Monday, May 14, 2012

Instant Noodles & Lentil Soup, McIslam & Faux Faith

Stuck at home with no food yesterday, I resorted to an old time-honoured dish during my younger student days. It is a staple food for many, many Malaysians in a hurry for a quick (cheap) meal. It is not very healthy, but the nutritional count can be ramped up by add ons. I am of course talking about instant noodles. It is not Sufi-food. It is a blazing dish and comfort food all at the same time. And this is how you do it right and proper...

Have a packet of instant noodles ready. Find small fiery green chilies and cabbages. If you can find them,
have a couple of those Bangladeshi small red chilies. I am lucky because I also found white ones which
are a rarity around here. Cut them up finely, making sure to remove the stalk. The stalk will reduce the
hotness of the chili, and we don't want that. We want the chili to be blazing a trail down
your gullet. 1. Boil water together with the noodles and chili. Do not add the cabbages or noodle's
powdered  flavoring yet. 2. When up to boil and the noodle is soft, put in the cabbages now.  You want
the cabbages to maintain its structural integrity and crunchiness, plus you don't want to much of its water
seeping out into the gravy, for this will dilute the taste. 3. At the last minute you put in the
flavorings making  sure that the gravy is not too watery. This will make it too bland.
If need be, you pour out the surplus water.
Serve with ice-cold water, because you are gonna need it to quench the flames
you will imagine burning your tongue and lips. Other add-ons which alas, was not
available to me is fried shallots and one hard-boiled egg. Lovely.
My chef friend, Zulfikar serves a rather more thoughtful dish of lentil soup, which is considered the high-end of Sufi-esque cuisine. Based on the original recipe from the Naqshbandi dergah in Lefke, Cyprus, he has mofidied it a little to suit our Malaysian taste, which I suspect (because I have not tasted it yet!) to be more savoury. In this region of the world, we are big on flavour and spiciness, a by-product of being the crossroads between India and China. 

Islam is a spiritual dish of subtle flavours and delicate nuances, which is the ingredient that makes up that complex creature known as Man. If you find yourself taking away fast-faith from the soulless establishment of McIslam (insular, one-flavour fit all, without much spice and frankly, bland), do yourself some good and stop eating that junk food.

Click Here for McIslam & Faux Faith, a little nugget fried earlier in this almanac.

Have a wonderful Monday, sunshine. And happy eatin'!

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

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