AFF Taiwan: Oyster Omelette 蚵仔煎

Phew…. another crazy week has gone by and can’t believe this is already the end of August! Today is also Malaysia’s Independence Day and I basically spent the whole day recuperating in bed. Well, and cook, of course. And since this is the last day for the Taiwan leg of Asian Food Fest, I better get this post finished by midnight.

Uhh…. I’m not here to boast, but my grandma and my mom make the best Oyster Omelette and so far I don’t think I have had better anywhere else. Well of course my grandma is an expert in the kitchen and she makes pretty much everything from scratch and does not limit herself to only Teochew cuisine, but also many Foochow/Hakka dishes too. The Oyster omelette she makes always has the right balance of crispiness, stickiness and great umami flavour. She uses a specific type of canned oysters and the mixes the juices in as well, which apparently gives a better flavour then just using fresh oysters. I believe her version is very traditionally Teochew (it’s also very different to the one serve in KL or Penang), so naturally I’m curious about the Taiwanese version too.

蚵仔煎

Like I have mentioned previously, I have never been to Taiwan so I don’t know how the authentic Taiwanese Oyster Omelette tastes like. But I did try it once at a popular Taiwanese restaurant called Fong Lye and I bet their version isn’t even close to the good ones in Taiwan. But there are plenty of recipes online, so I went ahead to my local Village Grocer and found some frozen oysters, along with other essential ingredients. This was also the first time I’ve actually tried Tong Ho (茼蒿), a popular green vegetables much loved by the Taiwanese. It’s actually a very simple recipe but the trick is that you have to keep everything together so you can work fast. It only takes about 5 minutes and the result is a very satisfying treat. At least for me because I sure love my oysters! I decided to keep the sauce simple because I don’t have cornstarch at home, I believe the basic flavours are there, but purist would probably scoff at me.

Gorgeous colours!

Simplified Version of sauce:
1 Tablespoon Ketchup
1 Tablespoon Chili Sauce
1 Tablespoon Rice vinegar
1/2 Teaspoon Fish Sauce

Mix everything together well and set aside.

Oyster Omelette
1 egg
¼ teaspoon salt
Pinch ground white pepper
2 Tablespoon Sweet Potato Starch
2 Tablespoon Tapioca Starch
1/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon Lard
1 Clove of Garlic, chopped
Handful of Raw oysters (I used about 10)
1 stalk of Spring Onion, chopped
1/4 Tong Ho, roughly torn or chopped

Mix Sweet Potato Starch and Tapioca Starch with water and set aside.

Heat the oil (Lard for best result) in pan over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, then add all the oysters and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the starch slurry, then crack an egg in. Break up the yolk slightly with the spatula. Place the Tong Ho and Spring onion on top and let it cook for about a minute.

Loose the side of the omelette to ensure smooth flipping process. I recommend using 2 spatulas for this. Once flipped over, cook for another minute or until the egg is set. Pour over the sauce and serve immediately.

Nice big oyster!

I generally don’t like cooked oysters but I would gladly make this an exception. It’s so easy to make now I know what to do whenever I get a craving. Oh and if this is eaten without the sauce it’s basically Paleo too! I think next time I will have it with some homemade Sriracha.

 I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest #10 Aug 2014 : Taiwan hosted by travelling-foodies.

AFF Taiwan: Lu Rou Fan 滷肉飯

I have a confession: I’m obsessed with Taiwan as a country. The entertainment industry (I’m guilty of following all the current talk shows and my favourite is Kang Xi Lai Le 康熙來了), the food, the culture in general; but I have never been to this country! I think that one day when I finally set foot there I’ll probably cry tears of happiness. Not joking. I’ll definitely be stalking a few celebrities, and visit all the night markets that has appeared on TV. And most of all, I’ll definitely put on a few kilos with the growing list of food I want to eat in Taiwan.

But since this month’s Asian Food Fest is covering Taiwanese Cuisine, it’s a perfect opportunity for me to at least try my hand on some of these recipes. With Taiwanese cuisine, I can tell you that I do have to throw the Paleo diet out the window. After all, it’s all about rice, noodles, and even their ‘xiao chi’ is mostly gluten or grain based. Once in a while won’t hurt I guess. Not that I’m been super strict lately anyway as I’ve been eating out a little more often due to my workload.

But anyway, the number 1 dish I wanted to try was the super sinful Lu Rou Fan 滷肉飯 (Roughly translated to Minced Pork Rice). It’s one of the most talked about dish on talk shows and everyone seems to have their favourite. As I understand there are 2 types of Lu Rou Fan, one with very finely minced fatty pork, and the other type with diced pork belly. Knowing me, of course I prefer the latter. Just check this out:

This is Pork Heaven!

Lu Rou Fan is considered comfort food and is available pretty much everywhere. It can be enjoyed anytime of the day really and I’d say this makes for a perfect after party supper (not that I’m advocating having supper, or partying, for that matter). At its simplest form, it’s just meat over rice, although eggs are commonly added. Some places serve this with green vegetables, some with Japanese pickled daikon. But there’s no denying that this will please any porcine lover. Well it most definitely pleased me. Over and over again. I love cooking a huge portion for one. Hehe.

Cooking this is relatively easy, and I opted for the lazy method with my trusty Philips Pressure Cooker so the cooking time was significantly reduced. But I have typed out both lazy and traditional methods for you.

My Guilty Pleasure.

Lu Rou Fan (Recipe adapted from Lady and Pups)

500g of skin-on pork belly, cut into small dices (think of dicing thick-cut bacons)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
40g Rock Sugar
1/4 cup good soy sauce (I used a mixture of liquid aminos and dark soy, you might want to adjust the ratio depending on how dark your soy sauce is)
1/4 cup (45 grams) of Chinese rice wine
1 small stick of cinnamon
1 tsp of ground white pepper
1/4 tsp of five spice powder
1/2 cup of fried shallots (store-bought or homemade)
2 cups (710 grams) of water
5 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled

Pressure Cooker Method:

Dump everything except for the eggs into the pot and cook with pressure on for 30minutes. Release pressure and add hardboiled eggs, cook uncovered until the sauce thickens and reduced significantly. Season to taste.

Stove Top Method:

Heat non-stick pan and add pork belly (no oil needed, it’s fatty enough!) to cook for a few minutes until the fat is starting to render. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, then add soy sauce, rock sugar, cinnamon, rice wine, white pepper, fried shallots. Mix everything together and then finally add water and bring to a simmer. Cook for around 1 and 1/2 hour to 2 hours on medium-low heat until the sauce is thickened slightly and the pork is starting to get quite tender. Add hard-boiled egg and cook for 10-15 minutes further until the sauce is nicely gelatinous. You may need to add water during the cooking process if the liquid is reducing too fast.

Serve the Lu Rou over rice garnished with greens of your choice, and watch it disappear!

Come to mama! My Chinese zodiac is Boar so the Irony is not lost on me.

Meltingly tender pork, the aroma of 5 spice, savoury sweet sticky gravy, with perfectly cook eggs (I like my egg yolk just set or slightly runny). I served mine with some homemade pickled daikon for that extra bit of piquancy. Mmmm that was such a perfect meal.

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest #10 Aug 2014 : Taiwan hosted by travelling-foodies.

Paradise Inn, Sunway Pyramid

Sunway Pyramid isn’t somewhere I frequent due to the distance (and laziness, mostly to sit through the traffic), but the month of April is extra tempting with their World of Cravings campaign. During this month, there is a special promotion for different restaurant each day and diners get to join contests to win attractive prizes. One of these restaurants is Paradise Inn, which is a subsidiary of the Paradise Group founded in 2011.

The concept of Paradise Inn is simple and charming with authentic yet affordable food; as Inns are traditionally referring to teahouses. Here they serve a variety of double boiled soups, fruits and flowers tea and most importantly a lot of good pork dishes. Some dishes are given a new life with modern interpretations. Needless to say, this is a place suitable for all kinds of occasions. The interior is clearly Oriental with tailor made Chinese lanterns, rustic terracotta bricks with accents of Chinese Symbols.

I arrived in the restaurant with a hearty appetite after a long day of meetings and photoshoot (read: didn’t eat much during the day) and was happy to see the different pots of flower teas, good to relax my mind.

Floral & Herb-Infused Hot Tea: RM7.50 per person

All the tea has Chrysanthemum and Dried Longan as the base and my favourite is between the one with Lavendar/Rosemary and the crowd favourite with Forget me not/Rose. Each comes with their own list of health benefits too.

Pretty!

Paradise Inn takes their Double-boiled Soups seriously and we got to try 2 of them. The Double-Boiled Black Chicken with Ginseng is something I would do at home during hectic gig period as it’s good for our respiratory system and at the same time rejuvenates the body. The soup is savoury with a touch of bitterness from the ginseng, very comforting.

Double-Boiled Soup: Black Chicken with Ginseng (RM43.90) and Water Goby with Fresh Apple (RM42.90)

The Water Goby with Fresh Apple soup on the other hand, is a rather unusual combination for me and I’m pleasantly surprised by the clean flavours and subtle sweetness. This is also good for the lungs and claims to re-energise the mind too.

With all that liquid in my stomach, I was happy to get started on their signature dishes. The first one, is their Stew Pork Belly served with Lotus Bun. The pork belly has absorbed all the flavours from the stewing and is amazingly tender. Love the mouth feel along with the soft bun. The serving is quite substantial though so one if definitely enough.

Stewed Pork Belly with Lotus Bun (RM4.90 each, RM14.70 for 3)

We tried their Crystal Prawns cooked in 2 ways and I fell in love with the Salted Egg Yolk version. Then again, nothing will taste bad with an Umami salted egg yolk coating. With the crispy exterior and juicy sweet prawns, this is definitely a winner.

Crisp-fried Crystal Prawns with Salted Egg Yolk (RM29.90 for small)

The Wasabi Mayo version has a vibrant and alluring green hue, yet the wasabi taste is quite subtle and I was a little surprised by the sweetness of the sauce. It’s still delicious nonetheless.

Crisp-Fried Crystal Prawns in Wasabi Mayo Sauce (RM29.90 for Small)

I can’t resist a good chicken wing and here it’s marinated with Shrimp Paste and then fried to perfection. It has a lovely depth of flavour and a great mouth feel. Finger-licking good!

Crisp-fried Shrimp Paste Chicken (RM18.90)

Almost every Cantonese themed restaurant offers a Chinese Spinach soup with 3 types of eggs and here they up the ante by adding some mince pork too. The greens are still crunchy and vibrant, and the broth is absolutely delicious with the usage of superior stock and the eggy flavours. In fact, I would be happy to indulge in this dish alone, no need for rice. Yum.

Poached Chinese Spinach with Egg Trio and Minced Pork in Superior Stock (RM18 S, RM27 M, RM36 L)

A traditional Chinese feast would not be complete with some carb dishes. And to my stomach’s dismay, I decided to try all of them.

Crispy Supreme Seafood Fried Rice (RM19.90 S, RM30.90 M, RM40.90 L)

The seafood fried rice gets its golden colour from egg yolk apparently and is topped with some crispy rice puffs, which is a creative touch. It’s incredibly aromatic and you get bits of fish roe in between bites too.

Fried Rice with Chinese Sausage and Mushrooms (RM18.90 S, RM27.90 M, RM36.90 L)

Even more tasty is this one with Chinese sausage and Mushrooms, full of umami flavours and a touch of sweetness too. I have to stop myself from having more to prevent a food coma.

Braised Vermicelli with Pork Trotters (RM19.90 S, RM29.90 M, RM39.90 L)

But the ultimate winner of the night has to be this sinful Braised Vermicelli with Pork Trotters, presenting in all its glistening glory. The trotters are braised for hours, resulting in a wonderful gelatinous texture releasing all the collagen into the vermicelli. There is a slight char taste which means the dish even more addictive. So good!

Fried Hokkien Mee

I barely had any space for this but I did make sure I try the noodles with a couple pieces of crispy pork lard. Plenty of wok hei in this one, rivaling some of the best Hokkien Mees I’ve had in KL.

I was impressed with the standard of the food here and would not hesitate if anyone suggest to visit Paradise Inn again (or any of the restaurants within the Paradise Group, in fact). The service here is excellent too.

Paradise Inn
Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall
OB3.LG1.7 & 1.8, Lower Ground One,
Oasis Boulevard
Tel: 03-5637 8822
http://www.paradisefnb.com.my/

So a bit more on the World of Cravings running from 1st to 30th April:

1) Contest
During this month, when customer spend above RM50 (RM40 for HSBC cardholders) , they’re entitled to join the contest and 10 lucky diners can stand a chance to win RM2,000 worth of Sunway Pals points each.

2) Immediate Redemption
By spending RM150 (RM100 for HSBC cardholder) in a single receipt, diners will be rewarded with RM20 worth of Sunway Pals points.

3) Tap. Eat. Save!
Everyday in the month of April, 1 F&B tenant in Sunway Pyramid will be having a promotion. To be entitled for such promotion, diners have to download Sunway Pyramid mobile app and present it to the restaurants.

Paradise Inn is doing their part in the campaign on the 27th April:
10% Off for Any of the 8 types of Double Boiled Soup for the entire month
50% Off for Any of the 8 types of Double Boiled Soup on 27 April 2014.

Terms & Conditions
– Applicable for Dine In only
– Price are subject to 10% Services Charges & prevailing government tax
– Not applicable with any other promotions, voucher or credit card discount

Cauliflower Fried Rice

I have never been a fan of fried rice, but lately, I think I’m addicted. Not just original fried rice of course, and you guessed it: Fried “Cauli Rice” or Cauliflower Fried Rice. Whatever it’s called, there is no actual rice in this, and the grain is replaced by grated or pulsed cauliflower, making this an ultra healthy meal.

As I have mentioned in my previous post on Cauliflower Crust Pizza, we have been going through kilos of Cauliflowers lately. And of all the recipes, the fried rice is the simplest and quickest, perfect for a busy lifestyle or pure laziness when I’m recuperating from my weekend gigs. In fact, I’m quite happy to have it few days in a row, just changing around the ingredients to keep it exciting.

Traditionally, fried rice is made with whatever you have sitting in your fridge (at least the homecooked versions are), and it’s generally quite a quick dish. However, with cauliflower rice, the total cooking time is reduced dramatically. Just pulse, chop ingredients, fry everything together and voila! Your lunch/dinner is served.

Cauliflower Fried Rice

It’s entirely up to you what you want to put in the Fried Cauli Rice. I generally add a couple of other vegetables, bacon (or omit for vegetarian if Frank is joining me for the meal), and of course an egg or two would be essential. As for the seasoning, I either stick to just a sprinkling of salt and pepper, or a dash of fish sauce. Sometimes I even throw in some spices for a curried version. It’s extremely versatile.

Love the colours! Eating the rainbow is good for you.

Cauliflower Fried Rice (for 1)
150g Cauliflower
1 clove of Garlic, minced
1 stick Celery, diced
2 Strips of Streaky Bacon, chopped
1 Egg
Pinch of Salt and Pepper
1 teaspoon Fish Sauce*
1 Chili Padi, chopped

Cut or tear the florets by hand, remove excess moisture and pulse in food processor or blender until resembling rice. If you don’t h

Add bacon pieces into a pan and turn on the heat (generally no oil is needed for this dish, but feel free to use a tablespoon of ghee or coconut oil if not using a non-stick pan), cook bacon until slightly brown.

Add garlic and celery and stir fry for a minute until fragrant, then push everything aside.

Beat egg and pour into the pan and cook until just set. Break up into small pieces and push aside.

Add “Cauli rice” and mix everything together. Cover the lid for 2-3 minutes until Cauli rice is tender. Season to taste before turning off the heat. Sprinkle chili on top. Serve hot.

*If strict Paleo, use Red Boat Fish Sauce or Coconut Aminos.

Yum!

It’s possible to enjoy a delicious meal and feel good too. The dish above was my lunch yesterday, and today I had another version with Purple cabbage and Mushrooms, which added an extra touch of colour.

Mmm… *Pat Stomach*

Have I convinced you to give Cauliflower rice a try yet? 😉

Bacon Bakkwa

It’s the first day of the Chinese (Lunar) New Year and here I would like to wish everyone Happy Year of the Horse! May this year be a successful one filled with joy, good health and prosperity! How are you celebrating your first day? I’ve been drooling at all the CNY feasts and checking out all the pretty outfits and cheongsam my friends have shared over their social media sites.

As for me, I’ve had a small dinner last night with Frank, and today I am spending the day baking at home. My hometown is over an hour flight away and this year I’m remaining in my third home (KL). Thus I don’t really have relatives to visit. I’m meeting up with a few friends tomorrow and didn’t want to go empty-handed, so I prepared something very special for them: Bacon Bakkwa!

Sinful delicious!
Oh will you look at that glistening goodness!

Couple of years ago, a friend of mine brought over a pack of these for me, and it was love at first sight (the Bakkwa not my friend). I heard that people have to queue up to buy these and they are not cheap at all. So I decided to google and found a couple of useful recipes. Turns out it’s incredibly easy to make, and even easier than regular bakkwa! So off I went for an emergency groceries trip and these crazy deliciousness were born. The recipe I was referring to uses a few salty ingredients; I simplified it because Bacon itself should be salty enough. Feel free to adjust to your own taste though.

Bacon Bakkwa
Bacon Bakkwa

Bacon Bakkwa (adapted from I am What I Cook)
300g Streaky Bacon, sliced in half
1/4 Cup Castor Sugar
1/3 Cup Honey
1/2 Cup Water
1 tablespoon 5 Spice Powder
1 teaspoon Shao Xing Wine
1 teaspoon Soy Sauce

Rinse the bacon to get rid of the excess water from the packaging if any, pat dry and set aside.

Mix sugar, honey, water and microwave for a minute to dissolve sugar, then mix in the 5 spice powder and soy sauce.

Coat bacon slices with marinade, cover and leave in fridge overnight (or 12 hours)

Preheat Oven to 200C and bake the bacon slices in batches for about 10 minutes or until caramelized. Drain off the fat, let cool completely and store in airtight container for up to 2 weeks (That’s if you can control yourself not to consume everything at once).

I think you should be able to make this a little more Paleo friendly by omitting sugar and soy sauce, just use more honey or maple syrup. I shall experiment more with these soon!

Beautiful!
Beautiful!

Of course, I had a small piece to taste and they were just as good as the one I was given last time, maybe even better! Chewy, sweet, savoury, smoky, addictive! I have no doubt they will go empty in minutes. Do try this if you want to impress your guests!

Prosperity of the Horse at Si Chuan Dou Hua, PARKROYAL KL

Having enjoyed an impressive Festive feast at PARKROYAL KL’s Chatz Brasserie not long ago, I was naturally delighted to receive an invitation to their Sichuan and Cantonese Restaurant Si Chuan Dou Hua. I haven’t been to any Sichuan restaurant for a while because I don’t crave Spicy food as much here due to the hot weather. So it was a rare occasion for me. Though the menu that night turned out to be veering towards Cantonese, it still gave me a pretty good first impression. Apart from the crazy 2 hour jam on the way there, rendering me a nervous wreck.

Eight Treasures Tea consist of red dates, wolfberries, chrysanthemum, dried longans, dried lily buds, Jasmine tea leave, ‘mai dong’(麦冬) & rock sugar
Eight Treasures Tea consist of red dates, wolfberries, chrysanthemum, dried longans, dried lily buds, Jasmine tea leave, ‘mai dong’(麦冬) & rock sugar

Si Chuan Dou Hua has a Tea master, “imported” from Szechuan. Apart from his impressive tea pouring skill, what I really love is this fragrant Eight Treasures Tea with plenty of floral notes and mild sweetness. I had plenty of refills that night to calm my frazzled nerves.

For this Chinese New Year, Chef Sim Nin Looi and his team has put together a bountiful feast, carefully crafted with significant symbolic dishes, perfect for those who wants to reward themselves after a year of hard work. The menu is also designed to suit different budgets, starting from RM75nett per person.

Tropical Fruits Yee Sang (鲜果鱼生)
Tropical Fruits Yee Sang (鲜果鱼生)

There are many variations of Yee Sang here but the Tropical Fruits version is their signature. Righty so too, with unusual ingredients such as dragonfruit, strawberries (both of which I used in my Yee Sang last year because I was inspired by them), mango, apple etc making this a refreshing treat. Perfectly vegetarian too. Of course, we tossed our Yee Sang with great enthusiasm, as usual. Always a fun thing to do.

Our next course was a Shark fin’s soup which I gave away. Unfortunately all their CNY set menus include Shark fins so you might want to call ahead to swap dish if you don’t eat them.

Traditional Chef’s Specialty Smoked Farm Chicken (古法烟口水鸡)
Traditional Chef’s Specialty Smoked Farm Chicken (古法烟口水鸡)

I knew this would be tasty judging by the colour of the Chicken skin. It has a wonderfully smoky aroma and the skin is well seasoned too. I might have taken a few extra pieces (well I did skip the soup!).

Deep Fried Cod Fish with Pomelo Sauce (杨枝鳕鱼)
Deep Fried Cod Fish with Pomelo Sauce (杨枝鳕鱼)

I don’t think I have ever had a bad Cod dish, though most of the time they were either steamed, poached or pan fried. This deep fried version is surprisingly tasty. With plenty of crunch; and a tangy sweet Pomelo sauce to cut through the richness. I wouldn’t mind having it again.

Sauteed Fresh Water Prawns with Butter and Corn Flakes (麦香明虾球)
Sauteed Fresh Water Prawns with Butter and Corn Flakes (麦香明虾球)

The prawn dish, however, was just ordinary. Then again, can’t really go wrong with butter and prawns. I couldn’t really taste the cornflakes and it was just a little too sweet for my liking.

Braised Sea Cucumber, Mushroom, Dry Oyster and Black Moss with Greens (海参发菜冬菇时蔬)
Braised Sea Cucumber, Mushroom, Dry Oyster and Black Moss with Greens (海参发菜冬菇时蔬)

Sea cucumber made another appearance this year, along with some dried oysters, and vegetables. Everyone was going straight for the sea food, while I enjoyed the broccoli with the tasty broth. Didn’t forget the Black moss to attract prosperity.

Sichuan Dan Dan Noodles with Scallop (带子担担面)
Sichuan Dan Dan Noodles with Scallop (带子担担面)

Finally something that is actually of Sichuan origin. I was looking forward to this because I love Dan Dan noodles. The broth has a sour note from preserved vegetables, and a slight kick of spice from chili oil and szechuan pepper. Although the noodles are not as chewy as I expected, the broth more than made up for it. The large piece of scallop dressed up a humble noodle dish. This makes me want to return and sample more of their spicy dishes.

Steamed Nian Gao with Coconut Flakes (椰丝蒸年糕)
Steamed Nian Gao with Coconut Flakes (椰丝蒸年糕)

Nian Gao is one of the staples for Chinese New Year and here they kept it healthy steaming it and then rolling it in fresh dessicated coconut, for that extra aroma. Yum!

Chinese New Year Set Menus:

Auspicious Blessing: RM 150.00 Nett per person (Min. 2 pax)
Blissful Happiness: RM 195.00 Nett per person (Min. 2 pax)
Happy & Prosperous: RM 750.00 Nett per table of 4
Smiles of Fortune: RM 1088.00 Nett per table of 6
Golden Prosperity: RM 1958.00 Nett per table of 10
Bountiful Wealth: RM 2300.00 Nett per table of 10

Available from 13 January ~ 14 February 2014, lunch from 12noon to 2:30pm and dinner from 6:30pm-10:30pm.

PARKROYAL is also prepared to serve a special Chinese New Year Hi-Tea on the 31st Jan and 1st February at Chatz Brasserie (RM68nett per person), available from 12:30pm to 4pm.

PARKROYAL KUALA LUMPUR
Jalan Sultan Ismail
50250 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
Tel: +603 2147 0088
Fax: +603 2147 0099
http://parkroyalhotels.com

Reunite and Celebrate Chinese New Year at Celestial Court, Sheraton Imperial KL

With the Year of the Horse looming close, restaurants and hotels have already prepared their prosperity dishes for the celebration. If you haven’t decided where to go for your reunion dinner, and want to treat your family to a decadent feast, you might want to consider Celestial Court at Sheraton Imperial KL, Chef Vincent Loo of Celestial Court, Sheraton Imperial KL along with his talented team created a special ala carte menu for the auspicious occasion.

Having tried their delightful dim-sum spread, I had high expectations for Celestial Court’s Chinese New Year menu. Sure enough, I was impressed from the beginning with one of the prettiest Yee Sang in town. It’s a colourful platter featuring Norwegian Salmon and Japanese Maguro (Tuna) with various vegetables and pickles.

Celestial Court's Appaloosa Horse 马年丰收庆团圆(双宝捞生).
Appaloosa Horse 马年丰收庆团圆(双宝捞生) Yee Sang with a Combination of Sliced Japanese Maguro and Norwegian Salmon served with Traditional Plum Sauce

Look, it even has the Chinese character “Horse” printed on top! Consisting of mostly fresh vegetables, this is refreshing with plenty of fun textures. The plum sauce has enough piquancy, balanced by sweetness though not overly so. Toss the salad as high as possible shouting out auspicious phrases and good wishes is a fun way to start the dinner.

锦绣前程(天宝特色双拼)Celestial Court Duo Combination of 特色双味虾 Two Preparations of Fresh Water Prawns and 鲑鱼籽芋茸带子 Scallop Yam Puff topped with Salmon Roe
锦绣前程(天宝特色双拼)Celestial Court Duo Combination of 特色双味虾 Two Preparations of Fresh Water Prawns and 鲑鱼籽芋茸带子 Scallop Yam Puff topped with Salmon Roe

If you love prawns, you absolutely must order this dish. Massive prawn with tender, sweet flesh blessed with crunchy shells. Be sure to snatch a prawn head for all the luscious prawn roe. The crunchy bits of ginger and garlic lend extra aroma to the prawns.

Closer look at the Scallop Yam Puff
Closer look at the Scallop Yam Puff

The Scallop Yam Puff is pretty good too, with just-cooked scallop, briny Ikura (Salmon Roe) and crispy puff contrasting with creamy yam.

兴隆进宝(四宝海味羹)Braised Premium Treasures Soup with Dried Seafood. Rejoice! There is no sharks fin in this bowl of nourishing goodness with lots of crab meat, scallops and sea cucumber.
兴隆进宝(四宝海味羹)Braised Premium Treasures Soup with Dried Seafood.

I’m always glad to see restaurants opting out shark fin. This comforting soup is tasty enough with crab, dried scallops and bits of sea cucumber. Perfect with a touch of black vinegar.

年年有余(上汤金菇浸鳕鱼)Simmered Cod Fish with Enoki Mushroom and Wolf Berries in Superior Broth.
年年有余(上汤金菇浸鳕鱼)Simmered Cod Fish with Enoki Mushroom and Wolf Berries in Superior Broth.

Celestial Court is quite well-known for their Cod Fish dish and this is quite a healthy take with light broth, enoki mushrooms and antioxidant-rich wolf berries. I loved the creamy soft fish though I had to add a little soy sauce to the gravy. Nevertheless this is still my favourite dish for the night.

代代平安(干贝鲍鱼酿豆袋 Braised Abalone Treasures Pockets with Dried Scallop and Vegetables
代代平安(干贝鲍鱼酿豆袋 Braised Abalone Treasures Pockets with Dried Scallop and Vegetables

An auspicious dish with premium seafood is often one of the most popular dish during CNY. Here, the Aburaage tofu pockets are stuffed with diced abalone, scallop, mushroom and carrots, signifying a full money bag.

五福呈祥(鲍鱼仔海参魚鰾发菜)Braised Baby Abalone with Baked Fish Maw, Sea Cucumber and Sea Moss.
五福呈祥(鲍鱼仔海参魚鰾发菜)Braised Baby Abalone with Baked Fish Maw, Sea Cucumber and Sea Moss.

And here comes the abalone and CNY must have: Sea Moss (Fatt Choi). A dish full of collagen from the sea cucumber and fish maw, this is not only auspicious, but good for our skin too.

Individual portion
Individual portion

My favourite item from here would be the fish maw and sea moss. Delicious.

满屋生辉(鲍汁烧鸭干贝焖饭)Braised Rice with Roast Duck and Dried Scallop in Abalone Sauce.
满屋生辉(鲍汁烧鸭干贝焖饭)Braised Rice with Roast Duck and Dried Scallop in Abalone Sauce.

When this plate of rice reached the table, the aroma of benito flakes was the first to hit our noses. It is slightly pungent and almost a little off-putting, but this turned out to be super addictive! The rice has a great depth of flavour as it is braised with roast duck and dried scallop in abalone sauce. I had to finish my portion to savour every bit of it. Yum.

If you prefer Chef Vincent to do the ordering for you, indulge in the Wealth set menu, priced at RM2,188 nett or the Fortune set menu, priced at RM2,388++ or the Happiness set menu, priced at RM2,588++. Each 9-course menu is quoted for a table of 10 persons and inclusive of a complimentary bottle of wine.

The Chinese New Year ala carte and set menus are available from 6th January to 14th February 2014. The a la carte dishes are priced from RM38++ onwards each. What’s more, each SPG member can enjoy 20% discount off total food bill for Chinese New Year promotions. For reservations, call 03-2717 9900, or visit www.sheratonimperialkualalumpur.com to find out more.

Celestial Court,
Level 3, Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur,
Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2717 9900 ext 6988
or email: restaurants.imperial@sheraton.com
Business hours: Lunch, Mon to Sat, noon to 2.30pm;
Sun and public holidays, 10.00am to 2.30pm.
Dinner, daily, 6.30pm to 10.30pm.
Pork-free.

Celestial Court All-You-Can-Eat Dim Sum

Celestial Court has been voted the Best Chinese food in Klang Valley more than once, and it’s really not surprising at all. It’s even more well-known for its offering of creative Dim Sum. Chef Ken Liew, described as person with an inquisitive mind, always eager to learn new things and thus benefiting all diners visiting Celestial Court. Best thing yet, he makes no compromise when it comes to fresh ingredients (especially seafood), so the quality of dim sum is guaranteed.

Well, here’s a piece of good news for Dim Sum lovers: Celestial Court now offers an “All-You-Can-Eat Dim Sum” special available until the end of the year. With over 70 dishes, you can literally eat til you drop. The gracious Shirley from Sheraton Hotel extended an invite for me to join a bunch of foodies for dim sum last Sunday. Having heard raving reviews about Celestial Court, of course I couldn’t say no. Hado say I was a little naughty because I was still recovering from my bronchitis, but a little bit of soup should help prep my throat for the abuse er…eating.

Double Boiled Chicken Soup with Chinese Herbs
Double Boiled Chicken Soup with Chinese Herbs

Indeed, we started our meal with a comforting bowl of Double Boiled Chicken Soup. The herbs kept well in the background and my soul felt instantly nourished. Cordycep flowers are used in the soup which gives a delicate flavour, the medicinal benefits include immunity boosting and kidney strengthening properties.

Szechuan Style Crab Meat Dumpling with Chili Vinegar
Szechuan Style Crab Meat Dumpling with Chili Vinegar

You can tell that Chef Ken takes his craft seriously, down to the little details in presentation. If I had a bigger stomach I would have gone for second or even third serving of this gorgeous dumpling with chili oil. I love the slight kick and the tang complementing the soft dumpling.

Crystal Beetroot Har Kao with Coriander
Crystal Beetroot Har Kao with Coriander

This is yet another pretty little dish with my favourite food colour. Perfectly thin skin with juicy, fresh prawns. The coriander brought a lovely herbaceous note. No extra chili sauce or soy sauce needed.

Squid Ink Scallop Dumpling topped with Salmon Roe
Squid Ink Scallop Dumpling topped with Salmon Roe

Squid ink may be overused of late but here it’s definitely appropriate. The star of the show should be that giant piece of whole scallop, but the mini abalone brought lots of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ too.

Steamed Siew Mai with Chicken and Tobiko
Steamed Siew Mai with Chicken and Tobiko

I had once doubted pork free dim sum, but Celestial Court has proved me wrong. Even the Chicken Siew Mai tasted pretty good. I suspect the presence of fresh seafood provided plenty of umami flavours and contributed to the slightly chewy texture.

Crispy Shrimps Wanton served with Fruits Salad Mayonnaise
Crispy Shrimps Wanton served with Fruits Salad Mayonnaise

Serving deep fried wanton with fruit salad is pretty creative. Although the ‘skin’ was a little difficult to bite in due to the thickness.

Shanghai Dumplinh with Egg Strips and Spinach in Chicken Broth
Shanghai Dumpling with Egg Strips and Spinach in Chicken Broth

I’m a sucker for shanghai soup dumpling and this version comes with a small bowl of soup, the more the merrier right? Love the delicate skin and the slurp-worthy chicken broth. But the filling wasn’t too memorable for me, perhaps I was started to get really stuffed by that point.

Chinese Cruller Stuffed with Squid Mousse served with Thousand Island Dressing
Chinese Cruller Stuffed with Squid Mousse served with Thousand Island Dressing

This is another crafty dish with explosion of flavours. It’s not often I come across any Chinese dim sum dish using thousand island dressing, but it worked quite well with the crispy exterior and the delicious squid mousse.

Deep-fried Bean Curd Roll with Cheese and Prawns
Deep-fried Bean Curd Roll with Cheese and Prawns

I was surprised to taste cheese when I bit into this. Another fusion dish done right and it was strangely addictive. I enjoyed the crispy bean curd skin too.

Sesame Prawns served with Minced Nutmeg and Mayonnaise
Sesame Prawns served with Minced Nutmeg and Mayonnaise

The “All You Can Eat” menu also includes other mouth-watering a la carte delights, prepared by Chef Vincent Loo. Here are more prawns, fried to perfection and coated with mayo, sesame and nutmeg. Sweet, savoury and creamy, a rather unique combination. Would be lovely paired with rice. Yum.

Hong Kong Style Signature Roast Duck with Five Spice
Hong Kong Style Signature Roast Duck with Five Spice

I was actually preparing to wave my white flag but lo and behold, this beautiful roast duck landed on our table and I couldn’t resist a bite. The meat was definitely juicy and tender but I would have preferred the skin to be crispier.

Skillet Shrimps with Capsicum and Mushrooms in Hot Bean Sauce
Skillet Shrimps with Capsicum and Mushrooms in Hot Bean Sauce

Could I handle anymore prawns? Answer is no. So I picked some of the veges instead. The sauce is more sweet and sour than hot bean though.

Crispy Fish Fillet served with Thai Sauce
Crispy Fish Fillet served with Thai Sauce

When this dish was brought to our table, a lovely aroma hit our nose. The combination thinly battered chicken with that tangy, sweet and spicy sauce worked well. Quite refreshing actually.

Stewed Ee Fu Noodles with Sliced Chicken and Shredded Mushrooms
Stewed Ee Fu Noodles with Sliced Chicken and Shredded Mushrooms

When I saw the huge plate of noodles, I was rather intimidated. I told the group I was going to have just one strand of noodles, and I ended up eating quite a few more strands. Haha! I simply cannot resist good noodles. Ee Fu noodles are very suitable for braising as they don’t soften and get mushy after prolonged cooking. Here, each strand of noodles absorbed the gravy and the result was absolutely delicious. I did avoid the chicken as I found it unnecessary. In fact, I went home and replicated a vegetarian version. I might put up a recipe here soon.

I had to activate my emergency stomach space for dessert, for the Chilled mango cream with pearl sago was calling my name.

Chilled Mango Cream Puree with Pearl Sago
Chilled Mango Cream Puree with Pearl Sago

Look at the bright side; it’s almost all liquid right? This was nearly pure mango, with intense flavours and refreshing chill.

Chilled Sea Coconut with Snow Fungus
Chilled Sea Coconut with Snow Fungus

Just to balance the heatiness of the mango, my throat also told me to try a small bowl of the chilled sea coconut with snow fungus. Delicious.

Steamed Custard Buns
Steamed Custard Buns

Picture purely for illustration purpose as I seriously could not fit anymore food in. But I did watch a fellow lunch companion darting out to get a second bun.

Gorgeous
Gorgeous

The dessert buffet section also features a variety of cakes, I was happy just looking at them.

The All-You-Can-Eat Dim Sum is priced at only RM88 ++ per person, available from now till 29 December 2013 on Sundays and public holidays, from 10am to 2.30pm. Visit sheratonimperialkualalumpur.com/celestialcourt to learn more.

Celestial Court,
Level 3, Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur,
Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2717 9900 ext 6988
or email: restaurants.imperial@sheraton.com
Business hours: Lunch, Mon to Sat, noon to 2.30pm;
Sun and public holidays, 10.00am to 2.30pm.
Dinner, daily, 6.30pm to 10.30pm.
Pork-free.

Sarawak Special: Tomato Kueh Tiaw

Happy Malaysia Day! I hope September has been treating you well so far. I’m definitely having a lot of fun! To the point I haven’t even had the chance to do any exciting dishes. So those of you who have come to this blog from “The Star” article, I’m going to do this space justice by posting an unique recipe today from Sarawak.

I have long felt that Malaysia day is more relevant to us because the Independence day (31st Aug) really only applies to the Peninsula Malaysia. 16th Sept marked the day Sarawak and Sabah joined the country, so today I shall introduce to you a very special dish that I loved (and still do) growing up: Tomato Kueh Tiaw, a dish most Sarawakians (and Kuching people especially) enjoy on a regular basis. It’s good that a lot of the West Malaysians are starting to get to know Sarawak cuisine, as back in the days if you mention Tomato Kueh Tiaw the hawker would probably give you a plate of Kueh Tiaw and a Tomato. Now, we can enjoy a good plate of this at 7th Mile Kitchen, Taman Bahagia, and few more others (feel free to recommend more places, by the way)

Tomato Kueh Tiaw looks a lot like Watan hor (Hor Fun with Eggy gravy), except the gravy is of red-orange hue from well…. tomato! A good gravy should have a nice balance of tangyness and sweetness, and  thick enough to coat the noodles. You can either order this with crispy noodles, or like how I prefer it, with fried kueh tiaw. Both are good in their own ways. Here’s a picture of what I cooked:

Tomato Kueh Tiaw
Tomato Kueh Tiaw

The toppings varies from stall to stall but the basic would be some seafood (Prawns and squid usually, sometimes fish cake), vegetables (Choy Sum and sometimes Carrot too), and meat (Pork or Chicken). Having said that though, you probably won’t get prawns as big as these ones. Ahh…… that’s the beauty of home-cooking!

The process is rather simple, and I have referred to the recipe by Kimba’s Kitchen and adapted to my own taste.

Mise en place, missing some cornstarch and chicken stock.
Mise en place, but missing some cornstarch and chicken stock.

Ingredients: (Serves 1)
One portion of Fresh kueh tiaw (in some supermarket, you get to choose the variety for either soup or frying… go for the latter of course)
1 tablespoon Sweet soy sauce)
1 Clove Garlic, minced
Half Chicken Breast, sliced
4 Prawns (of any variety, I used large tiger prawns), de-shelled and de-veined.
Handful of Choy Sum, cleaned and snap in halves (sounds violent huh?)
1 pinch of Chicken Stock Cube (I use only ones without MSG) mixed with 1/2 cup of water
1 teaspoon cornflour mixed with few tablespoons of water (might need more to adjust the consistency)
1 1/2 tablespoon Tomato sauce to taste (I usually just eyeball it, Heinz Ketchup is pretty rich in taste, so if you are using other brand you might need more)
1 teaspoon Tomato Puree
1 teaspoon Oyster sauce (mine’s vegetarian because I have a vegetarian at home)
White pepper to taste
Extra water as required

Loosen the Kueh Tiaw and fry them in high heat with a little oil, adding Sweet Soy Sauce as you go until evenly coated. Don’t overcook as they will become sticky and clumpy.

Smelling pretty good at this point, and it's just noodles!
Smelling pretty good at this point, and it’s just noodles!

Using the same pan, add a little more oil and saute garlic with chicken, follow by prawns. When the prawns and chicken are seared on both sides, pour in the chicken stock, followed by tomato sauce and puree, and oyster sauce. Bring sauce to boil and add Choy sum. Thicken with cornstarch and simmer for another minute or two until everything is cooked.

Bubbling away and loving the colours!
Bubbling away and loving the colours!

Once you are happy with the sauce (might need to adjust with more water), turn off heat and pour the sauce over the Kueh Tiaw. Finish with some white pepper (and chili if you wish) and serve immediately.

Mmmm..... Perfection on a plate.
Mmmm….. Perfection on a plate.

It’s amazing how such simple dish can be so delicious. Savoury sweet soft noodles, piping hot sauce to bring that piquancy, with plenty of juicy prawns, tender chicken (secret is not to overcook chicken breast, always), crunchy vegetables. That made me a very happy girl! In fact I think I might cook another plate later.

Oh... will you look at that?!
Oh… will you look at that?!

So have you ever tried Tomato Kueh Tiaw before? What do you think of the taste?

Perak MFF: Kampar Beef Brisket Noodles

I have a thing for beef noodles soup. I think it’s great that every culture (and in Malaysia’s case, almost every region) have their own take on a beef soup recipe. Needless to say, I have a soft spot for a really good bowl of pho, but since we live in a country with so much to offer, I thought it’s only fair to give other types of beef noodles a go. So when Wendy put up her post for her copycat version of Onn Kee Beef Brisket Noodles in Kampar (head over to her blog to read all about Onn Kee’s beef noodles), I knew I had to try it. What was intriguing, too, was her method of express char siew oil (read on to find out). And for something so tasty and comforting, it really didn’t take much of an effort to make.

This time, I have gone for a totally different and time saving method and used my Philips Pressure Cooker for the soup. The original recipe calls for 4 hours of cooking time, which I wouldn’t have, but with my semi-new gagdet, I wanted to know if I can produce a similar results. So with just 45 minutes for the initial boil, then add seasoning and cook (with pressure) for further 15 minutes, the result was a piping bowl of soup, spicy, aromatic, with tender bits of beef and the daikon still keeping their shape. Fabulous!

Kampar Beef Brisket Noodles.
Kampar Beef Brisket Noodles.

Kampar Beef Brisket Noodles
Recipe by WendyinKK

600g beef brisket/flank cut (牛腩) and tendons (omited because I couldn’t find any)
300g Daikon (choose the long slender type, fat ones lack in flavour), peel and cut into chunks
2 Star Anise
2 inches Cinnamon Stick
1 small piece of Dried Tangerine Peel
10 pcs of White Peppercorn, cracked
20g Rock Sugar, adjust to taste
Salt to taste
Spring Onion, chopped

Add 2.5 litres of water, whole piece of brisket, daikon, and all the spices into the pressure cooker. Pressure cook for 45 minutes. Release pressure then add sugar and salt, and pressure cook for further 15 minutes. Release pressure and keep warm until needed (the longer then better)

Fish out the brisket chunks, slice them and put it back into the pot.

Serve the beef brisket soup with a sprinkling of spring onions.

Mmmm, do not underestimate the healing power of this soup.
Mmmm, do not underestimate the healing power of this soup.

Express Cha Siu renderings
100g of very fat pork belly
1 heaped Tbsp of sugar
1 Tbsp of light soy sauce

Slice the fat pork belly thinly. Put in into the wok with 1 Tbsp of oil and slowly fry until it is very slightly golden. Add in sugar and light soy sauce and cook the belly until it turns dry and dark. Discard the belly bits and retain the renderings.

Dry Tossed Noodles

Loosen single portion fresh egg noodles/fresh wantan noodles. Put the noodles in a noodle strainer. Cook in boiling water for 15 seconds. Rinse it under running tap water. Blanch it again for another 15-30 seconds depending on the thickness of noodles. Put noodles in a plate. Top with 1 Tbsp of renderings, some dark caramel sauce (or dark soy sauce), light soy sauce according to taste. Toss the noodles. Garnish with some blanched baby bok choy or mustard green.

This plate of noodles is so aromatic from the char siew oil
Oooh….. come to mama!

Of course, you will probably be content with just regular pork lard for the noodles. For our muslim friends, a mix of shallot or sesame oil could suffice. But the char siew oil really gives it a little more ooomph.

Kampar Beef Brisket Noodles, done!
Kampar Beef Brisket Noodles, done!

This is a recipe I am going to keep for whenever I have my beef soup craving. Just add a few more spices, onions, ginger and it’ becomes a beef pho soup! By the way, as for any great soup, the flavours get better if you let it sit for longer (overnight is best). The great thing about cooking for one is that I get to enjoy this multiple times, hehe. I also gave a portion of the soup to Miss Poesy as she also has the same affection towards beef noodles. Thank you, Wendy, for this excellent recipe! I will need to hunt down some tendon and beef tripe for next time.

What’s your favourite type of Beef noodles?

I am submitting this to Malaysian Food Fest Perak Month hosted by WendyinKK of Table for 2 or more