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Ramen and rice at Shin Haru Tei

Ramen and rice at Shin Haru Tei

Brave soul to open a new Japanese joint just after the Covid lockdown. But with everyone in recovery mode, people are hungry to try new places and eat out again so it might well be the perfect marketing strategy. New Japanese restaurant Shin Haru Tei 

Easy Baked Frittata Muffin

Easy Baked Frittata Muffin

I don’t know about you guys, but my friends ask me all the time – where to eat, what to cook with this leftover ingredient or how to make that dish. I may not be the most fantastic cook, but I am the Queen of 

Smile and Say Cheese!

Smile and Say Cheese!

Just 2 days after we dropped by at Say Cheese Cafe in Bukit Jalil, BAM! MCO (Movement Control Order) was declared and there would not be any dining in for a while.

It seemed rude to post a food review when we were supposed to stay home and all you get is delivery which takes away from the actual dining experience. Most restaurants were not operating with their usual menus anyway.

Since there were 5 of us, the servers helped us push some tables together, and there was one particularly helpful, jovial guy. Turns out that was chef David Wong himself, making sure we were all comfortably seated. Talk about being hands-on!

The irony was that we went all the way there because we were attracted to the idea of food slathered with cheese, but in the end, the stuff we ordered hardly had that much cheese.

As things slowly get back to a sense of normalcy, perhaps it’s time to go cafe exploring again.

Here’s a quick look at what we ordered:

Redhat Chicken Burger (RM25) – This was unexpectedly good as the homemade chicken patty was nice, thick and juicy. I wish the combo came with proper fries though, rather than just crisps. In fact, most of the mains all came with crisps. The French Fries (RM10) on the side was very good; wish they could have just thrown in some with the main dishes.

Baked Chicken Chop (RM28) – had lovely layers of flavour, sweetish with a tinge of sour in the honey lemon sauce, came with a side of salad and crisps.

Pesto Yogurt Cheese Pasta (RM19) – quite unusual, with salmon bits and the yogurt cheese sauce in a separate bowl to be poured over the spaghetti. Creamy without being too thick on the tongue, we rather enjoyed this variation.

Cheese Stuffed Pork Burger (RM28) – not exactly something you want to tackle in one bite at a go, as the cheesy centre oozes out. The pork patty was a wee bit dry, but this was compensated by the cheese.

We didn’t try signature the BBQ Premium Pork Chop (RM45), that came with the option with cheese lava add-on for an extra RM7 as we were too full by then. Maybe next time.

There are also rice options for those who can’t do without their usual carbo intake.

Prices can be on the high side for some items, but then again, this isn’t some fast food joint as you have a bona fide chef churning out the dishes personally.

Now that we’re in RMCO (Recovery MCO) mode, it’s time to get cheesy and pay the cafe another visit.

Less guilty Brownies 5.0

Less guilty Brownies 5.0

I’ve tried so many brownies recipes these past few months that I’ve lost count so I’m calling this Brownies 5.0. It uses dark chocolate and brown sugar, so I’m consoling myself that it’s a less guilty indulgence! They all claim to be the easiest, fudgiest 

Easy bake Lemon Drizzle Loaf

Easy bake Lemon Drizzle Loaf

This has turned out to be my favourite cake to bake this season! The citrus flavour cuts through the sweetness to give the most delightful cake you will ever bake! I’ve tried a version from kebayakitchen.com which is more of a pound cake and more 

Giving second life to Okara

Giving second life to Okara

Is it May already? I’m looking forward to eating out again as restrictions are slowly being lifted. And about time, as I’m really low on inspiration these days. Could you tell?

I love experimenting and trying out new foods. But when you have to come up with three meals daily on top of churning up something fun and interesting, then it takes the joy out of cooking for me.

Earlier, it felt rude to be talking about food reviews when we weren’t even allowed to dine out. So I worked on recipes that we could work with in the kitchen.

But it will take a long time before things get back to normal again, and it’s going to be a real challenge for the F&B industry to get back on its feet.

So here’s something I discovered while on home restriction. Over here, we’re blessed to be able to buy a soya bean milk from the food truck or supermarket for less than RM3 per drink, but making your own is really not so hard at all. Somewhat messy, yes, but it’s a lot healthier as there are no preservatives and you get nice, thick undiluted soy milk, unlike the processed stuff.

But then, what do you do with the leftover soya mush? The leftover beans or soya pulp is called okara, and usually, we just throw this away. What a waste, right?

I’ve since discovered two great recipes that put okara to good use. Okara still has lots of nutrients and is fibre-rich, not to mention a delish side dish!

Hummus with okara (from theconscientiouseater.com)

Ingredients

150g cooked okara

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup tahini (make your own with sesame and some olive oil, blended till creamy)

2 cloves garlic

Pinch of salt and pepper

About 5 tablespoons of water or olive oil – add more if too dry.

Method

Blend everything together with a food processor till creamy. Add more or less water, depending on how thick you like your hummus.

Goes great with flatbread or even fresh chapati, or as a party dip with biscuits or celery and carrot sticks!

Okara nuggets

Ingredients

200g cooked okara

1 big onion, chopped small

3 cloves of garlic, chopped small

1/2 teaspoon chicken stock

Salt and pepper

Dash of sesame oil

1 tablespoon of soya sauce

1/2 cup wheat flour or potato starch

2 eggs

Method

Mix everything together, and form small nuggets about the size of an oreo cookie.

Deep fry in oil until light brown. Goes great with chilli sauce! The only snag is you probably can’t stop at one.

Easy bake Dinner Rolls

Easy bake Dinner Rolls

Everyone is baking nowadays, it seems, and the shops are running out of bread flour and yeast. On a day when I was low on both, I changed upon this recipe from a friend’s feed. Am not exactly sure where the recipe is from but 

Tiger out to save Malaysian Street Food

Tiger out to save Malaysian Street Food

Tiger Beer is donating RM1.5 million to support Malaysian street food during the Movement Control Order (MCO). The funds will be used to help cover rent for street food vendors, coffee shops and food courts across the country as they face reduced income due to 

Sweet and spicy Nyonya Pork Trotters

Sweet and spicy Nyonya Pork Trotters

I forget what day of the week it is already. Weekday or weekend, it doesn’t make much of a difference when you’re staying home either way.

Here’s one way you can shake things up a bit. As mentioned in my last post, I’m sharing my mum’s legendary Pork Trotters recipe! My mother called it ‘Chee Kiok Suin’ which literally translates as sour pork trotters, but that’s not really accurate as it is also spicy and sweet at the same time. This recipe is not to be confused with pork trotters cooked with black vinegar and ginger – the kind normally eaten by mothers in confinement – it is a totally different dish altogether.

For the longest time, I believed this to be a Nyonya recipe, but now I wonder if it’s not something my grandmother concocted as I’ve not come across anyone else who cooks pork trotters the same way, aside from my own relatives, of course. Being the typical Nyonya that she was, my (maternal) grandmother fiercely guarded her trade secrets, only to be shared with a tight inner circle. But these days, apart from myself and a few cousins in Australia, I realise no one else really knows how to cook this dish.

My Swiss cousins are more Western than Asian so they don’t really care for spice. I’m trying to teach my niece in Singapore, as well as my sons to master this dish, otherwise it’ll disappear along with some of the old traditional cuisine in our grandparents’ time. When I was growing up, I would eat three plates of rice when my mum made this! These days, I only cook this for special occasions or dinner parties, so it’s become a bit of a novelty in our house.

I’m listing all the ingredients here but bear in mind, there are no hard and fast rules, as the way my grandmother and my mother cooked was agak-agak (guestimates), and it’s pretty much the same for me too with Asian dishes. You can add more bird’s eye chili if you like it to be spicier, or omit it altogether if you don’t handle spice well. Tweak the salt and sugar to your own preference too. It’s a bit like Assam Laksa – a little more sour or sweeter or spicier – everyone has a personal version which they prefer.

My niece in Singapore asked me which key taste stands out in this dish. I really had to think about this one as it’s really a sum of all flavours partying on your palate. Imagine all your dinner guests arriving barely minutes apart from each other – sour, spicy, salty and sweet – almost all at once. This time round, I consciously noted the key taste. At first, the sweetness is just a little more distinct, followed very closely by the sour note, with the spicy and salty flavours hovering closely as an aftertaste at the back of the tongue. But when left overnight, the sourish taste from the tamarind becomes mellower as the various taste nuances come together in agreement, resulting in a delicious melange of flavours intertwined with the lubricious fat and sweetened gravy. The sour and salty flavours obtain more clarity, so don’t worry if it tastes a little sweet in the beginning.

(For some reason, the video comes out too large on mobile to fit screen. Please see IG@kam.eatwithme for video or go to https://youtu.be/uZUh1x36d1s)

Ingredients

Paste

8 – 10 fresh red chillies

5 birds eye chillies

8 – 10 dried red chillies

12 shallots

3 cloves of garlic

1 big onion (or half if the onion is large type)

Blend everything together until it becomes a paste.

Main ingredients

1 kg pork trotters cut into large chunks, blanched in hot water and a teaspoon of salt to remove impurities and smell. Throw away water and remove trotters from pot.

1 tablespoon black bean paste (taucu)

1 1/2 fistful of tamarind paste (assam jawa) dissolved in approx. 400ml water

1 tablespoon of sugar

1 teaspoon of salt

black bean paste or taucu
Assam Jawa – tamarind juice

Method

Heat up about 3 tablespoons of oil in a deep pot and fry the chilli paste until it’s fragrant, or you see the oil separating slightly from the paste.

Add in the bean paste and fry for another 3 minutes or so.

When the mixture looks well blended, add in the pork and stir until every piece is well covered with the paste.

Pour in the tamarind juice at this stage. Ensure that everything is mixed properly and the pork is covered by the gravy.

Leave to boil for about 2 to 3 hours on medium to low fire until the meat is tender, stirring occasionally so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot or gets burnt. Add a bit of water if it seems to be drying out. When the meat falls off the bone, add in sugar and salt.

To speed things up a bit, I used a pressure cooker to cut down the cooking time, and then reduced the gravy over low heat (with an open lid) for another 15 minutes. Scoop everything into a bowl and eat with rice, or a nice thick slice of bread that will soak up the gravy.

This dish is not half as complicated as other Nyonya dishes which call for a lot more spices. There is no ginger or belacan (shrimp paste) in the recipe though my aunt adds these in her version. To me, this dish reminds me of Mum, reminds me of my heritage, reminds me of home. Lets me know that all is still well with the world.

Super easy Thai coconut cake (kanom babin)

Super easy Thai coconut cake (kanom babin)

So, the news is out, and we’re stuck at home for another 2 weeks! Haiz! Let’s cheer ourselves up by making a dessert for a change. While in the process of fine-tuning my mother’s Pork Trotter’s recipe, I thought I’ll share this Thai dessert recipe