"Tender, peppery chunks of beef"
I am perpetually in search of good guramie. I remembered a short-lived Warung Guramie on Jalan P.Ramlee nestled between Beach Club and some other club. Didn't really make it. Fungsiwaty, the lovely lady who runs Anggrek Kuring shakes her head, "you can't find guramie here at all, restaurants either use ikan nila or tilapia."
You need guramie to make it curl up in those lovely wings because it's "tipis". At Anggrek Kuring they have a standing fish. A fish that is curled open and then made to stand as though it's breaking through water and rising to the surface. They use kerapu but because it's "buncit", they have to fry it with a bit of flour or else it won't stand.
Still with hot, white rice and sambal terasi a well fried fish, is a well fried fish
. The stunners of our dinner today however, is the sapi lada hitam. This is NOT an Indonesian daging masak kicap as I mistakenly called it to slaps from my Indonesian designer. This is a dish of it's own, tender beef chunks that melts in your mouth with a fragrant peppery sauce riddled with onions and chillies. This dish is a come back factor for this restaurant. We kept ordering extras.
Earlier as we were entering, I saw a sign for Ayam Pressto. It looks a little like ayam penyet. I thought maybe it's 'hey pressto! Here's your chicken' or it's in someway 'pressed' so that it's tender.
Goes to show how little I know Bahasa Indonesia. And that's what I like about the language. It has all this cute, almost literal words that rolls off the edge of your tongue- similar but different. Just when you think you know it, it surprises you with twists in meanings and flavours. Not unlike their food. Take for instance Pressto (Malay? English-inspired? Or something entirely different?)- a word you think you should know and yet means something completely different. To 'pressto' in Indonesian means to steam a chicken until the bones are tender.
"Flavours linger on your tongue"
Brickfields is a bit of a mystery for me. I've lived in either KL or PJ for my entire life but have yet to explore the depths of this place. The smell of curry on every street, the colors everywhere, the people who smile as they jostle through the crowd. Like I said, I'm not particularly brave. But if I want good Indian food, this is probably the place.
I had trawled the Internet the night before, and the name Jassal Tandoori Restaurant popped up. Tandoori. Promising. I haven't had tandoori in a while. Plus it is barely a ten minute walk from KL Sentral which means I don't have to drive! Always a good thing.
I make the trek and arrive at the smallish but very cosy restaurant. I place my order for sizzling chicken tandoori, palak paneer (a weakness of mine), garlic naan and paneer paratha. I couldhardly wait. Smells were emanating from the kitchen, driving my saliva glands crazy. Patience is a virtue, I scold myself. When the dishes arrive, my stomach is going bonkers.
I tear into the naan with abandon. The garlic naan is absolutely delicious, loaded with enough garlic to ward off vampires or your date. It's not as fluffy as most other naans you get, but I rather like this version as the ratio of garlic to roti is in my favour. The paneer paratha is a bit of a conundrum. Last I checked, paneer meant cheese, but the menu says it contains herbs and chilis so I order it anyway. This, I thoroughly enjoy. Stuffed with chopped herbs, it is both crispy and chewy, a feat for any respectable roti maker.
Raya is upon us and we thought we'd give you a little "how to" pictorial on making ketupat. It looks a little complicated at first, but once you get the hang of it you'll be weaving ketupat like a pro! Go on and give it a try.
Step1: Weave the leaf on your right hand into the one on your left in an alternating fashion. Keep holding on to the leaves as you do this. This step takes the most getting used to; concentrate on getting the hang of it.
Step 2: Once done, it should resemble the photo.
Step 3: Take the narrow end of the leaf and weave it upwards, keeping to the alternating pattern. Once you get to the top, take a left turn and keep weaving to that corner. (i.e. weave along two sides of the ketupat)
Step 4: Turn the ketupat around. Repeat the previous step of going up and to the left. (i.e. weave along the other two sides of the ketupat) The narrow ends should now be at the same corner.
Step 5: Take one of the wide ends and weave towards the corner opposite the one with the narrow ends. (i.e. weave along one side)
Step 6: Repeat with the other wide end. (i.e. weave along the other one side) The wide ends should now be at the same corner, opposite from the corner with the narrow ends.
Step 7: Neaten the ketupat. Start by folding a… Continue reading »
"Medium-rare perfection and meltingly tender"
Ayers Rock Butchery and Grill is situated quite deep in the heart of Bukit Jelutong, where I reside. As a meat lover, my interest was piqued when it opened. It is a small unit, occupying one shop-lot. At first glance it seems rather out of place, but this could be because it’s in the middle of a housing area, and its neighbors are a mamak shop, a laundry and a 7-11. As the name suggests, it sells meat for customers to take home, and also grills it for you there, should you choose to buy and eat-in, which was what I did.
The first thing that caught my eye when I walked in was the meat cases. I have to say you don’t get a lot of choice, but it was a small joy to see whole sides of rib eye, striploin and a few full-length tenderloins lying in the chillers. There was also a side of Wagyu sirloin, which made me smile even more. The restaurant itself is clean and simple, with heavy use of red and wooden furniture. The décor evokes an Outback cowboy life, with hats and replica guns hanging on the wall. It was quite busy the night I came. Rather cutely, each table is adorned with a salt and peppershaker in the shape of hugging friends, and a bottle each of tomato sauce, chili sauce, mint sauce, Tabasco sauce and HP sauce.
I sat myself down and was handed a menu by a gentleman in casual attire. This is probably the simplest, most straightforward menu I’ve ever seen. No fancy descriptions, and just about two half-pages long. It simply lists the types of steak (rib-eye, striploin, tenderloin, t-bone, ‘aussie’ which is rump; and there are different varieties such as grain-fed and even Wagyu), lamb items, a few seafood items and some burgers. All of them came with a side of salad and fries or potato salad. Best of all, the steaks were VERY affordable compared to the bigger steakhouses. As a point of reference, Ayers Rock rib eye is a relative bargain at RM35 compared to RM50 at a place like TGIF.
It is the 15th century. The place is the royal palace of Melaka, a strategic port and center of a great trading empire that bears the same name as the city.
By all accounts it is a rich place, with goods from all over the known world available in its markets. And the wealth is reflected in the prosperity of the people, not least embodied… More »
"I've been converted from a tenggiri hater to lover"
A relative of mine mentioned that another distant relative had opened up a banana leaf restaurant. Well it made sense that since I work in the food line I just had to go give it a try. I went with an open mind trying not to be biased. I even looked up some reviews online to get a good feel of the place before setting off for lunch. Every single review recommended the fried tenggiri (which didn't matter to me as I don't even like fried tenggiri).
Moorthy Mathai's sits right on the busy Tun Sambanthan stretch of Brickfields. As you drive past you'll notice that it is one of the newer spots along the row of makan joints and fabric stores. It is both clean and air-conditioned, which is lovely in our hot and humid weather.
We immediately place our orders to appease our ravenous rumbling tummies. Along with the usual vegetarian set, my friends each ordered the fried tenggiri (none for me, thanks!), and we got a fried chicken, and two fish cutlets to share.
Now I suppose I should explain my aversion to fried tenggiri. I have never had an enjoyable experience with it; it's either very fishy tasting, overcooked and stringy, or it has soaked up so much grease that you're basically chomping on a fishy grease sponge. When the fish arrived at our table however, I decided to give it a nibble just to be able to write about it. I was not prepared to like it or even enjoy it, and I sure as heck was not expecting to be frantically waving down a waiter to place one more order for it. The fried tenggiri here is extremely fresh, the flesh is soft and flaky with a hint of sweetness, and the spice coating is packed with flavour. To ensure that it is freshly-cooked, the tenggiri is prepared in small batches throughout the day. Moorthy's Mathai has completely changed my view of the humble tenggiri.
A year ago, I bumped into a series of flag designs created out of food for Australian Food Festival. The idea was simple, each flag was composed with traditional food elements that related with each country. And then me and Honey thought, what would it be if it were a Malaysian flag? Would it be made out of nasi lemak? Or chicken curry?
Jalur Gemilang was designed by Mohamed Hamzah in 1947 for the Malaysian flag design competition. The first design was a green flag with blue kris in the middle, surrounded by 15 white stars. The second design, which was among the three finalists, was similar to the current flag but with a five-pointed star. He borrowed major elements from the American flag, by using stripes as the idea to represent the 14 states.
Anyway, Malaysia just celebrated their independence day yesterday, so as scheduled this week would be Merdeka week in FC headquarters. Everyone has their own project and contribution for website content. And I have my own project too!
Hence this is a tribute to my adopted country, a Malaysian flag made out of Nasi Lemak- rice, sambal, ikan bilis, boiled egg and peanuts on top of banana leaf. An edible Jalur Gemilang.
Happy Independence, Malaysia! Continue reading »