Milo Peng

Is your hairfall so copious you could weave yourself a blanket this cold winter?

Has your hair turned white overnight, like some fresh-off-the-boat NRI?

Are any superficial scratches on your skin taking longer than usual to heal, like the mind does after listening to a Yo Yo Honey Singh song?

Is your facial skin in gross disrepair, a state of general ‘meh-ness’, like the Congress post the 2014 General Elections?

Is the skin under your eyes turning as grey as Kejriwal’s morals?

Then, assuming that your hormones are A-okay and you’re not preggers or Raghuram Rajan (chap’s aged overnight. No less handsome for it FTW, but he now looks positively ill. I think it’s more fiscal than physical), you’re protein deficient. What a pity. Your cells are on a dharna because they’re not getting any protein, a substance critical to cellular repair and growth.

So what do you do? If you’re non-vegetarian, you’re sorted. Hit dat fish. Eat dat chicken before it crosses the road. But what if you’re vegetarian? Eat more paneer? Paneer’s more fat than protein. Hello, third butt. Drink soya milk, eat soya chunks? Soya’s so full of estrogen it’s been known to give men moobs and mess up perfectly good-bodied women. Guzzle protein shakes? Good luck getting anywhere with THAT, Suddenly Muscley Person Who Has No Idea They’re On Steroids. Stuff face with lentils/ daal? *snort* What a noob. EVERYONE knows vegetable-derived protein isn’t as easily absorbed by the body as animal-derived protein. And that it’s pitiably little too, gram-for-gram. Eat more cheese? WHO ARE YOU KIDDING? Eat tofu? Pick up your Eco Cotton™ tote, your repurposed jute slippers, your issue of Renewables Weekly and get your snooty organic ass out of here.

Your saviour then is your old enemy, milk. I’ve fed milk to the plants (sorry mum!), poured it down the toilet (sorry mum!), poured it down the sink (sorry mum!), and even poured it into a piggybank, a shuttle cork box, a porcelain vase and a tin trunk (I said I’m SORRY, mum!) so as to not have to endure its warm, faintly smelly blandness. No amount of Bournvita could mask its awfulness, no Rooh Afza hide its true character. Like Sun Tzu’s ideal warrior, I Knew My Enemy Well. But faced with the double horrors of premature ageing and weight gain, I’ve had to reconsider things. It’s difficult especially in the presence of seductive bits of logic, like these-

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and pornographic gifs of food, like these-

breadcheese

cheeseburgerskissing

 …but I’ve persevered, and I’ve found my answer in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital city. The good Uniqlo-wearing, satay-and-goreng-eating people of Malaysia enjoy a sweet cooling beverage as much as the next person. That beverage is Milo Peng, culinary pidgin for iced chocolate milk. Behold-

miloice

Milo Peng is everywhere. From the humble mamak stall to the food court at the mall, drunk by adults and children and rich and poor alike, this truly democratic, class-defying beverage is guzzled from plump bottles and supersize tankards, flimsy styrofoam cups and fat porcelain mugs, tiny shot glasses and twee mason jars, and even out of clear plastic bags tied at the neck with rubber bands, helping you wash down your roti canai and ikan bakar with the right amounts of cold and sweet. Before I discovered it, I’d sullenly chase the lettuce on my plate with my fork as Husband scarfed crustacean after delicious crustacean.

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After I discovered it, I did an about turn to rival Kiran Bedi’s-

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This was astonishing, because I’d always believed that not drinking milk was an undeniable adult perk I deserved to enjoy. And yet, here I was, drinking it by the gallon. You know how Sun Tzu, in The Art of War, says ‘To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy’? Well, I’d done that. I’d BECOME the beverage. I was now so full of it I was basically a sac of skin with Milo sloshing about my insides as I moved, much like an MCD tanker ferrying water to a residential colony.

My favourite thing about the beverage is what FMCG and Luxury marketeers snootily call ‘the sensorials’: the sense-engaging bits of a product. At your average indoor restaurant, the Milo Peng arrives in a tall glass topped with shards of ice, a stirrer and a straw. The bottom half of the glass is warm, hot even, the top half chilled and sweating. As you run your hand along its length, you experience what I like to call ‘ombré temperature’- cold to gradually warm. You stir the drink so the temperature evens to a comfortably cool, and then you drink it.

Malaysians like their Milo Peng made from dairy creamer but I prefer the real thing because I need the protein. They also like it oversweet, but that’s no reason to OD on sugar. Here’s what a Milo Peng Dinosaur looks like (yes, that is an Official Thing. It’s a Milo Peng topped with what is basically a small mountain of Milo powder)-

milo dinosaur

And here’s how I make mine, optimized for maximum protein content and minimum lard.

(for one, takes 3-5 minutes)

-1 tall glass Nestle Slim milk (tetrapak)

-1.5 teaspoons Hershey’s 100% Cocoa, Natural Unsweetened

-0.5 teaspoon sugar

ice shaped like shells and starfish from my ocean-themed ice trays

Heat the milk in a saucepan. While it heats slowly, stir in the cocoa and the sugar. Because it is fine, cocoa does not dissolve well in cold milk, but melts into milk like magic when it is hot. Do not let the milk boil. DO NOT LET THE MILK BOIL. Or MALAI. Switch off the gas when you sense the milk couldn’t get any hotter without boiling (just like you, you good looking biatch). Pour it in a thin stream into a tall glass, so bubbles form and it aerates well. Top with lots of ice. Stick straw in. Pick up this month’s Elle, settle into a comfortable chair, and Initiate. Abort only if dying and can take no more. Re-engage x 24 hours.

Images-  (Milo Peng) nigellow.worpress.com, (Milo Peng Dinosaur) sgforums.com, (gifs)Tumblr

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