In my school, the afternoon session teachers love to organise ‘makan makan’. Makan means eat in Malay. Food makes conversation and brings relationships closer, and so, we who are in the afternoon session are a cooperative close bunch. Back in those days we will take turns to treat each other. I can’t bring home cooked food, so, each time I will just buy KFC, hehehe, and everybody’s happy.

Nowadays, the practice slightly changed, we organised potlucks or collect money to order food.

One of my ex colleague’s wife cooks the most delicious tomato rice that I have ever eaten, served with the usual pairing of Ayam Masak Merah. It was rich and flavourful, unlike hawker ones that can be quite bland at times. One of the things I detected was the use of ghee in the rice she cooked. I was lazy to make my own ghee, and so I used the usual butter.

The outcome as almost like the one from my colleague’s wife. I’m happy!

Tomato rice

by WendyinKK

350gm basmathi rice

2 inches cinnamon
1 star anise
3 cloves
3 cardamoms
3 shallots, sliced
2 clove garlic, sliced
1 cm ginger, smashed

1cup tomatoes, cubed
1 pandan leaf (not pictured)
1 ¼ tsp salt
½ tsp chicken stock powder (1/2 chicken cube)
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp butter + 1 Tbsp oil
3 heaped Tbsp tomato paste
700ml water.
125ml evaporated milk

1. Wash rice and let it drip dry in a colander.
2. Put butter and oil into a wok and sauté shallots and garlic until almost golden, then put in ginger and the dry spices and cook until fragrant and golden.
3. Put in tomato cubes and rice. Toss until well incorporated. Put in salt, sugar, chicken stock powder and tomato paste and toss to combine.
4. Put the seasoned rice into rice cooker*, add in water and pandan leaf. Cook until the immense bubbling reduces greatly, then put in evaporated milk, give it a quick stir and let it cook until done.
5. Let the rice sit for 30 minutes, lightly fluff the rice, take care not to break the rice grains. Let it cool down to slightly warm to serve together with Ayam Masak Merah (Malay Red Cooked Chicken Recipe)

*I didn’t use a rice cooker but zapped it in my microwave  for 10 minutes, rest 5 minutes, put in milk and zap another 7mins. All on ‘HIGH’.