Instant food : Hits and misses

Living in Italy, where not every ingredient are accessible, I brought back some instant food-hauls from Singapore in January. (food haul? I should be a food video blogger like those mekap gurus on youtube!) And so far, I’ve used up quite a bit of my rations. All the maggi mee are gone, I’ve used up pretty much all of the Kara Coconut milk, my Lingham Chilli sauce is almost finished and that took a lot of willpower not to finish in the first few months!

Here are a few that’s left.

One of the food that I’m most pleased about is the mini instant ketupat.

ketupat mini -

Traditionally, ketupat has to be made by hand out of coconut leaves. I remember my aunt trying to teach me how to weave one, but my hands keep being in knots – its very confusing! And it takes hours just to cook them! But its worth it in the end. I love to tuck in and eat them with gusto.

Here in Italy, it’s abit tough to find fresh coconut leaves (to my liking) for sale. And obviously, I don’t want to go through manual weaving. So the instant mini ketupat was perfect! All I had to do was to take out the individual sachet out of the pack.

ketupat -

Boil it for about an hour till the rice grows and expands into fat sachets. Drain and leave it to rest and cool down.

ketupat -

And soon you can have a nice plate of ketupat eaten with your favouite accompaniment like rendang, ayam masak merah, kuah satay and the likes.
Or Ayam Masak Oren

The instant ketupat tastes almost as good as a traditional ketupat!

There are some misses though, like this instant rendang pack.

Rendang is another popular Malay dish made of beef, spices, coconut milk and toasted coconut. I remember my tiny mum using her immense superhuman strength to cook this with portions enough to feed a public school.

rendang -

Not to say that this instant rendang is not flavourful. But it just doesn’t taste as intense or very homemade nor captures the magic that I remember from eating it. But what to do, its instant. And because I’m in an Ang-Moh country where not every ingredients are acessible, I just have to make do (or make without!)

I think next time I’ll go cook from scratch.

P.S Yes, yes I’m in Italy and there are a plentiful of good food here. But sometimes you just want a piece of home every now and then

10 Replies to “Instant food : Hits and misses”

  1. Hi, I’ve been following your blog for a while now. I’m living in Doha so I totally get this bringing back instant food from Singapore. I bring an empty luggage just for that. I even buy tempeh in bulk and freeze them! I haven’t seen Brahim’s instant sauce for a long time which is a shame because I liked their range.

    1. Hello!

      You must be a fellow Singaporean too! 🙂 How is the situation like in Doha? What are the ingredients that you found there that you can make Asian food with?

      I’ve yet to see Brahim’s instant sauce before though, I dont think that I’ve seen them in the supermarkets the last time I was in Singapore!

  2. Marina, do u know that u can order online Prima Taste instant sauces etc? Just visit their website and they send overseas too..a minus is that the postage costs a lot. When I was in Berlin, I found an Asian shop selling many varieties of sauces like rendang, curry and indian instant sauces.. I feel like buying a whole bag and bring back to Italy. Otherwise, we’ll just have to wait to bring from S’pore.

    1. I’ve never tried that brand before, but I’ll try to find it the next time I’m in Singapore. Do they have Ayam Penyet there? Hehehe!

      The interesting thing is that I’ve noticed that our German counterparts has more asian foodstuff compared to what I saw in Rome. Interesting eh?

      By the way, I dont really want to buy anything and have it sent here in Rome because it takes so long to reach here, and on top of the tax that we have to pay, sometimes we have to give additional payments to the delivery company! Like the time when they sent my computer, I paid about 300 sgd to have it delivered, and I waited over a month, and when it was finally here, they asked for another 300 euro. Haiyah!

      1. Ayam Penyet..they dont hv it yet. You’re right! In Germany, u hv a wider choice..unlike here..esp my place so pathetic 🙁 I remember too when I sent from S’pore my big framed wedding photo which I paid postage fm S’pore and yet when Emanuele received it here, he had to pay another 50euros… they said it was the custom tax.. so many freaking taxes we hv to pay and I wonder if it was true if such a tax existed. I would only order online if I’m not returning back to S’pore anymore..hehe

  3. Yes, I’m a Singaporean! Asian food shopping in Doha is a hit and miss thing – mostly miss. We can get daun pandan (nasi lemak, yay!), serai, dried chillies and taugeh. Absolutey can’t instant food sauce or belacan, not for love or money! My mum once made an Assam Pedas paste for me, freezed it and I carried it all the way from Singapore to Doha in a little freezer box. That was totally worth it because nothing beats home made instant sauce 🙂

    What about Chinese supermarkets in Rome – any luck there? Or could there be a Thai supermarket in secret street in Rome?

    1. Hello fellow Singaporean! Its really nice to hear from other Singaporean overseas 🙂

      And yes, its the same for me too. My mum made sambal for me and I brought it here to Rome, had it freezed and its totally one of the most precious thing I have in the fridge. So much so that for something that I could eat in two months, I’m still rationing it to last till the end of the year till I come back to Singapore 🙂

      There are Chinese and Thai markets here, but I dont get all of the things that I want though. Like pandan leaves. A bit limited.

  4. heh Marina, is there a Chinatown or Little India in Rome? Can you get canned coconut milk from Asian minimarkets over there? If not, if you ever visit Turin (actually you may not have to travel all the way up north, I think you can get lots of Asian goodies in Bologna, Emilia Romagna too I heard), I’ll bring you to my favourite Asian minimarkets and you can get all the Asian goodies you want but can’t seem to find in Rome.

    1. There are several alimentari that I can go to, to get Asian items like coconut milk, samosa, popiah skin, sometimes even frozen durian! Although the range is very limited because I prefer certain brands … well I guess sometimes beggars cant be choosers.

      There are still some items that I still cannot find though, like fresh coconut leaves and pandan leaves (which are still in good shape) so I havent been making Nasi Lemak … someone said to me to forget it, and try to find the essence while in Singapore.

      Hey, by the way, I might be along the way to Turin in November on a road trip!

  5. Hello, if you are going to use a mix, you have to improve it yourself…just look upon it as a shortcut, or to make your frozen/dried ingredients last. If you just follow the instructions, you’re likely to be disappointed.

    But I wouldn’t mind that ketupat. Here I have a lot of grass but nothing to weave ketupat with.

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