Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Grainy Day

Having a good chunk of the summer off means that I get to try my hand at cooking up a few of the things I've been meaning to make, and to clear out the cupboards. So out came those grains that have been sitting around for...well, let's say a long time, and out sprung these three super simple and delightful concoctions.

Bubur Hitam is a Malaysian and Indonesian black rice pudding. It is sweet with a hint of saltiness, fragrant, creamy, and stunning maroon in colour. I had this for the first time at the Pondok Indonesia Restaurant when it was still on The Drive, and fell in love with it immediately. It's one of those homey desserts that you'll never tire of. It's kind of like the congee of desserts, and I will never ever tire of congee. (For the best congee, try Congee Noodle House on Broadway and Main.)

3/4 cup black glutinous rice (can be bought at *Chua A Asia Market)
4 cups water
1 pandan leaf, tied in a knot
(can be bought fresh at Chua A Asia Market or frozen at T& T)
about 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 tsp salt

Wash rice thoroughly and soak for half an hour. Drain the rice and add the fresh water and pandan leaf. Bring to a boil, cover and let simmer on low for about 1 hour or until water is evaporated and consistency is porridge-like. Add more water if necessary. Add sugar, and cook for another 10 minutes. In another small pot, heat coconut milk and salt to a boil, and remove from heat. Serve in bowls with coconut milk swirled on top.

Barley Water is exactly what it's name says: water and barley. Sounds kind of boring, and well, maybe it is, but many of my favorite tastes are based on memories, and all the wonders created in my mom's kitchen. (I am still deeply fond of everything that comes out of my mom's kitchen, and creating new food memories there all the time :o) I had this drink at a Singaporean restaurant in Hong Kong a few years back, and was reminded of how refreshing a drink this is, especially in the stinking heat. I decided I had to make it for myself, and finally, the time came.

1/2 cup pearl barley
16 cups water
2 pandan leaves, tied in a knot (optional)
sugar to taste

Thoroughly wash the barley and put into a large pot with the water. Bring to a boil, and let simmer on low for about 45 minutes, or until grains have bloomed. Add the pandan (if you wish - I don't) and the sugar during the last 10 minutes of cooking. Cool, or add ice and serve.

Bori Cha is Korean roasted barley tea that is often served at Korean restaurants, and said to serve as a digestive aid. I first had it at Jang Mo Jib on Robson many moons ago, and was quite taken by it, as I love tea and discovering new brews. My sister-in-law heard of my affection for this tea, and promptly bought me a 5 kilogram bag. Thanks to her, I am now making it at home, and will continue to do so for some time to come :o) It is common to drink cold, and I do prefer it this way. Add a splash of Bek Se Ju (a traditional Korean herb rice wine), and some lemony water for a unique version of iced tea.

Recipe and Instructions for Bori Cha tea:
1/2 cup roasted barley (found at most Korean markets)
8 cups water

Bring barley and water to a boil, cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes. Drink and digest.

*Chua A Asia Market is located at 265 East Hastings (near Gore) and is a super place to find Southeast Asian foodstuffs.

1 comment:

Pop Dim Sum said...

mmm...everything looks so delicious! And you totally turned me onto barley water after our yummy Singaporean lunch!