In any culture where recipes are passed down from generation to generation with fiercely guarded cooking secrets, you are sure to find real gems. These are always dishes that are simple and eaten with family at home, often the most treasured of tastes. Ask any chef or food connoisseur what their favourite dish is, and almost always they’ll mention… More »
"Loaded with lap cheong, seafood, and lard!"
Dining at The Wok is like eating at your nyonya aunty’s place. Marble-topped tables, antiques everywhere, the smell of belacan permeating the air. Everyone I know who has eaten here left the restaurant raving. I know it is a terrible onus to place on a restaurant I have never been to. However one cannot help but have that feeling when you step into The Wok: that you have been given the promise of a great meal. Ordering just a few dishes would be blasphemy.
The dishes start arriving. Pretty soon there is barely any space for our plates of rice. I peer around the table and reach for the most familiar dish first, the gulai tumis stingray. Full of stingray chunks and ladyfingers, the gravy is thick and earthy in its spiciness. It reminds me of my own grandmother’s asam pedas – a high compliment in my books. If I were at home, I would be dunking toast into the gravy so as to not waste the precious liquid. Kangkung belacan is next. As grago season is here, little pieces of krill was sprinkled on top the stir-fried kangkung. This delights my dinner party to no end as we pretend we are whales feasting on krill.
Next up: the cincaluk omelette. It is a revolutionary concept to me, and upon tasting it, I immediately think “why haven’t I done this before?” The saltiness of the cincaluk matches the sharp onions and creaminess of the eggs perfectly; by far the most balanced dish on the table. The garlic pork is not as garlicky as I would like (and a touch too oily) but the crunchiness of the lard makes up for it. The lor bak is crunchy too, and the juicy pork filling goes well with the black sweet sauce.
Since this is chutney week, I was asked to make one. However, I feel that we've covered quite a lot of chutneys in Magnificent 7 so my sister suggested an acar. No one can quite pinpoint the difference between the two. They both use a wide variety of vegetables and fruits, sometimes are cooked or not, some have vinegar or sugar. The Indian 'achar' means… More »
"Fresh every single time"
After recently learning how to cook capati and tortilla breads at the FC kitchen, I'll never understand why a place would choose to precook and then reheat their capatis resulting in a dry and stale flatbread. It's an extremely simple mix of atta flour, water, and salt, a small amount of kneading, a short resting period and you can roll out the capatis and cook them within minutes.
This is why I enjoy the capati at K.R. Mani; they cook it fresh every single time. The dough is already mixed and upon ordering they roll it out and toss it on the pan till it browns and crisps up on both sides. This small effort results in warm soft pliable bread that soaks up delicious curries without being too dry or chalky. This is a 'healthy' meal that I could indulge in all day, especially with the tasty fish curry to dip the bread in.
The capati is not the only thing worth making a trip here for though. If you prefer rice as your carb of choice pair it with the fried bitter gourd or chicken. It's all done fresh before a rush comes in. The bitter gourd crisps are crunchy and full of flavour, not an oily chewy piece in sight. I also quite enjoyed their fried chicken that isn't greasy or heavily battered. It makes for a light but flavourful chicken that is crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside. I'm sure the fish is done well here too, but I didn't get a chance to try it out this time around.
The word chutney derives from the Hindi word chatni that translates to heavily spiced and it is often used as an accompaniment to a main dish. It can be in paste form or it can even resemble jam, the main difference being that it requires spices for it to be a true chutney. Best of all it's all wholly vegetarian making it suitable for most diets.
"The gravy makes it addictive"
I used to frequent the pasar malam in Taman Melawati when I was younger, always getting fascinated by the cacophony of sounds and myriad of colours. I made my way through the fruits and veg section, the butchers and the dried goods and arrived at my favorite section of any night market: the food stalls. Apam balik, putu piring, nasi lemak… name it, you’ll find it here. But it was the alluring smell of meat grilled on charcoal that sort of pulled me to a particular stall. Yes, it was satay. But not the more famous ‘Kajang’ sort. This stall is serving Sate Minang. If you’re a satay fan and you haven’t tried this version, then give yourself a punch in the stomach.
Now, the beef and chicken used tastes pretty much similar to your run-of-the-mill sate, but the key difference is that, after grilling, the sate is soaked in a spicy, thick and viscous gravy which also serves as the ‘kuah’. No kuah kacang here, mind you.
Shiva from Indian Kitchen shares his knowledge on spices that aid in the digestion process.