Friday, July 28, 2006


In Penang, they call it Kiam Chai Boi; Kiam Chai (in Hokkien) is salted vegetable, and Chai Boi is leftovers (as in doggy bag). I guess in the West, you'd call it Chop Suey. Basically this dish comprises of food one doggy-bagged from a Chinese banquet, plus the key ingredients: Preserved Salted Mustard Green (Kiam Chai), Asam Gelugor (Asam Poi [Hokkien] - Tamarind skin) and chillies, giving the dish a hot, salty and sour taste. A word of caution: This Kiam Chai is different from the variety one uses to make Kiam Chai Ark (Salted Veg. & Duck) soup.

Last Monday had a birthday party at Sarawak Club. Too much food was ordered..... couldn't finish the last few dishes - steamed chicken with turkey ham, and broccoli with mushroom. These form the basis of my Kiam Chai Boi, which I cooked for Wednesday night (yesterday) dinner. Wondering why I'm telling you all this detail? Well, Sarawak Club got totaled in a 3 a.m. inferno today.

You can just about add any cooked poultry. I add in roast belly pork for added flavor. I would steer clear of strong flavor meats such as beef and lamb, and seafood too (fishballs & prawnballs acceptable). The cooked (leftovers) meats provide the sweetness to the broth.


1 Fresh Mustard Green (Large Chunks)

6 Salted Mustard Green (Large Chunks)

2 Carrots (large chunks)

3 Fresh Chillies (cross-slit lengthwise)

6 pcs. Asam Gelugor

2 Whole Tomatoes

1 Strip Roast Belly Pork (1" width.pcs)

3 liters Hot Boiled Water

Dark Soy Sauce


  1. Wash and cut salted mustard green. Squeeze out excess water.
  2. Fry salted mustard green in a wok over low flame until quite dry.
  3. Put leftovers and all the above ingredients into a large pot.
  4. Pour enough boiled hot water to cover the stuff in the pot, and bring to a boil.
  5. Add dark soy sauce to give some depth, and simmer for about 2 hours to get a clear brownish green broth.
  6. Add salt (if necessary) to taste before serving.
  7. The Asam Gelugor gives the dish the sour taste. The ingredients listed above are just a rough guide; you can vary the amount to suit your liking. I even threw in some old celery sticks, which were turning yellow. Any robust vegetables that can stand the long boiling time will be dandy. The dish tastes better over time.
  8. I like to pour my Kiam Chai Boi over a bowl of rice, just like having Jambalaya.
**This dish is sold at Tien Court, Crown Square, Kuching for lunch at on time. I didn't try it, though.

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As the name implies, it's all about nothing! Kongkaying is like grasping in the air - more like hot air with occasional fartulence. Hopefully, something aromatic will come out of it! If not...

May the Farce be With You!


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