Kitchen Capers

Romantic Dinners for under RM35

by Honey Ahmad Photography Nurul on Mon, January 30, 2012

Often I find myself near Valentine perusing recipes. Although I love a romantic dinner in a gorgeous restaurant, I find that for the day of lovers a simple meal cooked with good ingredients and a generous sprinkling of love is always a winner...

Sexy food and sexy company..

We are avid believers that the stomach is a sensuous organ. Fill it right and the rest will follow. Cooking for someone you love is a wonderful thing. In one grand gesture, you can lay your cards down, find out where you stand and have an excuse to gaze into your paramour’s eyes.

For Valentine’s people most often associate romantic dinners with something more Westernised. Afterall, it is a Western affectation. Which is why we often go for roasts, pastas and quick oven cuisine. Ingredients are few, flavours are fresh, pace is relaxed. Western cooking is not as finicky as Asian cooking, unless you are trying to do a Julia Child so hopefully it also means less stress. In saying this, if your forte is making killer sambal tumis then do that. If able, always cook what you’re comfortable with. Leave experimentation for another day.

Cooking a romantic dinner together can be a fun and intimate way to enjoy each other's company

Cooking also means that you can keep to a budget. Leaving more room for dessert, libations, gifts and the door conveniently open nearby for post-meal activities. And frankly with the kind of prices they are hitting you nowadays you often feel that everything is out there to make money out of a day that ideally should be free of pretense and pressure.

And finally, feeding someone from the labours of your hand is a sexy thing. It is one of the most wonderful and simplest ways to show love. Here are some wonderfully delicious and easy recipes for a romantic dinner for two and we’ve even given you a budget! Amazingly it’s all under RM35!

The Afternoon Delight

The Mediterranean… blue seas, fresh seafood and the scent of lemons and olives. This is a sexy lunch idea since we’re serving up fish which is light and doesn’t make you feel too bloated. *Very important if you’re leaving room for some high-jinx in the late afternoon.

Oven-roasted Mediterranean Fish with Aubergine Salad
Budget: RM25 -RM30

Fish pan-seared before it's popped in the oven to roast

Although lemon sole or red snapper is great with this recipe, go local and use some fresh red tilapia. Make this tangy tongue-teaser with this simple recipe

Aubergine Salad

Because the fish is light, anchor it with some earthy aubergines. The eggplant family done well is sexy taste-wise and gives that additional oomph to the fish. We’ve beefed it up with some beans, olives and zingy fresh coriander.

Sear the aubergine with a little oil until soft

1 Large Aubergine, seared
6-8 cherry tomatoes, roasted
1 can cannelini Bean
A handful black olives
A handful coriander
2 Tbs olive oil, extra virgin
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything and let it rest for about 5 minutes


On a serving plate, arrange the salad and place the fish fillet on top of it. Drizzle some of the sauce from the deep try.

Taste: The fish is flaky and refreshing. There's a hint of sourness in this dish that's delish

Pull factor: Light, fresh and doesn't mess with diets, this is a great healthy meal to share and leaves plenty of space for some friskiness later.

For dessert may we suggest a cheeky Cherry Cheesecake or a velvety Tiramisu.

The Slow Burn
Budget: RM30

This is a dinner that harkens comfort without being dowdy. As a matter of fact this dish is a sizzler guaranteed to make you feel loved-up afterwards as you load up your favourite flick and sit toe to toe, bellies and hearts full.

imageA gorgeous looking dinner for two...

Bacon wrapped Chicken with Zesty Mash

This dish needs a bit more attention but so worth it. The chooks (plump thighs are best for extra succulence) are made ever juicier with the bacon wrap and seals in moisture. Just make sure to constantly bathe it in oil and keep the fire medium and constant. Get the recipe and start sizzling with this charming chook.

Zesty Potato Mash


This is an excellent bed for your chicken to rest upon. Soft and pillowy the mustard punches it up without you having to add too much extra seasoning.

4 large potatoes, boiled
1 medium onion, minced
3 knobs butter
2 Tbs cream
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp grainy mustard
1 tsp lemon zest
Salt and pepper to taste

imagePotatoes mashed with fried onions, mustard, cream and lemon zest

In a mixing bowl, mash the potatoes with the rest of the ingredients. Remember not to mash it too fine for some texture.

Mushroom Sauce


In the same saute pan, add 3 thinly sliced button mushrooms with 1/2 cup vegetable stock and a splash of balsamic vinegar. A dollop of butter smoothens it all out at the end. For a little hotness, you can also add 1 finely chopped bird's eye chilli.

Green Salad

Toss together a handful Rocket or watercrest with a drizzle of olive oil, 1 Tbs lemon juice and season with salt and pepper


On a serving plate, scoop a decent amount of mash. Place the chicken on the mash and stack a bundle of salad onto the chicken.

Drizzle the mushroom gravy by the side of the plate.

Taste: This is the absolute winner of our romantic cook-up. The chicken falls off the bones with crispy texture from the bacon. Awesome.

Pull Factor: This needs a bit of work but will make your partner feel all fuzzy and happy. This is tops for the ultimate post-dinner nuzzling.

Something light for dessert is just the ticket like an airy Cream-filled Roulade or an impressive Bombe Alaska

The Quickie
Budget: RM25

It’s a busy day at work and you’re home and not really in any mood for long simmers or fussing with plating and such. A superb one-dish pasta is just the thing. A mess of angel hair tossed with good olive oil and fresh seafood. Simple, light and fuss-free.

Seafood Angelhair Pasta

We recommend you go to your nearest wet market for the freshest seafood. Prices there are cheaper than the supermarket. For the same price we pay for just prawns at your nearest grocers at the market we got a squid too! Get the crazy simple recipe here.

imageGet your oil fragrant with prawns then toss in the pasta

Taste: Satisfying with the studs of prawns and squid giving a chew-factor. This is a dish that you can cook on any night for a quiet dinner with your partner.

Pull Factor: Conjure it up right in front of your date and then feed each other. Good for getting up close...


A light dinner deserves a decadent dessert. Make a sinful Moist Chocolate Cake or a less stressful Chocolate Pudding

When you're feeling flushed with cash, treat your sweetheart to some of our choice picks for romantic restaurants. Stay suburban with Romantic Restaurants in Subang Jaya or Romantic Restaurants in PJ. Or paint KL red with KL's Most Romantic Restaurants and More KL Romantic Restaurants. You can also meet in the middle with a peep into Bangsar's Romantic Restaurants.


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