Monday, May 31, 2010

A Delightful Afternoon with Rohani Jelani @ Bayan Indah

Rohani Jelani - a name I have known and respected since the 1980's. Yes, 1980's. Her food column in Her World magazine was my favourite read every month when I got hold of that magazine. I remember I used to drool over her glossy yummy photos and cut out her recipes to keep.

Rohani Jelani - food writer, food styler, recipe consultant, cook, cookery teacher, resort owner all rolled into one delightful vivacious package. So recently when I got an invitation to spend an afternoon with her at her gorgeous Culinary Resort - Bayan Indah, I practically whooped for joy! (Thank you, Babe_KL, for the intro!) It was a special "Private Class" organised for several bloggers to experience Bayan Indah first-hand and boy, were we a lucky lot!

Driving through the narrow and winding roads of an idyllic little kampung in Bukit Lanjan, we followed her super-detailed map to the dot and had no problem locating Bayan Indah. Beyond the white garden wall at the entrance, we were greeted by this...

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Beautiful breath-taking lush greenery - every tree and plant in this place look darn happy & healthy... the fish in this natural pond were practically frolicking in joy too...

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We were welcomed warmly by our gracious host, Rohani.... plus these....

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Yummy cake, pastries and Linkin, the comedian cat (he used to perform with Linkin' Park, his namesake)

A tour of Bayan Indah... gasps of admiration were heard all round ... how not to be wow'ed by these beautiful rooms, luxuriously fitted with modern amenities, yet retaining a warm rustic charm with Asian antiques and art pieces ... so inviting and so comfortable...

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I'll let the photos do the talking...

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Bayan Indah ... a culinary resort, a beautiful homestay with a difference - check them out for the unique activities that are available...

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The lush garden is thriving ...
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Fruits, flowers, vegetables, herbs...
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The view from the top...
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Rohani is a wonderful host, regaling us with amusing stories and anecdotes of her experiences. We had so much fun chatting with her at the coffee table that we didn't realise a good hour had passed and the cooking hadn't even started! I mean, who would notice time passing when we were so enraptured with banana spirits and how to maim someone with permanent stains and stuff like that!

Taking cue from her able assistants (otherwise we won't finish even by tea time!), we then donned the denim aprons provided, which immediately transformed us into VHRCs (Very Hip & Rocking Cooks). Of course we had to look the part, you know ... because we were going to work in this very modern and professional kitchen...

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This is everyone's dream kitchen. It's fully equipped with a whole range of modern cookware and every imaginable kitchen tool and gadget. Oh, there's also the not-so-modern tool... the traditional "batu lesong"... for pounding your chillies, onions and stuff... which you really must use if you're cooking "Kampung Cuisine" like we did! Pounding with your hands will yield more delicious paste, I kid you not! Ask Rohani and see!

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I was impressed by the preparations that had gone into the cooking class. All ingredients for the recipes had been washed, peeled, measured and labelled in containers - all ready for us!

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VHRCs at work ... paying attention when Rohani showed us "this is how you clean a prawn... and this is how you fold the leaves of the herbs to shred them in an acceptable way"!

We worked in teams of 2 or 3, so that everyone got to cook his/her chosen recipe and also get to taste all the dishes cooked by everyone. I had the privilege of teaming up with Audrey Cooks and Alice Jom Makan and among the 3 of us, we did 4 recipes.

So... what did we cook?

Let's start with the Kerabus.

Kerabu Jantung Pisang
Jantung pisang (banana flower)... do not use the outer tough layers, use only the pale tender part.... boil that till tender before cutting it up and mixing it with sambal and shredded herbs, toasted coconut, lime juice... a wonderful local salad!

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Serve your Kerabu Jantung Pisang on the "petals" of the flower... taaa daaa!

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Nasi Kerabu ... a pretty easy recipe except that you have to cut and shred the herbs very very thinly... otherwise Rohani will tell you that your herbs are thick enough to make blankets! All herbs used came straight from Rohani's herb garden - they can't get any fresher than that!

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Toss all your superthinly-cut herbs and some fried salted fish flakes with cooked rice and you'll get this plate of gorgeous fragrant Nasi Kerabu... every mouthful is a sensory orgasm on your palate, I guarantee you.

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Now for the mains...

Ayam Percik. Everyone of us chose this recipe because it is such a popular and delicious item... we see lots of this being sold in Ramadhan bazaars but how do you actually cook it ahh? It seemed like lots of work, you know...

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... but at Rohani's, it's made really easy! In fact it was so easy that I did not hesitate to replicate this at home the very next day and my family had a verrrry satisfying Ayam Percik dinner!

Now, tell me.... isn't this the most beautifully-yummy plate of Ayam Percik you've ever seen? :-)

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We're so proud of our Ayam Percik that we really must show you more... hehe!

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Prawns Masak Lemak with Pineapples ... this perennial Malay favourite was pretty easy to cook. We did ours in quite a jiffy and I hand-pounded the chillies/garlic/onions/turmeric too! ;-)

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These were cooked by the other 2 teams comprising A Whiff of Lemongrass, Babe in the City_KL, FBB and A Lil Fat Monkey...

Masak Air Cekur Manis - sweet green vegetables cooked with pumpkin and some prawns for flavour...

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Dessert - Onde Onde!
No fake colouring or essence in this. The natural colour and flavour came from freshly-picked pandan leaves and its juice extracted manually. Of course this tasted heavenly, especially when it's made lovingly by friends amidst laughter (and some "fun-poking")!

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So, what do you think? Do you think we VHRCs did a good job?

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Once everything has been laid out and adequately photographed, it was makan time! Dig in, everybody! Ohhh... it was so good! The food, the company, the ambience... we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves immensely! This was not merely a cooking class - it was a total experience of food enjoyment at its best.

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Truth be told, the goodbyes were done with much reluctance... hugs of appreciation went all round to Rohani and her friendly hospitable team - Wati and many thanks to Li Hsian too for organizing that lovely experience we all had.

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I am definitely going back to Bayan Indah for more of Rohani Jelani, hehe! The problem is... I don't know which theme class to choose because she has so many (more than 50) up for selection!

37 comments:

fatboybakes said...

yes yes, i think us VHRCs did a fabulous job. rohani jelani rawks!!! she is my idol for life. and her bayan indah, aiyoooo, paradise, pure paradise. I ALSO WANNNTTTTT!!!!!!!

J said...

Oh my goodness - everything looks perfect! :D

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

you have such gorgeous pictures. it was so much fun, wasn't it? :-) i'm glad we all went. :-)

babe_kl said...

fuwah you made us, VHRCs, sounded so yummy! i was the happiest gal that day having to meet my idol as well as having fun with all the VHRCs!!!

PureGlutton said...

FBB: I totally agree with u - we all fell in love with Rohani, didn't we?! And she has the BEST JOB in the world! I can only dream about her paradise la.

PureGlutton said...

J: The place was perfect. I hope our efforts also look almost-perfect la ;-)

PureGlutton said...

LL: Ohh, you are really too kind
:-)) Yes! I'm definitely glad we all went & had such a blast! Must do it again!

PureGlutton said...

Babe: Oh yes, i think we were all very happy together, LOL! Rohani's such a sweetie and so fun to be with!

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

wow!! the scenery is awesome, now i know why the exorbitant nitely price to rent this..

food looks lovely, prob the best way to appreciate food by making them!

Jon said...

Wow ! What a treat. I have been following Rohani for a long time on Flavours magazine as well. And nasi kerabu is one of my all time favorites. Indeed looks like paradise !

Hsian said...

Chris - thanks for posting such a lovely write-up of your experience with Rohani at Bayan Indah (and so quickly too). Was so well written, helped me to relive that morning all over again. The photos are fabulous - Rohani and I are really impressed with your photography skills. Hopefully others will be compelled to visit our little kitchen in the kampung as well :). Hope to see you again before long!

thenomadGourmand said...

Nice!

Pureglutton said...

Joe: Yes, it's a pretty awesome place! Cooking there was fun too.

Pureglutton said...

Jon: Hey thanks for dropping by again :-) Yeah, it was a real treat for us.

Pureglutton said...

Hsian: The pleasure's entirely mine :-)) Thanks for your compliments - I'm still learning every day!
Yes, I most certainly will be back at Bayan Indah, and hopefully soon!
Many thanks again to Rohani & you for organising that lovely session.

Pureglutton said...

TNG: Thanks :-)

J2Kfm said...

What a wonderful event. What if I don't cook, but instead enjoy the place, and the food cooked? :)

Kaki Makan said...

ooohhh...your pixs r awesome - a feast for d eyes! i definitely relished the whole experience.

Pureglutton said...

J2Kfm: Yes, it was a very enjoyable event. If you don't cook, u still can go there to stay and makan! ;-)

Pureglutton said...

Kaki Makan: Thanks for dropping by :-) Nice meeting u!

Pureglutton said...

Kaki Makan: Thanks :-) We all enjoyed it, didnt we! Nice meeting you :-)

Life for Beginners said...

That is such a beautiful place, and I haven't even gotten started on the food yet! :)

UnkaLeong said...

Ayam Percik looks fantastic! and I must say the cili padis in the last pictures look deadly spicy!

foodbin said...

food looks top notch.

vialentino said...

yo yo...long time din visit here liow...wow...nice house and nice home cooking...a good food review

can see u r a fulltime food blogger liow...kekeke

reanaclaire said...

Chris, how to diet like that!! Take me along next time.. can????

Anonymous said...

Very beautiful pictures. salivating as I was reading your blog. I don't suppose you are allowed to share the recipe for the ayam perchik?
I wish I could go attend one of her classes but I am based in JB!!
Congrats - Michelle Chow

HairyBerry said...

so much fun! i can just imagine myself chilling there...with a good breakfast...and lunch. argggh...and dinner too. hehehe.

Pureglutton said...

LFB: Beautiful place it certainly is! Like FFB said, it's paradise!

Pureglutton said...

Unka: Not only did the Ayam Percik look good, it tasted good too! Oh, chilli padi were growing abundantly everywhere there!

Pureglutton said...

Foodbin: We had a topnotch time there too!

Pureglutton said...

Via: Thanks for dropping by again :) Come more often la ;)

Pureglutton said...

Claire: We diet tomorrow,ok? ;-)

Pureglutton said...

Michelle C: Thanks for visiting :) Can always plan a trip here one of these days ;)

Pureglutton said...

H.Berry: Come join the next session there la! Can chill out almost the whole day there!

qwazymonkey said...

One day, when I grow up, I'll be just like Rohani Jelani. I'll have a fabulous house, a heavenly kitchen, a fantastic garden and lawn, and a career that will have me smiling from ear to ear. One day!

prolix said...

Thank you my dear, keep an eye out for the rest of it :)
I liked ur blogs very much and image formant is very helpful.
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