Thursday, February 24, 2011

I have moved!

Yes, the time has come when I believe a new "home" is appropriate and thus, I have now moved into my very own domain :-)

Please visit me at my new humble abode at:

http://pureglutton.com/

I look forward to your support at my new "home" - please come! :-D

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Organic Recipe

9 days into the Year of the Rabbit ... and how are you enjoying the New Year so far?  The Chinese New Year is, without a doubt, an excellent occasion to spend quality time with family and friends, with food being the central stage.  Hasn't it been one feast after another since the New Year was ushered in?

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Vegetables Popiah

With so much rich meaty food being served since the Reunion Dinner, I think it's good to take a break and go for some healthy meatless cuisine.  For the uninitiated, you would never think that a restaurant would be located in the basement of a carpark.  Upon climbing down the flight of stairs from the B1 carpark, I was greeted by lush greenery - the garden that surrounds Organic Recipe - what a gem!  Choose to sit al fresco, closer to the shrubs & trees... or in the cool comfort of the interior.  It is located in Basement 3 of the Casa Utama Condominiums and sprang quite a few amazing dishes.

I love the colorful Popiah - a beautiful mix of crunchy refreshing greens, purples, reds and orangey hued vegetables (which came from cabbages, long beans, carrots and turnips) - served with a light sweetish sourish dip with a hint of sesame flavour.

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One can never go wrong with Tofu & Angled Loofah.  It's one of my favourites, whether in a regular or vegetarian restaurant.  The homemade tofu here was not slippery smooth - the texture is slightly firmer but I have no issue with that. It gave a slight bite to the dish and went very well with the soft spongey loofah.

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I always marvel how the Chinese can make mock meats out of flour, gluten and beancurd with the almost-real meat flavours thrown in.  The so-called Spicy Mutton dish above had all the earthy meaty nuances and the added spices, lemongrass, curry leaves and chillies made this an excellent accompaniment to white rice.

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The "Assam Fish" is another great dish to go with rice.  Layers of soft smooth beancurd sheets encased in seaweed could almost fool one into thinking that it's a real fish fillet there.  Chunks of brinjals, tomatoes and ladies' fingers have totally absorbed the flavours of chillies, shallots, daun kesum.ginger and  lemongrass ... the only thing is I would have liked it to have a bit more tamarind in the gravy.  If you are a fan of Petai (our Malaysian stink beans!), then go for the Petai Fish.  I found this to be more exciting than the regular Assam Fish.

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Still on the "sourish" trail, go for the Tomyum if you want something more soupy.  Mixed vegetables and mushrooms cooked in a tomyum broth and served in a whole coconut.  You get to scrape and eat the sweet coconut flesh too!

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Pucuk Paku - jungle ferns is another favourite of mine.  Whenever I see this on a menu, I'll always order it.  I love the Organic Recipe version of this popular dish - lightly stir-fried with chillies and belacan.  The young ferns retained their crunchiness and the sambal belacan used had the perfect balance of spiciness.

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Bittergourd stirfried in a black bean sauce was delicious in its simplicity.  I liked how the bean sauce did not overwhelm the dish, yet gave it a balanced touch to complement the bitter flavour of the gourd.

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The Fruit Tea is a refreshing citrussy boost to the palate and helps digestion too, I was told.  I could drink cups and cups of this tea, really.

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The restaurant is modernly spacious yet cosy (I love their checquered table cloths!) and at one end of it there's a section which sells their organic foodstuff and ingredients.  After your meal you can go browse through the shelves & freezers and pick out some interesting food and snacks to buy.  Their wholemeal paus are good :-)  Their range of tofu products is excellent too.

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Google map to this place is here.

Directions:  If you are coming from Centrepoint Bandar Utama, go straight after the traffic lights at the flyover above the NKVE Highway, keep left and turn into the 1st Left Turn (there is a signboard which says "Casa Utama").  Go straight in and look out for a Left Turn into the Casa Utama Condo building.  Park at B1, then walk down the stairs to B3 and you will see the restaurant immediately.  You have to pay RM5 at the carpark entrance (there's a attendant there to collect the fee); keep the parking receipt to present it to Organic Recipe for reimbursement when you settle your bill!


Organic Recipe
B3-09-11 Casa Utama
Lorong Lebuh Bandar Utama PJU6A
47400 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7729-0236
*Closed on Mondays

Friday, February 4, 2011

Welcome, Year of the Rabbit!

Gong Xi Gong Xi!
or...
Koong Hei Koong Hei!

KHFC collage

May the Year of the hoppity Rabbit bring you much abundance... health, happiness, prosperity and yumminess!

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angkoo collage

Friday, January 28, 2011

Kung Fu Pan Mee @ Taman Sri Sentosa

"I'm going to bring you to eat the Best Ever Pan Mee in town!" - that was what LL told me one fine morning.  It is not very often that LL would actually bring me anywhere for food (it's usually the other way round) and I wasn't too sure that his promise of the "Best Ever Pan Mee" would hold true.  You see, when it comes to Pan Mee, I'm very picky.  Just like Fish-head Noodles, I will only go for the tested and proven places.  Simply put: if I walk into any coffee-shop, I won't order the Pan Mee or the Fish-head Noodles, unless they are highly highly recommended.

So... OK, coming back to LL's declaration, we decided to take him up on his offer ... and that was how we found ourselves heading to Taman Sri Sentosa, just off Old Klang Road.  It's certainly not a familiar neighbourhood for us and LL, having just been there once (his friends brought him there) took us on a very roundabout and convoluted way to reach the place.  The shop is located in a row of shophouses facing a small wet market, with tables laid out under huge umbrellas.

When it comes to Pan Mee, I always go for the "traditional" version - ie, "pinched pieces" of the flattened dough instead of the rolled-out strands.  And it must be the soup version - the "dry" version is never my choice.

Bowl pan mee

Now I'm not sure WHY this was called "Kung Fu" pan mee.  Probably because they come in LONG flat wide strips like these...

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Yes, they are really very long!  Or probably the cook had to resort to some "kung fu" stances when pulling out these long strips?! 

I like how the texture of the Pan Mee is very smooth and slightly chewy at the same time.  There is a certain level of "bounciness" to the texture - I suspect the secret lies in the fact that not only plain wheatflour is used here.  There must be additions of other types of flour involved, because plain wheatflour will not give that kind of texture.

Fave pan mee

The Pan Mee came with the requisite condiments of minced pork, thick slices of mushroom, fried crispy anchovies and plenty of "sayur manis".  The soup base is very flavourful, the stock having been boiled with anchovies and pork bones and the "sayur manis" gave it some added sweetness.  You can actually ask for extra portions of condiments, with an additional charge of RM1.  The Pan Mee costs RM5.50 (small) and RM6.50 (big).

The "dry" version goes well with some dry chilli flakes...

Dry panmee

Dry panmee2

There are other items on their menu, eg pandan chicken, pork balls... but I come here only for the Pan Mee.  See, I'm very focused, that way.  I'm so focused that I practically empty the whole bowl, soup and all.

Kungfu Pan Mee

So, did this place live up to LL's declaration of "Best Ever Pan Mee"?  Yes, I believe it does!  That's because every time we have cravings for Pan Mee, guess where we'd be heading?!  We really do get a massive KICK out of this Kung Fu Pan Mee, hehe!

Kung Fu Pan Mee
28 Jalan Sri Sentosa 9A
Taman Sri Sentosa
Off Jalan Klang Lama
Kuala Lumpur
Tel:  016-2883911 (Molly)
Open from 8am to 3pm. Closed on Mondays.

Directions to get there:  (courtesy of Masak-Masak - read her blogpost here)

To get here, drive to Old Klang Road from PJ Old Town. Take the second right hand turn at the traffic light to get into Taman Seri Sentosa. Follow the road i.e. Jalan Taman Sentosa and drive past apartments and high tension wires. You will then see a Petronas petrol station on your left which is on Jalan Taman Seri Sentosa 8, take the first right down Jalan Taman Seri Sentosa 8a and then immediate left at the shophouses (there's a 7 Eleven at the corner). Drive down the road and take a right again at the end of the row where you will see Kedai Makanan BW Pasifik. Take an immediate right turn and drive down to the end of the road. The Pan Meen stall is on your left hand side facing the wet market.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Erawan: Classic Thai & Fusion Delights

Kota Damansara is one place that I avoid, most times.  Never mind that it is now considered a very "happening" place, never mind that there are restaurants and cafes coming up as fast as mushrooms after rain... to me, it's a crazy maze.  Add in the one-way streets and the haphazard parking/stopping of vehicles everywhere and the maze get crazier.

Now, if there is one good reason for me to venture into that crazy maze, it's Erawan.

Erawan - the classic Thai and Fusion restaurant.

The name Erawan, in Thai, refers to The Elephant God.  It is also known as Airavata or Airawana in Sanskrit and in Bali, it's known as Erawana.  According to Aryan legends, the god Erawan is huge, white and has 33 heads.  Each head bears 7 tusks.  For each tusk there are 7 lotus ponds.  Each lotus pond has 7 lotus pads, each pad has 7 lotus blossoms and each blossom has 7 petals.  On each petal dances 7 angels.  Each angel has 7 ladies-in-waiting.  So, altogether, the god Erawan has 33 heads, 231 tusks, 1,617 ponds, 11,319 lotus pads, 79,233 lotus blossoms, 554,631 lotus petals, 3,882,417 angels and 27,176,919 ladies-in-waiting!
However, for artistic reasons, he is usually portrayed with only 3 heads, rather than the 33 heads in the myth.  


There are many legends about Erawan.  One popular one holds that the Lord Shiva gave him as a gift to the god Indra... and that Erawan was originally a god stationed in the Dao-Wa-Deaung heaven.  Wherever Indra went, Erawan would follow in the guise of a white elephant.  Not only is Erawan the lord of all elephants and the most powerful, he is said to be as large as a mountain.  In the Mahabharata, it is said that "the god Airavata has 4 tusks and 3 trunks.  He is great in size and pearly white".

The above is translated from the Erawan Elephant Museum & the faith of its maker, Erawan Museum, Samutprakarn, Thailand.

I read the above from notes provided in Erawan (the restaurant)... isn't it fascinating?

Erawan Deco collage

Tucked in an intermediate shoplot, somewhere in that crazy maze of Kota Damansara commercial centre, is Erawan, the restaurant.  There are some pretty pots of flowers and foliage guarding the entrance.
When you step into Erawan, you will be struck by the colours and deco of the place and how the owners - Chef Korn and Anan have lovingly arranged and decorated it with lots of items depicting the Thai culture and legends.  Every crook and corner is filled with beautiful cups, vases, bowls, figurines... the walls are adorned with vibrant lively paintings and fresh flowers are everywhere!  I just love the onslaught of cheerful colors that greet every visitor.
Erawan Arts collage

If you think the deco of Erawan is impressive, wait until you see how their dishes are served.  I was pretty thrilled by the beautiful plating of each dish.  Their salads, curries... in fact, most of the dishes were vibrantly matched with all kinds of patterned crockery in every hue - natural pigments of the fruits, vegetables and meats used in each dish.  Put all these vibrant colours on traditionally Thai-designed plates and bowls and there you have it... each dish is like a piece of art and a delight to the senses... from sight, smell and taste!

Let's start with some Appetizers...

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Rose Apples with Topping (RM30) - the special thick topping is made from dried shrimps, roasted coconuts, cashewnuts & other Thai spices - really addictive stuff!  I could eat a plate of this all by myself.

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Pomelo Salad (RM30) - mind you, only pomeloes from Thailand are used!  When we suggested local pomeloes as an alternative, Anan informed that Chef Korn would only insist on using Thai ones - such is the QC practised here!

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Lemongrass Salad (RM38) - finely-shredded lemongrass rings tossed with succulent boiled squids and shrimps, crunchy peanuts, cashewnuts, sprigs of fresh coriander leaves, topped with crispy fried shallots and their special Thai dressing, of course!  You get a piquant explosion of taste and textures on your palate!

lemongrass salad
- photo courtesy of Masak-Masak

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Crabs in Shell (RM38) - Crabmeat, diced shrimps and chicken combined with herbs and spices, stuffed into crabshells and fried to a golden brown - you eat this daintily using a fork.  Great for fussy crab-lovers who abhor the laborious task of eating crabs the real way.  I'm a True Blue Crab Eater so this "refined" crabby dish is a bit wimpy for me, if you know what I mean, hehe!

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4-Angled Bean Salad (RM38) - lightly-blanched still-crunchy 4-angled beans topping a bed of boiled chicken, seafood, hard-boiled eggs, roasted grated coconuts, crispy shallots ~ all tossed with special Thai dressing with a light drizzle of coconut milk.  I love how all the different textured ingredients work so well together!

Since we are now in the Chinese New Year festive mood, Erawan serves a lovely refreshing Prosperity Yee Sang with fresh salmon...

Erawan Yee Sang collage

Special fresh vegetables included are alfalfa sprouts, purple cabbage shreds, pineapples, young mango strips, raisins - a luxuriant mix of gorgeous colours.  A 1-day pre-order notice is strictly required for this and will only be available until 17 February 2011.
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Small portion (RM58); Large Portion (RM88)

Mains...

roast duck curry
Roast Duck Curry (RM38) - Boneless slices of roast duck simmered in a light curry with chunks of green apples and pineapples to give you that extra incentive to eat more rice!

cockles curry
Cockles Curry with Betel Leaves (RM38) - An absolute must-order for all cockles lovers!  Only fresh cockles of certain sizing are used.  Anan will not serve this if they do not get the requisite-sized fresh cockles.  This dish was really the highlight of my meal there.  Care is taken by the Chef to ensure the cockles are perfectly cooked to the right texture, neither too soft nor too chewy.

fishball eggyok curry
Green Curry Fish Paste & Salted Eggyolks (RM32) - bouncy fishballs made from "ikan tenggiri" encasing dewy orangey salted eggyolks cooked in a traditional green curry.  Another rice-inducing dish.

Prawn curry
Pineapples Curry with Prawns (RM32) - you can choose either prawns or mussels for this dish.  Fresh succulent shrimps in a light red curry, made more fragrant by the addition of kaffir lime leaves.  The pineapple chunks gave this curry a sweet-sourish lift - we spooned up all the curry, I tell you!

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Stir-fried Bittergourd with Shrimps (RM25) - this was really one of the clear favourites among the diners at my table.  A simple stir-fried dish, but so lovely to go with rice and all the rest of the dishes.

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Paneang Beef Curry (RM38) -  thick tender slices of Australian beef in a dry-style curry.  The beef were really tender as they had been simmered for 3-6 hours.  Thin shreds of tumeric leaves enhanced the sweet flavours of the coconut milk and spices.

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Softshell Crab Curry (RM42) - Generally I love softshell crabs.  However, I found this particular curry dish to be a bit heavy on the coconut cream and had overshadowed the natural flavours of the crabs.  For those who love thick "lemak" kinda curry gravy, then this would be heavenly.

Oh, but surely you must have some RICE to go with all those curries, right?!

Rice

Desserts...

coconut jelly
Coconut Jelly (RM12) - photo courtesy of Masak-Masak
I simply love love this!  Soft slithery slices of young coconut flesh encased in a light jelly - yumms!

pumpkin chocolate custard
Pumpkin Chocolate Custard (RM18) - photo courtesy of Masak-Masak
Served a bit differently, with vanilla sauce and a dark chocolate centre!

Icecream springroll
Banana Fritters (RM12)
Special banana fritters (rolled in springroll skin) served with vanilla ice-cream

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Roasted Banana (RM12) - a healthy dessert certainly!  Roasted bananas topped with assorted nuts and mixed fruits; squeeze some lime, lemon and honey on them before eating.  Absolutely delicious - a must-order dessert for me.

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Glutinuous Rice with Mango (RM20) - this is only served if Thai mangoes are in season.  A whole mango is served with a scoop of soft, slightly-chewy steamed glutinuous rice.  Just lovely.

Round off your meal with some refreshing drinks - mostly featuring lemongrass, pandan, ginger, mints in the concoction.
lemongrass drinks
- photo courtesy of Masak-Masak

Reservations is a MUST and Anan will tell you the preferred time to be at the restaurant.  Many of the dishes have to be pre-ordered as well - this is their way of ensuring only the freshest and authentic ingredients are used in your dishes.  Their menu is available in their website - do go through it and pre-order before you go!


Erawan
22-1 Jalan PJU 5/16
Dataran Sunway Kota Damansara
47810 Petaling Jaya
Tel:  03-6141-2393
email:  siamdb@msn.com
Open:
LUNCH:  Fridays-Sundays @ 12.00pm to 3.00pm
DINNER:  Tuesdays-Sundays @ 6.00pm to 10.30pm
Closed on Mondays



Sunday, January 23, 2011

Chinese New Year Preparations

The Year of the Rabbit is exactly 10 days' away!
For those of you who will be celebrating the Chinese New Year, how are your preparations coming along?  Bought your new (red) clothes?  Cleaned the house? Changed the curtains? Bought the CNY deco items?  Baked the cookies, or ordered them?

CNY2011 collage

Well, I have done some of the above... still some baking to do this coming weekend.  Not that I'm baking a whole lot of stuff - just that a couple of friends have asked me to bake some cookies for them... the rest are just for family and as gifts when we go visiting during the Chinese New Year.  I always think bringing along some home-baked stuff to friends' and relatives' homes sure beat store-bought snacks, don't you agree?

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