In a box

Monday, 18 January 2016

Master Kering Kontang: Staying In with Humble Meal

Issue of "Malaysian Undergraduates are starving" started to occupy a glut coverage 
in most of the news media since the news of an undergraduate from
 Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) who was admitted to hospital due to torn intestine
 went viral among the Malaysian with god speed. 
According to the coverage, the student who is currently major in Psychology 
lamented that he has to starve for food because he has insufficient expenses to eat 
which eventually led him to get ill out of over starving.

No doubt, this is sickening.

 And media plays their role at this time.
They started to collect similar issue and found that many undergraduate are facing "similar problem". 
What amazed us is the comments of keyboard warriors and the response of most of the aristocracy, well the ministers.

What is wrong who is right, the highlight is there is such saying happening and is prevailing. 
 Many students rise their voice in regards to this issue, against the wind of the aristocracy.

 Money issue.

Some appear to tell the media how they are lacking of money and have very humble meal, 
 instant noodle the famous Mr Maggie then become the most mentioned keyword.

Well well.

There is no starving, when you are at this age of undergraduate. 
You find way with intelligence. Because you are at the stage of UNDERGRADUATE. 
Find way but not to lament at the END of semester.
 Resolutions of giving free foods are not the perfect way as well, 
students need self-initiatives. 
Anyway, it will be a long story if I were to give a post on this issue. 
However this issue gives me the inspiration to blog this, 
which Nicky and I name "Master Kering Kontang".

We started our postgraduate once before we got our scroll of degree studies,
 just to rush for the application of scholarship provided by the Ministry of Higher Education:
 MyBrain (MyMaster) which accommodate all the fees.
 It was said to be closed down in December 2015 so we decided to rush for it
before it was closed down by the ministry.
Now, it is opened again but it is ONLY applicable for science student (CGPA 3.5 and above).
As  students of Social Sciences, 
 we cried in rejoice because we have did a right decision.

But it was a hard decision.

During the internship period (two months before we started Master studies), 
dad and mommy rang me. 
I told them I wouldn't augment of their support if I were to get my direction in Master. 
I remember Dad said,
"Don't be silly to say like this, it is not as if you are working now and
 still asking for money from the family".

But my stubbornness won. Again.

They would just worried bout me because they know I have never asked money from home,
nor complaining for "no money".
That makes them worried.
I told mommy, if I don't have I will find. I work.
Am gifted the ability to work, just let me to LEARN.

They sighed for my stubbornness.
Deep in heart I know I have great parents.
But I always feel like am dragging them too much that I wanted to be fast and extremely on-my-own.
That's hard but it is what supposed to be.

 父母给的是背景, 自己打出来的是江山

Am holding this so far.

And the experiences start to pile up when you are kering kontang (dried of money). 
Being thrifty has been my virtue since young but when you are really dry,
 you are even thriftier. 
With your scholarship is still on its way from the North Pole, 
still you insist to commit to all commitment to family and 
refuse to stop for a while even though mom was warning me to,

I learn how to FIND WAY and most importantly MANAGE.

Managing from the aspect of


And am blessed to be gifted a good friend, who was inspired by me and 
decided to fight against this battle shoulder to shoulder with me .


we keep ourselves learning and go through all problems.
Be positive in all means.
Even though sometimes it is really hard.

OK, it is way too far.
What am telling you is that,
don't starve, the feeling of starving sucks.
 I tasted before and what was amazing is it get you slimmer

Don't kill yourselves dude.

If you can manage, you won't starve.
You won't have "not enough money".

 Let's us share some recipe for you.


 you can learn to know how hard your mom is in doing all cooking for you at home:
from buying, preparing, cooking until serving and washing up.

 you learn to survive alone.

 you know more on how important money is, when price of 1 kg of French bean 
is RM 9 at Everise but RM 10.40 in Survey Hypermart.
It seems trivial and very "housewife" but am glad that I could understand 
how dad and mommy sustain the family.
You learn to buy cheap rice and not missing the fragrant rice at home.

Flip hair.

you eat less meat. 
We only eat vegetables and eggs. 
The most is Mackerel and Sardine fish.
This makes us happy cause we consume less meat.

your culinary skills improve, marvelously.

you are more disciplined than whoever at home: 
having to wake up early to cook for work to save money, 
clean up the place by hook or by crook so that the rest of housemate could learn from our steps, 
well, if not the entire home will turn into a mess. 
Wash up everything, 
including the kitchen and living room so to keep the house clean
 despite your busy schedule.

the joy of satisfaction when you see the Yummy-look on your best friend and 
you can always let her to try some new recipe like the Chinese Style recipe which she never tried.
Whereas she will do the same to you in the Malay (Kelantan-Siam) style.

The photos are some of our cooking as in the category of
Breakfast, Noodles, Rice, Vegetable, Instant Noodles, Porridge, Dessert and Soup
(since October 2015 till January 2016)

Vegetable Main Menu

Curry Vegetable using Vegetarian Paste

Cabbage, eggplant, long bean, cili padi and celery. 
Milk powder instead of coconut milk (santan).

Fried Cabbage with French Bean and Taopok

Taopok the all mighty star is our favorite.
Different from hometown which sold in string-together packing, 
people in Kuching mostly sell in packet. 
6-10 pieces in a packet with RM 1.70- RM 2.00.
Mommy taught us to preserve taopok by cooking it with boiling water, 
dry it and store at place avoiding from direct sunlight.

Bayam (Spinach) with Anchovy and Scrambled Egg

Cauliflower with Long Bean Anchovy and Black Fungus

Long Bean with Black Fungus
Steamed egg is a good choice for student as well.

Cauliflower with Cabbage and Black Fungus

Fried Cabbage with Black Fungus

Cauliflower with Wok Pek Chye and Black Fungus

There are two types of pek chye:
bigger one and smaller but sweeter one. 

Fried Pek Chye with Kentang and Long Bean Egg

We have been cooking for lunch every morning along the working period.
Cooking pek chye needs some ginger.

Pek Chye with Ginger and Sardine with Tomato

Mixed Vegetable with Telur Mata

Mixed fried all the vegetable left in the end of the day and it is Nicky's favorite so far.
 Weeks later Nicky was asking if we could have this dish again. 
It is her favorite indeed ya.
Then she got a sambal ikan comel from Robiah stall at Pavilion as a grand meal for us. 

 Eggplant with Taopok (cooked with black sauce)

Slightly deep fry the eggplant before cooking it.

Fried Cabbage with Garlic
Like I mentioned,
cabbage has been a must-have basic ingredient on top of all as it is much lasting compared to the other type of vegetable.
Furthermore, cabbage matching with instant noodles is perfect.

Cauliflower with French Bean

Fried Cucumber with Scrambled Egg

All you need is garlic and anchovy. 
Mommy used to fry with dried prawn but we replaced it with anchovy.
"It is all up to you two," said mommy.

Fried Egg 

Telur mata or telur dadar are easy as ABC. 
But make sure you don't overheat your rice cooker if you are using a rice cooker.

 Mixed Long Bean and Sawi

Bittergourd with Egg
Compared to other type of vegetable, bittergourd is apparently expensive. 
If you were to buy it, try it at a smaller but fresh one. 
Enough for two person (approximately RM 2.30).

 Fried Long Bean with Anchovy

Telur Masak Merah (cili giling) with ime
 Nicky's expertise when she was bored with scrambled egg and telur dadar bawang.

 Fried Kangkung and Fried Egg with Cabbage and Mushroom

Fried Kailan with Chicken Slice
There was once I was craving for mom's fried kailan with pork slice. 
So I cooked this for Nicky.

Fried Celery with Cauliflower.
Celery is rather expensive among all but it could last for MANY meals.
Make sure you store it dry.
I have never bought a celery during my study life until Nicky told me she likes celery very much.

Winged Bean (Kacang Botol or mommy calls "starfruit")

Fried Long Bean with Egg

Fried Long Bean with Anchovy and Cabbage Taopok Soup

Mixed Cabbage Pek Chye and Taopok

Egg with Ketchup and White Rice
Even you have no money, you shall have some egg at home.
Daddy always say, even we are poor we could eat egg and rice.
Nicky and I savor this
Indeed, this is nice.
Up to here, you get what I mean?
You will never get starved if you have the initiative to overcome.

The Special Feast

Padi Bukit from Sibu with Cabbage Soup and Sardine

Nasi Lemak
The first attempt by Nicky on Nasi Lemak. 
She used santan for the rice and it smells nice. 
Mackerel fish and sambal anchovy suits the Malay style Nasi Lemak.

 The second time we tried again on Nasi Lemak. 
But this time I used ginger instead of coconut milk.
First, to save money; second, for health.
It tasted nice like the real one.

Soup is the most wanted all-time favorite for Nicky and I.
We could have soup everyday and never get tired.
Guess we are the Cantonese perhaps?

Foo Chow Egg Soup with Mushroom
I always hope Nicky could try more on Chinese food. 
There was one day when Wafa was also in our dorm (during convocation period), 
I decided to cook this for them.
It tasted new to them but it would be nicer if we have black vinegar. 
Mommy used to cook when we were young. 
She mixed some pork mince and corn powder to make it a lil sticky.
 Very nostalgic to me, really.

Mixed Vegetable Soup (Wong Pek with Cauliflower and Egg)
Sometimes when we are too exhausted in the evening after returning from work or studies,
we would just cook mixed veg soup.
All you need is anchovy or a piece of chicken cube.

Cabbage Cauliflower Mixed Soup with Egg
If you are a chili lover like us, you may add some cili padi into your soup. 
It tastes superb and your face turn red after meal.

Bayam Black Fungus Soup with Egg

Wong Pek Soup with Tomato

Pek Chye Soup with Taopok

Wong Pek soup with Taopok

Cauliflower Eggplant Soup with Egg

Sawi Soup with Egg and Taopok


Kelantan-Siam Style Porridge
Nicky doesn't like porridge so it is rare to have porridge in our menu.
(Well, she doesn't understand how porridge means to a Tea Chew lady like me, Ok I am kidding.)
That was when I fell sick the next day after staying up doing some chores on students marks. 
It tastes different from mom's porridge because she apparently ''Fried" the soup first before making it into porridge. 


Fried Kueh Tiaw
A packet of vegetarian kueh tiaw costs only RM 1.50. Enough for a meal ( 2 servings ).
The best part is that it is easy to prepare if you were to bring it for working.

Lala Zaza Superb KimChi Mee Soup
Nicky most proud cuisine. 
It tasted like kimchi as she was using the pek chye (vegetable used to make kimchi).
All you need is some black fungus, anchovy, shallot, cili padi and yellow noodles.

Fried Mee Hun
But be careful while choosing the mee hun. 
Some are made of corn flour and sagu powder while some are made of rice.
The former taste more springy while the later taste softer. 
Our favorite brand is Cap Kenari (with a picture of sparrow),
onnly RM 1.50.
For two meals ( 2 servings each time).

 We tried out local Mee Hun Cap Bunga Raya 
 but it is less satisfactory.
It is fully made of corn powder so it tasted dry and sticky.

Mee Hun / Kueh Tiaw Soup
 If you are late after returning home, you can just cook some Mee Hun / Kueh Tiaw soup.
It is easier and faster. 

Fried Noodles

Instant Noodles

Sometimes we take in instant noodles as well.
But we added vegetable and eggs.
Mamee mee is preferable than Maggie for its bigger portion.

Maggie Curry with Bayam and Black Fungus

Mamee Curry with Cabbage and Black Fungus

Mamee Chicken Flavor with Vegetables

Mee Mamak

 Thai Serda Instand Noodles (TomYam Flavor)
Nicky's elder sister sent us Thai Instant for stock and it tastes superb and spicy!

We cooked them with all kinds of ingredient. 
Very spicy and crispy mee.

Tea Break

Cucur sayur
 All you need is flour ( anchor brand is the best, RM 3.00), big onion, 
long bean/ French Bean and some oil.

We seldom spend on tit bits. 
This saves our money. 
And save us from all sicks.

Most of them are given by friends and family.
So we treasure them. 

Thailand peanuts

Sabah Kerepok Amplang

Kelantan Nestum Popiah

Green Bean Soup
My favorite dessert since I was a child.
Now it becomes Nicky's favorite as well.

Corn Coconut Milk

Nicky's favorite homecook dessert. 
We usually get around 3 fresh plucked corn and 
Ayam Brand's coconut milk trim(less fat) with around RM 2.30.


Well we seldom take meats when we are staying in.
The most frequent dish are the canned mackerel fish, sardine,
 sambal anchovy and curry chicken.

Nicky's sister always worried bout our health.
But no worries, we are eating good!

Yeo's Canned Curry Chicken

Mackerel fish

Tomyam Soup with Chicken

Sardine (Ayam Brand)

 Ayam Brand's sardine costs RM 3.50 is enough for two meal (used to when I was living alone) 
and one meal (two servings).
You can also choose other brand (cheaper) but they taste less satisfactory.

Sambal Anchovy

Sambal anchovy are easy to be cooked. 
Most of the time we have it with Nasi Lemak. 
Just stir it with some big onion will do.
Sunstar Brand is nicer.

Yellow Brinjal Chicken Soup with mani cai (sayur manis-manis)
Yellow brinjal is very common in Sarawak.
Kak Rini used to bring back some from her long house at Kanowit, Sibu. 
It tastes different that the purple eggplant.

 Well up to today these are some of our cooking.
They are some selected picture.
All you need is some basic ingredients: Big onion/ garlic/ shallot, black fungus, anchovy, egg, cabbage (lasting compared to the greenish veg).
 These basic could save your meals. 
Eating in subtle amount and get balanced workout.
You are surely a great university student. 

you would NEVER get starved if you take initiative.
 It saves your money from having at least RM 4 per meal (without drink) or RM 6 (with drink)
and a total of at least RM 8 to RM 12 per day.
 If you are willing to manage your money, you won't get starved.
What ironic is, most of the students get "dried up'' at the END of semester.
Where did your pocket money gone to if you did a well-planned financial plan?
 How could you give your family while having a thrifty life over here?

Manage. Plan. Think.

What inspired me was when I heard my nok friend who is now a working man,
he cooks everytime he returns home late at 7pm.
If a working folk could cook to save money, why a student could not?         

Even if you are tight,
eat a balanced meal.
Even it is instant noodles,
eat with some add-ons.
at least egg and vege,
you afford it, 
aren't you?    


No comments:

Post a Comment