of 20 chiliies, it was still tolerable hah..hah... I did not serve this to my partner because he can't take chilli. So I get to sapu the whole lot!

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  6. Phong Hong, your MLCP is not a horrible mess, far from it! I love it the moment I set my eyes on it. Most important is it tastes good!

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    1. Nancy, surprisingly it was good hah..hah...

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  7. That is not a mess! In fact it looks very delicious.

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    1. Mun, it was delicious although so hot!

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  8. I like masak lemak, but I don't know how to cook it.. Mum, who is a curry expert also doesn't cook masak lemak often.. Her trademark curry dishes are Indian fish curry and Siam chicken curry.. But masak lemak? I prefer eating outside punyer, coz more lemak, and more sedap, coz mum usually replace santan with Coffeemate.. Your first picture already very "hoi wai", I would never reject anything with hard-boiled eggs, including salads (which I dislike), braised/stewed fatty pork with eggs and your yummylicious masak lemak, yummzzz.. Give me 3 plates of white rice!

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    1. Louiz, this masak lemak is easy to cook. I think you can cook lah but not suitable for your young kids.

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  9. Hi PH, Your MLCP looks good to me. Definitely great to have extra rice with it :)

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    1. Thanks, Ann! It was rather appetizing :)

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  10. I see you improvised with hard boiled eggs......I already like it. It doesn't matter if it's watery, more gravy to put on your rice! :D I think many of us were brought up in a way that we try not to waste food...which is good. So, it doesn't matter if you've used less than stellar ingredients, as long as it's still edible, we'll still eat it. I had the same experience recently with one of the dishes I cooked....and like you, I've decided to put it on my blog too.

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    1. I'm glad I cooked this MLCP. In fact I cooked it again and I will blog about it soon.

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  11. It actually looks pretty good! I think I also have some old lemongrass sitting in my fridge, might attempt something like this over the weekend!

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  12. PH, you are really a good cook PLUS a writer as well! You make your posts very entertaining and enlightening... with all the leftovers and "shriveling" products, you whooped up such a spicy authentic dish! Who is complaining? This One dish is certainly enough for me!

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    1. hah..hah..Thank you, Claire! I think you will tambah nasi with this curry :D

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  13. wah .... I guess it must be very 'hot' and spicy!

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  14. Looks ok what.. where got look bad?? I would eat that... but a big glass of water for me.... 20 cili padi!!!

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    1. Yen, it was hot but quite tasty. I was surprised that I could tahan the 20 cili padi!

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  15. My spicy eyes could spot that it is delicious, hot and fragrant from its colour. You are not only a kitchen diva but a wok fairy god mother too! Muahahaha
    My eyes went big to see few eggs! This give me an idea to throw in eggs, potatoes and carrots to make vegetarian curry for my wife! Heh heh...

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    1. TM, this makes for a good vegetarian curry too. You could also add tauhu or tempeh. I should try that myself!

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