When I was in China recently for a month, I had dreams of eating bread with butter and kaya. I must have been very homesick in my dreamland. And my dreamscapes were often full of things from my childhood.
Thus I decided that I should come home and write more about butter, kaya and other comfort foods of my childhood.
The butter that we HAD to use was Golden Churn. And it is the best brand for the last fifty years. Today, during Hari Raya in Miri or Sibu, or Kuching, or any where in Malaysia and Singapore, I believe the price of Golden Churn has to be controlled for the festival. Sometimes they just disappear from the shelves without notice.
When frustrations mounted one Raya and I could not buy a single tin of Gold churn I decided that I must see how butter is made. But of course I did not make any as we are now from a dairy farming zone.
So here's how to make butter, as a matter of interest:
Things You'll Need
1.If you're using raw milk, separate cream from milk by letting the milk sit for 12 to 24 hours in the refrigerator until the cream comes to the top of the milk. Use a large spoon or dipper to take the cream from the top of the milk.
2 Let cream sit at room temperature until it is 60 degrees F.
3Pour cream into a quart jar and cover with a lid.
4Shake jar until globules of butter appear and most of the liquid has turned to a soft solid.
5Drain buttermilk from butter.
6Add cool water to jar and shake gently.
7Place cheesecloth over top of jar and drain.
8Rinse butter until liquid poured off is clear. If buttermilk is left in butter, it will give it a sour taste and cause the butter to spoil more quickly.
9Dump butter onto a cool surface, such as a marble or wood cutting board.
10Squeeze liquid from butter using wooden paddles or spoons to smash butter and pour off liquid.
11Add 1/4 tsp. to 1/2 tsp. of salt as you are mixing butter.
12 Shape butter or place in bowls with a lid and store in refrigerator. Store excess in freezer.
Tips & Warnings
If you are making large quantities of butter, you may want to invest in a paddle churn.
Sometimes it will take a while - perhaps 20 minutes - for the cream to turn to butter, so be patient and keep shaking that jar at a steady pace.
I believe very strongly that if we had cows in the early 20th century and that my grand father was keen enough, he would have been the first one to make butter as he was such an innovative and mechanical person.
the other dream and comfort food is Kaya which is sweet, sticky and oozing with cholesterol. But as a child, nothing was better than kaya in my life. It was every day with kaya in the morning.
And my mum even made the kaya herself, with a small measure of success just to be "in" with the group of high achieving housewives.
As a free spirited young lady, I vowed that I would not join the mainstream of competitive, cackling,and kiasu or "won't lose to you" housewives. I could not take the strain and the stress. I am just wondering if I have a chip on the shoulder all this while....when I am too shy to put a nice roasted chicken on the table for four generations to admire.
But anyway I did beg for a recipe in my younger days, secretly made a few jars and sent them for food tasting and food testing. Is it good? Is it ok? Better than Mrs.wong's? Wow, those are so evaluative questions!!
1 kg freshly grated coconut (to squeeze out 1 cup very thick Coconut milk)
4 medium Eggs
1 cup sugar
10 pieces of pandan leaves, washed and wiped dry and tied into knots.
(This recipe makes roughly about 1/2 cups of kaya)
1. Wash, dry and knot 5 pandan leaves together
2. Beat eggs lightly till yolk and white mixed.
3. Pour all(as in sugar, coconut milk and eggs) into a deep bowl and beat with an egg beater until very smooth.
4. Add in the knotted pandan leaves.
5. You can steam the kaya slowly over a charcoal stove or a gas stove. If you just want to cook it over a stove, then stir constantly to avoid burning.
6. After about 1 and 1/2 hours, take the kaya out and cool.
7. blend the mixture until it is smooth and not lumpy if you need to add some more colouring of your desire.
If you prefer a dark red colour use brown sugar or cook a three spoons of white sugar until it is caramelised,add that to the kaya towards the end.
If you like your kaya greener, you may pound or blend a portion of the pandan leaves and strain it for the pandan juice and put it into the mixture before cooking.
Happiness is two thick slices of bread with butter and kaya dripping from the sides and a big mug of local kopi.
Golden churn butter has a special indescribe-able "good taste". It is rich and smooth and any cakes made from it become special and slightly more costly. A proud homemaker would announce,"I used only Golden Churn to make my cakes...." and a knowing and satisfied smile follows.....
Kaya? You can put ice cream and kaya together as number 1. they tie for top place. At least in my judgement.
I will tell more kaya stories later.
note: The coffee shop owner would definitely know that you are not a mainland Chinese when you order roti kahwin with double portion of kaya in Sarawak.
Or when in China, you ask for bread with butter and kaya....hehehehe