Rendang Tok Perak with Philips All-In-One Pressure Cooker

Unboxing a new kitchen appliance is always a very exciting affair. Especially when it’s as big as the Philips All-In-One Pressure Cooker. That’s right, I received my very own just a couple of weeks ago and have been cooking up a storm with it. The original Philips Pressure Cooker has been very helpful in our kitchen too, but with the addition of new functions, I don’t even have to cook on the stove very much anymore.

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One of the very first dishes I made was, of course, the Rendang Tok Perak, which is well-documented in the book co-authored by Chef Marina Mustafa and Sara Khong, “One-Pot Wonders”. By the way, if you own a Philips All-In-One Cooker, this book is highly recommended, with details instructions on how to cook each dishes in either slow or pressure cooker mode, as well as conventional method (although who needs to use the conventional method with this?).

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So, back to Rendang. Normally, it takes around 4-5 hours of cooking and you can’t go very far away from the stove as you’d have to stir it quite frequently to prevent burning. That’s why a lot of newer generation cooks don’t even bother anymore. But what if I tell you-you can make this dish in under 1hour, with almost the same result?

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Of course, the very best rendang also lies in its ingredients. Make sure you use freshly squeezed coconut milk, the kerisik you choose should be those submerged in oil for the best flavour, and the quality of meat does matter.

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As you can see here, my Rendang is a little bit on the wet side. And that’s because I didn’t let it cook till dry (it’s an additional 15 minutes or so). I happen to like the extra gravy and in fact I kept some for future use (Rendang goes fabulously with Pasta!). Anyway, here’s a video, shot and edited by none other than Kevin, hehe.

I’ve made beef rendang the traditional way in the past, and I honestly feel that this is just as delicious. And this was even better the next day when the flavours had the time to develop and the sauce continued to thicken as I left it in the pot to warm. Other things I’ve cooked with the Philips All-In-One Cooker includes a Kek Gula Hangus (that was amazing), Barbeque Pork Ribs, Pork Belly and Bittergourd Stew, Japanese Mille Feuille Nabe (Napa Cabbage and Pork hot pot). It has made my life so easy!

Rendang Tok Perak

Ingredients to marinate:
1kg beef, cut into 11/2 inch cubes
2 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1/2 tbsp ground fennel
1/2 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp ground cinnamon

Spice Paste (Blended)
2 large red onions
3 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger
2 inches galangal
4 stalks lemongrass
3 fresh turmeric root, removed skin

Other ingredients:
2 star anise
5 cardamons
5 cloves
2 cups thick coconut milk
1/2 cup grated palm sugar
1 tbsp Chili Paste (or a lot more…. if you want spicy)
2 tbsp tamarind paste, diluted in 1 cup of water, discard seeds
1/2 cup kerisik
2 tsp salt
3 pieces kaffir lime leaves
2 turmeric leaves, finely sliced

Pressure Cooker Method:

  1. Rub the ground ingredients all over the meat and set aside until needed.
  2. Open the lid of the Philips All-In-One Pressure Cooker and press “Saute/Sear High Temp” and press “Start”
  3. Pour in oil when hot, add the blended ingredients, chili paste, whole spices and stir to mix.
  4. Put in the marinated beef cubes and stir for 20 seconds.
  5. Pour in coconut milk, tamarind juice, kaffir lime leaves & palm sugar. Stir til combined. (I accidentally added kerisik at this point but I don’t think it affected the outcome too much.
  6. Close the lid and turn the valve to “Seal”
  7. Press “Pressure Cook” button, choose “MEAT/POULTRY” and set the cooking time to 30 minutes (I actually set it to 40minutes because I prefer my beef more tender), press start.
  8. When “Keep Warm” light flicks on the panel, the beef rendang is ready. Open the lid and put in the kerisik, season with salt if needed. Since I already added the kerisik earlier I didn’t have to do much except for letting it reduce a little by putting it on “Saute/Sear High Temp” function. If you prefer a very dry/flossy rendang you just have to continue searing until desired consistency.
  9. Sprinkle with sliced turmeric leaves before serving.

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Thank you Philips Malaysia for your fabulous product, I’ll continue to post more recipes soon.

For more information on the Philips All-In-One Cooker, refer to my post for the product launch or visit www.philips.com.my/pressurecooker

 

Sunday Curry Tiffin Lunch, Colonial Cafe @ Hotel Majestic

I’ve long heard about the Colonial Cafe at the beautiful Hotel Majestic but yet to pay a visit until couple of Sundays ago when we were invited to dine and enjoy their Sunday Curry Tiffin Lunch. Sunday Tiffin is basically synonymous with over indulging of curries, vegetables and rice. This tradition is believed to begun in India back in the 1800s by the British people. Well it’s only fitting for Colonial Cafe to relive this tradition by introducing the Sunday Curry Tiffin Lunch.

Spotted Frank at the bar, how typical.

The Cafe is as classy as it gets, with a grand piano right in the middle and on Sunday afternoons we have Isabella Solianos serenading us with slow romantic jazz tunes. That in itself is worth crawling out of bed for. Another bonus would be the view of the Orchid Conservatory.

Gorgeous!

Of course, the main star would still be the food. And be prepared to get totally stuffed! The Tiffin lunch is basically a super posh version of Banana Leaf Rice, where you get bottomless rice and condiments. This indulgent set also includes 4 different main courses. To start, the waiter will place a piece of banana leaf and then spoon the rice on top until you say stop. Then the condiments are served.

Love the posh uniforms too especially the white blazer. Service is impeccable, as one would expect.

If all the condiments I liked the fish puttu the most. Fish puttu is a traditional recipe from South India made with shredded fish flavoured with various spices. Here it’s deliciously light and aromatic. The marinated cucumbers were delightful too.

Rice and Condiments: Mango chutney, pineapple slices, fish puttu, salted egg, toasted coconut, toasted salted peanuts, marinated cucumbers and banana slices

We were also given a shot of Salted Lassi, something I’ve never tried before. It’s rather strong with a sprinkling of cumin seeds, a great appetiser to the meal ahead.

Salted Lassi

And once everyone’s been served, the pretty tiffin carrier arrived on the table, inducing a wave of excitement.

So pretty!

Revealing the shiny cover, the first curry was gloriously red Hainanese Chicken Curry hitting us with its intense aroma.

Yum!

Let’s take a closer look:

Mmmmm….. I can almost smell it.

I love how it comes with nice big pieces of chicken and chunky potatoes, all cooked to perfect tenderness. The curry gravy is match made in heaven with fragrant white rice, so I couldn’t resist pouring it all over. This is as good as chicken curry goes. Although it looks really red, the spice is mild.

Mutton Varuval.

While the Mutton Varuval packs a little more spicy kick, it is also balanced by a hint of sweetness. Since this is heavy handed in spices, the flavours are quite complex and intense, which is great because I’m not a huge fan of mutton in general but I enjoyed this.

Egg Masala

Hard-boiled egg in curry? Hand it over please! As egg lover I would indulge any form of egg dishes and this gets the tick of approval from me. The gravy is a mix of spices, tomato and onions, another great one to mix with rice.

Fried Masala Fish

The large slices of Mackerel are marinated and fried to a crisp. The liberal use of spices toned down the otherwise distinctive fishy taste of Mackerel. If only it’s a little tenderer I would have loved it more. Then again this is purely personal preference.

Eat the rainbow!

For a good long while, the table was silent as we slowly work through our big meal.

I brought Frank along with me and since he’s a fussy eater (almost vegetarian) we requested for a meat free menu and the kitchen very kindly prepared 4 vegetarian main courses for him.

Chickpea Curry, Deep-fried Potatoes in a Korma gravy, Cauliflower and Potato Curry, Mixed Vegetables. All one single portion by the way.

My favourite would be the Cauliflower and Potato curry, it’s like a wetter version of Aloo Gobi. Frank managed to polish most of these up.

Sago Gula Melaka

We finished our meal with a super sweet dessert.

Masala Tea

And a comforting glass of Masala Tea, a milky tea flavoured with spices like cardamon, cinnamon, clover, ginger and more. As it was a rainy afternoon, this was perfect.

The Sunday Tiffin Lunch is priced at RM78++ per person and is available for lunch only on Sundays at Colonial Cafe, The Majestic Hotel KL. It is served from 12pm to 2pm and comes with beverage options of salted lassi, masala tea or fresh juices as you prefer.

For more information or reservation enquiries, please call 03 – 2785 8000 or visit www.majestickl.com.

Beef Rendang Penne

Couple of months ago I was the finalist for the Asian Food Channel’s Foodie Cook-Off, and the theme was “Raya Celebration”. Knowing I’m up against some contestants who would have been cooking Raya food all their lives, I didn’t want to go in with traditional Malay dish. Hence I was trying to go for the fusion direction.

There were a few ideas in my head: mainly to do with some sort of traditional flavours with western fusion and combining Beef Rendang with Pasta was one of them. But we only had 1 hour of cooking time, so that was out of the question. In the end I went for a Prawn “Ravioli” with Prawn Laksa “Bisque”. Though as expected I didn’t place in the competition as I really didn’t think my dishes through (the second dish we were to incorporate Kellog’s corn flakes…) with the limited time for practise (4 days). One day I shall do a proper post on that. But today let’s talk about the Rendang Pasta.

My dream kinda materialised when I had Lamb Rendang Penne at Nosh (check out the review here), as their version was everything I expected to be, just with a different protein. I’ve been wanting to recreate that at home since then. Seeing Alan putting up pictures of his Pulled Beef Rendang Pasta definitely gave me the final push. So off I went to buy some Penne pasta. There’s something about the robustness of the rendang pairing with al-dente Penne which is thicker in nature that really works for my palate. I’m sure any other pasta will work well too, but I think I’m just a little biased due to my personal preference.

Beef Rendang Penne
Beef Rendang Penne

I tried to get it as close to Nosh’s version as possible, though I have not used quite as much cream because I did find theirs a touch rich. Here’s my very simple recipe, and it only takes about 15 minutes (of course, that’s when there’s already some Beef Rendang lying around). Speaking of which, it’s better to use leftover because as you know, beef rendang tastes better if you leave it for the flavours to develop further.

Beef Rendang Penne

One Portion Beef Rendang (3-4 pieces of beef would be ample)
100g Penne Pasta (or however you like for one person)
50ml Cream
1 tablespoon Butter
50g Button Mushrooms, sliced
1 Kaffir Lime Leaf, shredded, saving half for garnish
Pinch of Chili Flakes

Cook Penne in salted water until al dente.

In a skillet, melt the butter and saute mushrooms until golden. Add cream, follow by beef rendang and half of the kaffir lime leaf. Once the beef rendang is fully heated up, carefully break the beef into smaller pieces. This whole process should take just over 10 minutes, which is exactly the time the penne needs. Once the pasta is ready, drain (reserving a little bit of the pasta water) and mix well with the sauce. Loosen it with pasta water if needed. Serve immediately and garnish with more Kaffir lime leaf and Chili Flakes.

By the way, if your beef rendang recipe already includes Kaffir lime leaf, you can just use it for garnish. Otherwise it would probably be too overpowering. As for the cream amount, it’s definitely up to you. I used just enough to loosen the sauce so it coats the pasta, but if you like it richer by all mean add more.

Alternatively, if you don’t have time to do the whole 3 hours for beef rendang, you can try using ready made paste. Brahim’s (blue packet) is a pretty food brand and I used to use this one when I was at Uni. You do need to cook it much longer than the packet’s direction until the beef is tender (around 1 1/2 hours).

Mmmmm.... I wish you can smell this right now. Actually I wish I could too, since I did this more than a week ago.
Ready to eat!

Mmmmm…. I wish you can smell this right now. Actually I wish I could too, since I did this more than a week ago. The tender beef and the chewy pasta are a perfect marriage. And the aroma from the spices met with cream and butter and produced fireworks! It was so seriously good, I wonder why I hadn’t done it with my batch of rendang last year. I might have an excuse to make this again soon though.

Want some?
Want some?

Makes me wonder what else would work. Alan did a very sexy looking plate of Spaghetti alla Laksa Pesto, maybe I should give that a go!

Have you had any fusion pasta dishes before?

Eggplant Kasundi

Eggplant, or aubergine, or brinjal, has become one of my favourite vegetables over the years. It’s fabulous in any type of cuisine be it Chinese (in spicy garlic sauce, yum!), Greek (Moussaka, my favourite), French (Raaaaatatouille), Japanese (Nasu Dengaku, anyone?), Malay (Sambal eggplant… and more), you name it, there is bound to be a recipe for it.

Some interesting facts about eggplant (partly stolen from my old blog):

1. It’s a fruit – It is part of the nightshade (Solanacene) family, which also includes tomatoes, potatoes, and chili peppers.
2. Tobacco is also a member of the nightshade family. Thus like tobacco, eggplants contain nicotine!
3. Italy, China, Turkey, Egypt, and Japan are the earth’s greatest producers of the eggplant. The Italians call it “melanzane,” which means “crazy apple.”
4. According to a 5th century Chinese scroll, fashionable Chinese women used to make a dye out of the skin of purple eggplants and polish their teeth with it until they were a shiny gray. (sexay!)
5. One cup of cooked eggplant has only nearly 28 calories, and at almost 10% of your daily fiber, they are also high in copper and potassium.

So I had a surplus of Eggplants from over-enthusiastic groceries shopping, and I ended up googling uncommon recipes to use them up. And then I found (and made) this:

Eggplant Kasundi
Eggplant Kasundi

Having never heard of the term Kasundi, I did a little research: Kasundi is actually a rich, unctuous tomato relish/pickle originated from India. Specifically, it’s a Bengali recipe. Traditionally this is made in big batches because it tends to last quite long due to the sugar, vinegar and spices. I’m not sure if adding Eggplant is a common practise but my guess is that this is more of a “bastardised” version, but nonetheless delicious. I had no intention of jarring it though as I know we’d be able to finish it in a day or two.

Mmmm.... the rich dark colour looks pretty sexy to me.
Mmmm…. the rich dark colour looks pretty sexy to me.

Eggplant Kasundi (Recipe from Taste.com.au)

1 Eggplant (around 300g), cut into 1 inch pieces
1 Brown onion, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
2 Green Chillies, finely chopped
2 cloves of Garlic, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
2 teaspoons Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
400g can Diced Tomatoes
2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 tablespoon Malt vinegar
Peanut Oil
Coriander to Garnish

To minimise oil absorption (if you have cooked eggplants you would know how much they suck up oil!), salt the eggplant for at least 20 minutes, then wash and dry.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over high heat until almost smoking. Cook eggplant (in batches if needed), stirring, for 5 minutes or until golden. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium. Cook the onion, stirring often, for 3 minutes or until golden. Add mustard seeds and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until the seeds start to pop.

Add the ginger, chilli and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until soft. Add the cumin, paprika and turmeric and stir to combine.

Add the eggplant, tomato, sugar and vinegar and reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring, for 30 minutes or until the mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool slightly. Serve with bread, rice or papadums.

Delicious!
Delicious!

This Kasundi definitely packs a lot of heat with the chillies as well as the mustard, but at the same time has a balance of sour, sweet and savoury notes with a hint of bitterness from mustard seeds and eggplant seeds (although salting it has reduced the bitterness a great deal). By the way, this is totally vegan, and totally good for you. We actually had this with pasta (rebels, we are) and it was quite addictive. As a result, I only had a little bit of leftover and I made this for lunch today.

"Laksa" (Sarawak Laksa Paste) with Eggplant Kasundi and also some Beef Rendang which I made over the weekend. Bastardization to the max!
“Laksa” (Sarawak Laksa Paste) with Eggplant Kasundi and also some Beef Rendang which I made over the weekend. Bastardization to the max!

I like making my ‘Instant noodles’ this way. Just buy packets of noodles (just noodles, no seasoning, non-fried ones are even better), and use my own stock + flavourings. I usually go crazy with toppings too. Don’t judge! 😛

Do you like eggplants as much as I do?

Ramadan Buffet Dinner at Tonka Bean Cafe, Impiana Hotel

The whole town is now gearing up for the upcoming Ramadan month and not surprisingly; hotels and restaurants alike are starting to promote their Ramadan specials. You know what this means: Buffet galore! Ironically, Ramadan is all about fasting but when the Muslims break their fast, many choose to do it in style. Which is why buffets such as this tend to be really popular.

Tonka Bean Cafe, Impiana Hotel
Food, Glorious Food.

Last week, media and bloggers were invited to a little preview of the Ramadan Buffet at Tonka Bean Cafe. It’s always fun to check out what the buffet line has to offer, and the theme for Tonka Bean Cafe this year is SANTAPAN RAMADAN. Aptly themed considering the wide variety of dishes they have to offer.

My favourite section of any buffet.

From cold cuts and salad choices, to traditional Malay dishes, Tonka Bean is set to please any fussy eaters. Personally, I love loading up on smoked salmon (they also serves pretty decent Salmon sashimi too). I was curious about all the colourful “kuah” and curries displayed right next to the cold section.

Assortment of Malay dishes.
Assortment of Malay dishes.

Some of the dishes I’ve never even heard before. Just look at this list: Nasi Tomato, Ayam Sambal Merah, Nasi Ulam, Ayam Goreng Belacan, Daging Kawah, Gulai Telur Itik dengan Belimbing Buluh, Petola Tumis Air Soo Hoon, Ikan Bawal Masak Siam…. it goes on. Needless to say, I grabbed a bit of everything because they all looked very appetising to me.

More hot dishes
More hot dishes, this side is more Chinese oriented.

Here you get dishes like Steamed Tofu with Mushroom and Soya, Salted Prawn, Chili Crab, Stir Fried Ginger Beef, Chicken Rice, Yong Tau Foo with sauce, Chinese Fried Rice with Silver Anchovy, Braised Chicken with Preserved Vegetables etc. According to the Chef, there will be 30-40% more dishes during the Ramadan Month. It’s just mind boggling.

Star of the show: Roast Lamb
Star of the show: Roast Lamb

For the patrons with a ferocious appetite for meat, the show kitchen features a huge roast lamb for condiments. Needless to say, this was one of the most popular spots in the cafe.

Satays
Satay station

Right next to it, the ever popular satays that are robust in flavours with succulent meat.

Noodles station
Noodles station

You’ll be able to enjoy Curry Laksa, Penang Laksa, Mee Soto, Mee Rebus, Mee Mamak, and even Char Koay Teow in one setting. Talk about carbo-loading!

I bet you feel full (or hungry) looking at these pictures. But that’s not all! How can we forget about desserts?

One of the dessert station
One of the dessert stations (there are 2, another will feature 18 types of Baskin Robbin ice cream)

The desserts choice are a great mix of local and international (including a range of local tropical fruits), but my favourite would have to be the Pengat Pisang that I’ve just discovered that night.

I had 2 servings!
I had 2 servings!

So simple yet aromatic, dangerously addictive. Oh, I shall show you what I ended up having that night.

Cold dishes with plenty of salmon
Cold dishes with plenty of salmon

Healthy greens and some lovely Omega-3 for me to kick start my appetite.

Lamb, Satay, more greens, more salmon!
Lamb, Satay, more greens, more salmon!

I’ve asked the chef to cut me a raw-ish piece hence the pink colour. It was tender enough and went well with the condiments. I helped myself to plenty of that refreshing mint sauce.

Flooded with curries
Flooded with curries

I enjoyed the dhal (perfectly cooked), duck egg curry (the umami creamy stuff which was new to me) and Chicken biryani (so aromatic with juicy chicken pieces) the most. The Chili Crab was pretty good too.

Here's my having a moment with my coconut.
Here’s me looking rather animated while opening my coconut with surgical precision. Hehe.

This buffet will be priced at RM108++ per person for the period of 10th July 2013 until 7th August 2013 while children at the age of six until 12 years old and senior citizen above 55 years old are charged at RM 54.00++ per person. Children below the age of six will be privileged to dine for free. On the first and last three days of Ramadan, diners will enjoy a special offer only at RM 98++ per person. The buffet starts from 6.30 pm to 10.00 pm.

All diners will receive an Aquaria KLCC special voucher each whereby guest will enjoy a deduction of RM5 on entrance ticket upon presenting the voucher at the ticketing counter.
Impiana Hotel KLCC
13, Jalan Pinang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia
Tel: 603 – 2147 1111
Toll-free: 1800 883 100
Email: info.impianaklcc@impiana.com

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Ayam Percik Kelantan (MFF Kelantan)

As promised, I’m back with a recipe. And this one is a doozy, featuring one of the most versatile protein, chicken. Specifically, the thighs (well, legs). The breast lovers can divert your attention now (or make the substitution if you want). There must be over a hundred way to cook Chicken thighs, even in Malaysia alone. Even a simple barbecued Chicken dish “Ayam Percik” comes with several regional variations. As this is the Kelantan month for Malaysian Food Fest (hosted by mykitchensnippets), of course I’ve gone with a Kelantan recipe.

The State of Kelantan is located on the North East coast of Peninsula Malaysia. The dishes in Kelantan tend to be on the sweet side (I wonder if the incidence of diabetes is the highest in this state?) and even the savoury dishes contains a good dose of sugar. Coconut milk usage is high too, so their curries tend to be on the rich side as well. The dish I’ve cooked this time, “Ayam Percik Kelantan” looks a little paler comparing to the regional cousins which are usually blessed with a touch of turmeric and you guessed it, contains sugar and plenty of coconut milk.

Ayam Percik Kelantan
Ayam Percik Kelantan

Percik in Malay means sprinkle or drizzle, and this refers to the way the gravy is poured onto the chicken several times during the cooking process. As the gravy consists of coconut milk infused with various spices, what you get as an end result are pieces of the most aromatic, and succulent chicken with caramelised edges of the gravy. Just divine. Splash a little more thickened gravy over (enough to mix in the rice too) and you have yourself a very satisfying meal.

I’ve consulted Dr Google for the recipe and there are quite a few out there with different combination of spices. In the end, I decided to go with Lemongrass, Cardamom and Cloves as the main spices along with the usual onion, garlic, ginger and chili mixture. The cooking method also varies but I’ve referred closely to Kuali.com with minor adaptations. And of course, I do not have a charcoal barbeque so I’ve entrusted my oven for this job. As I cooked for one, I only used 2 Chicken thighs. Feel free to adjust the recipe to your need.

Ayam Percik Kelantan (Recipe adapted from Kuali.com)

2 Chicken Maryland (Thighs + Drumsticks)
200ml Coconut Milk
3 cardamoms
3 cloves
1 stalk Lemongrass, bruised
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon White Pepper
1 teaspoon Sugar
1 teaspoon potato starch mixed with water(or any thickening agent you prefer)

Spice paste
3 cloves Garlic
1 thumb sized Ginger
3 Shallots
3-4 Dried Chili, soaked and drained
1/2 cup Water
1 stalk Lemongrass

Put garlic, shallots, ginger, lemongrass and dried chili in blender and blend with a little water until fine. Marinate chicken thighs in this paste for at least 1/2 hour.

Transfer everything into a pot and pour half the coconut milk over it. Add cardamom, cloves and lemongrass and cook over medium heat until chicken is partly cooked, about 20 minutes. Season with tamarind paste, salt and sugar halfway through.

Smelling really good at this point.
Smelling really good at this point.

Take the chicken out of the pot, reserving the coconut milk mixture in the pot. Place the chicken on baking tray and cook under the oven grill (broiler) at medium heat for 7-8 minutes.

Discard the cardamom and cloves from the gravy. Add the rest of coconut milk and the potato starch mix and simmer until thick. Taste for seasoning.

Coat the chicken with extra sauce and continue to grill, repeating if necessary until chicken is golden brown and cooked well. When serving, ladle the delicious gravy over the chicken or you can also serve it separately. For me, the more the merrier! I served mine with some brown rice cooked with pandan leaves.

Simply Irresistible
Simply Irresistible

I will not deny that I’ve ladled extra gravy over the rice after taking the photos. I absolutely loved this. The combination of spices and the rich coconut gravy made the apartment smell incredible and of course totally won over my taste buds. The level of sweetness was just enough to complement the coconut milk. If I were to make this next time I will throw in some fresh chili as well for extra kick. The spice level is on the mild side for me, but definitely stronger for people like your typical Ang Moh (yes I’m looking at you Frank). He doesn’t eat chicken by the way, more for me.

What is your favourite chicken recipe?

I am submitting this post to Malaysian Food Fest, Kelantan Month hosted by Gertrude of My Kitchen Snippets

Roti Jala (Lacy Net Crepes) with Vegetable Curry

Oh my! I have not been so knackered for a long time (equivalent to about 3 x 14 hours shift in the hospital I think)! The 2-day Future Music Festival Asia partying has really worn me out but I’ve never had so much fun. Will blog about it soon.

It’s funny how the first time I’ve eaten Roti Jala was all the way in Melbourne (a big shout out to a dear friend, Robert of Chili Padi for great authentic Malaysian food). True enough, growing up in Sarawak, it’s very rare that we visit anything other than Chinese Restaurants, except for the occasional Roti Canai when the craving strikes. To be honest I don’t even know if we can find Roti Jala in Bintulu, as it originates from Johor, a state all the way at the tip of the Peninsula Malaysia.

Lacy Crepes.
Lacy Crepes.

The person who invented this must be quite an artist as these crepes are not only tasty, they look almost too beautiful to eat. Roti Jala is a very popular dish during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, and is usually served with various types of curries. The mold for Roti Jala though, is not as beautiful looking and almost looks like a cow’s udder. Hah! Here’s a picture.

Roti Jala Mold
Roti Jala Mold

You can find this in local supermarkets easily (and cheap). I bought mine from AEON (Jusco) when I first arrived in KL, what a random buy right? Since this month is Johor month for Malaysian Food Fest hosted by Annie, it’s perfect timing to make another batch of Roti Jala!

Lovely afternoon tea.
Roti Jala with Vegetable Curry

1 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour, sieved
1/2 cup Coconut Milk
1/2 cup Milk
1/2 cup Water (plus more if needed)
1 Egg
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Turmeric powder
1/2 tablespoon Oil or Ghee (to grease the pan)

*Note that if you can’t get hold of a roti jala mold, you can punch a few holes at the bottom of a plastic bottle, milk carton, tin can, or just use a squeeze top (this will take longer so turn the heat to low while doing so).

In a big bowl, mix everything together (except the oil) and strain, pour into a measuring cup for easier pouring.

Turn the heat to medium, grease the pan with oil or ghee. In swift movements, hold the Roti Jala mold above the pan and pour the batter into the mold (it will start dripping straightaway). Start making circular motions to create the ‘lace’ pattern. You might have to readjust the consistency of the batter (with more water) if the batter doesn’t flow smoothly.

As you can see, my mold crossed over the middle a little bit too much.
As you can see, my mold crossed over the middle a little bit too much.

Once the top is set (and the bottom lightly browned) fold the crepes into triangles and arrange on plate.

The crepes are slightly crispy around the edges and soft in the centre, they are really fun to eat! The best way to enjoy this is with a rich curry with plenty of liquid to soak the crepes. The spices really brings out the delicate flavours of Roti Jala. Since we are always in favour of vegetarian dishes, I’ve made an Eggplant, Pumpkin, Tomato and Potato Curry to go with the crepes.

Vegetable Curry
Vegetable Curry

1 Onion, finely chopped
3 cloves Garlic, minced
Thumb sized Ginger, finely chopped
1 Eggplant, cut into 5cm pieces
Half Pumpkin, cut into 1″ blocks
1 Medium Potato, cut into 1″ blocks
1 Tomato, cut into wedges
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Ground Turmeric
1/2 teaspoon Mustard Seed
1/2 teaspoon Fennel Seed
1/2 teaspoon Ground Coriander Seeds
1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala
3-4 Cloves
3-4 pieces of Dried Chili, finely chopped
2-3 Chili Padi, finely chopped
100ml Coconut Milk
1 tablespoon Yoghurt (optional)
100ml Vegetable stock
Salt to taste

Salt the Eggplant before cooking for about 15 minutes, then wash and pat dry.

Roast all the spices in a heavy pan until fragrant. Add oil and saute Onion, Garlic, Ginger, Dried chili for about 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes and saute for 2-3 minutes for the juices to release, follow by Eggplant (1-2 minutes), Potato, and then Pumpkin (cooks the fastest so goes in last). Once all the vegetables are nicely coated with spices and slightly browned. Add fresh chili, pour in stock and coconut milk. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, adding water as required. The curry is ready when potato and pumpkin pieces are tender.

Just before turning off the heat, stir in the plain Yoghurt and mix well. Serve with rice, bread or the delectable Roti Jala.

I am submitting this post to Malaysian Food Fest, Johor Month hosted by Annie of Annielicious Food.

Beef Rendang with Modified Lemang

Another long weekend has come to an end for the Malaysians and I trust that you have enjoyed the Raya celebrations, or for the non-Muslims, enjoyed holidays. I don’t have any close Malay friends in KL, so my Raya celebration involved a lot of cooking and spending time with half my family, namely my mother and my brother.

I thought I’d use the opportunity to finally conquer the ultimate Malaysian/Indonesian dish: Beef Rendang. This has been on my to-do list for a long long time. For Raya’s sake, I finally purchased all the ingredients and set myself for a long day of cooking (night, rather). Despite the long and almost intimidating list of ingredients, it actually is not all that difficult to make, as long as you have the time. I started mine in the middle of the night. But then again, I’m just weird. Heh.

The recipe I’ve used come from Rasa Malaysia. Her instructions are simple to follow and the result is great! I’ve never tasted Beef Rendang so good, seriously. I pretty much followed it to the T though I tweak the amount somewhat as I’ve used less beef. Thanks so much, Bee!

Our family dinner spread

Beef Rendang (Adapted from Rasa Malaysia

Serves 4-6

1 pound boneless beef short ribs or chuck steak (I used both), cut into large cubes
4 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cinnamon stick (about 2-inch long)
3 cloves
3 star anise
3 cardamom pods
1 lemongrass (cut into 4-inch length and pounded)
110ml thick coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon tamarind pulp (soaked in some warm water for the juice and discard the seeds )
3 kaffir lime leaves (very finely sliced)
3 tablespoons kerisik (toasted coconut)
1 tablespoon sugar/palm sugar or to taste
Salt to taste

Spice Paste:

3 shallots
1 inch galangal
2 lemongrass (white part only)
3 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger
8 dried chilies (soaked in warm water)

Method:

Chop the spice paste ingredients and then blend it in a food processor until fine.

Heat the oil in a stew pot, add the spice paste, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and cardamom and stir-fry them until aromatic.

Add the beef and the pounded lemongrass and stir for 1 minute.

Add the coconut milk, tamarind juice, water, and simmer on medium heat, stirring frequently until the meat is almost cooked.

Add the Kaffir lime leaves, kerisik (toasted coconut), sugar/palm sugar, stirring to blend well with the meat.

Lower the heat to low, cover the lid, and simmer for 3 hours, stirring occasionally or until the meat is really tender and the gravy has dried up.

Nearly 4 hours of minimal labour but totally worth it.

Add salt to taste. If not sweet enough, add more sugar to taste.

I’ve actually left this overnight for the flavours to develope. And the next day I’ve made some Steamed Coconut Glutinous Rice. It’s not exactly “Lemang” as I didn’t cook it in bamboo. It’s simple enough though. Soak 3 cups of Glutinous Rice overnight. Mix in 100ml Coconut milk and Salt to taste. And steamed on high heat for about 20-30 minutes until rice is soft.

I then thought of using a heart-shaped measuring cup to shape them. Aren’t they just so adorable?

Sometimes inspiration just strikes

To serve, I’ve also fried up some Curried Cabbage on the side. I can’t enjoy a meal without some extra fibre. I’ve roasted some turmeric, cumin, coriander seeds and cardamon pods and then fry the cabbage and dry chilli in that mixture. Easy Peasy!

Is this not the Prettiest plate of ‘Curry and Rice’?

Needless to say, all of us attacked our plates with gusto. The coconut rice was fragrant but not cloying, perfect match for the rich and strong meaty stew. The level of spiciness was just ok, I think I’d more even more adventurous next time and add chili padi to the mix. The crunchy cabbage does help to cut through the overall richness. Quite an unforgettable meal.

Good news is that Beef Rendang keeps well in the fridge (or even in the freezer if you need to keep for longer), so no need to worry about having this for the next X number of meals. Though I won’t complain about that either.

So did you go to any open houses over the weekend? Or cooked up a storm?

(Submitted to Bizzy Bakes: Recipe Box #11)

Tonkatsu Curry

I’ve just realised that I’ve never posted any Japanese recipes on this blog despite it being one of my favourite cuisines. Since this is the first time, I might as well start with my favourite dish.

When I was a student in Melbourne I’d have a Katsudon or Katsu Curry Don almost every couple of weeks. It’s relatively cheap and I can never resist the allure of crispy deep fried pork cutlet. Having this dish always brings back memories. Nowadays in Japanese restaurants, I still order this sometimes but nothing beats the homemade version. Although it’s a deep fried dish, it shouldn’t feel greasy at all if you drain the oil away properly. This is relatively cheap to make at home and doesn’t take long at all.

Tonkatsu Curry

Japanese curry (serves 2)

2 medium-sized potatoes, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
6 or 7 button mushrooms, sliced.
1 apple, skin peeled and cored (optional)
1 tablespoon of curry powder
Enough vegetable curry roux cubes (I’ve used S&B so two cubes for 2 serves)

(Optional: cayenne pepper or chili powder if you want to amp the heat up, as the curry cubes are usually not hot at all. I added about 1 teaspoon)

Other vegetables you can use: Celery, Capsicums, Eggplants, Zucchini etc.

Heat oil or butter in a pan. First fry the onion until slightly brown, approximately 3 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables and curry powder to fry for 1 minute or 2. Stir until everything’s mixed. Add enough water to cover. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

Turn the heat to low and add the curry cubes. Grate the apple into the mixture. Slowly stir to combine. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Tonkatsu (serves 2)

2 slices of 1.2cm thick Pork Loin Steak ( 1/2 inch thick)
1/4 cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 egg, beaten
1/4 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
Vegetable Oil
A pinch of Salt
A pinch of Pepper

Pound the pork loins to tenderise the meat. Season with salt and pepper on both sides. Coat both size with flour, then shake off excess flour. Dip in beaten egg and coat with Panko bread crumbs, turning the meat a few times to ensure all surfaces are coated well.

Heat oil in a frying pan (about 1cm high), test it with a piece of bread crumbs. Once the oil is hot enough, gentle place the pork loins in the pan. Fry until golden brown (should be about 2-3 minutes each side). Remove from oil and place on absorbent paper to drain. Cut into 1 inch pieces.

I’ve plated the rice separately to the Tonkatsu curry because this was for sharing. You could certainly plate it individually like in the restaurant too. Being the klutz I am I’ve forgotten to include a picture of rice. Oh well, I’m sure you know what a bowl of rice look like. 😛

Enjoy this with a few side dishes and you have yourself a very comforting home-cooked meal even the kids will like!

New Beginning

It sure has been a long time since I’ve last blogged. So much has changed and I don’t even know where to start! In short, I’ve done a career change from Psychiatry to freelance musician, I have also moved country, from Melbourne, Australia to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Home country but alas not my hometown. Those would have been great materials to blog about but I have well and truly settled in my new home and thus those have become old news. Suffice to say though, making the changes weren’t easy and there has been definitely ups, and terrible downs. Many a times I have thought about coming back to blogging but thoughts have not materialized into actions until well, now.

So why now? To give you an idea of what daily life is like for me: I have become nocturnal, yes, just like back in Uni days. Most of my activities are done in the evenings and well into the nights. Most days I stay at home, except when I have to head out for some form of rehearsals, or social activities (not much to speak of). Weekends are usually filled with gigs at various bars or pubs, and weekdays are my ‘slow days’. Which explains why I’d dedicate this blog to everything food related as I now have even more time to cook (and eat). Posting the pictures in facebook is just not the same.

I want to include a recipe in this very first post. Kind of a little small taste of what’s to come. Frank (the bf) and I have started a detox diet. Mostly for his benefit since he’s addicted to caffeine and all things dairy! This diet is relatively simple: that we would be Vegan for the whole week. I like giving myself challenges like this, it gets me to think out of the box and learn new dishes, or improvise. The very first night I’ve come up with a Vegan curry. It looks like this:

Vegan curry with Black rice

I was curious to see how a curry without milk or yoghurt would taste like (of course, you could also add coconut milk since it’s well, vegan but alas I did not have it in my pantry), and used lemon to bring out the flavours. And surprisingly it tastes really good! I’ve also paired it with black rice which has a nutty taste, and it goes well with the curry. The only veges left in my fridge were eggplants, green beans and tomatoes apart from the essentials so I’ve used these. And the recipe? It’s really simple.

Vegan Curry:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed (I’ve used the smoked black garlic)
1inch ginger, minced
half tsp cumin powder
half tsp coriander powder
half tsp turmeric powder
cayenne pepper and chili powder as much as you can handle
1 fresh tomato, chopped
One Medium Eggplant, cut into 3cm small slices.
Green beans, cut into 3cm pieces
pinch of garam masala
pinch of cinnamon powder
3 or 4 candlenut, crushed and chopped.
half a lemon.

Mix the spices into a paste with a bit of water and light soy sauce.
In a deep saucepan first fry the onion in oil, then add garlic and ginger. Cook til soft.
Add the spice paste, then the candlenut, fry til fragrant.
Add the tomato, then eggplant, cook for about 10mins, and add the green beans. Cook for another 10-15 or until eggplant slices are soft enough.
Add a generous squeeze of lemon after you turn off the heat. Then serve with rice or bread.

Other veges you can use, are okras, pumpkins, cauliflowers, spinach, etc etc… just use your imagination!

So if you’d like to start off your week with something light and healthy, try this, you won’t regret it!

Will be posting more vegan recipes through the week!