Friday, March 24, 2017

Recipe: Tarka Dhal (Vegetarian)

Last week, we were at the supermarket doing our grocery shopping. Hubby picked up a pack of Australian dhal and told me that he wanted to try making dhal at home. No problem, I said... afterall, all I had to do was EAT ;)

Making dhal at home is very easy - simply simmer the dhal until soft, and then add ground spices, tomatoes, chillies, curry leaf and other ingredients to it. I roughly mash about half the dhal as I feel it's more creamy this way.

Homemade dhal is so yummy - I love the thick texture compared to the watery version you get at mamaks. Incredibly cheap too, we spent less than RM2 to make a batch enough to feed 4 persons. Dhal is super healthy too, making it the perfect comfort food.

Please check out the recipe video on my YouTube channel

Tarka dal
Recipe by Baby Sumo, adapted from here
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
Serves 4

250g chana dal (yellow dried split peas), rinsed until the water runs clear
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 small onion, chopped
3 whole green chillies, pricked with a knife  (we used cili padi)
2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin strips
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tomatoes 
3/4 tsp ground turmeric
3/4 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground cumin 
3-4 stalks fresh curry leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the lentils and 900ml of water into a pan, stir well and bring to the boil. Skim off any froth that forms on the surface of the water with a spoon. Cover the pan with a lid and reduce to low heat. Simmer, stirring regularly, for 35-40 minutes, or until the lentils are just tender, adding more water as necessary.

2. When the lentils have cooked through, remove the pan from the heat. Set the mixture aside to thicken and cool.

3. Blend the garlic and tomatoes to a purée in a food processor or blender. Set aside.

4. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and fry for 20-30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the onion, chillies, curry leaf and ginger and saute for 4-5 minutes, or until golden-brown. Add the purée (from Step 3) to the pan and stir well to combine.

5. Add the ground spices and 100ml of water to the pan and stir well to combine. Season, to taste, with salt and simmer over a medium heat for 15-20 minutes, or until the oil from the sauce has risen to the surface of the sauce.

6. Add the cooked lentils to the sauce and stir well, adding more hot water as necessary to loosen the mixture. Bring the mixture to the boil and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roughly mash half of the lentils using a potato masher. Serve hot with roti canai (paratha) or chapati.

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Village Roast Duck, Bangsar Village, KL

Village Roast Duck is one of my favorite places to go for delicious roast duck (and other roast meats). We recently visited the Bangsar Village outlet together with our friends. The menu here is more extensive than the one offered at The Gardens Mall.

There was seven of us, so we ordered five dishes to share. The Deep fried salt and pepper squid (RM26.90) is one of my favorite side dishes here - nice and crispy. Just like the outlet in TGM, they serve a complimentary soup as soon as you're seated (however no free dessert (guilingao) at this outlet).

We also had a whole Cantonese-style special roast duck (RM74.80 for whole), which has been deboned for easier consumption. Everyone enjoyed this. We also ordered a Double meat platter (RM35.80), you can specify which roast meats you want - we went for roast pork (siew yuk) and BBQ pork (char siu) and they were excellent.

The Braised homemade beancurd with Honshimeiji mushroom, chinese spinach and minced pork (RM18.80) was also fantastic - it's my first time ordering this, but definitely not the last... will order this again next time. Good with rice.

My friends wanted a vegetable dish too, so we chose the Poached chinese spinach with pork stock (RM22.90) - nice enough, but ordinary and slightly overpriced IMHO.

Opening times: 11am to 10pm daily.

Price: Total bill RM240 for 7 pax, including tea.

Location: Village Roast Duck, F.8, Level 1, Bangsar Village, 1, Jalan Telawi Satu, Kuala Lumpur, Bangsar Baru, Bangsar 59100

Tel: 03 22874128

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Hotel Review: The Majestic Malacca, Malaysia

Our family favorite hotel group is unashamedly YTL Hotels. Since our dating days when Hubby pampered me at Pangkor Laut Resort back in 2006, we have been frequenting YTL Hotels and Resorts around Malaysia.

Steeped in history, The Majestic Malacca was originally commissioned to accommodate the growing family of a Chinese tycoon named Leong Long Man. Construction of the mansion began in 1927 and was completed two years later. The home was later sold to Lim Heng Fang in 1955, who converted it into a hotel and called it The Majestic. It was the place to be in the 1950s and 1960s, attracting global travellers, merchants and dignitaries including Malaysia's first prime minister. Unfortunately, dwindling business caused it to close down in 2000.

Acknowledging the need to preserve an integral part of Malacca's rich heritage, YTL Hotels stepped in and the property acquisition was finalised in 2006. The historic building was fully restored and reopened as The Majestic Malacca in January 2008 as YTL's first Classic Hotel.

The mansion you see today still showcases the original imported Victorian porcelain tiles and Straits Settlement windows. The mansion houses the Reception area, the Lounge (for afternoon tea and lounging), and the Bar downstairs, while upstairs, guests will find the newly launched Melba at The Mansion, a casual restaurant serving authentic Kristang cuisine.

We obviously jumped at the chance to spend a few days recently with BabySumoKids at The Majestic Malacca, immersing in the beauty of the lovingly restored historic mansion and indulging in Kristang cuisine. During the course of our stay, we fell in love over and over again, with the classic, timeless interior, warm service and delicious food.

After a short 1 1/2 hour drive from KL, we arrived at the hotel and checked-in. A staff walked us to our room (giving us a mini tour of the hotel at the same time), and served us their signature welcome tea in the room.

Signature lychee tea served in a beautiful Chinese teapot. The sweetness of tea is believed to symbolise happy memories. 

Elegant and luxurious were the two words that came to mind as we stepped into our Deluxe Room. The 35 sq-m room is sumptuously appointed, with an inviting four poster bed and a gorgeous clawfoot bathtub. There is also a silk-upholstered chaise lounge by the window, a cosy spot to gaze out to the Malacca river or to relax and enjoy a book. Guests can stay connected via complimentary WiFi throughout the hotel during their stay.

Plush, comfortable beds for a good night's sleep

BabySumoKids love soaking in the bathtub and watching their favorite cartoons on the TV ;)

Turndown service - Nyonya kuih ;)

Not to be missed here is a visit to the Spa Village Malacca, for some well-deserved pampering. Spa Village Malacca is the world's first and only spa to base its therapies on the healing heritage of the Baba-Nyonya or Peranakan culture - a unique combination of Chinese and Malay influences. The rich heritage is reflected not only through the therapies but also within the architecture, which provides an environment designed to capture the essence of the location. All spa guests will also enjoy a complimentary soothing hair care ritual, inspired by the elaborate and colorful 12-day Peranakan Wedding ceremony. I walked out rejuvenated and feeling like a queen.

While I was away getting pampered at the spa, Hubby took the kids for a dip in the swimming pool located between Spa Village and the gym. Though compact in size, the kids had fun and enjoyed doing their laps here. 

In Malacca, you must experience the local Nyonya and Kristang cuisine. The newly opened Melba at The Mansion is helmed by celebrity chef Melba Nunis and will feature authentic Malacca-Portuguese cuisine, also know as 'Kristang' cuisine. 

The restaurant is open for both lunch and dinner and will feature a specially crafted menu from Chef Melba’s collection of treasured family recipes. There are over 40 items to choose from currently; the staff are on hand to offer recommendations should you require. 

We highly recommend these dishes: Asa, Kaldu Laksa Malaka, Inchimintu Karangezu, Papa Vincent's Chorka Pretu, and Tambrinhyu, just some of many dishes that we enjoyed during our trip here. Click here for the full review of the restaurant.

Breakfast is also served at the same restaurant in the mornings. There will be a small buffet spread of pastries, fresh fruits, fresh juices and cereal, and guests will also be able to order hot items from the menu. We especially love the waffles, poached eggs and fragrant banana passion fruit. 

Afternoon Tea with a Malaysian twist is served daily in the relaxing, welcoming The Lounge at The Mansion. The afternoon tea is served in a three-tier stand, featuring an assortment of sandwiches, cakes, pastries, scones and Nyonya kuih. Click here for the full review.

The Bar at The Mansion for your evening cocktails

Did I also mention that the hotel has lots of beautiful, Instagram-worthy spots?

We also like the local snacks placed around the hotel reception, such as iced gems, olive sweets, coconut candy and peanut biscuits. Guests can help themselves to these treats throughout their stay at no extra cost.  

The Majestic Malacca also offers a complimentary 2-hour guided walk through historical landmarks around Malacca. There will be two walks available daily, at 10am and 5pm.  You should definitely make time for this, as you will learn lots of fascinating facts about this 600-year coastal port. Will blog about this in more detail soon, in the meantime do watch this video I posted on Instagram.

Truly a fantastic place for a luxurious heritage break. We had such a wonderful stay here, can't wait to come back again!

Thank you to The Majestic Malacca for having us :)

Room rates start from RM390++ per room per night.

Location: The Majestic Malacca, 188 Jalan Bunga Raya, 75100 Melaka, Malaysia. (Parking is available on-site)

Tel: 06-289 8000


GPS Coordinates: 2.201959, 102.252130

If you enjoyed reading my posts, LIKE me on Facebook! You can also follow me on Instagram (@babysumo) for more photo updates or Dayre for daily updates.. Thanks :)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Mei by Fat Spoon, Desa Sri Hartamas, KL

When they first opened, I put Mei by Fat Spoon on my "To Eat List" on my phone. Somehow, I never got around to going. Recently a friend suggested we meet there for lunch, so I quickly agreed.

Mei by Fat Spoon is located in Desa Sri Hartamas, so it was pretty challenging finding a parking spot when we were there in the afternoon. The restaurant is nice and bright, with lots of natural lighting. The menu features Japanese-inspired comfort food, so you will find cold and hot rice bowls, as well as appetizers and pasta dishes.

As a huge fan of bara chirashi, I had to try the Summer bara chirashi bowl (RM39) here. No doubt it looked great - rice topped with yellowtail, salmon, hokkaido scallops, salmon roe, cucumber, pickles and edamame. The raw seafood was fresh and cut into thick chunks, just as I like them.

However, I think they put torched yellowtail in my bowl by mistake as it clearly says on the menu that this bowl should come with "raw yellowtail". Unfortunately, there was also way too much dressing on the rice which made the rice taste too vinegary for my liking.

Hubby wanted to try the Salmon ikura & avocado bowl but we were told that this was unavailable as they didn't have avocados in stock. Meh. Instead, he had the Unagi bibimbap rice (RM29), a new item on the menu. Hubby's bowl comes with rice topped with slices of glazed unagi, sauteed spinach, mushrooms, carrots, topped with an onsen egg. It also comes with a bowl of miso radish soup. Pretty good value for money, I would say.

Our friend had the Torched salmon rice soup (RM19) - torched salmon and okra in a hearty miso radish rice soup topped with seaweed. She also recommended that I try the beef bowls next time.

We ordered two pots of tea - the hot honey lemon tea (RM8) and earl grey (RM9), served in cute oriental-style teapots . How adorable!

If you have room for desserts, try the cempedak spring rolls with vanilla ice cream (RM15). The cempedak fruit was soft and sweet, encased in crispy spring rolls and paired well with the cold, creamy ice cream. YUM.

Hubby had the the sago pudding with salted gula melaka ice cream (RM12), which he thoroughly enjoyed. I tried some of the ice cream and it is very nice.

Opening times: 11am to 10pm daily, except Mondays.

Price: Total bill RM131 for 3 pax.

Location: Mei by Fat Spoon, 22-G, Jalan 27/70a, Desa Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Street parking available)

Tel: 03-2300 3327

GPS Coordinates: 3.162345, 101.649251

If you enjoyed reading my posts, LIKE me on Facebook! You can also follow me on Instagram (@babysumo) for more photo updates or Dayre for daily updates. Thanks :)


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