Recently when I was back in Penang accompanying my mum with her grocery shopping, she asked me to take her to this particular store that sells readymade pastes…I was so amazed with the variety of pastes  that were sold there.

There are many types of readymade pastes – from assam laska, gulai tumis, sambal.. you name it, that store has it. And the best thing is, the shopkeeper knows how to mix and match to suit your taste, i.e. if you want more spice, she will add more chilli. It would definitely be a curry lover’s heaven!

We bought the paste for assam laksa. I was curious, as my mum is renowned for her assam laksa; we used to make the paste from scratch (not to mention hours of peeling the fish), so why is she getting ready made pastes from this lady?

She explained now that she is getting older, it was harder for her to prepare the ingredients from scratch, i.e. peel the shallots, preparing the chillies etc and pound them. It is so much easier to just buy the readymade pastes; beside the ingredients are just as fresh, and it just saves so much TIME!

That makes sense doesn’t it?


In my previous post, I mentioned that there used to be many people helping out in the kitchen when we were growing up; however, nowadays, it could just be you, the only one slaving away in the kitchen, frantically trying to serve something delicious and nutritious with the limited time and energy you have.

It is about making use of what we have to get the best results we can in the shortest time frame, and also reduce the unnecessary stress along the way.


If you live in a place where the raw ingredients are a bit hard to come by to indulge in your childhood dishes, just get the readymade – pastes and sauces that you can have access to and enjoy the dish.  And I have to say, some of the pastes are really quite nice as well!


For some reasons, some people just “REFUSED” to use readymade pastes. Could it be they believe that readymade pastes “devalue” their cooking integrity?

Yes, everything that you make with your hands will always be more favourable, more authentic and healthier, and you can cook to suit your tastes. Some people prefer more of a certain spice than others, and they can cook to cater for their own needs.

There is no doubt about that; however, if time is not on your side, quit the guilt and satisfy your taste buds with some authentic readymade pastes and sauces out there!

By the end of the day, it does not matter whether you create the paste from scratch or you use readymade pastes, the important thing is you are reconnecting to your kitchen. You are spending quality time with your family and sharing your culture with them, and that is more important right?

So what are you serving at your Tok Panjang tonight?

Have a wonderful day!