Monthly Archives: October 2010

Heng Kee Bak Kut Teh – 16 Section 1/10 (Old PJ)

Bak Kut Teh has become something that is quite prominent in our country over the years and once this was a poor mans dish to keep him healthy so that he would not have to get sick miss work or even go to the hospital, it has evolved over time as an institution much like Nasi Lemak, Nasi Beriani and other famous Malaysian Favorites.

I have not eaten Bak Kut Teh in a restaurant for many many years.  I have taken away once or twice because many years ago there was a Bak Kut Teh seller just 50 metres from where I lived but then he went somewhere else so I never bought it again. Time and time again my mother will make it and while home cooked, is flavorsome and all you can eat, somehow it does lack a certain something.

In fact I must say the last time I had Bak Kut Teh was with my dad when I was 11.  And back then I remember clearly it was RM4.50 per bowl and dad would go on about how it used to be 80 cents when he was young.  Dad always compares prices from when he was really young.

So today, after Skytrex, Poh Leng, Chia Chen, Dan and myself suddenly brought on the topic of Bak Kut Teh.  I think it was I who brought it up, since we were at Shah Alam, and quite close to Klang which is famous for its Bak Kut Teh, although I have never tasted it in my life.  Dan backed out because he had to go out with his family. I believe he was just being lazy, because he did say there was a shop near his home that served good Bak Kut Teh.  So we decided to go for dinner.

So at 6.30 pm, I got picked up by Chia Chen and then we went to pick up Poh Leng and off we went, looking for Bak Kut Teh, when Chia Chen suggested Heng Kee Bak Kut Teh.

When we got there, it was chockers.  It was 7 pm and it was full, we had to wait for our table, as we looked around and noticed the 40 to 50 odd tables was laden with the same food. Bak Kut Teh and its accompaniments.

We waited, almost 20 minutes before we got a place near a gate, and then we waited for again for the table to be cleaned up. Then we waited to get someone’s attention to take our order, and then we waited for our food, and waited again for the rest of our food to come. It was total waiting in anticipation I must say.  We were all so ready to TUCK IN!

Then Chilly and Garlic came with the drinks. Garlic was chopped up obviously taken from another persons table and plonked onto ours.  I am sure this is the story of the chilly as well.  Drink was too hot and too sweet, so we had to alight a waiter again.

Then the vegetable dish arrived. Blanched Lettuce Leaves tossed in oil, garlic , oyster sauce and soy sauce.  Simple and nice. Oily though.

Then the Tau Pok (Tofu Puffs) and Mushrooms arrived with our steaming rice.  Meats arrived, we had a bowl of meat and another bowl of offal.  So finally our wait was over.

Now all this with years of anticipation of not having eaten Bak Kut Teh, and coming to a place that was so crowded, and my verdict, it was nothing much at all.

For one the soup was too salty.  Then I found the meat was cooked separately from the soup before it was reboiled so now we had a piece or pieces of meat that did not really absorb the flavors of the herbs and spices.  The flavors did not infuse well.  And what’s worst was, the soup lacked the herb and spice flavors of the Bak Kut Teh I always knew.  I think this is a sad thing because being non Chinese and still having lingering memories of what good Bak Kut Teh was all about, it was disappointing.   In a way it was like I was cheated, but then again, the huge crowd did not seem to mind.  Where has their taste buds gone? There were many older people around whom I am sure have eaten better, and yet they were happily tucking in. Even the rice was nothing much.

What is Bak Kut Teh? Bak Kut Teh, to me is pork bones and meat cooked for hours over a simmering stove or better still a charcoal burner and it is infused with herbs and spices you buy from the Chinese Medicine Shop.  And then after a few hours of simmering it, you eat it with nice flavored rice.  When I lived in Australia we used to go to the Asian Grocery Store and buy the little sachets of Bak Kut Teh Spices.  It was a little cloth bouquet garni filled with all the ingredients needed.  I would cook it with Tau Pok, and Mushrooms and boiled eggs which will have the distinct flavor of tea eggs.  And if we were lucky, we’d find Yau Char Kueh (Crispy Crullers) and it would be nostalgic.

I did like the offal more then anything else. It was nicer then the meat, and the

A more Haute Bak Kut Teh

mushrooms were nice and succulent, while the tau pok which is usually a favorite of mine was not flavorsome enough for me.

We ate up everything, I had good company so that made up for the average Bak Kut Teh I had that day.  Maybe it was a busy day and they had move customers then anticipated and had to resort to cooking the meat separately, but still I believe in pride when cooking something that is an institution in this country.

I would like to try the Kepong Bak Kut Teh that Dan has mentioned.  Maybe it will take me back to the time when Dad took me out for that morning Bak Kut Teh.

Total price spent was $53.  Whether it was worthwhile, well I cannot say it was.  Totally zero ambiance, the heat, the noisiness,  the service, the waiting, and then the so so meal.  While some would say this is the typical Malaysian food scene for most Malaysians, I think once again pride of serving good food is important.

Thank goodness, Chia Chen and Poh Leng had heaps to talk about.  That made the meal more memorable.

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Mc Angus Burgers – Mc Donald’s gets serious

I am not keen and have never been keen on McDonalds Burgers.  I ate my first Mc Donald’s Burger back in 1983, when Mc Donald’s first opened near my house. It was the cool thing to do and it was a place to be seen amongst the kids in our school.  In fact we even used to “study” there, till our headmaster made a scene complete with cane and all.

I like Mc Donald’s big breakfast  in Australia but not the one sold in Malaysia because it is simply horrible and made with rather poor ingredients.  Especially their Sausage Mc Muffin, which I ate 9 years ago and till this day I have never touched the stuff.

I must admit though, I do like to go to different countries to see what each Mc Donald’s has to offer and so I made it a point to tell Dan we needed to try Hungry Jacks and Mc Donald’s over in Australia.  He did make a face, because Dan is a Gourmand so Mc Donald’s is kind of below him at times.  I just ignored it!

Now all through  I noticed Mc Angus Burgers banners and advertisements and I actually got quite curious about it.   I actually read how since 2009 Mc Angus Burgers has taken the Mc Donald’s burgers to new heights and my friend Cass who is quite snooty where food is concerned actually did mention it a few times more then usual whenever I mentioned about Angus Burgers.  So I am sure she has had her fair share of it.

So now Dan and I were at Sydney Airport and decided we should try the burger before we left Australia.  The pictures looked extremely nice and I know for one Australian Advertisements seldom differ or only lightly vary from the real thing so I took my chance.

So here is my burger. The Grand Angus it is called.  It had sour dough bread. Now that was rather gourmet I might add, it had two slices of cheese that actually appeared once it was placed on the really yummy juicy Beef Pattie.  And to top it off it was not the usual crumpled up iceberg lettuce that’s wet and soggy, no way….. this one had real lettuce and salad stuff, it was gourmet salad mix, the one you buy in the boxes in Cold Storage or Jaya Grocer. Somehow though, I must say I did not get much Gourmet Salad in my burger.

It also had thick red onions,  a little mustard and a tiny bit of mayonnaise.  I do not like the way people here slather mayonnaise like it is a pate of some sort.  Just shocking!  This one was perfect.

Now the beef???? It was simply awesome.  It was real meat. Not processed meat

 

The First Bite....

 

but real juicy meat.  I wonder if Angus Beef will cannibalize the usual McDonalds burgers in the future. Cannibalize is a marketing term when a new product line supposedly of a higher value eventually eats up your segments of the normal products you sell.  But if this was the case, it’d be Thumbs Up!

So what is an Angus Burger?

According to Stock and Land – (farmonline.com), the beef used in the new burgers will be verified as Angus by Certified Australian Angus Beef Pty Ltd (CAAB) based on national vendor declaration forms and backed by independent audits and DNA sampling.  It is that serious.

To qualify for the program, the beef must come from an animal sired by an Angus bull and be out of either a straight-bred Angus cow or an Angus cross cow.

Starting a new line of Gourmet Burgers was capital intensive.  New hot plates have had to be installed at McDonald’s stores to handle the bigger Angus burgers, the company’s first new beef product for some years.  This meant extra setting up cost, re doing the kitchen, training staff as these burgers were most certainly cooked fresh.  All this would have costs Mc Donalds millions as it has almost 800 or more stores in Australia.

So for once McDonalds is getting serious about giving us good food.  But then this only happens in Australia unfortunately. We’re still going to be stuck with the trash they serve here for a long time, unless our local companies and I must say there are a few that are good beef producers as I have worked with one of two of them do something real soon.

My verdict, if they sold Angus Burgers here at McDonald’s, I would be there every other day. An Angus Burger with no mayo and sauce.  Have to watch the weight you know.

Wasabi Beef Roll

I had this wonderful Beef Roll in Daikoku Japanese Restaurant in Fiji, and although the one they served us was nice I felt it lacked a little something more.  So here is my recipe.

Beef Fillet or Scotch Fillet                                 500 gms – to be sliced thinly into       one big piece. Get the butcher to do this because I know if I had to do it would be minced beef as you need a very sharp knife.

Lay the meat out onto a flat slightly greased tray and chill thoroughly

Other Ingredients:

Garlic                                                               2 cloves – to be finely minced

Green Onion                                                     ½ – to be minced

Wasabi Paste                                                   about 1 tbsp or a little more to be spread

Pepper                                                             just a sprinkle

Sugar                                                               ¼ tsp

Mix the above and spread it over beef just before cooking.

Method for pan frying:

  1. Heat a pan that is big enough for your beef, so work backwards. Make sure the meat spread out fits into the pan
  2. Pour in a little olive oil and gently scrape the meat off the tray onto the pan.  Gently press one side of the meat to make it stick to the pan and then glide the rest of the meat out by slowly pulling away the tray.  Hence the importance that the meat is very cold.
  3. Once the side of the beef starts to cook, start rolling the beef. Do not leave it too long or it will dry out. Roll gently and keep the meat tight.  Make sure the roll is of equal size to ensure even cooking.
  4. Roll as shown.  Leave to cook for a few minutes. Keep turning to ensure equal cooking.  Cook depending on how rare you like your beef. Cut it with a sharp knife whilst still in the pan and serve.  Serve it with good old Kikkoman Soy Sauce.  Eat it while it is hot as it does not taste nice once it is cold.

 

 

 

You may add a slice of cheese in the roll to give it that extra flavor. Use a full flavored cheese, I would like to use Camembert or Brie actually.

Aunty Nan C’s 68th Birthday Cake 10 / 10 /10

Well the 10 / 10/ 10 comes but once in a blue moon and so this cake and cupcakes were something that suddenly came to my mind with the help of my friend Hafiq and Hanifi.  I think by far this was the hardest cupcakes I have done simply because we made everything by hand, the dots and icing, the fondant. Everything was by hand except for the little red heart which given the chance we would have made as well.

A freshly painted cake

This is Hafiq’s and Hanifi’s first foray into cake decorating. And I must say they were extremely good.  Here is what we made.

This is the first time I also tried cake painting, and after more then 20 years of not holding a paintbrush to actually paint, I finally overcame the fear and did it. Well I did the

Shi Quan Shi Mei - I have horrible handwriting.

words, and Hanifi did the rest, but now I have the guts to do so and will conduct a class on cake painting real soon. I suddenly feel I can do it so let me do it a few more times. Then I will teach it at class.

Initially we were all worried because once painted if things go wrong we had all of a few hours to have a back up plan, but once we got started, it was really a redeeming feeling.

It was a good thing too that I tried it because cake painting is different

The Roses have been added

from the way flowers are painted. When I do my flower making class, painting method is different. Well its all a learning process and now I want to paint cakes.

I am and so were the boys, really excited with the end product.  The effect was way above my expectations, and I believe this is excellent team work.  And it really was because the cupcakes took nearly 8 hours to finish and that two with two people doing it and the cake took a total 7 hours to finish with three sets of hands. And the result!

The view from the top

 

Diwali Cookie and Vegetarian Cake Classes

Cookies for Diwali

Sunday October 10th – 2 to 5 pm

Saturday October 16th – 10 to 1 pm

Learn to make these four cookies. This is a fully hands on class so do expect to work. Please bring containers to take home your cookies.

  1. Chocolate Chip Cookies
  2. Cheese Cookies
  3. Cashewnut Cookies
  4. Melting Moments

Price Per Person: $100

Vegetarian Cakes for Diwali

Sunday October 10th – 10 to 1 pm

Friday October 15th – 7 to 9.30 pm

Learn to make Vegetarian Cakes.  Class will be semi hands on.  Please bring containers to take your cake pieces home.

  1. Stickey Date Cake
  2. Chocolate Cake
  3. Vegetarian Sujee Cake

Price Per Person: $90

Please call 016 6827465 or email nicholas_pillai@yahoo.com

All Classes will be held at 70 Jalan 14/24 Petaling Jaya.

Please bring you own tea towel for personal cleanliness. Bring your own containers to take your foods home.

For Group Bookings ie 3 or more – All non refundable payments have to be made 10 days before the class is due to take place.

Ole Ole (Gifts) of Indonesia from Eda

Eda my Assistant is back, thank goodness and she brought back quite a few things for us.  And this time they were not shockingly sweet foods but savories which somehow tastes rather nice.

Here are some of the snacks she brought.  Of course some will remain nameless because she herself does not know what it is called so anyone out there reading this and knows what some of these snacks are called please send me a comment. Better still if it is the Indonesian name.

The first was these crispy fish that I thought was like a salted fish and was about to dry it in the sun when mum made a face and told me those could be eaten, so I took one, knowing full well I am not a fish person and really it was nice. Mum tried it too, fancy though, a mother should take the poison before the child, she waited for me to eat it first!

Although looking at the photo, you’d feel funny with a hundred eyes looking back at you, this fish what ever it is called was very crispy and tasty and no fish taste.  It was almost like a cracker. It was slightly salted, just perfect it was. I really do not know what fish it was, and I wonder if these fish can grow big because I got about a thousand baby fish all cooked to a crisp if not. Just found out the name…. this is called Bile (pronounced Be Lay)

Next was savory banana chips, not the sweet kind she usually brings back but the salty kind.  This was fried to a nice golden hue.  Packaging was a bit out I must say for something so nice.  It was perfectly crisp although badly packed so I tinned it all.  I wonder how much it was?

Crackers was next on the list.  I spread it out to be dried in the sun as with all crackers before you fry them. As yet I do not know how they taste, but once it is fried I will upload the photo. As usual, any questions on what and how it is made is always unknown. I always wonder how one can buy something and not know how it is made.

She also brought potato crackers, which I also dried out. And last I went there I saw three jars of fried potato crackers. I have yet to taste it so I do not know what it tastes like.  Will take photos later as well.

Salted Fish was next on the list. Now why does she do this? The moment I start to watch what I eat,  Salted Fish is placed in front of me. She brought two types which I know for a fact once fried will give such sinful pleasures to the palate and not to mention the ever burgeoning girth.

I really need to know my fish, because I am totally unaware what fish these are. Not even the Malay name, which I might add is quite shocking.  But still I know it will taste good.  These kinds of salted fish taste best just fried on low heat till it is crispy. I really try not to eat it but when its there I may take a piece or two, perhaps three. Temptations sometimes is a bit of a hassle.

Avocado was next on the list. Seven Kilos of it. Never have I seen so much Avocado in my house before.  Eda’s uncle grows them and she brought it for us.  I have not had any yet, but mum had some for tea and assured they taste yummy. So tomorrow I shall take photos of the cut up Avos.

Finally Keropok Sing Kong. This I know because I used to work with an Indonesian who was a waitress and while pregnant she always bought thing to satisfy her craving.  This is tapioca chips refried with chilly and sugar.  I have not eaten this yet but looking at it, it seems to be a bit oily for my liking.  But I will taste it when someone opens a packet later.

Daging Dendeng was the last thing she unwrapped. Daging Dendeng is thinly sliced beef marinated with mostly herbs found in this part of the world and fried. Its like meat chips, kind of like jerky but without the jerk so to speak.  This I found to be tasty as I have never eaten this before.  Not this crispy anyhow. The one I ate in Bali was more meaty.

Oh I forgot, Beef Rendang.  I have not photographed it for some reason, but I know it is in the fridge.  Perhaps I will do it later.  I tasted it and it is different from what I have tasted before.  There is a slight tangy taste to the rending which is so thick, that it is almost gravyless.  I was told the coconut milk is boiled till it separates and the cream hardens and becomes dark in color hence the natural dark color of the rending.  Must to be learnt from this style of cooking I must say.

So there goes my diet, or so I always seem to say.  I will try not to eat these pressies from Indonesia but I have no choice out of courtesy sake. The things we have to do sometimes.