Monday, July 20, 2009
Nothing is quite synonymic as Preserved Kumquat is to Kuala Lumpur.
As a child growing up in Singapore, I could tell someone had just visited or came from Kuala Lumpur. The answer lies on the box of preserved kumquats. Nearly every Malaysian town is associated with a fruit or foodstuff or sometimes both, as compulsory souvenirs for visitors to bring home. Just as Penang is famous for it's nutmeg and shrimp paste (hae ko) and Malacca for it's chinchalok, nothing is quite synonymic as preserved kumquat is to Kuala Lumpur. It was customary and mandatory to a point, to bring home all the souvenirs from the towns you had visited and to be distributed amongst your family and neighbours. But most of all to announce to everyone that you had just came back from a 7 days coach holiday to the Malayan Peninsula. Although travelling by coach was a popular and cheap way of having a week long holiday to Malaya in those days, it was totally a different experience when I boarded a for one-way trip from Singapore to KL on my recent visit. You will see not more than 16 seats on the luxurious Super VIP coach as compared to those standard express bus with a capacity of up to 40 passengers in the past.The spacious seat can be reclined back 75 degrees, just like a plane seat! They even have a LCD panel in front of each seat provides movies and music videos entertainment - the level of comfort and service even outweigh the one-cent air-fare offered by budget airlines.
Even though, kumquat plants are popular traditional decoration during the Chinese New Year season, as they are a symbol of prosperity for the coming year. I didn't know fresh kumquats are eaten whole, candied, pickled, and used to make relishes, preserves and marmalade until I came to Australia. I have a kumquat plant in my garden but it didn't yield enough fruits for me to preserve them until now. I have harvested about 50 fruits and have rung our former neighbour who is now living in a retirement village for a recipe on how to preserve them.
2 cups sugar
1 cup boiling water
Use a knife to cut a slit at both sides of the kumquat. Add the sugar to the boiling water at medium-high heat and keep stirring. Turn the heat down to low, cover and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved. 3. Add the fruit. Simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, or until the kumquat is tender. Place the kumquat in sealed jars and refrigerate.