Monday, August 30, 2010

Eggs & Mint Leaves Soup

Back in my childhood days in Ipoh, one of the simplest and most delicious, (at least, to me) soups my mom cooked was Eggs and Mint Leaves Soup.  Sounds weird to you all?

I love mint leaves.  I'm not sure if that's an "Ipoh thing" but I love lots of it on my curry laksa, assam laksa (of course!), assam fish, salads... I just love its fresh aromatic flavour.


I also know some people absolutely detest mint leaves - they'll pick it out tediously from whatever dish that's served with it! Hehe, no worries - just pass them to me. Mint is good for you - it helps to relieve stomach aches - did you know that?

Mom used to grow a big tub of mint leaves in the backyard. On days when she's too busy or there wasn't much stuff in the fridge, she'd just go pick some mints from the tub and cook them in egg soup for us. Back then life was simple, our needs were basic and one bowl of Eggs and Mint Leaves Soup can go a long way. On days when my mom was too busy, I took over making this soup. It's really very simple.

All you need are:

2 eggs
500ml water
100g mint leaves
Oil for frying


1. Fry eggs in some oil. Scramble them up a bit.
2. Add a dash of sesame oil for more aroma!
3. Put in water and boil with the fried eggs for about 3 minutes.
4. Chuck in the mint leaves, season with a dash of salt and serve.


I don't need Chicken Soup for my soul. Give me my Eggs and Mint Leaves Soup anytime - it warms not only my tummy, it's good for the heart and soul.

I'd like to submit this for Babe in the City_KL's annual Merdeka Open House and the theme this year is "Food from our Hearts".

I think this little recipe from me is pretty apt :-))

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Koji's Comfy Pillow

This is how my rascal lil dog, Koji, sleeps!


He must think my bedroom slippers are the best pillows in the world!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Zuan Yuan @ One World Hotel

I walk past this restaurant almost everyday.  That's because my workplace is right next door to One World Hotel and everyone here uses the walkway through the hotel to get to 1Utama.  It's located on the Lobby Floor of the hotel and even from the opulent entrance you can get a pretty good idea that they didn't spare the dough on the deco. 

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I was told that "Zuan Yuan" in Chinese meant "a treasure trove of gems" and it certainly lives up to its name. The silver leaf ceiling, the stunning chandeliers, ebony doors, carved mahogany furniture and the many beautiful antique wine jars on display enhanced the sophisticated splendour of the restaurant.  Traditional colours of red, silver and gold give one a sense of unmistakable old-world oriental charm the moment you step onto the plush peony-motif burgundy carpet.

Zhao Yuan 1World

The restaurant serves Cantonese and Teochew specialities, ranging from time-honoured traditional fare (if you want to impress your stylo-mylo business associates) to simple comfort food-type dishes that one can enjoy, without pretences, in the company of close friends and family.

The culinary creations of Master Chef Michael Chew are given a fresh "lift" every now and then.  Thanks to the kind invitation of Marian Eu and lovely hosts Florence and Crystal, I recently had the opportunity to try some of Master Chef Chew's latest creations.

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Mixed Green Bean Skin with Shredded Roast Duck in Chef's Speciality Sauce (RM18++ per portion)

The green bean skin is similar to the beanskin used in Vietnamese springrolls.  The green bean skin used in this dish is imported from China.  On its own, it's rather bland but when eaten together with the shreds of roast duck and spicy sesame sauce, the springy strands proved to be a refreshing appetizer.  With our appetites duly whetted, we were so ready for the next dish...

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Honey Glazed Boneless Chicken topped with Crispy Ginger Flakes (RM26++/RM36++/RM50++ for Small/Medium/Large portions respectively)

I loved the crispy ginger flakes.  The good Master Chef kindly let on that the young ginger, sliced very thinly, had to be marinated with sugar and salt for one day before frying.  You must also know the correct technique in frying them - the fire/heat cannot be too strong or too low.  The crispy flakes, with just a hint of gingery flavour were excellent and complemented the sweetish boneless chicken chunks well.

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Stir-fried French Beans with Minced Chicken, Olive & Scallion (RM18++/RM25++/RM36++)

This is a typical Szechuan dish and is available in most chinese restaurants.  Master Chef Chew's version here is a tad on the "wet" side and my preference is for the drier version.  Nevertheless, this popular dish is a sure rice-puller... you will definitely need a lot of rice to go with this!

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Braised Grouper Fillet with Mandarin Orange Skin in Spicy Sauce (RM28++/RM42++/RM56++)

Similarly, this is another dish where lots of rice is needed to mop up the thick tasty gravy in the claypot.  The generous slices of fresh grouper fillet braised with chinese mushrooms had totally absorbed all the piquant flavours of the mandarin orange peel and spices in the gravy.  This is typical comfort food for me - fish and rice - staple food feeding our basic needs.

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Poached Baby Bok-choy in Salted Soup (RM16++/RM24++/RM32++)

The soup, made from chicken stock was "salted" with the addition of pickled vegetables such as "cha choy" and "ham choy".  A typical Cantonese style - simple and "ching", the baby bok-choy retained sufficient crunchiness despite being simmered in the soup.  I recall back in my childhood days when mom was too busy, this would be the usual way soup and vegetables were cooked, effectively killing 2 birds with 1 stone.  Soups are a must for the Cantonese and of course, vegetables are good for you, so combine the two for the best result!
Oh, if bok-choy is not your favourite vegetables, you can choose others on the menu, to be cooked this way.

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Homemade Soyabean Tofu with Ginger Sugar Soup (RM8++ per person)

Made fresh every day, Master Chef Chew explained that the quality of the soyabeans is extremely important in order to produce the perfect "taufu fah"!  If the beans are slightly "off", you can be sure your taufu fah can be discarded.  That, and of course, the technique must play a very vital balance to ensure your taufu fah turns out silky-smooth and light.

Not satiated with the taufu fah, we requested for one more dessert...


Durian Combination (RM15++ per person)

The devilish trio of durian pancake, fried puff and ice-cream will please any durian lover!  All made with fresh durians, the strong flavours of the king of fruits will leave you without any doubt that you have just eaten a dessert where quality was not compromised.

The above dishes were just a sampling of the new items being introduced in Zuan Yuan and can be ordered from the a'la carte menu.

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Master Chef Michael Chew, a Malaysian, may look young (doesn't he look too young to be a Master Chef?!) but has vast experiences in Chinese cuisine in China, Germany and Brunei.

I also had the opportunity to meet their Dim Sum & Desserts Chef, the affable Chef Jordan Chin...


In view of Ramadhan, Zuan Yuan currently offers a "Eat All You Can" promotion whereby you can order from a selection of more than 40 mouth-watering dishes.  This comes with unlimited offerings of appetizers, salads, soups and desserts...

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Zhao Yuan 1World-1

So, if you are tired of the usual buffets serving international & local dishes, why not try a different Buka Puasa meal with exquisite Chinese cuisine in Zuan Yuan?

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The Oriental Ramadhan promotion in Zuan Yuan is available from 11 August to 9 September 2010, priced at:

RM78++ per Adult
RM38++ per Child (4-12 years)

Zuan Yuan Chinese Restaurant
Lobby Floor, One World Hotel
First Avenue
Bandar Utama City Centre
47800 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7681-1159

Monday, August 23, 2010

Purple Angkoos

Gosh, I must have been bitten by the "angkoo bug"! I have been researching and experimenting on various types of angkoo after my first attempt at this delicious nyonya kueh. Encouraged by the initial results, I decided to try a different version of that kueh.

So, last weekend I made a purple variant of the Angkoo.


The recipe was adjusted to not use 100% glutinuous flour. Instead, to get the all-natural purple colour, I added this...


Yes, that's sweet potatoes, of the purple kind!

No artificial colouring was used - the lovely purple shade of the kueh came entirely from the sweet potatoes.

Purple Angkoo

The kuehs looked lighter in colour before steaming...

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After steaming, they turned a darker shade...



So what's the difference when using sweet potatoes in the recipe? Well, I find they shape better, the patterns from the mould were more defined and the dough is less chewy (doesn't stick to the teeth!)


I'm excited to try other colour variants later... orange from pumpkins or from the orange-sweet-potatoes and of course the popular green pandan! And then there's also the black sesame version. As for fillings... LL has been asking for peanuts - that will be the filling for the next batch!

Email or pm me if you want the recipe for this purple version :-)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mee Rebus & Angkoo Kuih at home

The past few weekends had been pretty hectic for me. Like last Sunday where we had to go back to Ipoh to check on my mother who was admitted to the hospital for surgery. And that was after the Saturday which was spent in Bayan Indah (yes, again!) where we had a "culinary challenge" for my colleagues. More about that in a later post.

Talking about Bayan Indah and Rohani Jelani's classes, someone asked me whether I would actually replicate those recipes at home. Yes, of course I would and I have done so! From the very first class, I have cooked the Ayam Percik and Masak Lemak recipes several times at home - I just didn't blog about those.

As this weekend has been a travel-free one, I decided to cook lunch at home and invited the clan over. Only 2 items on the menu: Mee Rebus from my 2nd class with Rohani Jelani and Angkoo Kuih which I observed (but didn't make) at the "culinary challenge" session with Rohani last weekend.

Cullinary Challenge

For my Mee Rebus, I tweaked Rohani's recipe a bit and used Pork Bones and prawn heads to make the stock. Yes, pork bones work too, for this recipe! I didn't use any meat as part of the condiments... I substituted with fish cakes instead. The rest of the condiments were as above - prawns, beancurd, boiled eggs and prawn fritters which DL helped to fry! Oh, I made my signature sambal too, to go with the Mee Rebus!

Angku n Mee Rebus

The other aroma enhancers for the Mee Rebus were chopped spring onions & chinese parsley, fried shallots and calamansi.

And this here was my bowl of Mee Rebus...


Now, the Angkoo Kuih... it was fun to make! This was the very first time I attempted this,after observing the class last Saturday. And they didnt even have to make the filling then - the filling had already been prepared by Rohani and her team!

I cooked the mungbean filling the night before and chilled it in the fridge. It turned out nicely firm and easy to form into balls before wrapping them with the glutinuous rice dough.

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The colour of the kuihs was lighter before steaming...


... they looked more orangey before steaming...


But see how different the colour became after steaming? It turned into a darker glorious almost-RED shade!

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I'm so happy my angkoo kuih remained round and high after steaming!


One of the challenges that my colleagues faced when they made their angkoo kuih at Bayan Indah last week was that their kuihs flattened out after steaming.


But mine remained nicely firm, round and stood up proudly! If you want to know the secret to this, message me, hehe!


So how, pass or not??

Friday, August 13, 2010

Citarasa 1Malaysia Ramadhan Buffet @ One World Hotel

Since our Prime Minister announced the "1Malaysia" concept back in 2008, it has become almost a part and parcel of our lives - we see this published in the media all the time and businesses have jumped on the bandwagon to leverage on its appeal. The idealogy behind "1Malaysia" emphasizes national unity, ethnic harmony and efficient governance.

The 1Malaysia concept is widely promoted everywhere and it is no wonder that One World Hotel has adopted it to give significance to its Ramadhan Buffet currently available at its award-winning Cinnamon Coffee House. The fact that its diverse menu offers more than 100 dishes covering traditional Ramadhan favourites as well as signature Chinese dishes, delectable Indian temptations and stalls featuring Malaysian delicacies intepretes perfectly the gastronomic harmony in the country.


I can't believe how fast time flies! Our Muslim friends have already started on their 2nd day of fasting in the holy month of Ramadhan. Did you know that Ramadhan is actually the 9th month of the Islamic calendar? Comparing to the solar calendar, the dates of Ramadhan vary, moving backwards about 10 days each year. The significance of fasting from dawn till sunset is to teach Muslims patience, humility and spirituality, practise self-discipline, sacrifice and empathy.

Upon breaking fast at sundown - this meal is known as "Iftar", it is customary to start with eating dates, just as Prophet Muhammad was believed to have done.


Over time, Iftar has evolved into banquets. The spread at the Cinnamon Coffee House can easily be called that! The array of dishes laid out all over the restaurant is pretty extensive... (and that's putting it mildly!)...

Ramadhan Buffet OneWorld

Some of the Indian temptations...

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I really could not decide where/what to start first... perhaps the Cold Seafood counter is a good idea?

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Some sashimi to tickle your palate first?


Or maybe the healthier Salads are a better bet?

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Would you believe that this "salad bowl" here was carved out from a block of Italian cheese?? Yes, the whole thing is cheese and when you mix & toss your greens in the bowl, you are supposed to scrape the bowl a bit so that the cheese shavings will be added on to your salad, giving it that extra special taste & aroma!


If "western-styled" salads are not your cup of tea, how about some local-styled ones - Kerabu? Head on to the Kerabu station then...


Take your pick - kerabus, gado-gado, fruit rojak...

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There's a special counter for their Roasted Whole Lamb, served with Briyani Rice and a variety of vegetables (I sooo loved the asparagus!) and sauces - absolutely scrumptious!

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Choosing a sambal to go with the main courses was such a difficult task!

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See what I mean?!


I was told they have 8 rotation menus prepared by their brigade of chefs... and here are just some samplings of the hot dishes on those menus...

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Tempura, Lok-lok, Ikan Bakar... all done to your order by the friendly service crew...

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The wok of lovely Nasi Ulam was so enticing...


I had a hard time choosing between the ketupat or lemang to go with the rendangs and serunding... so I took both!

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Make sure you keep tummy space for Desserts...

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... and more desserts...

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Would you have any problem choosing between western desserts... and the local traditional ones?


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Actually, there's no problem, very easy - just try everything!! Even the traditional Hari Raya cookies are available...


If you think the above was mind-boggling, I was told that there would be MORE items added on... must-have's like bubur lambuk, nasi kandar berlauk, mee bandung, laksa kedah, among others, will be making their appearances!

Price of Ramadhan Buffet Dinner:
RM49++/child aged 4-12 years

(Available from 11 August - 9 September 2010)

Cinnamon Coffee House
One World Hotel
First Avenue
Bandar Utama City Centre
47800 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7681 1111

*Thanks, Crystal Koh, for the kind invitation!