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Wednesday, 22 February 2017

#ewew cooks (Ratha Raub's Improvised) Mixed Vegetable Curry

Like last year, I cooked a pot of Chicken Curry with Potatoes as one of my contributed dishes for the Reunion Table in  Ipoh.  Although the chicken curry was well received last year, my husband did comment that it didn't quite taste like the one we had at Ratha Raub (and I agreed coz I know I didn't follow the ratio of chicken to curry paste to the tee).

So, this year, I tweaked the recipe a bit in the hope that it'll taste closer to the chicken curry we tasted at Ratha Raub.  And here were the changes I made.

1.  I blended 15 shallots and sauteed them in a little oil to start with.  This I hoped will give the curry that extra fragrance.  This extra step was not included in my previous chicken curry.

2.  I followed the ratio of chicken (400g) to curry paste (150g or one packet) more closely.  The weight of the chicken I bought was closer to 1.2kg this time.  The chicken was a huge 1.8kg previously.

3.  I decided to not follow the ratio of water to paste and reduced amount of water used to 750ml for three packets of paste this time.  The instruction on the packet was 375ml to one packet of curry paste.

4.  I cooked the chicken for 15 minutes before putting in the potatoes to cook for a further 10 minutes.  I dumped in everything (the chicken and potatoes) at the same time previously.  

I then stirred in two packets of santan + the curry leaves in the final 2 - 3 minutes of cooking.  At this stage, do a taste test to ensure the seasoning is to your liking (I didn't need to add anything).  This time round, I think it turned out better...the chicken was more tender, the potatoes not overly soft and the curry was thicker and more flavourful (compared to last year's).

So, I'll stick to this recipe in future if I want to make this again.  Although it still didn't taste 100% like the one from Ratha Raub, the taste was much closer and it's the best I can do.  I guess they can't give out all their 'secrets' in their paste, otherwise no-one will eat at their restaurant as they can just buy the paste and cook it at home...haha! ;D 

But the chicken curry was not the only thing I cooked this year for the Reunion Dinner.  I also improvised and made a Mixed Vegetable Curry using Ratha Raub's Fish Curry Paste.

I started by sauteeing 15 shallots (blended) in a little oil until fragrant.  I then added two packets of fish curry paste and 600ml of water.

I set the timer for 30 minutes and simmered the contents for 5 minutes to let the paste and water come together.

Next, go in the vegetables but not all at once (this is a common mistake by many) since not all vegetables soften at the same time.  It's best to start with the harder and sturdier vegetables first and end with those that soften quickly.  I started with the long beans first at the 25-minute mark (I used 10 long beans cut into 2-inch lengths).

After 5 minutes, the cabbage went in next (1/2 a cabbage roughly cut into bite-sized pieces).  Leave them simmering with the lid off.

At the 15-minute mark, I added the brinjal (one big brinjal cut into 2-inch lengths as well).  Try to refrain from adding water as the vegetables (when cooked down) do release water.

I cooked that for a further 5 minutes before throwing in the ladies fingers (10 ladies fingers cut into two).

For the final 5 minutes, I added the tomatoes (3 tomatoes cut into six), tofu puffs (1 packet of 10 pieces cut into two), santan and curry leaves.  At this point, I tasted the curry and found it to be a little sourish (as fish curry usually is), so I added 1/2 a tbsp of sugar.

Check that the softness of vegetables are at the level you want...and the Mixed Vegetable Curry is done :)

If you're preparing this ahead of time, you might want to shorten the cooking time so that the vegetables will not be overly soft when you reheat them later for serving.

But I know there are some of us who like the vegetables in their vegetable curry to be really soft (and I'm one of them).  Some even like it after a few rounds of reheating....if there's any left to reheat, that is ;)

The vegetables lend some sweetness to the curry and they taste delicious after soaking up all that gravy! ^o^

If you're looking for something fail-proof and easy to cook, this is it.  A big pot of this can feed a lot of people.

After the photography session (hehe!), it was time to pack up my Mixed Vegetable Curry and put it in the fridge.

And there you have it...my three contributed dishes of Chicken Curry with Potatoes, Mixed Vegetable Curry and Braised Mushrooms with Abalone & Fatt Choy are ready and packed for this year's Reunion Table in Ipoh.

Serves 8 - 10

Monday, 20 February 2017

Just One Food - Nando's New Mango & Lime Flavour

It was Sean's comment on my Crispy Baked Chicken Wings post which first alerted me that Nando's have a new flavour....the all new Mango & Lime (introduced in January).  And since I haven't had Nando's in a while, what better time than now to try out the new flavour! ;)

I've always liked Nando's coz I prefer grilled, roasted or baked chicken to deep-fried ones but I wasn't crazy over any of their peri-peri sauce unfortunately (neither is my family).

I usually stick to Lemon & Herb but the sound of Mango & Lime attracted me instantly as I love citrusy flavours.  I ordered a 1/4 Chicken (Mango & Lime) with 2 sides (Peri Wedges & Coleslaw) @ RM20.80 (and asked for the drumstick portion).

When the platter arrived...aiks....it's been a while since I had Nando's but I think I know what a 1/4 chicken looks like...and this wasn't it.  I wouldn't call that a 1/4 chicken...I would call that a chicken leg! O_o Flavour wise, it's a little fruity and tangy, slightly sweet as we'd come to expect since it's marinated in mango and lime.  When I took the first few bites, the mango and lime flavour was obviously there but, after a few more bites, the flavour kinda got lost and wasn't as easily detected.  I was hoping for a deeper marination and probably a much more intense flavour of the mango and lime.  Not withstanding that, this Mango & Lime is still my new favourite flavour! ^o^

Because of the small portion size where you actually get a chicken leg rather than a 1/4 chicken, this was certainly not sufficient...even for a small-eater.  I think I can easily devour two (maybe even three) chicken legs on my own (without any sides, of course) but then Nando's is probably aware of this and that's why they pile on the sides so that you don't leave feeling as if the meal wasn't enough.

Just look at the amount of peri wedges they gave...it filled up more than half the plate (it made me "jelat" eating so much wedges which, in the end, I had  to pass to my husband to finish).  And that coleslaw...what coleslaw...they aren't finely shredded, I won't even call it coleslaw...they're coarsely chopped up cabbage and carrot with mayo (better to choose another side than this poorly executed one).

My husband had the 1/4 Chicken (Lemon & Herb) with 2 sides (Garlic Bread & Peri Wedges) @ RM20.90 and was the wiser one to choose the wing section.  Now, at least this one looked like a proper 1/4 chicken! So, if you need a bigger portion size, you know which section to order! ;)  Again, look at the size of the garlic bread which tells you that they're trying to fill you up with sides...but I'm not interested in the sides >_<

My son ordered the Chicken Tenders (Lemon & Herb) with 2 sides (Spicy Rice & Peri Wedges) @ RM13.90. Yikes, the size of the potato wedges are even bigger than the chicken tenders.

The Tropical Fruitea @ RM9.90 (also new on the menu), made with Mango & Lime and infused with orange juice and lemon tea was zesty and zingy, not sweet....and truly refreshing.  You can certainly taste the mango and lime in the drink.  Now, this I love! ^.^

Foto Nando's.
photo credit: Nando's Facebook

Do give this Mango & Lime flavour a try if you're into citrusy flavours (like me)...but a word of caution....don't expect the chicken to come out looking well browned like in their menu...coz it won't be! :D

It looks like this! ^_~

Maybe next time, I should add on these Mango & Lime Chicken Wings (3 pcs) for RM14.90 to my 1/4 chicken chicken leg.

You know what...I think I might have just found my new favourite flavour.  It's delicious alright...maybe not #UnbelievablyDelicious (as they claim)...kekeke! ;D  If you love all things tangy and zesty, this should appeal to you.  Give this all new Mango & Lime flavour a try the next time you're at Nando's! ;)

Friday, 17 February 2017

Yuzu Japanese Restaurant @ Suria KLCC

We happened to be in this mall one public holiday and decided to have lunch at none other than our usual 'go to' Japanese restaurant in KLCC, Yuzu Japanese Restaurant @ Suria KLCC.

Since we were there in the afternoon, it meant we could finally get to savour their affordable lunch set menus...yay! ^_^  We've always enjoyed their dinner sets but we've been eyeing their value set lunches for a while now but weren't able to have any since we were never there in the afternoon.  Their lunch sets, available from 11.30 am to 2.30 pm (I think it's daily since the menu didn't say Monday - Friday), are much cheaper (RM28 - RM56) than the dinner sets.

Our choice for the first set was the Saba Shioyaki Bento @ RM38.  It had so many dishes and sides that even a big-eater will be pleased.  A smaller-eater may need a bit of willpower to polish off everything.

It came with salmon sashimi, tempura prawns and vegetables, chawanmushi, salad, miso soup, some pickled vegetables, rice and fresh fruits (of watermelon, honeydew and grapes).  In the end, I wasn't able to finish all the sides.

The main of Saba with Shio (BBQ mackerel with salt) was nicely grilled rendering moist-enough flesh with a lovely charred flavour.

Our other set was....what else but the Unagi Bento @ RM56.  Ok, this one maybe not as cheap-lah if we were to compare it directly with the dinner sets which also offer unagi (between RM59 - RM69) with slightly different variations.

The grilled unagi in teriyaki sauce was served with some shredded omelette.  The unagi is always good here...it ranks among some of our all-time favourite unagi.

It also featured similar side dishes as the one above with salmon sashimitempura prawns and vegetableschawanmushisaladmiso souppickled vegetables, rice and fresh fruits.

My Personal Opinion

Yuzu continues to satisfy us with their food each time we dine here.  Their a la carte menu (albeit with higher prices) is so extensive you'll be spoilt for choice.

But if you're looking for a more affordable Japanese meal, their lunch and dinner sets will certainly be better value...and better priced.  Probably three not-very-hungry people can share two sets for even greater value! ;)

Yuzu Japanese Restaurant
Lot 412 4th Floor Suria KLCC
Kuala Lumpur City Centre
50088 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2161 4176

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Snacks from Pun Chun @ Bidor

Pun Chun Chicken Biscuits & Restaurant @ Bidor is a regular stopover for many travellers heading north (me and my family included) during our "balik kampong" ritual for Chinese New Year.  We'd usually head here, en route to Ipoh, for a cup of coffee and an early breakfast...and to stretch our legs from the long journey.

We hadn't stopped here during our last two Chinese New Year trips back home preferring to have a better breakfast in Ipoh instead.  But, this year, we started our journey late and got caught in horrendous traffic, so we had no choice but to "singgah" here for breakfast, otherwise we'd be having a very late breakfast by the time we reach Ipoh :(

Breakfast for us is usually either Wantan Mee or Duck Noodles.  I think the Herbal Duck Noodles is probably the better option of the two (and my personal preference too) but since it wasn't available that day, I had to settle for the wantan noodles :'(  Walk into just about any coffee shop in KL and you'd probably find better tasting wantan noodles than this.

The Fried "Wu Kok" (Yam Puff) is also popular with travellers passing through here with the stall owner doing brisk business.  Many would buy them by the boxes....why, I have no idea! >_<  I used to think so too....many years ago when I first began to "balik kampong".  I probably didn't know better then...or the quality has dropped....or my taste buds have changed/elevated since eating excellent yam puffs!  You can easily get way better yam puffs in KL, even Ipoh, at any dim sum shop (you can check my earlier write-up on the wantan mee, duck noodles and yam puffs here).

But not all is lost...as an unscheduled stop over here also meant I get to buy some of my favourite snacks.....woohoo! ;)

And my ultimate favourite is this Kuih Kapit with Pork Floss @ RM7.  Each packet contains 12 smaller individually wrapped packets of two pieces in each packet.

You have an outer layer that tastes like "kuih kapit" or Chinese love letters (crispy wafers made from a batter of egg and coconut milk), only that it's thicker than your usual kuih kapit, and the inside filled with pork floss.

This time, I noticed that there was an additional ingredient....coriander leaves ("yin sai" or Chinese parsley) that added even more fragrance to the kuih kapit besides the toasted black sesame seeds.  What a great snack! So good!! ^o^

I also noticed something I didn't see two years back and got myself a packet of Kerepek Ikan (Fish Crisps) @ RM8.50 and each packet comes with two packets inside.  Although it's called kerepek ikan, both fish and squid were listed as part of the ingredients.

Not the cheapest snack but these fish crisps were incredibly crispy with a wonderful grilled flavour and a savoury fish and squid (more squid than fish) taste.

The crisps were coated with a caramelised sweet glaze that offered a sticky sweet taste to balance the slightly spicy flavour.  This is pretty addictive too...and I regret not buying more! >_<

Of course I couldn't resist the ever popular Satay Ikan (Barbeque Fish) @ RM7.50 which holds 6 individual packets of satay ikan...rather amusing brand name (London Bridge!) for a local product though :D

This one was more savoury in taste and not as sweet as the kerepek ikan.  It's also more spicy but, overall, a bit more fishy in taste (and harder in texture) compared to the fish crisps.

My Personal Opinion

If there's one thing that makes your stopover in Pun Chun worthwhile, it'll be the abundance of snacks you can get your hands on...besides the Duck Noodles and the chance to stretch your legs (or for a pitpee-stop).

If you find yourself in Pun Chun, do look out for the Kuih Kapit with Pork Floss and Kerepek Ikan....but I can't guarantee that you won't get addicted to them! ^_~

Pun Chun Chicken Biscuits & Restaurant
38 & 40 Jalan Besar
35500 Bidor
Perak
Tel: 05-434 1554

Monday, 13 February 2017

Maluri Noodle House @ Taman Maluri

We came looking specifically for this shop, Maluri Noodle House @ Taman Maluri (opened in February 2015)said to offer a hearty and comforting bowl of pork noodle soup, after reading about it in the Star papers recently.

But, if you don't read Chinese, finding the shop may prove more difficult than you think when the shop's signage is written only in Chinese.  We ended up looking for the shop number (56) as we drove past.  Only when we walked up to the restaurant did we find a small standing signage that said "Maluri Noodle House"! >_<

For a noodle shop, the outlook is certainly more comfortable with air-conditioning in a clean and bright environment.  The marble table tops and chairs remind me of another noodle house, Ah Koong in Pudu, that specialises in fish ball noodles.

Since their speciality is pork noodles, that became one of our first orders.  I asked for small for my Pork Noodles (soup version) @ RM7.90 (RM8.90 for large) but I can tell you the size was pretty hefty (may be a tad big for a small-eater to finish).  This standard serving of pork noodles came with all the expected porky stuff of lean pork slices, minced pork, liver and intestines.  If there was one complaint, it'll be that the minced meat was a little on the fatty side and not as finely textured or as flavourful as some we've had before.

I'd have say the broth (reputedly boiled for six hours using pork bones, chicken bones, anchovies and some herbs) was pretty decent and they were certainly not stingy with the amount of soup they gave either (which came in a big bowl).

A family member went with the 'Yee Mee' Pork Noodles (dry version) also @ RM7.90 for small. Unfortunately, the sauce base for the noodles wasn't as successful.

The dry version is, of course, served with a separate bowl of porky goodness.  Though I love (and would always order) the soup version, you can actually get the best taste (out of the soup) from a separate bowl of soup as the noodles will not be there to 'contaminate' the pure taste of the broth.

I was, of course, very happy to see my favourite thing floating on top of the noodles...freshly fried pork lard crisps aka "chee yau char"...yay! ^o^  Not only that but the addition of fried garlic also helped to enhance the soup even further....double yay!!

And if the chee yau char is not enough, you can add on more of the Pork Lard Crisps @ RM1.50.  Who can say no to more pork lard crisps....c'mon, you know you want more! ^_~

On the table, you'd find the usual condiments of bird's eye chillies, soya sauce, pepper and one not-so-usual condiment, Chinese rice wine, which I didn't know as the condiment bottle was (again) written in Chinese (I thought it was some kind of vinegar).  It's there for you to add a dash of it to the soup to further enhance its flavour.  So, I didn't...and couldn't anyway (even if I had known) coz I was sharing the noodles with my spouse and he doesn't like anything with rice wine in it.  I've never had pork noodles with rice wine, so I don't know how that'll taste but I'm assuming it should be good ;)

If you're feeling super, super hungry (or perhaps two can share), you can go for broke and get their "All In" (RM15) which will get you a standard serving of the usual bowl of pork noodles but with the addition of meat ball, kidney, chitterlings, pork tendon and egg (don't know what chitterlings are...well, they're small intestines..I learned a new word too from their menu...hehe!).

Besides pork noodles, their other signature dish is their Curry Noodles @ RM7.90 laden with curry chicken, fried bean curd sheets, tofu puffs, cockles, long beans and bean sprouts accompanied by homemade belacan. It arrived looking the part...with a layer of fiery red oil (don't worry, it's not that spicy even after I added all the sambal in).  It was an ok curry, in my opinion, but lacking the savouriness and creaminess that I seek (plus I've had better).

To complement their pork and curry noodles, they have some side dishes that you can order like Sichuan-Style Dumpling, Deep-Fried Meat Roll, Deep-Fried Chicken & Pork Dumpling, Deep-Fried Chicken Ball (with Peanut & Pumpkin) and Deep-Fried Chicken & Cheese Ball (their best seller).

We tried the Deep-Fried Meat Roll (4 pcs) @ RM7.50 wrapped in bean curd sheet and seaweed.  Just wished they didn't squirt so much mayo on top.

We also had the Deep-Fried Chicken & Pork Dumpling (4 pcs) @ RM7.50.  This time the mayo was on the bottom.  Why can't they just serve the mayo on the side and let us decide how much we want...or not want at all.  That aside, no complaints on both the fried snacks as they were nice and crisp...and addictive to eat.

Another interesting snack they have (a recent introduction since I didn't see it on the menu but on a place card on the table) is the Fried Hong Kong Fish Skin (RM8).  As much as I wanted to try, I didn't have it in the end since my family wasn't keen on it.  Also, I was afraid that it might turn out fishy and that I wouldn't be able to finish it all on my own.  Luckily, I didn't order it coz when I saw it served to another table....it was quite a humongous portion (definitely needs to be shared)! O_o

My Personal Opinion

It was a decent bowl of pork noodles (soup version), not great, but certainly better than the curry noodles. However, it gets extra brownie points for the freshly fried garlic and pork lard crisps.  Then again, I can also get a bowl of good pork noodles from my favourite stall in Pandan Perdana with a 'special' amount of chee yau char just for me! ^_*

I wouldn't mind coming back for the pork noodles but since the dry version (that my family likes) wasn't as successful, I doubt they would want to return + getting a parking spot in this commercial area can be challenging (even on a Sunday).

But, for those looking to eat a big bowl of pork noodles in a comfy environment, this is certainly worth exploring in this part of town.

Maluri Noodle House
No 56 Jalan Jejaka 9
Taman Maluri
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2856 0306

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