Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Types of Kelantan's Nasi Kerabu

Kelantan, birth place of the famous Nasi Kerabu - a blue-colored rice set that comes with ulam (local salad), crackers, percik chicken, fried fish, smoked beef, solok lada (stuffed peppers) and salted egg. This is top with homemade chili sauce, budu sauce (pickled anchovies sauce) and tumis (stir-fry chili paste) for gravy. 

It is said that Nasi Kerabu originated from Pattani during the Sultanate of Patani reign, now the modern Thailand provinces ie Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat as well as part of the modern-day Kelantan, Malaysia. It was during this reign, under successor Raja Kuning (The Yellow Queen) was at war with Singgora (modern-day Songkhla) when Pattani armies were having food shortage that lead to the military cook ration and invent Nasi Kerabu. Nasi Kerabu then was rice mixed with budu and serunding (grated coconut) and ulam. 

Many might not known that there are few types of nasi kerabu such as Nasi Kerabu Bunga Telang/Biru , Nasi Kerabu Kunyit/Kuning, Nasi Kerabu Putih, Nasi Kerabu Hijau/Ulam and Nasi Kerabu Hitam/Daun Mengkudu. There's is also Nasi Kerabu Tumis whereby the tumis is being added and usually onto Nasi Kerabu Putih and Nasi Kerabu Kuning/Kunyit. Nasi Kerabu has evolved to what it is today. 

Photo credit : Google

Nasi Kerabu Bunga Telang/Blue
The blue colour of the rice came from comes from the petals of bunga telang, what us locals call or butterfly-pea flowers. It is a natural food colouring used by our forefathers.

Nasi Kerabu Kuning/Yellow Kerabu Rice
Apparently Nasi Kerabu Kuning or Kunyit is not easily found in Kelantan, some said that it is common in Bachok area. Nasi Kerabu Kuning's rice is cooked with tumeric (hence the colour) and some even added pandan leave. Because of this 2 key ingredient, the rice is more aromatic and tasted nicer. The dishes and sauce are the same as Nasi Kerabu Bunga Telang with exception of the Tumis.

Nasi Kerabu Putih/White
This is the easiest to make as it uses the normal white rice with Tumis as the differentiator, salad and budu is a must for Nasi Kerabu.

Nasi Kerabu Hijau/Green (Peranakan Cina Kelantan)
Nasi Kerabu Hijau is rare as it is part of the Peranakan Cina Kelantan delicacy, and it is available at Popo Kitchen 1.0 in Kota Bharu. What makes this Nasi Kerabu unique is that it is made with 23 types of herba (herbs) and ulam blended and cook it with the rice. And that is not it, out of this 23 types of ulam, 10 of it is from the jungle. It is served with juicy ayam percik together with ulam such as bunga kantan (wild ginger), tauge (beansprout), kobis merah (purple cabbage), timun (cucumber) and kacang panjang (long bean), and of course Kelantan signature budu.

Nasi Kerabu Hitam/Black 
The rice is made by cooking it with daun mengkudu (indian mulberry leaf) and kaffir lime leaf - most rare type of Nasi Kerabu. The side dishes and sauce are again similar just that the taste of the rice is more herb-ish and the kaffir lime leaf creates the nice frangrant.

To be honest, Nasi Kerabu Hitam is the only one that I have yet to sample. If you know where I can get this, please ping as I plan to revisit Kelantan very very soon. 

#JejakWarisanBachok and #JejakAdiguru 2023 Media Fam Trip is organized by Tourism Malaysia Wilayah Timur in partnership with all its sponsors.
#TourismMalaysiaWilayahTimur #CutiCutiMalaysia

Friday, October 27, 2023

Rumah Tiang 12 (12-Pole House) : Rumah Kelantan

Have you ever wondered about the architecture in Malay homes that is usually differentiated by state, culture and perhaps also by occupation? Those living in coastal areas tend to build their homes on poles and this can be seen especially on the east coast, as it is prone to monsoon flooding. Where else, those on the west coast are sometimes based on culture, such as Melaka House or even Minangkabau House (in Negeri Sembilan state). 

As a person who has visited Terengganu many times and is familiar with Terengganu House, this has made me wonder about Kelantan House, the significant architecture of Kelantan House, also known as Rumah Tiang 12 or 12-Pole House. 

Johan Ariff Ismail, a proud owner of the 150 years old Rumah Tiang 12 in Kelantan, has shared astounding details that will leave you spellbound by its wondrous architecture. Due to its location, it comes as no surprise that the Kelantan architecture is heavily influenced by Siam as a result of trading activities via the Golok River. 

Atap Singgora (Singgora Roof Tile)

The characteristic of a 12-Pole House is that it is a modular home made up of three main sections, namely the Rumah Ibu (Main House) with a Serambi (veranda), Rumah Tengah (Middle or Central House) and the Rumah Dapur (Kitchen House). Also to note that the middle house and kitchen house are where rooms are being sectioned/placed. It consists of 12 main poles for the main house - 6 verandah poles and 6 poles at the Main House hence 12-Pole House. 

Modular House (credit to Nasir Abdul Halim)

Another highlight of a Kelantan House is the Jemuran Basah or Selasar (Passageway). This is an open common area for families to gather, rest and socialise with one another. 

'Alif' (Jalal) and 'ba' (Jamal) design (credit to Abdullah Mohamed)

The feature wall is based on Janda Hias and Janda Ria consists of the 'alif' (Jalal) and 'ba' (Jamal) design, occasionally you will see beautiful carving on these panels that denote the social status of the family. 


Another characteristic that is often mentioned is the 'pemeles' or loosely translated as a decorated crown, but in architecture the term would be a barge board. From my observation on why it is called pemeles, perhaps because of the shape of the pemeles is similar to the royal crown, of which also the shape/design of the barge board. 

Pagar Musang (Carved balustrade)

Pagar Musang is a beautifully carved balustrade; a low railings of stone, wood, metal etc, built to prevent falls from staircases, balconies and verandahs. This is also a unique trait to a Kelantan House. 

During this visit I learnt that there are not many Kelantan houses and this is said that due to the development and modernisation, in embracing this withhold our culture and heritage. I hope with my writing, you guys will appreciate and love local architecture more and make a trip to Rumah Tiang 12, in Kota Bharu, Kelantan.

Note : Photo are taken at Rumah Tiang 12, Kota Bharu, Kelantan

#JejakWarisanBachok and #JejakAdiguru 2023 Media Fam Trip is organized by Tourism Malaysia Wilayah Timur in partnership with all its sponsors.
#TourismMalaysiaWilayahTimur #CutiCutiMalaysia

Monday, October 23, 2023

Preserving Kelantan's atap Singgora/Singhora (roof tiles) heritage

Noted as Kelantan's preserved traditional heritage, Singgora is a clay roof tiles that is being produced using purely manual labour. This roof were and are still being used in some traditional homes, palaces and resort with traditional architecture. The roof originates from Thailand and now has become part of the Malay traditional architecture. What makes it unique is that the soil being used is only available in Bachok as sodium content in the soil is a prerequisite in making a good Singgora roof tiles (tanah bendang air masin to be specific). The whole process of a roof takes an estimation of 2 months for it to be ready and send to the customer.

Preserving this heritage is Puan Noraini Jusoh, the fifth-generation of singgora tile makers family, learning the art of tiles making from her father.

The origin - Sultanate of Singora
Previously known as the Malay-Muslim kingdom of Sultanate of Singora is now called Songkhla, located in the southern Thailand and was founded in the 17th century. It is known that there is a slight difference between the Thai Singgora tiles versus ours, having said that the characteristic remains the same - it being light and porous thus enabling it to absorb water (rain) easier acting as a cooling system in a home. Due to its thin and light in size makes it esier to break which is its drawbacks

In order to strengthen the roof tile, grog is added during the clay process. Grog is a pre-fired clay taken from rejected post-firing Singgora clay sheet. It is crushed and later sieves to sand-like texture, the grog is then mix with the clay and ready for the first step - wedging and kneading. 

Click here to view a 1 min video on the making of atap Singgora/Singhora roof tiles.

Wedging and kneading (menguli dan memijak)
This task is usually done by men due to it being strenuous - wedging and kneading for 3 rounds at least as this is to ensure that the air are not trapped inside the clay making it to crack or break with ease.

Moulding (acuan)
Once the clay is well kneaded, it is then places into a mould where the men uses his leg to press to form the shape. 

Drying (kering)
The shaped clay is placed under the sun for about 2 days to dry.

Firing and kilns (bakar dan tanur/gok)
The dried clay is put into a traditional kiln called the Dragon Kiln and is being fired for 10 days. The kiln here is still using the old method ie wood and is fired at 800c in temperature. 

Ready Singgora roof tiles are sent to the customers after the 2 months process.

#JejakWarisanBachok and #JejakAdiguru 2023 Media Fam Trip is organized by Tourism Malaysia Wilayah Timur in partnership with all its sponsors.
#TourismMalaysiaWilayahTimur #CutiCutiMalaysia

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Kelantan's Perahu Kolek - A Malay culture and heritage

First time hearing about perahu kolek or kolae boat was in Terrapuri, a story shared by Mr. Alex - man of vast knowledge on Malay culture and heritage. And again I heard about this beautifully crafted (and painted) boat is from Mawardi of Projek Travel - a guy that never fail to surprise me with his videos and historical information (my partner in crime on culture content, so I myself claimed).

Those that know me, knows me well and those in this trip (mostly new friends) were making fun of my 'angkat tangan-saya ada soalan' way of getting information. A habit (good, I hope) that I don't plan to 'unhabit' real soon, so kawan-kawan ku disana - suck it up kay! Hahahhaha... (Eh! THis entry was supposed to be article-ish tapi tetiba jadi lawak pulak [facepalm], oh well [eyes rolling]).

This vividly coloured kolae boat originated from southen part of Thailand and are used by the Malay communities there. A craft that is uniquely 'belongs to the Langkasuka Kingdom' territories, has established it presence in Malaysia east coast states namely Terrenganu and Kelantan. Usually measures approximately 12.5 metres in length is built from Malaysia local tree ie Merbau, Meranti and Cengal and is split into 4 sections namely Bangau, Penyendal, Buluh and Okok. The decoration/motifs are influenced by Thai and Malay style as one can easily see flora and fauna motifs such as lotus, sea serpents, dragon, bird, floral and etc on its Bangau.

As perahu kolek is used during the Langkasuka Kingdom period, makara is often carved and painted on the bangau and tail of the boat. Makara is a type of sea animal used by the God Vishnu during his travel at sea. Back then, they believe that the makara or animal motifs are able to communicate with the wild sea and will safeguard the them/fishermen from evil spirits of the sea.

I was made to understand that during those days, offering tradition is actively practised where the offerings are put onto banana leaves depicting a boat shape. This 'boat' is later being floated into the sea as an offering to the spirit of the sea. 

Perahu kolek is a tool for the fishermen to earn a living hence it is treated with the highest respect. It comes as no surprise that some are still superstitious when it comes to stepping into the kolae - shoes are not allowed inside the boat, running too was not allowed near the bangau section, urination and defecation should not take place near the bow and profanity is a no-no. 

Muslim has taken the lead in Malaysia hence reciting dua - seeking protection from Allah is being practised heavily now.

Where can you experience Perahu Kolek 
You can check out Perahu Kolek as well as the floating market at Pengkalan Datu - Cerana Villa Resort.

#JejakWarisanBachok and #JejakAdiguru 2023 Media Fam Trip is organized by Tourism Malaysia Wilayah Timur in partnership with all its sponsors.
#TourismMalaysiaWilayahTimur #CutiCutiMalaysia

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