Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

I am breaking from the norm with this posting on what I did this Christmas eve. Yes, I was in the mood to cook! Armed with my recipe for a pot roast, I got to work at 6am with my 2kg Tenderloin beef which I marinated the night earlier with salt, pepper and some olive oil.

2kg beef, marinated with salt, pepper and some olive oil and a dash of Worcestershire sauce

I was going to use my mother's 30 year old rice cooker for the job, at the base - chopped celery, carrots and onions. That formed the base of the rice cooker. The marinated meat went on top of the celery/carrots/onions. 
Chopped celery, onion and carrots - the base for the rice cooker.
Brown the meat heating it in a large wok
By browning the meat, the texture becomes firm and brown. Then place it in the rice cooker.
Into the rice cooker. Set to 'warm' (some call it 'keep')
For the base, I used 1 cube of beef stock and a tin of Campbell Mushroom Soup. Cooking is 8 to 10 hours. I added in at midway - 4 hours later, sliced big button mushroom, baby carrots, quartered potatoes on top. This would give it enough time to cook the vegetables without making it too soft.

Filled to the brim, a pot of goodness!
Then came the easy part - let it cook for 4 to 6 hours. I only tossed the meat around one time, during the 4 hour interval when I put in the vegetables. That was it. Once it was cooked, the liquid in the rice cooker was less then 1/3 of the pot. 
You have to rest the roast for at least about 20 minutes before slicing it. The final product:
Served with whipped potatoes, a perfect Christmas dinner
How did it turn out? Fantastic! This was the most simple Christmas dinner I have ever made and it turned out very well. Merry Christmas too all. Hope you Christmas dinner turnout at good as mine. Have a good year ahead.
We're heading out to Kuantan for a Christmas break, so expect some out of town postings on Kuantan food! Till the next post.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Kajangfood is Two !!

Woot woot !!!!

We're two folks. And to celebrate, here's our selection of some of some of the finest food places in Kajang (what used to be known as our Top 10 best places to eat in Kajang). We've decided to narrow it down to the Top 3 places to eat in Kajang. So here goes:-

No 3 - Sing Kee at Bandar Teknologi, Jalan Semenyih
A new entry in our previous years Top 10 list, this is a place that serves up good tasting food every time. They are not innovative and we tend to order their tried and tested dishes. These include:-
It doesn't look like much but this is the best ginger sauce in town!
  • Steamed fish (wan yee ) with minced ginger - possibly the best in South Klang Valley!
  • Steamed kampong chicken (pak cham kai)
  • Pork and yam
  • Their signature taufoo topped with pickled radish and mince meat
  • Steamed tilapia fish with chilli padi     
No 2 - Yip Sheng at Bandar Teknologi, Jalan Semenyih
We have actually 're-discovered' Yip Sheng after a long time. We used to frequent the place for crabs occasionally, but we stopped going there after they stopped serving crabs. That was our loss actually since they have lots of other good food here. Some dishes we can recommend are:-
Assam squid and prawns
  • Assam steamed tilapia fish - excellent balance of spicy, sour and sweet
  • Pork ribs - all their sauces Guinness, Marmite, Cheese, honey - are good
  • Assam squid and prawns. The sauce tastes similar to the assam fish, but this comes in a more diluted curry form.We're planning to order some plain mee hoon to dunk into the gravy the next time we go here. It would make an excellent curry noodle.
No 1 - Wan Fatt at Lorong Belakang Jalan Mendaling, Kajang Town
This is a place that we keep going back to very regularly. We've tried almost everything on the menu and almost everything is good. Whats exceptionally good are:-
Steamed tilapia topped with fried radish
  •  Their signature steamed tilapia topped with fried pickled radish
Sang har mein
  •  Their big prawn noodles (sang har mee)
Lor mein
  •  Lor mee
  • Chef's special paku (fern shoots) with crispy baby anchovies
  • Steamed tipalia in nyonya suace
Claypot tilapia in ginger wine gravy

  • Claypot tilapia in a ginger wine gravy
  • Pork ribs in salted egg crust
The list is just too long. The chef actually takes the trouble to plate the dishes in a presentable manner and often with some garnishing. A sure sign of someone who cares about his food - both in terms of taste and presentation. Be warned however that the place is practically jam-packed on weekends. We have waited for more than an hour for our food here before, but is is sure worth the wait. Prices are pretty reasonable too.

So enjoy the food and thanks for your support for the last 2 years. Cheers!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Indian food in Kajang Part 1

Gd and myself have received feedback asking about good Indian food in Kajang. Truth be told, we are still looking for a good Indian restaurant in the Kajang vicinity. But here's a run down of  the available places:-

Sri Paandi
Located in the heart of town along Jalan Semenyih is Restoran Sri Paandi. Relatively new, perhaps about 5 years in Kajang now - they practically captured the market when they first opened. Their thosai were crispy and almost done perfectly. And the accompanying coconut chutney, tomato chutney and dhall were almost perfect too. But that was 5 years ago and sadly, standards have dropped. The main problem is that most of their Indian cooks and waiters have gone back to India. The locals just don't measure up. A real pity actually.
Basil Leaves
Perhaps the only upmarket Indian restaurant in Kajang, this restaurant is located in Taman Kajang Sentral, off Jalan Bukit (facing the Silk Highway). Gd commented more a year ago that this place would fold soon after. Well they are still going strong - but we don't know why. They still have not got their service right - from taking orders to settling the bill, they still fumble. The food is inconsistent - it can be good one day and hopeless the next day. We heard that they have a thriving food catering business which is probably what keeps this restaurant running. Give it a try but keep your fingers crossed.

Look out for Part II soon.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Yip Sheng at Bandar Teknologi

It’s been a while since my last post – busy with studies lah. So thought I’d share about Yip Sheng which we have kind of "re-discovered" of late. Bandar Teknologi along Jalan Semenyih is also home to some good restaurants, including one of our favorites, Sing Kee. 

We’ve actually been frequenting Yip Sheng for a long time – maybe about 10 years? I remember they used to serve crabs but I don’t see it on their menu now, which is a shame since they did a pretty good chilli crab here. My cousin from Mumbai (since relocated to UK and then Down Under), swears that this was the best crabs she had ever eaten. But then again, she swears a lot :-)

Their signature dish is a stewed pork foreleg (chee sow). Cooked until tender and falling off the bone, this is a dish to savor with some plain white rice. Excellent.
Their steamed fish comes in various styles. If you like something a little piquant, try the assam steamed tilapia. It has the right balance of sweet, sour and spicy. Excellent.
We ordered squid in a curry but the taste of the curry was quite similar to the assam fish. Maybe they were using the same spice mix? But that’s actually not a bad thing since the taste is just right. The only thing missing was some meehoon to dunk in the gravy and we would have had perhaps the best curry noodles in town?
The pork ribs came in a very tasty sauce. I don’t remember what they called it – three taste (tiga rasa) ?
Broccoli with mushrooms is not very common and perhaps a good choice for vegetable. Well executed.
Clay pot taufoo with prawns was pretty decent but not memorable.

Other dishes that we have had at other times include the kung po chicken (very good) and butter fried prawns (excellent).

Location : No 73-79 Jalan Seri Baiduri 1, Taman Seri Baiduri, Bandar Teknologi Kajang (it’s on the right hand side of the road after you turn in from the traffic light).
Contact : 03-87237805

Saturday, 13 August 2011

BROGA Recreational Fishing Park

 It started out as a lazy Saturday morning to the Rabbit Farm at Broga with cousin & her kids, but then what after the farm? Eat Rabbit meat? Nah! It had to be something exciting and untested in Broga - that small town in the 'jungle' famous for its food. Quickly scanned the blogs and located this one fishing farm cum restaurant that does 'ikan bakar' of a different sort.

After the fun filled morning at the Rabbit Farm, drove into Broga town, and proceeded to drive past the Shi Na Tok temple in Broga (at the end of the road into Broga), there is a small lane at the side of the temple, just follow the route, it will lead you to this pond/farm/restaurant.. The restaurant overlooks the farm and you can see the Middle Range mountains in the horizon - and you can certainly smell the fresh air - perfect for 'makan angin'. Very scenic.

Everything goes into a foil and placed on the charcoal
Interestingly, all the food here are 'baked in silver foils'. The marinade is pre-prepared and kept in the fridge in air tight container. As customer come and order, the marinade is mixed with the fish/meat/vegetables and packed into the silver foil
Baking is the word
The fresh Talapia is from their own pond, how much fresher can it get?

We didn't expect this - mutton!

Talapia - the 'Hot Preperation'
A milder version of Talapia with some ladies fingers
Ginger Duck
Ladies finger, Brinjal, Petai & Onions = tasty
Everything here is basic, nothing fancy. The taste too was very basic, nothing fancy - no MSG. In fact, it was disappointing at first. Nothing stood out.

However as we kept sieving through the dishes, it became apparent that food prepared in such a manner kept all the 'goodness' within the silver foil packing - i.e. the gravy was fantastic! Fish preparation was so-so, but the freshness of the fish made up for the lack of cooking style. We clawed through the carcass of the fish and 'fished out' the goodness - it was satisfying.

I particularly enjoyed the vegetables and the two fish dishes prepared in two different styles. The mutton and duck was not that great. I believe chicken would have been better, especially if they offer kampung chicken.

Will I return? Yes, for the ambiance and the freshness of the fish. It is a good place to take a guest for a meal, will leave a lasting impression - the countryside and the fish pond and fresh vegetables - sure winners.

Couple that with a walk up Bukit Broga or the park next to the temple or just a late morning drive and you have a well spend day at the country-side. The children will love it.

BROGA Recreational Fishing Park:
Day off: Thursday
Open on Public Hols & Weekend
11am to 7pm.

GPS: N 02 55.834'
E 101 55.735'

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Tian Xia Mei Si Yuan, Balakong

Here's a place that a friend (IB Tiong) recommended aeons ago. I'd been there once before but did not have my camera in hand. Recently, we visited again and here's what we had:-
Their signature dish (you'll find this on ALL the tables here). Braised pig 'hand' (foreleg actually). Sweet with a hint of spice - sticky and with sinful amounts of fat - Excellent! Eat it whilst it's hot or the fat will coagulate. Possibly the best in South Klang Valley.
Steamed black tilapia in hot spicy (cheong cheng) sauce. Very good.
 A signature vegetable dish - a rather unusual combination of bean sprouts, carrots and bitter gourd. Everything remains crunchy and nice. Recommended.
A simple steamed taufoo topped with minced meat and dried prawns. Good.

This is a place that tends to get very crowded on weekends with crowds waiting for tables. A little patience will get you a table soon enough as patrons tend not to linger - it's an eat and run type of place! And the food arrives on the table surprisingly fast.

Location : Situated within the temple premises of the huge Xing An Temple across the highway from Jusco Cheras Selatan - it's pretty easy to locate.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Restoran Guan Seng Loong, Sekinchan

We had a family outing to Sekinchan for seafood. The big question was, is it worth the drive estimated about 1 ½ to 2 hours depending on the route/speed.
Restauran Guan Seng Long
I was excited as we had a chance to use the new Rawang-Ijok highway which opened 2 days earlier and it was free. Journey to Sekinchan messed up big time, many wrong turns that led to some old road through Batu Arang and Batang Berjuntai and finally Kuala Selangor via Kg. Kuantan. It brought back very old memories of our cousins who once lived there and for the sister who once teached in this far-away land of Kuala Selangor.

Finally we arrived, about 2 ½ hours later – hungry!
Baby Shark Soup of a different kind

Our starter was this soup, looked mild but was unique – salted vegetable and baby shark. Yes! These Sekinchan people really know how to serve baby sharks. This was not the normal stir-fry baby shark, it came in a soup, sliced and cooked with salted vegetables and ginger. Very nice taste – loved it.
Roasted Duck
Next dish came out fairly fast – I suspect they were waiting for us to arrive and quickly rolled out the roasted duck prepared earlier, the only meat dish for the night. I am not sure if it was roasted or braised, but did not have the 'duck flavour' or the 'fragrance' that I am accustomed to, therefore I was disappointed.
Oyster Omelette
Next came the Oyster Omelette (oh chien) which again was disappointing. I guess having tasted the best in Melaka and Penang makes you have high expectation and this did not come close. It was stiff and rather overcooked.
Steamed Prawns
Then rolled in the steamed prawns – came with a thin slice of steamed egg white in the middle. A quick taste of the gravy woke everyone up. Yes, things were starting to look up. The prawns were fresh and crunchy and the chef kept it simple and you could just taste the freshness of these prawns. Now that, was worth the drive!
Next came the vegetable – only one for the night – someone said it was called the 'oil vegetable' and grown locally. It was fresh and certainly tasty.
Sharks' Fin Soup
Then came the sharks fin soup (sorry all you activist reading this, I did not order, I just ate) – it was very thick and nice – lots of crab meat and shark fins, but somehow it did not have that taste I was looking for. I should have brought a bottle of brandy and lit the soup up for old times sake. Perhaps the next time!
Steamed Fish - Pomfret
This was followed by the steamed Golden Pomfret – something we tasted just a week earlier from the same caterers. This was fantastic! Simple steamed fish that you can taste the freshness of the fish and it leaves that nice after-taste in your mouth. Delicious and consistent on two occasions I can vouch for.
Mantis Prawns
Next up fried mantis prawns, coated with salted egg. I am no big fan of mantis prawns as I find it to be kind of tasteless. Normally, the batter gives it 'taste'. In this case, it did not help much and was kinda mushy. It only reinforced my earlier believe, never order this - waste of money.
Fried Baby Squid
Was immediately followed by another fried dish, fried baby squids. This was oily and I guess the 'oiliness' made it mushy and did not bring out the taste. Not healthy and not recommended. Maybe, the full sized squids would have been a better choice?
Kam Heong Mud Crabs
Our finale was kam heong mud crabs. The crabs was small, the preparation was mediocre and the result was disappointing. For a seafood restaurant, this crab dish certainly let us down – I expected more. Also, overall MSG and salt level was on the high side as I was very thirsty all the way back home.

On the way back, we found the 'lost highway' (LATAR Expressway) just out of Ijok and believe me - Ijok to Rawang (south) was only about 20 minutes, before we knew it, we were on the North South highway from Rawang heading into KL.

On the whole, it was an interesting outing, not so much the food, but the journey down memory lane coupled with food – that was a good way to end a long week.

In short, let me recommend a drive down your own memory lane, wherever you frequent in your younger days that time passed it by – organise a family outing there and couple it with a local dinner. The dinner don't have to be great, added bonus if you have a fantastic dinner, but the outing itself will certainly be memorable. Mine was! Got to thank big bro for this outing.

One of the nephews suggested an outing to Bukit Kayu Hitam next week. Any takers?

Restoran Guan Seng Loong,
No. 73, Lrg 3, Bagan Sekinchan,
45400 Sekinchan,
Tel: 03-3241 0494

Monday, 23 May 2011

Kedai Makanan Kari Kepala Ikan Cheong Hin

View from front of restaurant
It seems that South Klang Valley has a proliferation of specialty fish or fish head places. From Jalan Chan Sow's Jalan 3 and Jalan 5 fish head places; Serdang Lama's Chong Siew Lam Restaurant with their signature 'wasabi' steamed fish; Kajang's Wan Fatt and their steamed fish with fried radish; Semenyih's Sin Tai Mah and Restoran 52 with their interpretations of the lai sar yee (sandy fish) and all the way to the Fish Valley Restaurant in Jalan Kachau, Semenyih where the fish comes straight from the pond. With such tough competition, it is surprising that relative newcomers like Kedai Makanan Kari Kepala Ikan Cheong Hin are able to thrive.

Truth be told however, Cheong Hin is not a new establishment. Having it's roots in a family restaurant in Puchong, the Yip siblings later expanded to several outlets including this one that we visited located at Serdang Perdana,behind the South City Plaza mall. This is an area dominated by the famous Soon Lee grilled fish restaurant (one of our picks for Top 10 best restaurants in South Klang Valley), but that's another story.

Now for a restaurant with the name "Kari Kepala Ikan" in it, you would have guessed fish head curry would have been our first choice dish. Well on this occasion, my sister in-law insisted that we should try the steamed "wan yee" fish head instead. The large serving of half a fish head came with a sizeable portion of the mid-section of the fish as well, on a large porcelain platter. The platter was heated on a portable gas oven, so the fish remained steaming hot throughout our dinner. That was not the only difference – the fish came immersed in a 'soup' that was generously 'loaded' with bird's eye chillies (cili padi). We could also taste some rice wine in the soup. The soup and fish were ladled into soup bowls and polished off to the last bone. The dish had an excellent balance of sweetness from the fresh fish, pungency from the chillies and tartness from the rice wine. Highly recommended. And at only RM28 for the huge serving, it was truly a steal.
House Special - Steamed Fish (before)
After (yes! it was that good!)
The recommended pork ribs with bitter gourd in black bean sauce was another well balanced dish – salty, sweet and bitter. Recommended as well.
Pork Ribs and Bitter Gourd
Paper wrapped herbal kampung chicken was next – a rather small bird, but full of flavor and strong herbal taste. Cooked until tender and practically falling off the bone, this chicken dish gets our thumbs up as well.
Herbal Kampung Chicken
Fried squid in salted egg crust was good, although not the best we have had. But good enough to get our thumbs up.
Fried Squid
The house special taufoo came in three inverted cup-shaped pieces. Topped with a tasty minced meat sauce, this was a simple dish well executed. Thumbs up again. We were recommended the small pak choy vegetable cooked with yam. This was the first time we had heard of such a dish. The result however was great – the vegetable was coated in a thin layer of tasty garlic and yam paste. Highly recommended. 
Dessert was on the house - very nice!
Dessert was complimentary - a simple longan jelly. I must thank my sister in-law for tipping me off about Cheong Hin. She also kindly paid for dinner for this outing. Thanks Mon. Our next outing here (and I'm sure it will be soon) is on me !

Location : No 2, Ground Floor, Jalan SP 2/2, Serdang Perdana, 43300 Seri Kembangan, Selangor.
Contact : 03-89488425
Amenities : Baby chair; partially air-conditioned. Noise level can be quite high in the air-cond section and may also get a little crowded, especially on weekends and holidays.
Prices : Quite reasonable – between RM10 to RM20 per head.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

May N Mike’s Restaurant

This is a departure from our usual South Klang Valley posts. Gd and myself decided we had to go back to our roots – Malayalee roots to be precise. Our search for good Malayalee cuisine would take us to Petaling Jaya this time. Gd had been to May N Mike's many times before but it was the first time for me. My expectations were pretty high as Gd had previously given it the thumbs-up (possibly the best Malayalee restaurant around?) and getting a thumbs-up from Gd for Indian food is quite rare. We can thank our Mum for setting pretty high standards for Indian food, to the extent that most Indian restaurants fail to meet our expectations.

Here's how we sampled the food – we got a plate of rice each, picked a few vegetables of our choice.

Then grab some meat or fish on a small plate – we had the fish puttu and

chicken varuval (dry curry ) which I think is not what it's called in Malayalam - my bad.

Make sure you take some dry spicy powder (chamandi poddi) and ginger pickle (inji pulli) from the counter.
You can have some rassam (spicy soup) and curd too if you like. Then sit back and enjoy ……

May Miranda is a true "pakka" Malayalee and it shows in her cooking. There's something very homey and down to earth in her cooking, so much so that we want to call her Aunty May ! You will notice that most vegetable dishes have grated coconut in it – typical of Malayalee cuisine. On the day we were there however, they did not have the signature Malayalee mixed vegetable dish called aviyal. So that alone is cause enough for a return visit (very soon) to Aunty May's.

Be warned however that food is more pricey than your average banana leaf joint. Expect to pay about RM15 per pax with drinks or more if you tend to load you plate with too many things!

Location :  357C, Jalan 5/57, Petaling Gardens, 46000 Petaling Jaya.
Contact : 03-77701050.