The first day of my new year was spent in the kitchen cooking up a storm for a family meal. It was exhausting but great fun and heart whelming - this the most fuss I've made of Chinese New Year in about six years and it was nice to be with the family at a time like this.
Chinese New Year Menu
Spring Rolls with Sweet Chili and Worcestershire Dipping Sauces Pan Fried Pork Dumplings with Ginger Dipping Sauce Steamed Fish with Ginger, Garlic and Soy Sauce Stuffed Peppers and Aubergine in Black Bean Sauce Steamed Chicken with Chinese Sausage Stir Fried Prawns with GowChoyFah (Flowering Garlic Chives) Fried Cabbage with Tomatoes
Gong Hei Fatt Choy!!! May the year of the Metal Tiger be auspicious and joyful.
No trip home would be remotely complete without at least a plate of Maggi goreng. Curly wurly pre-boiled instant noodles fried with an assortment of shredded veg, tofu,egg and flavoured with that powdered magic that comes with the noodles in a little sachet - usually curry flavour. Drenched in limaukasturi. Just the way I love it.
To be honest, the brunch meeting with NH and WMF wasn't supposed to be about Maggi goreng. It was supposed to be about rotisfrom Nirwana but predictably tardy Justine was .. well, late. NH and WMF had already polished off their rotisby the time I arrived and Nirwana had switched over to their lunch menu - no rotisbut everything else got la ... Hoping to track down a couple of rotis, we headed to Pelita up the road but no such luck. All the Mamak-isq places had stopped serving rotisfor the daylight hours for that day. Not that I minded, I was quite happy with my noodles (they even topped it with shredded lettuce! :) Bangsar, eh?)
NH and WMF decided to share a cheese naanserved with dhal, some sort of curry sauce and an ultra green mint sauce. I have no idea why naanis still served out of rotihours. Maybe because there's tandoori chicken on the menu? Naanand tandoori chicken seem to always go hand in hand. I wonder if this is always the case ... something to do with cooking naanbread in the tandoor, maybe?
A little poke around the cooked food counter and I returned armed with a deep fried chicken drumstick. I love the batter they use at these places - I think it's the fresh turmeric they add. The best deep fried chicken used to be from a run down stall by an outdoor parking lot on Jalan Perak in downtown KL. It's gone now - it made way for some building or other. I still miss that chicken. More often than not the pieces of chicken came fresh out of the hot oil. Crisp and juicy - utterly beautiful. My piece from Pelita was a little cold and the batter had gone a bit hard but will have to do for now.
I also chose a gigantic deep fried squid but unlike the chicken, the man didn't hand it to me straight away. He shoo-ed me away and told me he'll deliver it to my table. Ten minutes later and I was beginning t wonder where my squid had gone off to when it finally arrived - utterly transformed. It had obviously been sent back to the kitchen where it was re-battered and re-fried with curry leaves and shallots. Oh, it was so much better than I had dared hoped. Yes, the squid was slightly rubbery but the batter was so good that we promptly forgot about the rubbery-ness. It was hot,crunchy and fragrant - very nicely done.
A few days later and it was a breakfast date with VO and TL at Devi's Corner. I'm not quite sure I like this "new" location at the corner of Jalan Telawi 2 and Jalan Telawi 4. It's a little claustrophobic and I'm never quite comfortable when I'm there. VO ordered a rotipisang - normal rotistuffed with sliced/mashed (?) banana and served as usual with dhaland some sort of curry.
I had a hankering for rotistuffed with aloo marsalabut couldn't for the life of me remember what it was called so I ended with with rawathosai. This was definitely not what I wanted but it was good and I love coconut chutney but I was still wanted my rotistuffed with potatoes!
By a simple process of elimination, we finally worked out what I was looking for - marsalathosai! I got more of my favourite coconut chutney, a spiced version, dhaland a curry of sorts. Happiness!
Nasi Kandar Pelita 2 Jalan Telawi 5, Bangsar Baru, 59100 Kuala Lumpur
Devi's Corner 14 Jalan Telawi 4, Bangsar Baru, 59100 Kuala Lumpur
Taking a little breather from my holiday blogs, I just remembered a little obsession I had before I went home for Christmas - tarte au citron. It was one of those niggling food longings that I couldn't shake off.
There was the the lemon tart I got as part of a late night discount goodie bag when I was in Marylebone one evening. Despite the huge crack down the middle, it was a delicious tart with a full bodied tang. The other items in the box were a chocolate eclair and a slice of tiramisu. Neither as good as the tart.
There was also the tarte au citron from St Germain with its caramelised top and side of crème fraîche that I had previously blogged about here.
The offering from Paul's was probably the best looking of the lot. Neat with an alluringly yellow filling and such a pretty glaze but alas, not the best tasting. The lemon flavour was somewhat lacking and the pastry wasn't quite up to scratch.
I stopped by Patisserie Valerie one day and was met with a somewhat lackluster looking tarte au citron. I nearly walked away but I was in serious need of a lemon tart fix. It was gorgeous! Where it lacked in appearance it compensated in taste. The pastry crumbled just right with the barest hint of butter, the filling was sharp but not cringingly so. It was, without a doubt, the best of the lot.
My quest to find a good lemon tart had become a bit of a running joke with some of my colleagues. One day I found this sitting on my desk - fully packaged and minus the huge bite into it, of course. Oh, it was disgusting! Hard, sugary and full of that artificial lemon flavour. Sigh .. that was a cruel, cruel joke!
Smack in the middle of downtown KL, there's Imbi - undeveloped and more than a little seedy. Beneath the shabby exterior lies a wealth of good Chinese food and none more so than the little gem that is OK Porridge. If you're prepared to trot straight from your car to the restaurant and ignore the parade of ladies of the evening who use the premises as their meeting point before their business day begins, you're in for a treat.
Their house specialty is porridge - good, old fashioned rice stodge cooked to order in a claypot with the seafood of your choice. On this visit we had two pots - the fish was subtle with a pleasing clean palate and the prawn had bolder, sweeter flavours from the cooked crustacean shells and heads. Garnished with ubiquitous spring onion and coriander for hints of freshness and for bite, yau char kway.
Another must is the silky smooth Ipoh poached chicken. Deliciously succulent meat served on the bone and topped with soy sauce, a splash of oil, cucumber pieces and topped with sliced spring onion and coriander. This would be perfect with garlic rice but steaming hot rice gruel would have to do.
Ultra thin and crispy choy boh (small pieces of preserved turnip) omelette - the perfect accompaniment to porridge.
There seems to be a craze at the moment for anything cooked with salted egg yolk. On my last visit I had never heard of it but it was love at first taste when I had it cooked with crab. It was to die for - literally if you have a wee bit too much. Those yolks can induce a heart attack quicker than you can say "haam daan wong"(salted egg yolk)!Dad looked a little guilty when asked what our obligatory vegetable was ... aubergine with salted egg yolk. Deep fried thin slices of aubergine in a salted egg yoke batter and tossed with dried chilies and curry leaves.No wonder he looked guilty ... this dish was beyond sinful. Crisp and aromatic, vegetables are never this good.
On a previous visit we had kam heong lala (clams). Whilst kam heong is not my choice style for cooking seafood, this was a sight better than the dish we had at Robson Heights. The integrity of the clams (tiny, yes) were, at least, preserved and not overwhelmed by the sauce. On this occassion we also had an extra dish of sotong assam (no photos, I'm afraid). Nice tender squid with a slight crunch cooked in a lovely spicy assam sauce - beautiful with a nice big bowl of rice, which we didn't have so we resorted to dipping our chewy fried bread sticks into the sauce instead.
OK Porridge serves some very good food but visit on at your risk. * Entertainment is also provided - see the latest trends in tight, see through and gaudy designs brought to you courtesy of Sungai Wang.
A Malaysian foodie at heart, I now live in London where, after eight years, I am still trying to come to terms with the four changing seasons. Although far from home there is never short of good food to be salivated over!Email me at email@example.com