Wednesday, 29 June 2016

#ewew cooks Pork Meatballs with Potatoes

I've made western-style meatballs with spaghetti but that recipe needs a bit more work as it involves the use of fresh breadcrumbs (which helps to keep the meatballs moist and juicy).

But when I need to make meatballs for dinner, I'd usually do the Chinese-style version (the easier version) with cornflour in replacement of breadcrumbs.  So, here comes another easy recipe of Pork Meatballs with Potatoes that's a favourite with my family.

The pork meatballs recipe needs just 4 ingredients - minced pork, chopped scallions, egg and cornflour (you can also add in some chopped onions if you like but I don't like to add them in raw, so I usually sauteed them first before adding in).  Actual measurements of the ingredients are not critical, it can be more or less.  Just drizzle in the beaten egg slowly to see how much you need.

Season with salt, white pepper and a dash of sesame oil.  Mix everything together evenly.  The resulting mixture should be slightly moist.  If it's too dry, just add more egg and if it's too wet, add more cornflour (the cornflour is what makes the meat soft and tender).

Once the mixture is ready, form them into balls.  Wet your hands with water if you find the paste sticking to your hands.  Fry them on medium heat until they're nicely golden brown, then take them out.

Ooo, these look so good already....I'll just pop one in my mouth for a taste test...ok, maybe one more! =)

I'd usually fry up some potatoes to go with the meatballs.  If you have children who don't like scallions (some adults too), you can omit them from the meatball recipe.  Now which child wouldn't enjoy a dish of fried meatballs and potatoes.

But for those who find this dish too dry and need a little sauce, you can make one by adding some dried shiitake mushrooms to the meatballs and potatoes.  Just use a simple combination of oyster sauce, dark and light soy to make the sauce.  Sprinkle some chopped spring onions to add a bit of colour (if you have any).

Alternatively, Pork Meatballs with Potatoes in Sauce is just as delicious too! :)

The Pork Meatballs with Potatoes are great just on its own (as a snack with some chilli sauce).  Or as one of your dishes on the dinner table to be eaten with rice.

I cook this whenever I find minced pork in my freezer.....which is quite often! ;D  These Chinese-style meatballs are pretty versatile and easy to make other than the frying process, of course (but still easier than frying fish if you ask me).  My family loves to eat, I'll keep making them! ;)

And what's better than meatballs and potatoes?......More meatballs and potatoes, of course!! :D

Monday, 27 June 2016

My 2016 Ramadan Loot @ Pandan Indah

Well, it's Ramadan month again....and time to walk, smell and savour all that the Ramadan bazaar (in my neighbourhood) has to offer.  You can check out some of my last year's Ramadan loot here, here, here and here.

The first thing we went looking for was the Cucur Udang @ RM5 which we remembered so well from last year. Luckily, the same stall was here...and the "cucur udang" (prawn fritters) was still as good as ever.  Eaten with a choice of "kuah kacang" (peanut sauce) or chilli sauce, this stall's version is very crispy and fragrant with lots of chives, onions (for sweetness) and bean sprouts but less shrimps this year for the same price.  Needless to say, we went back for many rounds of this.

A common sight at any Ramadan bazaar are the many stalls of nasi lemak.  This was the Nasi Lemak Kerang (Nasi Lemak with Cockles) @ RM4 (with the sambal packed separately).  They have all the usual dishes normally eaten with nasi lemak.  This was one of the better stalls as their nasi lemak usually runs out around 6.30pm.

Also this Nasi Lemak Biasa (Plain Nasi Lemak) @ RM1.30 from another stall.  I get nasi lemak withdrawal symptoms during Ramadan coz I don't get to eat it for breakfast, so evening times I must indulge....haha! :D

Of course satay must have a part in any Ramadan bazaar.  Fresh sticks of Chicken Satay (10 sticks) @ RM7 with condiments of cucumber and onions, not forgetting the delicious kuah kacang.

We later found another satay stall selling them for only RM6 (which was just as nice but may be a bit stingy with the kuah kacang), so you may need to 'shop' around for the best deals.

I also remembered the very nice nasi kerabu I had last year but the stall this year looked a bit smaller (not sure if it's the same one) but the Nasi Kerabu with Ayam Percik @ RM4 + RM4 was just as delish.  The nasi kerabu had "taugeh" (bean sprouts), long beans, cabbage, "kerisik sambal ikan" (coconut flaked fish), salted egg, "keropok ikan" (fish crackers), fresh sambal and lots of fragrant herbs.

I paired it with a piece of "ayam percik" which is actually marinated chicken, basted with a spiced coconut milk sauce, and grilled to impart a smoky, charred flavour to it.  The chicken was nice and tender and what was even better was that they would spoon more of that wonderful spiced coconut milk gravy onto the chicken (which was packed separately).  The sauce erupted with the flavours and aroma of lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and coconut good!  Of course, you can also have your nasi kerabu with either turmeric fried fish (ikan goreng tepung), grilled fish (ikan bakar), fried chicken (ayam goreng) or "solok lada" (a kind of stuffed green chilli pepper) if you like.

There were a lot of stalls offering all sorts of "nasi ayam" (chicken rice)'ve got the usual roast chicken, "ayam goreng" (fried chicken), "ayam goreng berempah" (fried spiced chicken), "ayam panggang" (grilled chicken), "ayam percik", "ayam masak merah" and whatnots.  I decided to get myself a Nasi Ayam Panggang @ RM8 which came with a packet of soup and "kicap hitam" (black soy sauce).

Chicken (or Beef) Samosa @ RM2.50 (for 3)....nice and crispy :)

A mainstay at many Ramadan bazaars is the Bubur Lambuk @ RM4 and practically every bubur lambuk stall will advertise theirs as Kg Baru's bubur lambuk! :P  It is a savoury rice porridge made with beef and coconut milk.  It's quite different from Chinese-style porridge because of the addition of coconut milk and spices.   I think it's an acquired taste coz some may not like the taste of the various spices in the porridge.  Some of the spices used in the bubur include buah pelaga (green cardamom pods), bunga lawang (star anise), jintan manis (fennel seeds), bunga cengkih (cloves), biji ketumbar (coriander seeds), halba (fenugreek), buah keras (candlenuts), kayu manis (cinnamon stick) and lada hitam (black peppercorn)...there could be more.  All these are cooked with dried shrimps, onions, garlic and ginger.

I certainly detected (as in found) the first 3 spices in my bowl of porridge along with some black coloured seeds that looked like biji sawa (mustard seeds).  The porridge is usually quite thick and chunky.  I added my own fried garlic and shallots for even more flavour....hehe! ;)

We also found these Fried Wonton @ RM4 (for 10 pcs) wrapped with chicken paste (that taste just like chicken meatballs) along with some Fried Popiah @ RM0.70/pc.  I like that the wonton skin was very thin and crispy...makes for a nice snack.

These Tauhu Bakar @ RM4.50 for 2 pcs of grilled bean curd puff (cut into halves), stuffed with just shredded carrot and "taugeh" (bean sprouts), to be probably the least worthy in terms of money spent coz the ingredients are cheap stuff (I certainly won't buy them again).  Served with a sauce that tastes very similar to fruit rojak, the tauhu was neither crisp nor loaded with charred flavour.

A stall that I keep coming back to every year is the "mee goreng" stall with all types of fried noodles (mee/meehoon/kway teow/maggi mee/etc) and "nasi goreng" (fried rice).  This is a packet of Mee Goreng @ RM3.50 when I want something simple.

A staple in Malay festivals is Lemang & Rendang (RM3 + RM3) and I found a small stall offering that.  "Lemang" is glutinous rice with coconut milk and salt cooked in bamboo over an open fire.  It's usually served with beef rendang....and this one was fairly decent except the beef could be more tender but the rendang sauce was pretty good.

Last minute addition of this Malay-style fried noodles (which I found only yesterday after this blog post has already been posted) that I felt I must include.  This Fried Kway Teow or Mee (with kerang & udang galah) @ RM8 a packet was one that I thought was the closest I've seen resembling a Chinese-style fried kway teow in taste.  I asked for a mixture of kway teow and mee and the stall owner immediately whipped up one for me. It was unusually dry like how Chinese fried kway teow is (as opposed to the more wet style of Malay fried noodles) with good "wok hei".  And what was even better was that it came with two large udang galah (giant freshwater prawns)!  I'm so going back for this again.

We also finally splurged on this whole Fried Squid @ RM12 that is battered and fried...and finally tossed in chilli powder for a bit of heat.  The squid wasn't all that big and you can see why we hesitated initially but resistance was futile, of course, in the end. The batter was nice and crunchy, though a tad floury, and the best thing was the squid wasn't chewy.

These were just some of the loot I tried this year....there were lots more I didn't try and some I didn't take photos of.  With about a week to go, the Ramadan bazaar should slowly be winding down but this year they seem to be hanging around a little longer...probably because the heavy rains spoiled their business on many of the days (I believe I went to the bazaar less this year because of that very reason).  Anyway, we'll meet again next year.....when it starts all over again! ;)

Friday, 24 June 2016

Umai-Ya @ Suria KLCC

It was back to Kinokuniya again to collect the books I've been waiting anxiously for, books that I ordered three weeks ago.

After that, it was time for dinner and since we've eaten at Yuzu Japanese Restaurant the last couple of times, I thought we'd try the other Japanese eatery here, Umai-Ya Japanese Restaurant @ KLCC.

I ordered a small bite of Tori Nankotsu @ RM11.90 which is deep-fried chicken soft bone.  I've seen this many times before on menus in yakitori restaurants but have never been attracted to order it.  This time I did (coz it must have been very good) since I saw it served to the table next to us who moments later ordered another serving.

Although the batter on the chicken cartilage was nice and crunchy, the cartilage wasn't.  You do feel a crunch when you bite into it but the texture is just too boney and weird for me (it was just like eating chicken bones, those translucent soft bones you usually find near the breast).  It wasn't something I fancied.  No wonder the server asked if I wanted the soft bone or the meat (as they do a version with meat like kaarage).  I guess it doesn't go down well with everyone...and I should have trusted my own instincts not to order it! O_o First and last time, this one.

I was attracted to the pic of the next dish, the Mini Shanshoku Chawan Mushi @ RM22.90 and, since I adore chawan mushi, I thought why not.  The presentation was certainly pretty with the egg custard served 3-ways in their original egg shells.

The first was egg custard topped with foie gras.  I've had foie gras before and loved it to bits but this one tasted fishy (like almost raw bad liver)....and wasn't nice at all would be putting it tasted like crap! :p

The second one was egg custard topped with smelt roe.  I didn't read the description of the dish properly and though it was ikura initially (from the pic) only to realise it wasn't.  The smelt roe has a lighter orange colour compared to the salmon roe and doesn't taste as nice.  There's still a burst of juice (but not as juicy as ikura) with a slightly fishy taste compared to ikura.  I don't think I like smelt roe!

The final egg custard was topped with black caviar.  This one I liked...the eggs popped in my mouth releasing a fleeting burst of juice.  It was the best of the three, hands down.

For our mains, we shared a Sizzling Seafood @ RM39.90 which featured tiger prawns, salmon, oysters and squid in spicy sauce.  The seafood is not that visible covered with loads of sauce that tasted like spiced mayonnaise but with quite a bit of heat.  You might think that the seafood would be well cooked since it was on a hot plate but they were surprisingly a bit on the raw side (other than the salmon).  Nice :)

The other main for sharing was the Ika Hot Plate @ RM23.90 which was basically stir-fried cuttlefish with garlic sauce.  The cuttlefish was slightly chewy and the sauce robust in flavour.

Both sauces for the mains were on the salty side, so they definitely need rice to go with it @ RM2.90 a bowl.

Ocha @ RM2

My Personal Opinion

Whenever I'm in KLCC, I always seem to end up at Yuzu when I want a Japanese meal, so I thought I'd give Umai-Ya a try.  But after one try, I know for sure I prefer the other one! ;)

Umai-Ya Japanese Restaurant
Lot No 428 Level 4 Suria KLCC
Kuala Lumpur City Centre
50088 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2161 3939

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Snacks Hunting @ Sitiawan

After a more than satisfying lunch at Villa Seafood Restaurant, we went on our merry way hoping to sample a few more snacks that Sitiawan has to offer.

One of our first stops was Hock Chew So Mee Shua Konpian (located along the same road as Villa Seafood Restaurant) that we spotted while searching for our lunch venue.  This small shop (with the factory beside it) is a producer of Sitiawan mee sua.

Sheets of noodles drying in the sun

Trays and trays of mee sua drying in the sun

You can buy mee sua directly from them in thin and thicker versions and they come in different packaging sizes.  Also on sale is the red wine that you can use to cook this mee sua and some other (twisted) biscuits which my friends bought.  

A 500g packet of mee sua I bought for RM4

They also make kong piah but (sadly) they were all out by the time we got there.  Gong pia (referred to by many other names/spelling) is probably the most well-known biscuit in Sitiawan (either with an onion or char siew filling) as these are reportedly not found elsewhere.  They told us we could order and come back for it the next day but we knew we wouldn't have time to drop by again.

With that, we moved on to pursue our the next food destination....the famous James Cendol in Sitiawan!  As luck would have it, my friend asked for directions and the mee sua seller pointed us to another cendol stall which she says is better than James Cendol as the shaved ice is finer.  So, off we went in search of this un-named cendol stall (they told us to look for a yellow building called Wisma Ganda).

The cendol stall was actually located a stone's throw from the famous Cheong Cia Gong Pian but (again) it wasn't our destiny to savour gong pian (on this trip) as the shop is closed on Sundays! :'(  

Anyway, this was the cendol @ RM2.50 a bowl (regular without pulut) from the un-named stall.

When we were ordering our cendol, I did see they had lots of customers, both having the dessert there and even more packing them away.  I have to say the shaved ice was not as fine as I thought and though the gula melaka was fragrant, the overall dessert was really sweet.

While having our cendol, we noticed a durian stall next to it doing brisk business....and my friends couldn't resist.  The Chinese uncle's haircut is pretty a Shaolin monk (minus the ponytail)! :D

My friends shared a durian between them...I just watched coz I don't eat durians.  I think they paid RM18 or RM20 for it.

Next, we proceeded to the more well-known James Cendol (as we originally planned) in front of (more like opposite) an Indian temple.  As you can see, it's full house!  We also noticed another cendol stall directly in front of the temple but since there were hardly any customers there, we didn't dare to try.

The stall is now manned by his wife...coz James is busy with his own stall in Old Klang Road (reportedly).....but it's ironic that I've not been to the one nearer to me....haha! ;)

Since the previous cendol was so sweet, I immediately asked for less sweet for this one.  I'm not sure if she heard me as the resulting cendol was still sweet (but not as sweet as the un-named stall).  Our bowl of cendol (without pulut) @ RM2.60.

Comparing both cendols, James Cendol's shaved ice is finer than the un-named stall (I guess the locals are not always right) and, if I had to pick one, I'd go with James Cendol (for the very reason of finer shaved ice) but will need to seriously tone down the sweetness (both stalls).  Both cendols are alright but not inducing enough to make one travel many miles to seek them out (if you happen to be here, fine).  You can get equally decent (if not better) ones in KL.

And that was all the time we had on Day 2 for food hunting in Sitiawan as we had to rush back to the hotel to shower and get ready for our Prize Giving Dinner at 6.30pm.

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