Si Chuan Dou Hua Chinese New Year Menu, PARKROYAL Kuala Lumpur

Si Chuan Dou Hua at PARKROYAL Kuala Lumpur is gearing up to usher in the year of the monkey and the team led by Chef Foong Koon Sang has put together a variety of set menus of Yee Sang for diners to swing to a Prosperous New Year. There are 8 menus in total starting from RM388nett for 2 person to RM2188 for 10, so there’s something to suit every budget.

The menu we had the pleasure to sample was RM1988 for 10, so you can imagine the feast we had! Of course, with most Chinese New Year menu, we started with Yee Sang.

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We had the Prosperity Sliced Abalone Yee Sang, which comes with plenty of fresh ingredients.

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As usual, we muttered all sorts of auspicious wishes. More money, more job opportunities, more happiness and most importantly good health for 2016.

A soup course is to me, the most important part of the dinner and usually for Chinese New Year, really expensive ingredients go into this course. At Si Chuan Dou Hua, they still serve Shark Fin. Personally I don’t eat it due to ethical reasons, and diners may be pleased to know that you can swap your soup course too.

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Double-boiled Shark’s Fin Soup with Dried Scallop, Sea Cucumber, Bamboo Piths and Ginseng is definitely nourishing, but the Shark’s Fin free option is equally luxurious.

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The 8 Treasure Soup with Seafood comes in a delightful green hue thanks to the addition of Spinach. Little bits of scallop, crab, prawn and more, encased in slightly thickened soup, this is full of umami flavours and definitely satisfying.

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Fish signifies abudance so it’s important to eat plenty of them for Chinese New Year. This Tiger Garoupa here is simply steamed and served with Superior Soy Sauce. I love the super tender flesh of the fish, and with such supreme quality, nothing more than a dash of soy to complement the sweetness of the fish.
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The Steamed Village Chicken with Chinese Herb was hands down our favourite of the night. The Chicken has just a slight bit of chew, and the skin has absorbed the lovely aroma of Dong Guai. My favourite was the broth, so rich and intense and nourishing. I think we will steal this idea for our reunion dinner.

 

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A prawn dish is also commonly served during Chinese New Year because Prawn is pronounced as “Ha” in Cantonese, so this dish signifies plenty of laughters and happiness for the new year. The Prawns here are deshelled, and coated in a sweet and tangy sauce, not unlike those of Sweet and Sour, but a touch more umami.

Important to note that even though Si Chuan Dou Hua serves Szechuan cuisine, the CNY menu is veered towards Cantonese instead for some reason.

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The next course was the Braised Vegetables with Sea Cucumber Dried Scallop, Sliced Abalone, and Dried Oyster. Seems to be a standard dish for any CNY banquet, it’s enjoyable if you love these lux ingredients. For me, it was a good opportunity to fulfill my vegetable intake.

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The carb option at Si Chuan Dou Hua this year features this impressive looking Fried Rice with Black Mushroom and Smoked Duck. This is very well done, and totally irresistible as Kevin and I both tucked in double portions.

Our menu ended with double desserts, and the first was the Chilled Grapefruit Sago which was perfect to balance the richness of the meal.

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Filled with bits of fruits and sago, the grapefruit and mango cream is delightful to savour.

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And if you can fill yourself with more food, these deep fried nian gao with yam will sure end your dinner with a good note.

The 8 Set Menus (including a Vegetarian set) is available from 18th January to 22 February. Besides the above, Chef Foong has also crafted two ‘Poon Choy 7-Course Feast’ set menus which will be complemented by six other courses including a Prosperity Salmon Yee Sang or Wealth Sliced Abalone Yee Sang.Available from 1 January to 22 February, the sets are priced at RM418 nett for 2 to 5 persons and RM988 nett for 6 to 10 persons.

Celebrate Chinese New Year at Chatz Brasserie with a buffet lunch and buffet dinner on 7, 8 and 9 February from 12.30pm to 4.00pm and 6.30pm to 10.30pm. All buffets include unlimited flow of juices and soft drinks.

Buffet Lunch – RM88 nett for 1 person, RM160 nett for 2 persons, RM232 nett for 3 persons, RM308 nett for 4 persons and a savings of 20% for 5 to 10 persons.

Buffet Dinner – RM138 nett for 1 person, RM248 nett for 2 persons, RM358 nett for 3 persons, RM468 nett for 4 persons and a savings of 20% for 5 to 10 persons.

For reservations or enquiries, please call +603 2147 0088 or email douhua.prkul@parkroyalhotels.com

SI CHUAN DOU HUA RESTAURANT
PARKROYAL Kuala Lumpur
Jalan Sultan Ismail,
50250 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2147 0088
Website: www.sichuandouhua.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/Parkroyalkualalumpur

Paleo Chicken Stew

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe, and I do apologize. Like I mentioned in my last post for Fish stew, I went through a phase cooking various types of stew. And of these, Chicken appeared the most often. Even though I have kitchen gadget (looking at you, Mr Pressure Cooker) that can save me a lot of time, I still prefer the traditional method of slowly searing the chicken, and then slowly simmer it to extract flavours proper from all the ingredients. I guess I’ve mentioned it previous this is rather therapeutic for me, especially when I’m on a day off after a few shows in a row. Even better when the result looks like this:

Paleo Chicken Stew

There are many variations you can make with a chicken stew, and I usually just dig out whatever I have in my fridge. The basic mirepoix (carrot, celery and onion) is quite essential in this recipe, but the rest of the vegetables can be anything: zucchini, capsicum, green beans, eggplant, tomato; whatever rocks your boat. Tesco delivery sent me a massive bag of garlic the other day, so I decided to throw 2 whole garlic (merely cut in half lengthways) in my stew. If that scares you, let me reassure you that after cooking for a long time, garlic becomes super mushy and sweet. It also lends the same sweetness into the broth. Really delicious stuff.

Kelly Style Paleo Chicken Stew Recipe:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 stalks Celery, cut into bite-size pieces
1 Carrot, peeled, cut into bite-size pieces
3 strips Streaky Bacon, sliced
1 small Onion, chopped
2 Whole Garlic, cut into halves (of course, feel free to cut the amount)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
200ml Chicken stock
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon Paprika
500g Chicken Drumsticks (about 6)
2 Tomatoes, diced
100g Green Beans, cut into 2 inch piece
1 teaspoon tapioca starch (Optional, can use Potato starch too or just add Plain flour in the beginning)
Handful of Parsley leaves, roughly chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat a non-stick pan and sear the chicken drumsticks until brown. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add olive oil and sauté celery, carrot, onion for few minutes, then add the garlic, followed by dried oregano, paprika, tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf and chicken stock. Bring to simmer and put the chicken drumsticks back in. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When the cooking liquid has reduced to a stew consistency, add green beans, remove the bay leaf, and cook for further 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. And as an optional step thicken with some tapioca starch mixed with water. Serve warm as it is, or with bread (rice is good too, if you swing that way).

Mmmm so good!

The reason I love using drumsticks for this is that it’s super forgiving and super easy to achieve tenderness. You can of course use thighs too which is about the same, and if you use chicken breasts, cut the cooking time so it doesn’t go stringy. Love the natural sweetness extracted from all the vegetables, and the slight tang from the tomatoes. The tender chicken and mushy garlic is so comforting, while the green beans provided a much needed crunch.

Nom!

I enjoyed mine as it is, but feel free to pair yours with bread, rice, or even pasta! It’s as versatile as it can get. Ok, now I must sign off and get practising for my next show!

Japan AFF – Toripaitan Ramen (Marutama Ramen Copycat)

Over a year ago, I took up a challenge and made Tonkotsu Ramen at home. Needless to say, I spent hours and hours going in and out of the kitchen as I didn’t have a pressure cooker yet at the time. My Tonkotsu Broth itself took over 8 hours to cook and I imagine my gas bill must have been super high that month. However, I loved the result and have a new found respect for good ramen joints everywhere. Since I’ve acquired a Philips Pressure Cooker from the cooking competition few months ago, I have been waiting to cook ramen again. When I finally recovered from my bronchitis (some residual cough now but not too bad), I thought it was time to try another ramen recipe before the Japan month for Asian Food Fest ends.

I have mentioned a few times here that my favourite ramen in KL is Marutama Ramen (starting to sound like a broken record, I think). Originated from Japan, a bowl of Marutama ramen consists of Toripaitan (Chicken) Broth, super tender Pork Chashu, Seaweed, Spring Onions and their textbook perfect Ajitsuke Tamago (Marinated Soft Boiled Eggs). It’s the ultimate comfort food. Some of you have read this blog long enough to know that I’m a total noodle freak, and if I have craving for a certain place from time to time, you know that it’s definitely something special.

Incidentally, I did have a Marutama craving during the week and instead of spending RM40 in cab fares and another RM25 for a bowl in Fahrenheit 88 mall, I went out to my supermarket to purchase all the ingredients needed for this recipe. Granted, I did have to wait til the next day to finally savour my effort but my my was it worth the wait!

Copycat Marutama Ramen
Copycat Marutama Ramen

Of course, I don’t know the owner well enough to bribe for a recipe (I doubt they would give it out anyway), so I followed Norecipes’ recommedation for a Chicken broth and went from there. Marutama uses Aosa seaweed (riverbed seaweed) which I couldn’t find, so I had to make do with the regular type. Instead of using actual chili, I went for a spicy mayu instead (couldn’t eat too spicy yet, so a little goes a long way). Being Chicken broth, the cooking time is significantly less (5 hours on stove top, 1 and half hour with pressure cooker). The trick is to select chicken parts with plenty of skin to produce a creamy soup. Marutama uses Chicken feet predominantly, while I used mostly Chicken wing tips (Village grocer ran out of Chicken feet that day too)

Now let’s make some ramen!

Chicken (ToriPaitan) Broth (around 6-8 serving) Recipe from norecipes.com
1 pound Chicken bones
1 pound Chicken wing tips
1 small Leek cut into 4 pieces
2 length Ginger sliced into 8 coins
4 large cloves garlic unpeeled
Vegetable oil for frying the aromatics
4 inch piece kombu
10 cups water (or enough to cover the ingredients)

Bring a kettle full of water to a boil. Lay the wing tips and chicken bones in a clean sink, then pour the boiling water over the chicken. Wash the chicken with cold water, scrubbing off any clumps of blood. This step solidifies some of the blood on the chicken so you can wash it off and it doesn’t end up in your soup.

In a small saucepan, add the leeks, ginger and garlic, then cover with vegetable oil. Gently fry over medium low heat until the aromatics are dark brown, but not burnt (about 30-40 minutes).
Add the kombu, wingtips and bones to a pressure cooker (or on the stove top in a pot if using electric pressure cooker) and cover with 10 cups of water. Bring it to a boil uncovered, then skim off the scum that floats to the top. Continue skimming until you don’t see any more scum. Remove the kombu and discard, then add the fried leeks, ginger and garlic. Seal the lid, then cook under high pressure for 1.5 hours.

When the stock is done cooking, let it cool to room temperature. Pour it through a large strainer into a large bowl. Squeeze the solids with your hands to extract as much liquid as possible. You’ll notice that the liquid starts turning a creamy white. This is what gives the soup its body so be sure you get every last drop. You can either stop here and refrigerate the stock or keep going.

If you refrigerated the stock, it should be fairly easy to scrape off the excess fat with a spoon. If not, use a fat skimmer to skim off the extra fat and set the fat aside. In either case, you want to leave a little fat behind. Measure your the soup. You should have about 6 cups, if you have more, you should boil it down to 6 cups, if you have less, add water.

Lovely creamy stock.
Lovely creamy stock.

Chicken Broth Seasoning (serving for 1)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon of Tahini paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
A touch of Spicy Sesame oil (or regular sesame oil)

Add above seasoning to the toripaitan stock, taste to adjust.

Chashu (Adapted from Seriouseats.com)
1 pound slab of Pork Belly
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup mirin
1/4 cup sugar
3 whole garlic cloves
1 thumb size ginger, smashed with knife
1 small shallot, cut in half
1 cup water or more

Cut the slab of Pork Belly in half and roll them round, securing with kitchen strings. Heat the rest of the ingredients in a small pot until boiling. Add pork belly. The liquid should almost cover the meat. Cover with lid, but not tight. Cook for 3-4 hours in low heat (slow bubbles), turning the pork occasionally. Test with a fork of skewer for tenderness.

Getting serious here.
Getting serious here.

Once the pork belly is done, let cool and then chill the whole thing in the fridge for few hours. I did mine for 4. Overnight would be best.

Tender tender pork
Tender tender pork

To serve, cut the pork belly into desired thickness and gently heat up in the braising liquid.

Ajitsuke Tamago (recipe from Seriouseats.com)
1/2 cup Water
1/4 cup Sake
1/4 cup Soy sauce
1/4 cup Mirin
2 tablespoons Sugar
4 eggs (Room temperature)

Combine water, sake, soy, mirin, and sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Pour into a ziplock bag.

Boil enough water to cover all the eggs. Once the water has come to a boil, reduce to heat to a gentle simmer, then lower the eggs gently into the water. Cook for exactly 6 minutes. Drain hot water and drop the eggs into ice water bath for a couple of minutes, then carefully peel eggs under cold running water.

Add all the eggs into the ziplock bag and twist the bag to release the air so the liquid cover the eggs completely. Leave in the fridge for at least 12 hours. In my experience, 48 hours will produce fully marinated eggs (all the way to the yolk). Reheat the egg gently in hot ramen broth.

Leave the bag in a bowl in case of leakage.
Leave the bag in a bowl in case of leakage.

Extra toppings: Roast seaweed sheets, Black fungus, Spring onions.

To assemble, cook the fresh ramen to your desire doneness (al-dente is recommended), pour the broth over the noodles and arrange all the toppings on top.

Heaven in a bowl
Heaven in a bowl

Sometimes giving in to my craving can be quite detrimental because I subsequently had ramen for the next 2 meals and couldn’t fit into the dress I wanted to wear for a wedding. Naughty girl! The broth is absolutely delicious by the way: it tasted of pure chicken essence with the aroma of sesame and smooth mouth feel. It’s rich yet not as cloying as Tonkotsu broth and I could finish the whole bowl in 10 minutes. The seaweed and spring onions added another dimension to the body as well.

Oodle of Noodles
Oodle of Noodles

I was very happy with the fresh ramen noodles I bought too, springy and absolutely slurp-worthy. Yes I slurped them like a true Japanese! The egg here had been marinated for almost 24 hours, you can see that the white has already turned light brown. If you cook it following the timing, you’ll definitely get perfect runny centre. And if you let it go for another 24 hours (not more), you will be very much rewarded:

Super Sexy!
Super Sexy!

The yolk has darkened significantly and the texture changed slightly. It’s aromatic through and through. Such an orgasmic experience.

Mmmm Pork!
Mmmm Pork!

Chashu done this method is extremely flavourful and fork tender (well in my case chopstick tender). This pairs really well just with a simple bowl of rice and some vegetables too. The fat bit literally melts in your mouth. Exquisite.

Whoa! This must be one of my longer posts ever. I suppose that makes up for my one-week absence. Having said that, if you actually read everything til this point, you must be rather bored. Haha! Just kidding, don’t close this page please! 😛

I am submitting this to Asian Food Fest Japan Month, hosted by Alan of Travelling Foodies.

Frangipani: New Executive Chef, New Menu with a Spanish flair

*Cough* *cough* Sorry for the lack of recipe post, I’m down with the most annoying thing: dry cough. That’s what happens when I neglect my immune boosters (and also eating out too much, not taking in enough nutrients) and it comes back to bite me firmly on my throat. Needless to say all I have been eating (or drinking) is soup, porridge etc. Nothing interesting to post here. Anyway, I need to get better by tomorrow because it’s not only my big 3-0, I have to perform at night too! So please send your positive thoughts this way. 🙂 Anyway, back to topic:

Frangipani has been on my ‘to-eat’ list for ages, but for some reason we’ve never been able to go. I guess it has come to the point that the stars have to be aligned for Frank and I to be free at the same time. Anyway, an invitation did come at the right time and when I heard that Frangipani has appointed a new executive chef (and thus, a brand new signature menu), I knew I had to check it out. Hails from Malaga, Spain, Chef Manuel Lopez Quinones has worked in many countries as well as his homeland, and most impressive accomplishments includes his stints at 2 Michelin Star “La Broche” in Madrid and 2 Michelin-star “Arola” in Barcelona, under the famed Sergio Arola. Previously spotting a predominantly French menu at Frangipani, now Chef Manuel brings a bit of Spain to the table.

We were most impressed with the beautiful layout of the intimate dining area with a pond in the middle, and the lighting was sufficiently dim to create a romantic ambiance. Without further ado, we were given a menu to choose our dishes from the Signature menu. And I decided to stick to seafood and let the service staff do the wine pairing for me. As Frank is now almost 100% vegetarian, Chef Manuel has kindly designed a vegetarian menu for him, which was pretty cool (turns out his wife is a vegetarian too, so it’s a breeze for him to come up with creative vegetarian dishes). So before I start, let’s just say this will be quite long post!

Once we have finally settled down in our seats, the amuse bouche was first given to us.

Arugula, Smoked Salmon, a touch of cream cheese and alfalfa sprouts.
Arugula, Smoked Salmon, a touch of cream cheese and alfalfa sprouts.

This is such a tasty combination. The arugula lends a peppery and bitter note this which I enjoyed.

Mango salad
Mango salad

Vego option for Frank: Mango Salad with coriander, mint and chili. Refreshing.

Yum!
Yum!

We couldn’t get enough of the yummy butter and fluffy bread. I was trying to figure out the umami specks in the butter: olives? seaweed? Nevertheless it was delicious.

My first course was Sauteed Baby Squid and I love the simple and elegant plating.

Quick Sauteed Baby Squid
Quick Sauteed Baby Squids

Adorned with super finely chopped parsley and chives (impressive knife skill), garlic, extra virgin olive oil with a quenelle of mash on the side and dots of aioli surrounding the baby squid, this was almost too pretty to eat. The herbs and EVOO definitely enhance the flavours of lightly sauteed squids. They were cooked to perfect, tender with just a touch of bite. The mash is on the light side as we were told Chef Manuel doesn’t like to use a lot of cream and butter, which is refreshing actually.

Mixed Leaves salad with Parmesan Crisp and balsamic dressing.
Mixed Leaves salad with Parmesan Crisp and balsamic dressing.

Frank started with this beautiful mountain of salad. The Parmesan crisp was star of this show. I also love the crispness of the leaves against the sweet tangy balsamic dressing. Simple, yet easy to eat (which is actually quite difficult to achieve with salads).

My second course was grilled Hokkaido Scallops presently daintily on 2 rings of Mango salad.

Hokkaido Scallops with Mango Salad
Hokkaido Scallops with Mango Salad

Once again, the presentation is so elegant. Look at the giant sized scallops with beautiful char marks, what a sight to behold. I love the meaty scallops, the texture was dense yet delicate and soft, pairs well with the mango salad which had some coriander, mint and a touch of chili heat. Perfection.

Warm pumpkin with ginger soup
Warm pumpkin with ginger soup

Frank’s pumpkin soup comes with a shaved black truffle (in the middle), drizzle of truffle oil, golden croutons and micro herbs. Smooth and silky, warming and inviting, with good balance of sweet and savoury note. Although being Frank (read: not a big fan of truffles), he thought the soup could actually do without the overpowering truffle oil.

I’ve chosen to go with a fish dish for my main, because I’m still trying to stay off red meat. (Sorry Wagyu Rump, I will give you a chance next time!)

Confit Fillet of Cod with Creamed Organic Corn
Confit Fillet of Cod with Creamed Organic Corn

I love the simplicity of this dish. Black cod is my favourite fish and it was amazingly soft done this way. Come to think of it, I don’t think I have ever had confit fish before. This was heavenly! Pairing with corn gives it a very clean flavour profile. The assorted sprouts on top, and the lightly charred baby corns provided a contrast to the the texture. Delicious!

Pumpkin Milanese and Flor De Ronda Goats Cheese with Rocket salad and Mixed red fruits
Pumpkin Milanese and Flor De Ronda Goats Cheese with Rocket salad and Mixed red fruits

What a mouthful to read. Pumpkin crumbed and deep fried, with a huge round of cheese, sounds like we hit the cheese jackpot! I had a bite of that Pumpkin Milanese, it’s very lightly flavoured, but rightly so because of that bold cheese on top. Very good pairing and I believe Frank mopped up every crumb.

Pan-seared Foie Gras with Sauteed Apple, Vanilla and Quince Membrillo
Pan-seared Foie Gras with Sauteed Apple, Vanilla and Quince Membrillo

This foie gras dish is not included in Chef’s signature menu but we ordered it anyway because I heard Frangipani does it well. And people have spoken, as this was hands down the best foie gras dish I have tasted so far (in my life, even, since I haven’t actually eaten FG in France). The liver was perfectly charred outside and buttery soft inside, great mouth feel. Pairing it with apple is quite surprising, but it works. I had to google “Membrillo” haha, but it is actually quince ‘paste’ (the orange cube in the pic).

I thought the foie gras was going to be the highlight of the dish as I’m usually not crazy about dessert. Boy did I get it wrong! The desserts are not specified on the menu so when this dessert was presented to me, my eyes lit up instantly.

Toffee of banana and Vanilla ice cream
Toffee of banana and Vanilla ice cream

I love everything about it. The icecream was the first one I went for and I could taste a bit of Creme brûlée in it, perhaps due to the toffee with the banana and the real vanilla beans. The “fritter”, crispy with well caramelised banana inside. It was like Chef read my mind and knew exactly how I want my dessert. I almost had tears in my eyes while enjoying this.

Lemon Panna Cotta, Strawberry, Mint Sauce
Lemon Panna Cotta, Strawberry, Mint Sauce

I didn’t taste the Panna Cotta because Frank had the whole thing to himself (only fair because I wouldn’t let him try my dessert, haha). I did have a drop of that mint sauce though. Strangely, tasted a bit like Sambucca?

Good food, great service, what more can I ask for? The wine never stopped flowing (at least in my perception, I’m a light weight nowadays), and the staff were engaging without being too disruptive. We had a wonderful time! Now we just gotta find another chance to go back.

Frangipani Restaurant & Bar
25 Changkat Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Telephone : +60 3 2144 3001
Email: reservations@frangipani.com.my

Moon Kee (Section 17) Fishhead and Seafood Noodles

Ahhh… Fish Head Noodles again! You’d think I’d be sick of it by now having cooked the same dish several times for the last couple of weeks just so I can share a good recipe with you. I don’t even remember the last time I’ve actually visited a “Kopitiam” for Fish Head Noodles, but when the invitation came for me to try out the brand new Moon Kee Fish Head Noodles at Section 19, I couldn’t resist the offer.

When I arrived at Jalan 19/3 (same row the old Nanking Vegetarian Restaurant, opposite the Kanna Curry House PJ), I was pleasantly surprised by the spacious and modern looking shop. Having operated for years at Section 17, it was time for them to set up a larger space for more customers, and I think that’s a pretty good idea!

Spot the bottles of Shao Xing Wine....
Spot the bottles of Shao Xing Wine….

The brand-spanking-new kitchen has a really good ventilation system by the way, as we don’t smell fish in the air walking into the shop. Look at all the shiny kitchenware! Reassuring for a hygiene freak like me. We were all starving at the time so the chef fired up and served us delicious looking bowls of soup noodles pretty quickly.

The classic Milky soup. With Poached Garoupa on the left, and some Fried Garoupa on the right.
The classic Milky soup. With Poached Garoupa on the left, and some Fried Garoupa on the right.

Fish Head Noodles enthusiasts in KL will tell you to go for the milky soup and Moon Kee serves theirs with either poached or fried fish head (RM12). And if you aren’t into digging bones out of your noodle soup, they also have fillet versions (poached or fried) which were what we had (RM9). The noodle soup was topped with the standard ingredients: tomatoes, pickled mustard green, ginger and coriander. It was fragrant with the aroma of Shao Xing wine with gingery note, balanced with light creaminess from the milk. I would prefer to have a bit more pickled mustard green for the piquancy to punch through and I think the salted plum might be missing. If you like a stronger soup, be sure to ask for more Shao Xing Wine!

Deep fried Garoupa
Deep fried Garoupa

Moon Kee serves only fresh fish (no frozen stuff!) and you can certainly tell the freshness even by this picture. The flesh of the garoupa has a bouncy texture and the distinct sweetness only from fresh fish. I will admit to having a few pieces of them. Though becareful, there are still bones there.

Seaweed Noodle Soup with Poached Pomfret
Seaweed Noodle Soup with Poached Pomfret (RM15)

If you prefer to have the clear soup Moon Kee serves up pretty good Seaweed soup with many options of toppings. This one here was served with poached pomfret (a whole fish was served… head to tail!). The fish was silky as expected and the soup was surprisingly quite robust in flavour (I judge clear soup rather quickly, haha).

Fried Fish Cake
Fried Fish Cake (RM5.50)

The fat fish cakes got the nods of approval from our table and vanished very quickly. It has a good bite and was seasoned well, great with their super strong sambal chili, which I love.

Noodles soup with Fish Cake, Abalone Slices and Fish Head.
Noodles soup with Fish Cake, Sliced Abalone and Fish balls.

Where else can you have abalone for less than RM10? The abalone sure gives an extra briny note to the soup, and even though I’m not a fan of fish balls, their version was quite pleasant to my fussy palate.

Noodle soup with Fish Maw & Fish Ball (RM7.50)
Noodle soup with Fish Maw & Fish Ball (RM7.50)

I miss my grandma’s fish maw soup (not an easy ingredient to source nowadays), and this version is tasty enough, with spongy fish maw soaking up all that umaminess from the soup. Yum.

I can predict that this not-so-little shop will do quite well in the future with such hearty offerings with affordable prices. Zip over if you are in the area!

Moon Kee (Section 17) Fishhead & Seafood Noodles
48, Jalan 19/3, Section 19, Petaling Jaya
Opens 7 days a week from 8am to 8pm (2 rest days in a month, so do check their facebook page for updates)

MFF KL Selangor: Fish Head (Fillet) Noodles

Sunday afternoon, alone at home, knackered from all the exciting activities all week (catering for 50 pax is probably something I will think harder before committing next time), what better than a soothing bowl of noodles with soup? That was my lunch today and it sure hit all the right spots.

Fish Head (Fillet) Noodles
Fish Head (Fillet) Noodles, with lovely pink hue from the intensely red tomato.

This is something that I cook often at home because it’s super quick and easy.  The origin of Fish Head Noodles is unclear, but some will tell you that the milky broth version originated from KL. It actually does remind me of Teochew Steamed Fish because of the key ingredients: Tomato, Kiam Cai (Pickled Mustard Greens), Ginger and Salted Plum, so I’m speculating that this might be Teochew in origin. Please do correct me if I’m wrong.

The purists will stick to having this noodle soup with deep fried Fish Head but I’m not a fan of having fish bones in my soup. I have choked on a few fish bones in my lifetime and do not wish for recurring episodes. Luckily for me, there are places in Klang Valley that do serve this with fish fillet and I stick to that version at home. As for choices of fish, any firm-fleshed fish that can withstand frying would work. I’ve even seen a Salmon version as featured on Quay Po Cooks‘ blog.

Can't get enough of that lovely red tomatoes!
Can’t get enough of that lovely red tomato!

Ironically, the first Fish Head Noodles recipe I’ve come across online was actually done by a Korean lady. Her version is missing one really important ingredient that would render this recipe non-halal: Shao Xing Wine. It adds such an alluring aroma to the soup and completes the flavour profile. Like Shannon, I’ve opted for the thick Rice Vermicelli (Fen Gan) which is something I always have at home at it’s also used in Zao Cai Mee Hoon (a Foochow Dish), another tangy soup noodles dish. Can you tell I love noodles?

Key ingredients
Key ingredients. This is a pic I snapped a week earlier using snapper, but today I used Garoupa fillet

Fish Fillet Noodle Soup (serves 1)
100g Garoupa Fish, cut into smaller pieces, seasoned with salt and pepper
Flour to coat fish
100g Rice Vermicelli (Thick or Thin according to your preference), cooked to directions of packet
Sesame oil
Thumb size ginger, sliced into thin strips
2 pieces of Pickled Mustard Green, sliced into thin strips
1 Tomato, cut into wedges
1 Salted Plum
1 teaspoon Fish Sauce
1 tablespoon Shao Xing Wine
250ml Chicken Stock
A pinch of Dried anchovies
10ml Evaporated milk (slightly more if using Fresh milk)
2 stalks Spring onions, thinly chopped
Handful of Coriander, roughly chopped
Peanut oil for shallow frying

Prepare the noodles: I cooked mine in boiling water for 1 minute or 2 until al dente, then drained and served in bowl.

Coat the fish pieces with flour and shallow fry until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.

In a pot, lightly stir fry the ginger in sesame oil, then add the chicken stock, dried anchovies, pickled mustard green, tomato and salted plum. When the broth starts to boil, add Shao Xing Wine and fish sauce. Let it simmer for 10 minutes and remove the foam on top.

When the broth is ready, turn off the heat and remove the anchovies (if you want). Stir in the evaporated milk just before serving and pour over the noodles. Place the fish pieces on top and garnish with spring onions and coriander.

Ahhhhh... satisfaction in a bowl.
Ahhhhh… satisfaction in a bowl.

When done right, the broth is slightly sweet, with just a hint of creaminess (you can opt for creamier version with more milk of course), tangy (tomato and plum) yet savoury (from the pickled mustard green, though it’s actually a little tangy too). Yet it takes no more 20 minutes to prepare! Now you know why I prefer to cook this at home.

I am submitting this post to Malaysian Food Fest Kuala Lumpur Selangor Month hosted by Shannon of Just As Delish. Also submitting to  Little Thumbs Up organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of My Little Favourite DIY and hosted by Alvin of Chef and Sommelier.

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KL Selangor MFF: Chilli Pan Mee

The final leg of Malaysian Food Fest see us at the most densely populated Klang Valley and not surprisingly, offers one of the largest range of cuisines. Having lived here for 3 years, I can honestly say that you can get pretty much anything here in KL/Selangor (even the latest craze Cronut… named KLonut here). Though when it comes to dishes specific to Klang Valley, I can think of a few main ones: KL Hokkien Mee, Klang Bak Kut Teh, Fish head noodles, and of course, something that was born right in Kuala Lumpur as a variation of the Hokkien Mee Hoon Kueh: Dry Chilli Pan Mee. I have blogged about my love for it here. Ironically, I don’t have a blog post for Kin Kin Pan Chili Mee but what I have is a photo of it, taken in 2010 while I was on vacation in KL.

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Yummy! I remember having 2 bowls of this at one go.

The history of Chilli Pan Mee can be debatable but there is no doubt that Kin Kin Chilli Pan Mee claims the title for best chili paste. Well caramelised and definitely explosive, it’s no wonder the shop is always full of customers despite the attitude from the owners (very famous for bad service). Ever since I had my first taste as a tourist several years ago, I’ve been in love. The problem is I don’t react very well to MSG and the chili paste is FULL of it (as expected) so I limit myself to only a few times a year.

In fact if you look close enough you can see all that MSG crystals! (This one is from Super Kitchen btw)

I’ve come across a recipe by FoodMadeSimple couple of years ago and have promised myself to make my own version at home. Only thing is….. well, it’s rather laborious! Once again, MFF has proved to be motivational and provided a much-needed kick to the butt for me to finally attempt it.

Homemade Chilli Pan Mee, yay!
Homemade Chilli Pan Mee, yay!

As I mentioned, the key to a good chilli pan mee is the chili paste and this was where I spent the most time. The recipe is easy enough, but the trick is to cook it out until it’s well and truly darkened and dry. The recipe is adapted from Foodmadesimple as mentioned above.

Dry Chilli Paste
2 handful of Dried Chillies, soaked
2 Fresh red chillies
2 Fresh Chilli Padies (or more if you want even more kick)
1 small packet of Dried Shrimp
5 Shallots or 2 Medium Onions
4 tablespoons of Oil

Blend the ingredients, you might need to add a little bit of oil to help the process (I added the whole 4 tablespoons). Then in a pan on low heat, fry slowly (at least 30 mins) until dry and golden brown. Make sure you watch it and stir it quite often so it doesn’t burn. Set aside to cool.

Dark Beauty
Dark Beauty

Noodles (for 2, double or triple the recipe as you need):
1 cup Flour (I used Bread flour, but you can also use All-purpose)
1/2 cup water

Add the water to flour and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Cover in cling wrap and rest for 30 minutes. Flour the dough generously, roll the dough out with a pasta machine (you know the drill, just go from the widest setting to the smallest). Then either handcut it or use the spaghetti setting to cut the dough. To cook the noodles, simply boil in water for 2 minutes then drain and add to individual bowls. They cook pretty fast so you want to be careful not to overcook.

I handcut mine, some of them are not so uniform but I stretch them out just before cooking.
I cut the noodles with a knife, some of them are not so uniform but I stretch them out just before cooking.

Minced Meat Sauce
100g Minced Pork, marinate with light soy sauce, salt and white pepper
1 Shallot, chopped finely
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1/4 cup water

In the pan, heat oil, and fry shallots until aromatic. Add pork and cook until no longer pink, then add the seasonings and water. Cook until the sauce is reduced.

Fried Anchovies and Soup with Pucuk Manis
1 packet of dry anchovies
Handful of Pucuk Manis (Manicai) wash thoroughly and squeeze out the juices
Chicken or Pork stock (either homemade stock or stock cubes, make sure they are MSG-free)

In a wok or deep pan fry anchovies in a bit of oil until golden brown, remove from pan leaving a few to flavour the soup. Pour in the stock and add vegetables. Continue to simmer for about 10 minutes.

Great accompaniment to the noodles.
Great accompaniment to the noodles.

One final component is the Poached egg and I did mine with the same pot as the noodles, though cooking them separately. If you are intimidated by egg poaching, you can also just use soft boiled egg.

Assemble:
Arrange the meat sauce, poached egg, some fried anchovies and spoonfuls of chili paste on top of the noodles (you can always add more chili paste as needed), serving with the soup on the side. You can also sprinkle some spring onions on top of the noodles (but I happened to use up all of it the day before).

The egg is screaming to be poked. Hehe
The egg is screaming to be poked. Hehe

The crucial step to enjoy this dish is to let the egg yolk run free.

Like this
Like this

The proceed to mix everything up well and good, and slurp away! There is plenty of umaniness from the anchovies and the dry shrimp in the chili paste, and to me this tastes just as delicious. The chili paste is powerful, although not quite as strong as the one at Kin Kin. The noodles are smooth with a good bite, although I think I will just cut it with the spaghetti setting on my pasta maker for neatness. Will I spend nearly 2 hours for the same dish again? Yes, if my craving strikes. Next time I will just make a huge batch of the chili paste with extra chili padi. Yum.

So tell me, what is your favourite food in the Klang Valley?

I am submitting this post to Malaysian Food Fest Kuala Lumpur Selangor Month hosted by Shannon of Just As Delish.

Ang Jiu (Foochow Red Wine) Chicken Soup with Mee Sua

A break from the fishy posts (though I’m glad you like the recipes) and here I present the ultimate comfort food: Chicken Soup. Not just your regular Chicken boiled with ginger and mushrooms, but with homemade Foochow Red Wine.

That’s right, the bright hue might be a little confronting but most Sarawakians (or Sitiawan foochows) will tell you this appears regularly on our dining tables. I might have mentioned before that my maternal grandmother makes her own Foochow red wine (with ground red yeast rice and glutinous rice, I might upload a recipe one day when I am motivated enough to make my own). We grew up drinking this soup and will always have it whenever we are back in Bintulu. Since I moved to KL, I will always bring a bottle with me from Bintulu. The soup is not only tasty, it’s also good to mend our health and strength, suitable for mothers in confinement too.

Grandma makes this soup using the double boiler technique which makes the soup extra tasty with more ‘body’ to it. A slow cooker would be another great option. I don’t have either of those, so I added a bit of Ang Zao (Red Wine Residue) to marinate the Chicken so it will infuse more flavours.

I think garnishing with coriander is a Sitiawan thing. I’ve never seen my Grandma use it, neither does any of my Sarawakian friends it seems. I do love coriander so I feel that it’s a pretty good addition.

Ang Jiu Chicken Soup with Mee Sua
Ang Jiu Chicken Soup with Mee Sua

Ang Jiu Chicken Soup (serves 4)

4 Chicken Drumsticks
8 Shiitake Mushrooms, rehydrated
1 tablespoon Ang Zao (Red Wine Residue)
100ml Ang Jiu (Foochow Red Wine)
Several pieces of Ginger
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Mee Sua
Coriander to Garnish (Optional)

Marinate the Chicken drumsticks with Ang Zao for at least 15 minutes.To cook the soup, lightly fry the ginger in sesame oil until fragrant, then add Chicken, Mushrooms and enough water to cover everything and bring to boil. Lower the heat and add half the Ang Jiu, continue to cook for at least 1 and half hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the rest of Ang Jiu. Before serving, you can pass the soup through a sieve to separate the red wine residue for a clearer soup.

Chicken Soup, done!
Chicken Soup, done!

You can always enjoy the soup with other dishes and rice like what we do most of the time. Mee Sua is more of a special occasion thing in our family. As you might know already, it signifies longevity (thus also called longevity noodles) and traditionally consumed during Chinese New Year and Birthdays. Well, Chinese New Year was a couple of months ago, and my birthday is not due for a few months time, but I can still have it whenever my craving strikes.

The best Mee Sua comes from Sarawak or Sitiawan (I think their Mee Sua is slightly thicker from what I’ve seen) and are best when they are handmade. The process is tedious and requires high level of skill. You can check out a video uploaded by House of Annie here.

Mee Sua cooks really fast in boiling water, usually only takes a minute or so. Once cooked, drain the noodles, and serve in a big bowl. Spoon the Chicken soup over and garnish with Coriander. Enjoy while hot! I usually add a teaspoon or so of extra red wine for the extra oomph! The soup is slightly tart but extremely fragrant with the wine, which pairs well with the tender noodles. It’s instant comfort.

To bring this dish to the next level, you can do this:

Yolkporn alert!
Yolkporn alert!

Don’t know about you, but the runny yolk is saying ‘Eat Me Now!’ to me. To make egg like this, you just boil it for 4 minutes (counting it from the moment the water starts to boil but adding the egg when the water is cold, if that even makes sense), peel carefully while submerged in cold water. Perfect! Guess I’ll make you choose again, with egg or without egg? 😀

Fun fact: My maternal side is actually Teochew. And my Foochow grandma’s usual Chicken Soup would be Ba Ting (the black herbal type) soup which I also don’t mind but haven’t yet tried to cook.

So how do you like your Chicken soup?

Sarawak MFF: Kacangma (Motherwort) Chicken / Arthur’s day Celebration at Sid’s Pub.

The social scene in KL has been rather busy lately. Of course, in the midst of all the Pre-arthur’s day celebrations, and several launches of new outlets, the Oktoberfest and Malaysia International Gourmet Festival (MIGF) are both about to take off as well. It’s no wonder we are swamped with events to attend for the weeks to come.

Last weekend was the annual Sid’s Pubs‘ Arthur’s day Celebration. The boys sure know how to throw great parties! Like last year, this party was held at their Taman Tun Dr Ismail outlet, and there were plenty of cheers. With Guinness priced at RM10nett, it’s no wonder everyone took the opportunity to indulge in a few.

Although the event started at 12 noon, we only arrived at the Pub after 5pm. By then, the party was in full swing. There were people everywhere! Spilling out to the streets, even. According to Frank, around 500 people turned up. We took no time in ordering our pints of black magic and contributing to the toasts to Mr Arthur Guinness. Here are the photographic evidences:

To Arthur!
Frank took the hats off Mr Dustyhawk as we grabbed the photo opportunity. Thanks Andy!

Yes we stack our cups as we go….. My count was 7 in total.

I deliberated about posting this pic. But since Louise and I met at the same party exactly a year ago, I thought we’d also celebrate our anniversary on that day, and that’s how this pic came about.

Sealed with a kiss. Happy Anniversary!

You have the boys to thank (or blame?) for this pic. We just obliged.

Now that’s out of the way….. time to focus on the food. I have a reason for this too. You see, Kacangma Chicken isn’t really a visually pleasing dish. In fact most people would probably find it bordering gross. It’s true too that this is an acquired taste. But anything that’s cooked in a bottle of wine is good in my book. Great, even. Just think of it as a Chinese version of Coq Au Vin. Except it’s much better for you. This is my third post in conjunction with the Sarawak Month of Malaysia Food Fest.

Motherwort (益母草) is a herb that has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. Not only in China, but in Greece and North America too. Primarily given to women after giving birth for variety of reasons (reduce anxiety, prevent post-natal depression, eases uterine cramping are the main few). For the rest of us, it’s also good for regulating menstrual cycle, and promoting heart health.

The main precaution is not to consume it during menstruation as it can make the bleeding heavier, something to do with stimulating the uterus. That’s speaking from personal experience too. Yeah, because you really need to know. Sorry about that. There is also some evidence that suggest it could potentially be dangerous to be consumed during pregnancy for the same reason. If you have a heart condition, or if you are taking sedatives, do consult a doctor before consuming motherwort as it could interact with some of the medications.

That’s why this dish called Kacangma Chicken (I have no idea how the name came about, and everyone seems to spell it differently) is the most common confinement dish in Sarawak (especially for the Teochews and Hakkas). The combination of motherwort, wine (lots of it) and ginger helps restore physical health and improve circulation, thus recover from the labour.

Kacangma Chicken

I’m not sure how readily available Motherwort is, though I suspect you could probably check with your local Chinese medicine stores. There are 2 types of wine used in this recipe. One’s readily available in the supermarket: White Rice Wine (白米酒) and the other one is usually homemade and we call it Tien Jiu/Sweet Wine (甜酒), made with Glutinous rice. You could susbtitute that with Chinese Rose Wine, or Cognac, even Foochow Red Wine. You’d want something that’s on the sweet side as motherwort is quite a bitter herb.

The ingredients needed, apart from the Chicken

I received the motherwort already pre-fried and blended (by my mother) so it looks like this.

Unassuming tub of herbaceous goodness

Ingredients:
1kg Chicken Maryland, chopped to smaller pieces
A packet of Motherwort, dry fried and blended
Ginger, about palm size
1 650ml bottle of White Rice Wine
1/2 cup Sweet Wine/Tian Jiu
Pinch of salt (optional)*

*My grandma and my mum doesn’t add salt in this dish at all. 

Chop the ginger finely and process it (or pound with mortar and pestle). Using a muslin cloth, squeeze the juice out. Set aside.

Dry fry the motherwort until brownish. Set aside

Dry fry the ginger until aromatic. Set aside.

In a heavy pan/wok, heat oil and add the ginger back along with chicken pieces. Sear the chicken pieces well, then add the motherwort back in. Pour the entire bottle of White Rice Wine in. And let the mixture simmer for about 40 minutes or until Chicken’s tender. Stirring occasionally.

Just before turning off the heat, add the Sweet Wine.

The fumes from the alcohol alone could probably get the cheap drunks. It smells incredible!

It won’t win beauty pageant, but it will win your heart.

You could serve this dish with leafy vegetables and rice. Or do what I sometimes do, eat it with mee sua! The noodles soaked in the gravy is quite incredible. The unique bitter taste of the herb, the sharp and pungent ginger, combined with aromatic wine, undiluted. It definitely packs a punch!

I am submitting this dish to Malaysian Food Fest, Sarawak Month hosted by Sharon of Feats of Feasts

Wagyu Beef Bulgogi Stew

Last weekend was an eventful one. We attended our dear friend Kris Kim‘s debut piano concert at KLPac and was immensely proud of him. Just brilliant. There were also long intense rehearsals for a gig we played on Saturday. The gig itself was, umm, different. Can’t say I’ve enjoyed that venue so much as the crowd just want to listen to classic canto pops and chinese pops while I prefer to have a little bit of control on my set list. Nevertheless it was fun working with this new group of musicians. More gigs to come!

Food wise, the other day when I came across the Wagyu Karubi (Short Ribs) in the supermarket, I immediately bought it with plans to make something else altogether. But for some reason cravings for Bulgogi Stew struck. Might have something to do with our Korean friend (the pianist). Hehe. The beef was intended for BBQ hence not as thinly sliced, but since it’s Wagyu beef there won’t be much of a problem for the meat to stay tender.

I love how Korean cooking is so simple yet the dishes are full of complementing and bold flavours. The “dry version” of Beef bulgogi isn’t something I’d order in the restaurant as I prefer the Spicy Pork version but serve me a bowl of Beef bulgogi stew and I would graciously accept it. I love the sweet and savoury combination.

Beef Bulgogi Stew

Beef Bulgogi
100g Thinly sliced Beef
Half an Onion, sliced
1 small Carrot, julienned

Marinade:
3 tbsps Soy Sauce
1 tbsps Sugar
2 tbsps Asian Pear Juice (Omitted this time)
2 tbsps Mirin
2 tbsps Spring Onion
1 teaspoon Honey
1 clove Garlic, minced
1 tbsp Sesame Seeds
Black Pepper to taste
1 tbsp Sesame Oil

Mix all the sauce ingredients and pour over the mixture of Beef, Onion and Carrot. Marinate for a few hours or best, overnight. You can just stir fry this to make the dry beef bulgogi dish at this point.

Bulgogi Stew
100g Marinated Bulgogi
1 Cup Water
1 Handful Green Vegetables (I used Bok Choy, Spinach is good too)
1 Handful Enoki Mushrooms, bottom chop off and cleaned
1 Handful Sweet Potato Noodles, soaked in boiling hot water for 4-5 minutes
Half beef boullion cube
Extra soy sauce if needed

In a claypot, add the marinated bulgogi, beef boullion cube and water. Cook until the water boils. Add the noodles.

Cook the stew for about 4-5 minutes, or until beef is done. Add the green vegetables and Enoki Mushrooms and boil for a couple more minutes on high heat. Then turn off the heat. Taste test. Add more soy sauce if needed.

Serve it as is, or with rice. I found the noodles filling enough so I didn’t add extra carbs.

Submitted this recipe to Recipe Box #8 by Bizzy Bakes

Simple dish that can impress anyone!

Using Wagyu definitely brought this dish to a whole new level. The beef was sooo tender, filled with tasty fat, the alternating textures with the crunchy enoki mushrooms, green vegetables and soft noodles, very satisfying. Soup was good to the last drop. This is something I’d make again and again.

On a sad note, the cats that I’ve been catsitting are going to be taken away tomorrow by another catsitter due to our impending Melbourne trip. I’ve grown very attached to these furry friends and will no doubt miss them very much. Does anyone have cats for me to adopt? It’s not ideal for us to actually have pets because I’m not sure how long I’m going to be staying in KL. It won’t be nice giving them away. I shall offer my service as a cat or dog sitter for now.