Saturday, June 15, 2024
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Brunei Town

Celebrating with comfort foods

Lyna Mohammad

For many Bruneians, celebrating Hari Raya Aidilfitri means a time of gathering of family and friends, a reflection of the month-long Ramadhan fast and the food.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has curtailed much of the festive spirit over the past two years, delight can still be found when households serve up timeless favourites for close family guests or for their own indulgence.

There is something special in preparing a dish from a recipe inherited from a past generation.

Haji Azmin from Kampong Mulaut carefully sliced the beef lungs he had boiled for a few hours into thick chunks before sliding them into a pan to fry them.

After that, he drained the oil which he sets to one side, before preparing the sambal, which he would use to later stir-fry with the meat.

Sambal hati buyah is a must for him and his family. He follows the recipe from his mother and is easily the most popular dish on the table.

The preparations for sambal hati buyah is relatively simple, he told the Bulletin, and the main ingredient had been easy to get, right up until the pandemic.

“Since COVID-19 hit the country, I have been booking for the ingredient at least two weeks in advance. It also depends on the availability as hati buyah is very much sought after, especially by stall operators and restaurants,” said Haji Azmin.

Before, he would have only to go to the butchers or the market a few days before he planned to make the dish.

Nevertheless, it made him happy to see his siblings and other family members enjoy the dish, so he always made sure to serve it, especially this year, as it was his turn to host the family gathering.

Meanwhile, Hajah Miskiah takes pride in her kek suji.

The cake is based on a recipe she had inherited, she said. And Hari Raya Aidilfitri is the only time she prepares extras to give to her siblings and in-laws.

She said guests would always look forward to the cake when they visit her home for the celebration.

Elsewhere, Muizzah said one of her Hari Raya moments is having her mother’s baked beans for breakfast on the day. “It has somehow become a family tradition,” she said.

She added, “Mind you, it is not like anyone else’s baked beans. It is my mom’s own recipe.

Although she did teach us how to prepare it, the taste is never the same.”

Muizzah also enjoys her grandma’s lontong and rendang daging.

She would have her nasi impit with lontong first and then enjoy the rest of her nasi impit with the spicy rendang to complete her meal for the first day of Raya.

Meanwhile, two friends Efa and Nur both have the same Raya favourite – satay.

“I don’t really have a particular satay seller that I usually buy from every Raya, unlike most people,” said Efa. “For me as long as the kuah satay (peanut sauce) suits my taste, then you will see me taking at least two servings every time I find a good one served at the house I visit. Whether its beef or chicken, it doesn’t matter.”

Nur said she usually goes for beef or urat, as she is not a big fan of the chicken satay variety.

For her, the kuah satay must be spicy, and so she is more picky on where she buys from.

“Some people may find it messy and troublesome to enjoy satay when visiting a house, such as having the sauce making a mess of your tudung or getting the satay off the stick, but for me it’s okay.”

Siti, however, likes tapak kuda roll cake. “Tapak kuda initially only had Nutella chocolate as its filling, but over the past years, most people have added on several ingredients to it and created names accordingly, but for me nothing beats that original tapak kuda, especially when the baker is so generous with the filings.”

While she didn’t mind the various other fillings, for her, the classic Nutella was still the best.