Friday, July 30, 2010

PappaRich, Bandar Tun Hussein Onn, Cheras

Modern kopitiams are sprouting like mushrooms everywhere, especially in shopping malls. Just to name a few - Pak Hailam, Old Town White Coffee and PappaRich. Before my first visit to PappaRich, the first question that crossed my mind was "Is it the same as the rest?"

PappaRich begs to differ, and their goal is to focus on quality on their food rather than cheap food which compromises the quality of ingredients used. They also aim to make their food so good that a visit to PappaRich is better than driving 300km to eat at your hometown.

The menu here is quite extensive, from the usual local specialties such as Curry Mee, Char Koay Teow, Assam Laksa and Ipoh Hor Fun to vegetarian dim sums, nasi lemak, fried rice and Western fare.

Although I am a big fan of Char Koay Teow, I am often skeptical about the ones you get from shopping malls as they often lack the "wok hei" (flavour, taste and essence imparted by a hot wok during stir frying) and less tasty due to the omission of chee yau char (lard fritters).

However, my first bite into the Char Koay Teow here converted my beliefs; it was aromatic and absolutely delicious with the right amount of spiciness. The flat rice noodles were stir fried with Chinese chives (koo chye), beansprouts, prawns, eggs, fish cakes, cockles, chilli and served on a plate laid with banana leaf. Apparently this makes the noodles taste better as it obtains an additional aroma from the leaf.

Char Koay Teow is often perceived as an unhealthy dish due to its high saturated fat content, however the version here is not too oily and certainly a much healthier option without the lard fritters. And they were very generous with the juicy and plump cockles! The most surprising thing for me was to see Hubby enjoying eating it as he usually does not like noodle dishes.

Hubby ordered a Fried Rice Special with Fried Egg and Chicken Wings. This was pretty average and there wasn't really anything special with it. The chicken wings were pretty tasty though, so next time we'll just give the fried rice a miss and order the chicken wings as a side dish.

We shared a Pappa Cendol topped with vanilla ice-cream. I prefer the one here than the one in Madam Kwan's as the proportion of gula melaka added is just right, giving it the right amount of sweetness.

Verdict: I really liked the Char Koay Teow here and the best thing is I don't have to sweat in a hawker centre to enjoy this!


Price: Affordable. RM25 for 2 persons.

Location: PappaRich, No 2, Jalan Suarasa 8/4, Town Park 1 Bandar Tun Hussein Onn, 43200 Cheras, Kuala Lumpur. (row of shophouses beside Carrefour Bandar Tun Hussein Onn)

Tel: 03- 9076 8366

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I baked: Chocolate muffins

Mini chocolate muffins that will satisfy your chocolate cravings.

Chocolate muffins
Preparation time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Makes 24

115g cooking chocolate
275ml milk
100g soft brown sugar
1 egg yolk
260g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp of salt
140g butter, softened at room temperature
200g caster sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 24 deep muffin tins with paper cases.

2. In a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, combine the chocolate, 1/3 of the milk (90ml), brown sugar and egg yolk. Cook, stirring continuously until smooth and thickened. Leave mixture to cool.

3. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl and set aside.

4. Cream the butter with the caster sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the whole eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla essence.

5. Add the flour mixture into the butter mixture alternately with the remaining milk, beginning and ending with flour. Mix well.

6. Pour in the chocolate mixture and mix until just combined.

7. Divide the mixture evenly amongst the prepared muffin tins.

8. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

9. Cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn out to cool completely on a wire rack.

Monday, July 26, 2010

I cooked: Hokkien Prawn Mee

Prawn mee or better known as Hokkien Prawn Mee (hae mee in Penang) is a egg or rice noodle dish in a spicy broth made from both fresh prawns and dried prawns, as well as pork or chicken.

There are two ways of cooking prawn mee; the complicated way or the cheat's way.

The complicated way involves a lot of ingredients such as pork ribs, belly pork, prawn heads and prawn shells to make a good stock. But, making the stock itself can take up to 6 hours as you would want to simmer it til its richly flavoured. As good as it sounds, it can be a rather tedious and lengthy cooking process in the kitchen.

So, most of the time, if I want my fix of Hokkien Prawn Mee, I either go to Little Penang or make my own, the cheat's way. It is pretty satisfying and ALMOST as good as the real thing. And it is almost effortless to cook!

Do you want a piece of me?

Hokkien Prawn Mee
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 5-10 minutes
Serves 1

1/2 onion, sliced thinly
70g beansprouts
Meehoon, soaked in water for 15 minutes (or yellow noodles if you prefer those)
2 tbsp Instant prawn noodle paste
6 raw king prawns, peeled
1 egg, boiled and halved
500ml of water
Mint leaves
1 tsp dried shrimp paste (optional)

1. Bring the water to boil in a small saucepan.
2. Add the onion and prawn noodle paste. If you prefer your soup spicier, then add the dried shrimp paste.
3. Add the meehoon (rice noodles) and prawns and simmer for 1 1/2 minute.
4. Finally, add the beansprouts and simmer for a further 1 minute.
5. Serve immediately and garnish with mint leaves and hard-boiled egg.

The cheat's Hokkien Prawn Mee

Note: If you do have some extra time, you can boil the shells from the peeled prawns in water and a little salt for 30 minutes, drain, and then putting in the rest of the ingredients. This will make your broth a lot more flavoursome and sweeter.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bisgood Heong Peah @ Mid Valley Megamall, Kuala Lumpur

We came across these lovely Heong Peah when we were shopping at Mid Valley Megamall the other week. They were having a free tasting at the front of the shop, and after trying a piece, we were hooked and proceeded to buy a couple of packs back!

Heong Peah is a local speciality biscuit originating from Teluk Intan in Perak. Heong Peah literally means 'fragrant biscuit' in Chinese. Now we don't have to travel all the way to Perak to get some of these, as Bisgood has brought it to our doorstep in KL. These particular ones are made by one of the two famous family-run enterprises in Teluk Intan, Sin Guan Tin.

Comes in 10 individual packs to retain its freshness

I would say this particular Heong Peah is very different to previous ones I've eaten (bought from bakeries etc). The pastry is very crispy whereas the inside of the biscuit is nice and crumbly. As you bite into the biscuit, you are greeted by a chewy and flavoursome filling, made of maltose, sesame, flour and onions. The aroma of the onions used is very fragrant and is absolutely tantalizing to the tastebuds.

A healthy snack when you're feeling peckish

One of the best selling points of this Heong Peah is it is completely Halal! So Muslim friends, get your hands on some of these goodies.

Price: RM8.90 per pack.

Location: TA Sin Guan Tin, Mid Valley Megamall, LG-015, North Court, Mid Valley City, Lingkaran Syed Putra, 59200 Kuala Lumpur.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Belanga, The Gardens, Kuala Lumpur

Following my nasi tumpang experience at The Warung, I later read some reviews claiming that the nasi tumpang at Belanga was better and more authentic. So, armed with this information, I dragged Fujiko with me to Belanga in The Gardens for a taste-off.

Belanga has carved a reputation for serving consistent and quality home-styled authentic Malay cuisine, in particular Kelantanese cuisine such as nasi dagang, nasi kerabu and nasi tumpang. The signature dishes at Belanga uses the founder's (Pn .Zainab Ahmad Shiyuti) family recipes. Although she employs cooks, Pn. Zainab herself supervises the cooking to ensure food quality and taste are maintained. The setting in Belanga is modelled towards a typical Malaysian countryside restaurant that boasts a myriad of traditional handmade crafts and kain songket.

All the food is pre-prepared, and laid out at the front counter, so service is prompt here. Unlike The Warung, you will be served by the waiting staff here, who are friendly and explained what could be paired with each dish. The servers here don the traditional Malay costume, complete with songket and songkok (traditional Malay cap).

Food and drinks counter

Refreshing ice lemon tea (RM3.90)

Teh tarik (RM2.90)

The Nasi Tumpang (RM6.50) here was rather disappointing. I cannot comment on the authenticity of the dish compared with the one from The Warung, however I can gladly say I prefer the one from The Warung, which wins hands-down in terms of presentation and taste. Unfortunately, the rice here, which was packed in a cone shaped banana leaf, was too soggy for my liking plus the egg inside the nasi tumpang was burnt (charcoal-like bits on the egg) leaving a bitter taste in my mouth. The rice is layered with fish serunding (floss) and fish curry here.

The Nasi Dagang (RM13.90) here is a completely different story. The saving grace, if not for this dish, we would have been put off completely in dining here again. It was outstanding. The nasi dagang here is served with either tuna fish (ikan tongkol), beef rendang (daging kerutuk) or curry chicken (ayam gulai). We opted for the beef rendang, and it was tender and delicious. The steamed brown rice was fragrant and rich, and I could have easily eaten another portion. Truly delicious!

Nasi dagang served with beef rendang and fish curry sauce and garnished with boiled egg, pickled cucumber, and fresh salad. We asked for more curry sauce, and our request was granted at no extra charge.

Verdict: Love the nasi dagang, but loathe the nasi tumpang here. Would return to try the nasi kerabu and nasi lemak ayam berempah.

Opening times: Monday to Sunday 10.00am to 10.00pm

Location: Belanga Cafe, LG 230B, The Gardens, Mid Valley City, 59200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Tel: 03-2287 5136
Visit their Facebook page for full menu.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Set Lunch @ Max at iHaus, Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur

I adore the food at Max @ iHaus; it never fails to impress me in terms of taste and presentation. The degustation menu here is excellent for those special ocassions, but on a day when we want a quick and simple lunch, Max can also deliver.

Having been here a few times for their set lunch, I have to say yesterday's was one of the best we've had. Priced at RM25+ for 2 courses (starter and main course plus a glass of Ice Lemon Tea), it is excellent value for money. And the service is amazingly efficient, we were in and out of the place in less than 40 minutes. Simply perfect for those wanting to grab a quick (and delicious!) lunch.

Complimentary bread served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Complimentary Ice Lemon Tea

For our starter, Hubby and I both had the Pumpkin Cream Soup garnished with chicken ham and borlotti beans. It is very rare that I enjoy anything with pumpkin in it, but the pumpkin soup here is REALLY delicious... rich, hearty and velvety. The chicken ham and borlotti beans just compliments the soup really well.

My mother, who has been trying all those years to make me eat pumpkin, would be very interested to learn how to make this

For mains, I had the Pan Seared Smoked Duck Fillet with Chardonnay thyme jus, mushroom melange and sauteed potatoes. I've had the smoked duck fillet here several times before (usually served with a salad) and it has been consistently good. Very well seasoned thin slices of duck which seems to disappear into my mouth at an amazingly fast rate. Love the mushrooms, love the potatoes, so all in all, love this dish!

Hubby had the Oven Baked Dory Fish Fillet with lemon chive cream sauce, mixed greens and sauteed potatoes. Hubby enjoyed his main course as the fish fillet was fresh, flaky and nicely cooked.

Dessert is optional at an additional RM14 or opt for the freshly brewed coffee or tea at an additional RM8.

Verdict: The set lunch here is great value for money, a price well worth paying for the fresh and quality ingredients they use here. Plus, there is ample parking space here so you don't have to waste your precious lunch hour hunting for a parking spot.

Opening times: Monday to Sunday; 11.30am - 2.30pm (Lunch); 6.30pm - 10.30pm (Dinner)

Price: RM25+ for 2-course set lunch. Set lunch only available on Monday - Fridays. Menus updated weekly.

Location: Max @ iHaus, Lot No.32, Jalan Jati, Off Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Tel: 03-2142 9720

GPS coordinates: N 3.14642, E 101.71961

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I cooked: Braised pork belly

We relished every bite we took. The braised pork belly oozed with flavour, and literally melted in our mouths. Slow cooking is the key to this pork belly dish, keeping it moist and juicy.

There are a few versions of this dish, and this particular recipe is for the sweet-type sauce.

Braised pork belly in a sweet sauce
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
Serves 4

800g pork belly
1 whole garlic bulb
1 garlic, diced
2-3 cinnamon sticks
4 star anise
1 tsp cloves
50g butter
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
600ml water

1. Melt the butter in a pot and fry the garlic, star anise, cinnamon sticks and cloves for 2 minutes. Using butter will yield a richer sauce.

2. Add the pork belly and fry until browned.

3. Add water, enough to cover the pork belly and bring to boil. Then turn down to a low heat and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

4. Check ocassionally as you do not want to overcook your pork belly as it will go all mushy. (The pork belly should be wobbly, but not too soft)

5. Season with soy sauce, and brown sugar.

6. The sauce should have thicken by now, if not turn up the heat slightly and cook until the sauce is of a thick honey-like consistency.

7. Serve with rice and stir fried vegetables of your choice.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Jin Man Noodle House, Taman Taynton View, Cheras

Since Baby C is a big lover of fishballs, we were keen to hunt down a good fishball noodle place in the Cheras area. Jin Man Noodle House came highly recommended by a few of GP's colleagues staying around that area, so we thought we'd give the place a try. Apparently, if you mention Jin Man fishball noodles to folk living in Cheras, 9 out of 10 would know where it is.

Having visited the restaurants a few times now, we observed that the place is extremely busy on weekends, and that sometimes people have to queue outside for a table. But, thankfully the service is very good, so we usually get served within 10 minutes of placing our order. Another important thing to me is hygiene of the place, and this place definitely passes the test.
Menu with prices

One of the specialties here is the Fried Fishcake (RM5.50), which is cooked to order, so it is still warm when it arrives at your table. The fishcakes has the nice bouncy texture with a golden crisp outer layer. Plus it's not greasy from the deep frying... amazing! The gorgeous fishcakes are served with a spicy/tangy chilli sauce dip. If you look around the restaurant, you would see a plate of this on almost every table!

The fishballs here are served with a huge variety of noodles. Take your pick from hor fun (white flat noodles), tang hoon (glass noodles), wantan noodles, loh shee fun (rat tail noodles), flat hakka noodles or yellow noodles. The fishballs here at Jin Man are made from local swordfish (Ikan Parang or Sai To Yue) and have an extremely nice springy texture to it. With more than 25 years experience (since 1985) in producing fishballs, its no wonder the fishballs here are good. And Baby C loves the fishballs here tremendously, it has now become a weekend ritual to come here for her fishball fix.

I tried the Dry Wantan Noodles (RM4.00), served with a bowl of fishball in soup once. The wantan noodles were springy and had a nice bite to it.

My favorite here has to be the Fishball Tang Hoon (glass noodles) (RM4.50). The tasty soup is flavoured by tong choy (the brown preserved vegetable you see in the picture) and it reminds me of the Tang Hoon Fishball Noodles I used to have very regularly when I was younger at the Triangle Square (Sam Kok Tei) in Seremban. You have the option of adding fish maw to your noodles (additional RM1.50 for 3 pieces) and this is highly recommended. I find that it makes the soup taste a lot better!

Yummy Fishball Tang Hoon noodles

Fishball Hor Fun with added Fish Maw

List of branches

Opening times: 5.00am to 4.00pm. Closed on Mondays.
Location: Kedai Makanan Jin Man, 71 Jalan Dato Haji Harun, Taman Taynton View, Cheras, 56000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Tel: 03-9132 7269
GPS Coordinates: 3.087872, 101.734471

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I baked: Prune Muffins

Healthy, delicious prune muffins to kick start your day! Enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea.

Prune Muffins
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Makes 12

1 egg
250ml milk
125ml vegetable oil
50g caster sugar
30g soft brown sugar
285g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
115g Sunsweet pitted prunes, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 200°C.

2. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper cases.

3. Break the egg into a mixing bowl and beat with a fork. Beat in the milk and oil.

4. Stir in the sugars. Set aside.

5. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre, pour in the egg mixture and stir until moistened. Do not overmix; the batter should be slightly lumpy.

6. Fold in the prunes.

7. Fill in the prepared cups two-thirds full.

8. Bake until golden brown, for 20 minutes in preheated oven.

9. Let stand for 10 minutes before turning out.

10. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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