I have always wanted to make this type of fried chicken. Until I saw in Sonia’s blog
that she made something similar. I didn’t have any lemon grass on hand, but I did it anyway, and well, it did taste like it (the one in my my head).
This fried chicken reminds me of my days in Felda Selancar. I spent 2 years of my youth there. It’s an oil palm estate that is 55km away from the nearest town, and all along the way from the estate to town is oil palm, as far as the eye can see.
The school was my first posting after completing teacher’s training, and some got shocked I got posted to such a remote area, in Pahang. I was questioned by some why didn’t I request Perak or Klang Valley, with the thought that I will be closed to home or KL, where Mike is that time. Errr… first of all, I’m not married, they will not give me such high demand areas. If I am willing to be posted to Pahang, I won’t be posted to East Malaysia. Hey, not that I don’t like the East, I do, but just that I feel that if I ever feel homesick, it’s hard to go home, and if I’m in Pahang, no matter how remote I am posted to, I can still drive home, even if it means driving through the night. Even if I request Perak, Perak is not small, and I can get posted to Thai bordering towns.. that’s far.
Well, Selancar ain’t that bad, Segamat which is a town almost as big as Kuala Kangsar is just 40 minutes away. If I ever want to have McD’s, Pizza or KFC, I’ll just drive for 40 mins,and well, we always do :-D Felda Selancar is an oil palm resettlement that is made up of 99.5% Malay, with 0.5% Indians and 1 Chinese family among the thousands of Malay families. My school is made up of almost 2000 students with about 5 Indian kids. I didn’t feel left out amidst these people. I felt at home. I felt welcomed.
I was lucky that when I arrived, there’s another Chinese(HMF) at the school, and I came replacing another Chinese. That new friend of mine, HMF was so scared thinking that she’ll be left alone after the other girl left. And HMF was relieved that I came by, and I shared the room with her. Minority we maybe, among the rest of the Malays teachers, but everybody treat us well, and everybody were our friends.
The canteen fed us well, and I was in such good terms with the Canteen, I would request dishes from them and I’ll see them the next day for lunch, or maybe days later, but they’ll prepare it for me. And canteen will even send me Pengat Durian (Durian Coconut Dessert), on a personal basis right up to my quarters free of charge. Pak Yob and Mifa, thank you so much. Sometimes I’ll just stay at the canteen after school and chat chat chat. Life was good, so was the laksa there. The best Malay laksa ever!!!
The school also treated me well. I wasn’t forced to cover up, like what happened in JB, where any other Non Muslim teachers are required to wear shirts/blouses that covers up the elbows and if better the butt, and maxi skirts. I just dressed according to the Federal government’s rules, no sleeveless and no skirts shorter than the knee. That’s it, in rural Palm Oil estate made up of 99.5% Malays allowed me to dress that way to school, and no complaints from parents or students. It’s so different than urban JB. And the school authorities made sure that we the only 2 Chinese teachers that ever stayed longer than 6 months there were treated well. Whenever there’s an eating event in School, En. Raub will definately watch out for us, making sure we were there to eat out hearts out. They don’t want us to feel left out.
The students were superb. Although most of them are not academically inclined, but teaching is definitely fun there. They may not understand what was the internet(hey, 7 years ago, not now), and they do not know what a credit card is, nor what is e-banking, but I loved teaching them. During the fasting month, some of them will drop by our quarters and ask us out, to go food shopping with them. And these students will not allow us to treat them, and after that, we’ll eat together at our house. During the rainy season, the students will ask me to go mushroom collecting with them at the oil palm area. And being a rural school, one can just do anything and use the school’s compound as long as the activity is beneficial to the students. So, my students and I will always have cooking sessions, after school in the Home Science lab. I do remember my best cooks, Rohana, Roslina, and Sharlina. Cooking sessions with the back classes were always a blast, and they always produce the best tasting dishes and the cleanest kitchen thereafter. Top classes will prepare the best looking garnishes and most careful in all that they do. Middle classes are a headache, but still fun in the end.
Now that I’m back in KK, life in school is no longer the same. HMF also said the same, if it’s not because we need to stay near our husbands, we don’t think we would want to leave the school.
SMK Perwira Jaya, Felda Selancar… I missed you, a lot.
So here’s a copycat version of my favourite fried chicken from Pak Yob’s Canteen, eaten every so often during the best years of my teaching life til now.
75gm shallots (about 5)
75gm ginger (about 3 inches)
3 cloves garlic
Pound everything or pulverize it in the mill/food processor
1 tsp coriander seeds (ketumbar)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jintan putih)
1 tsp fennel seeds (jintan manis)
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp chicken curry powder
1 and ½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp flour
Ground coriander, cumin, fennel and black pepper in the mill until fine. Mix with the rest of the dry ingredients.
1 tsp dark soy sauce
750gm chicken drumsticks or any other parts, rinsed and drain. (It needs a bit of moisture)
1. Mix (A) with chicken, then (B) and dark soy sauce. Rub the seasonings into every nook and cranny of the chicken.
2. Leave it to marinate for 1 hour.
3. Heat a wok of oil and put in chicken pieces, make sure the chicken pieces are covered with a bit of the marinade. Fry in hot oil on medium high heat until golden and crispy. Pour oil over strainer to recover any bits of the crunchy fried marinade.
Actually this write up was not done specifically for this event.
It was already drafted 2 months before I knew of this, you all know I have loads of back posts, right?
Just that I dug this out (supposedly due to be posted in November) because I felt it was suitable, something made from the heart.