Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bak Kut Teh at home

Contrary to popular belief, cooking Bak Kut Teh is really a very simple thing. It is an easy one-pot-of-goodness which you can do at home with the minimum of fuss. Loosely translated, it means "Meat Ribs Tea"... a herbal soupy concoction of meats.

All you need is packet of the Bak Kut Teh herbs - there are many brands available in the market. The taste may vary from brand to brand, from mild to the very pungent.

There are instructions on the packet as to how much meat and water to use - PabloPabla's Bak Kut Teh recipe gives you all the details as well.

Based on his recipe, I used:

1 packet BKT Herbs
1 kg of pork ribs + knuckles + stomach
1 whole bulb of garlic - crushed
A handful of chinese wolfberries
Black soya sauce (to darken the soup), salt, pepper, soya sauce to taste

Ingredients that you can add in:
Mushrooms (all kinds), taupok (beancurd puff), fried fuchook (beancurd skin) and lettuce (of you're too lazy to cook a separate vege dish)

Method - all explicitly explained in Pablo's recipe!

Serve your Bak Kut Teh with some Fragrant Onion Rice.... before cooking the rice, fry some sliced shallots in some oil and use this oil to cook together with your rice. Just before serving, sprinkle some of the fried shallots on your rice...

And don't forget your chilli padi+soya sauce dip!
Bak Kut Teh with fragrant rice is the perfect thing to serve on cold wet rainy days... hehe, that's why I cooked this 2 days ago for our dinner. It's very delicious and stomach-warming!

I'd like to enter this for Hochiak! Delicious Asian Food's "$100 up for Grabs" contest. Check it out for more details! If you're thinking of participating, do hurry as the deadline is drawing very near :-))

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Home-cooked Curry Laksa

Weekends are great for home-cooked Noodles because you can eat it the whole day long, as we Malaysians love our noodles. It's also good fun to choose the noodles and condiments you prefer and you can also vary the amount - yes, more of this and more of that, haha!

Curry Laksa is a firm favourite with my family and one weekend not too long ago, I cooked this for our Sunday brunch.

Let's start with the all-important curry...


Blend all these together:
200g shallots

50g dried chillies (add more if you want it spicier)

50g garlic
0g ginger

1 small piece tumeric (kunyit)

3 tbsp meat curry powder
3 pieces lemongrass (serai) - crushed
Coconut milk from 1 coconut
1.5L chicken stock
4 tbsp cooking oil
Salt to taste

Extra ingredients: 12 pcs taupok (beancurd puff) and/or fried fuchook (beancurd skin)

1. Fry the blended ingredients, curry powder & lemongrass in the oil for about 3 minutes, till fragrant.

*At this point, put aside some of this paste to serve as your Sambal for the noodles. Don't forget to flavour it with some salt first.

2. Add in the coconut milk and chicken stock.
3. Once the curry soup has boiled, lower fire and simmer for another 5 minutes.
4. Add in the taupok/fuchook and salt to taste.

This was how my curry looked...lots of taupok and fuchook... hehe!

OK, if you guys think all the blending is too much work, let me recommend you a shortcut here. Instead of peeling, chopping and blending those ingredients above, you can use this quick simple Curry Laksa paste from Tean's, hehehe!
If you use this, omit also the curry powder from my above instructions.

As for the Condiments... actually, this is so flexible! You can have chicken or meat (either steamed, boiled or even curried)... but I chose some simple, not-too-fattening items... for example, Fishcake - just fry them slightly and slice them...

... and some boiled Fishballs...... not forgetting my favourite Cockles - boiled and shelled...

To add some crunch to the noodle dish, try some boiled Longbeans...

Ahhh... do not forget the noodles.... we had some Yellow Noodles - blanch them in some boiling water first...

... and we also had some Kway Teow (flat rice noodles)... (also blanch these before serving)...

Ohh... you can also have some boiled Taugeh (beansprouts) to line the bowl before putting in the noodles. Top them with all your favourite condiments, pour in the Curry Soup and here goes your home-cooked Curry Laksa!

Don't forget the sambal... and some fresh lime will also perk up your Curry Laksa! Enjoy!

Encouraged by Babe in the City-KL, who is running a virtual party on 31 August, themed
"Mee and My Malaysia", I am entering this Curry Laksa to participate in the cookout. Do check out her blog for full details - it's gonna be fun!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Cordyceps - a parasitic fungi, is a precious ingredient in Chinese traditional medicine. Popularly known as the Chinese caterpillar fungus ("thoong choong choe"), it is well known to support liver, kidney, heart, and immune system functions. It also appears to act as an antioxidant in the body, protecting it from free radical damage. It helps to improve lung functions and increase energy levels.

Having suffered a bout of near-bronchitis coughing the past couple of weeks, I was advised to get some Cordyceps to help boost my recovery. So off I went to the nearest chinese medical shop and bought some of this expensive stuff. Yes, they are pretty expensive! 10g of medium-grade Cordyceps can set you back easily RM400-500! For one person, 10g can give you 4 servings.

This is how the Cordyceps looked like - like some dried out caterpillars, haha!

Add in some other chinese herbs (those white pounded stuff and the kuaci-like things, the people in the chinese medical shop would know what they are!) and 2 pieces Honeyed Dates...
Add in 1 ricebowl water and put everything into a double boiler like this... double-boil for 3 hours...
... and this was how the resultant soup looked like... it's actually quite nice, sweetish, no awful smell, haha!
You should drink this concoction at least 4 nights in a row to see results. Ideally, it should be drunk just before going to sleep.

Sambal Belacan Ladies Finger

My family is truly a Ladies Fingers or Okra fan!

You would note that a few of my recent cooking posts featured this vegetable. Whenever I go to the market during weekends, I would usually buy Ladies Fingers because it's such a versatile vegetable - you can steam it, curry it or just stir-fry it.

PabloPabla's recipe for Sambal Belacan Ladies Fingers came in handy. As I had some of this from my last marketing trip, I decided to try out this recipe.

This was the result:

As this is also LL's favourite vegetables, he promptly helped finish this dish in double time (with lots of white rice!).

Since this is such a popular dish with my family, I am registering this for the "$100 up for Grabs" competition in "Hochiak! Delicious Asian Food".

Monday, August 25, 2008

Asam Ikan Kembong

On a cool wet evening, what better dish to rev up the appetite and keep one warm than something hot, sour and spicy? Checking through my fridge and larder, I found some ingredients that would be just perfect for the Asam Ikan Kembong recipe which I had come across earlier in PabloPabla's blog. Please check out the full details of this simple but delicious recipe.

For the Spicy Paste, just blend/pound together these ingredients:
These are the vegetables to be added in:

For the asam (sour) flavour, use Asam Jawa paste, such as this:Of course you need the all-important Ikan Kembong (mackerel)... remember to marinade with some salt before frying them...

Voila! This is the all-delicious Asam Ikan Kembong which goes very well with steamed white rice. The yummy piquant spicy gravy will guarantee that you will eat more rice than usual!

I'm entering this dish for the "$100 Up for Grabs" competition in "Hochiak! Delicious Asian Food" - please check it out for more details!

Wish me luck, hehe!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Dim Sum at Imperial China

Tai Thong Imperial China
3rd Floor Jaya Square
Subang Jaya
Tel: 03-5636 1266

Part of the Tai Thong Group, this restaurant offers mainly Cantonese fare in a comfortable setting. As you step into the cream, beige and brown environment, you are greeted with this deco:

Lush drapes float across the ceiling in a cluster of chandeliers...

One side of the wall has this chinese motif wooden plaques adorning it and they have a few tables there with some comfy divan-like sofas - perfect for lounging in, especially when you are there for a long lazy brunch... just like we did the other Sunday morning...

We took a variety of Dim Sum from the trolleys...some were great, some were mediocre...

The Braised Chicken Feet... was mediocre...tasted like any you get elsewhere...

The Loh Mai Kai looked impressive - the grains of glutinuous rice had been well-steamed till they almost merged together... however, they lacked in the taste department... so, I would classify this as "mediocre"...
This artistic-looking Fried Shrimp Springroll was very good - LL's favourite! The springroll skin was thin & crispy and the shrimp filling was super fresh, springy and all...
Ahhh... this Mango Shrimp Roll was another masterpiece - it was such a hit with LL that he had to order a 2nd plate! I dunno how they did the batter but it was light & fluffy, perfectly encasing the superfresh shrimp and plump mango inside. It looked almost as pretty as the doillie paper on the plate, don't you think?
As I love yong taufu in any form, I couldn't resist this plate of Stuffed Brinjals. I liked it - the fish paste was well-flavoured and the brinjals were fried crispy on the outside but perfectly tender inside. A light oyster-based gravy was drizzled over it - yumm!
Mmm... this was another of LL's favourites - Salad Prawns. By now you would know that LL loves anything that's fried, with shrimps inside, eh! This dish of Salad Prawns did not disappoint - those crispy bundles of shrimps encased in dumpling skins were excellent!
Their Yam Puffs were one of the best I have tasted. Delicious moist filling of minced pork wrapped inside a wonderfully light yam paste which puffed up beautifully when fried - the signature of good yam puffs.
The Minced Pork Porridge was quite disappointing. Bland and tasteless, it only became palatable after adding soya sauce in it. You can skip this.

Ahhh... their Steamed Rice Rolls was good. We had the Cha Siew version. Smooth and tender, those delicious rolls just slip past your throat effortlessly, hehe!
But their Cha Siew Pau was very disappointing. They looked very pretty and puffed-up sitting in the bamboo basket, but when you break one open, the filling was a starchy mess of indecipherable taste and texture. I think you can get better cha siew paus in some pasar malam, hehe!
The Steamed Fuchook (beancurd skin) Rolls were also quite miserable. Nothing memorable about this item.
I like their Fishballs. Bouncy and springy, the taste and texture could almost match the great fishballs we get in Ipoh! Go for this.
Hmmm... what's a dim sum meal without the ubiquitous Siew Mai, right? Well, theirs were mediocre - I couldn't really detect anything special to set them apart from any other siew mais.
Ahh... we can't possibly end a dim sum meal without having the Steamed Pork Ribs. Their version was just mediocre - while it was not unpalatable, it also did not stand out in any way. Have this only if you are like us - porky fans who just must have their pork ribs!

LL had to end his meal on a sweet note - so here's his favourite chinese dessert - Tortoiseshell Jelly. According to him, it's not as good as the one in Duck King.

Their prices for Dim Sum range from RM4.80 to RM6.80 per plate. Chinese tea is charged at RNM2 per head. Apparently there're some discounts/promotions on Dim Sum if you go on week days.

My rating: 6.5/10

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Star featured my blog!

Last Sunday (17 August 2008), the Star featured a post from my blog. It was entitled "Scrumptious Seafood" and it was referring to the review I did on Hai Peng Seafood Restaurant.

They did edit my post a bit, to fit in to their format, I guess. To read my original post, click Here.

Thanks, The Star - for giving some publicity to my blog, even though you think I'm a guy, hehe!

Stuffed Ikan Cencaru

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Ikan Cencaru or Torpedo Scad (or more commonly known as Hard Tail Scad) is a common fish found in Malaysian markets. One of the most popular ways of cooking this fish is to stuff it with chilli sambal and fry it.

For the Sambal, what you need are Red Chillies, Chilli Padi, Shallots and Belacan. Pound all these together with a teaspoon of salt.

Make a deep slit at the back of the fish right towards the stomach. Stuff the sambal into this opening. Don't forget to rub some salt into the entire fish too, before frying...
Fry the fish in hot oil on both sides...
Before eating, just squeeze some lime juice over the fish and ENJOY!
This goes very well with hot white rice!

Noodles in 3JC

Restoran 3JC
F238 1st Floor One Utama
Bandar Utama
47800 Petaling Jaya

This little noodle outlet is tucked away in the old wing of 1 Utama and although it's not on the main thoroughfare, it's pretty popular among lunch goers here.

They specialize in Pork Noodles, although they do have other choices like Seafood Curry, porridge and also vegetarian noodles.

For a quick lunch fix, I usually go for their Lunch Set. For RM11, you get a Green Tea and the following:

Noodles with Minced Pork: I usually order their loe-shue-fun, dry style. The noodles are tossed in their signature black sauce, topped with minced pork and 2 slices of roasted intestines...(it's actually minced meat stuffed into intestine lining)...

It's accompanied by a bowl of rich pork soup with pieces of pork balls...

The noodles go very well with their pickled green chillies...

You also get an extra vegetable dish - Brinjals, pan-fried, topped with dried shrimps and sambal...
Now, isn't that good value - all for just RM11? Service is fast too - you can have your lunch there in half an hour!

My rating: 6/10