Thursday, September 30, 2010

Homemade Butter

Since we were already baking our own bread, why not make our own butter as well?

To make butter at home, double cream or whipping cream can be used as they have a higher fat content. Butter is made when the butterfat and buttermilk separates in the cream.

Most people use the jar-shaking method to make butter, but I didn't have an empty jar on hand when I first attempted it so I used the whisk instead. Making butter is really quite simple, I never knew how easy it was until I attempted it myself for the first time.

Why make your own butter? Because homemade butter is fresher and lighter than commercial brands and best of all, it contains no preservatives! However, in Malaysia, it can be expensive to make your own butter at home due to high prices of double or whipping cream. A 1l pack of whipping cream costs approximately RM20.

But think about the cold, creamy butter you would be rewarded with, and you might just be tempted to make your own butter. Absolutely great with those warm freshly baked bread!

Homemade Butter
Preparation time: 10-15 minutes
Makes 1/4 cup

Ingredients200ml whipping cream

1. Place the whipping cream into a large bowl and whisk until the cream separates into small balls of butter (it will resemble scrambled eggs and the cream will go a bit yellow) and liquid buttermilk.

2. Continue to whisk for another 2-3 minutes until there is no more liquid separating from the butter and the butter seems to clump.

3. Drain the buttermilk and reserve it for other uses such as cooking or baking. (We didn't quite know what to use the buttermilk for, so we gave them to our dogs which they lapped up happily!)

4. Ensure that all buttermilk is removed from the butter, or else it will go bad really quickly (unless you eat it within 24 hours, then you can skip the washing process).

5. Put the butter into a big bowl and add cold water. The water has to be very cold, or else the butter will melt and wash away with the water. Swirl it around, then pour the liquid away.

6. Repeat the process until the water is clear.

7. Dry the butter by putting it against a clean cloth and pushing against it. Transfer butter into a clean airtight container.

8. Before using, flavour the butter with some freshly ground salt as desired.

Wonder Butter

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sanuki Udon, Taman Bukit Desa, Kuala Lumpur

Udon noodles are one of my favorite Japanese noodles. A type of wheat noodles, udon are fat, white, unctuous, slippery and utterly delicious.

House special with egg (RM5)

The origin of udon in Japan is credited to two Buddhist priests who travelled to China, Kukai and Enni. Sanuki Province claimed to have been the first to adopt udon from Kukai. Sanuki udon is well known for its strong body and smooth texture. Along with Gunma's Mizusawa Udon and Akita's Inaniwa Udon, Sanuki Udon is recognised as one of the three most famous udon noodles in Japan.

In KL, we have our very own Sanuki Udon, a humble eatery opened and run by one Seiji Fujimoto. The udon is made daily in the shop. The menu is small, with only 8 udon dishes, but all executed well.

The noodles here are cooked simply, but there is an ethereal quality about the noodles, producing a delicious and healthy bowl of noodles.

It all lies in the texture, firm and slightly chewy.

Additional toppings are available at RM1-2 each, from poached egg to kitsune to prawn tempura. There are also side dishes such as edamame (soybeans), karaage (Japanese fried chicken), mini salad and chinmi moriawase (assorted appetizers).

Big mugs of hot green tea (RM1)

This is simplicity at its best.

The Unc had the House Special with Egg (RM5). The egg was poached beautifully. Break it and envelop each strand of noodle with the runny yolk. A dash of shichimi (seven-spice pepper) completes this udon dish.


Mum had the Original Udon Soup (RM5) while I had the Wakame Udon (RM6). The only difference was that mine had wakame (seaweed). The udons were served in a light, nicely flavoured soup with some choy sum.

Original Soup Udon

Wakame Udon

We ordered some ebi tempura (RM2 each) and karaage (RM3 for 3 pcs). Both were not oily despite being deep fried. We also ordered the chinmi moriawase, but there wasn't any available that day.

Ebi tempura - fresh prawns in a light batter

Bite-size karaage - moist meat in crunchy batter

Not content with just 1 bowl of noodles, The Unc ordered another, the Dry 'Cha Cheong' style (RM6). The udon noodles were topped with yellow bean sauce (very similar tasting to Chinese taucu), spring onions and julienned cucumber.

This had a more intense flavour compared to the other 3 that we had here.

Other udon dishes available here are kitsune udon, kakiage udon, curry udon and tsuke men. There is also freshly made udon that you can buy to cook at home (sold in 1kg packs for RM20). We liked the noodles here very much, so we bought some home.

Japanese steamboat (RM15 per person) and yakitori (RM2-3) are also available in the evenings.

Verdict: The food here is unpretentious, allowing the noodles to shine on its own merit.

Opening times: 11.30am to 3.00pm & 5.30pm to 9.30pm. Closed on Mondays.

Service: Efficient.

Price: Reasonable.

Location: Sanuki Udon, 9 Jalan Bukit Desa 5, Taman Bukit Desa, 58100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Tel: 03-7980 3704

GPS Coordinates: 3.11074, 101.68479

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I baked: All-in-one chocolate cake

For Baby C's birthday this year, we decided to bake her a cake instead of buying one from the shops. Baby C loves it when we bake cakes at home and the look of contentment on her face is just priceless.

I found a recipe for a chocolate cake on BBC Good Food website; it looked simple enough to make and the picture of the cake looked absolutely tempting. This cake is absolutely perfect as a birthday cake for small parties. We definitely had a very pleased birthday girl in the house that day.

Custom-made for a special girl ♥

All-in-one chocolate cake
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves 8

175g self-raising flour, sifted
3 tbsp cocoa powder
175g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
175g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
1-2 tbsp milk
300ml pot double cream (I substituted with whipping cream)

For the ganache icing
50g butter, cubed (I halved the original amount as I felt we did not need so much icing)
50g dark chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Line 2 x 18cm sandwich tins with baking paper.
2. Take 3 tbsp of flour from the full flour amount and put it back in the bag. The cocoa powder will make up the difference.

3. Place all cake ingredients (except the double cream) in a large bowl and beat them together with an electric whisk until you have a creamy mixture. Add a little milk if the mixture is too stiff - it should fall easily off a spoon.
4. Divide the mixture between the two tins and level the surfaces of the cake mixtures.
5. Bake on the same shelf in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the sponge springs back when pressed.

6. Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Peel off the baking paper.
7. To make the ganache icing, melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl set over simmering water. Stir well, and leave to cool so that you can spread it onto the cake.
8. Whip the cream and use it to sandwich the cake together. Spread chocolate ganache over the top of the cake, letting some run over the edge.
9. Refridgerate the cake for 1-2 hours to allow the chocolate ganache to harden slightly. (Not in the original recipe, but we preferred ours like this)

10. We also made some chocolate chip cupcakes using this recipe. We cut off the tops so that it's flat and decorated the cupcakes as we desired.

How the chocolate cake should look

A birthday cake baked with love

Rich and delicious chocolate cake

Friday, September 24, 2010

Lunching @ Max at iHaus, Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur

The chef has left the building.

For those who do not know already, Max Chin, the man helming the kitchen at iHaus will be departing iHaus to open his own restaurant.

Following his departure, iHaus will continue to serve food as usual, however there will be a slight revamp on their menu. As we have enjoyed many good meals at iHaus, we would give it a try next month and see how the food fares without Max in the kitchen.

Just before my confinement, I managed to sneak one last meal at Max (barely!) and I was glad I did.

Freshly baked bread

Ice lemon tea included with the set lunch

For starters, choose between the soup or salad. The salad on that day was Balsamic glaze baby octopus on fresh mesclun greens with olives and fig vinaigrette, slightly different from the usual salads they serve here. The Unc and I both had this. The baby octopus were flavoursome with a nice texture.

Mum had the Asparagus Cream Soup garnished with chicken ham and sauteed leeks. It was rich, creamy and delicious!

Yum in a bowl

Since there were 3 of us, we each tried a different main course. Mum had the Pan Fried Dory Fish Fillet with pesto tomato coulis on a bed of sauteed potatoes. She was most impressed with her mains; the fish was fresh and flaky, accompanied with a tangy, appetizing tomato coulis. She couldn't believe that such great value for money lunch (plus delicious food!) still exists in the city.

The two remaining main courses were duck and chicken. I let The Unc take his pick first and he went for the Oven baked duck breast fillet with Chardonnay and mushroom melange on mixed greens and sauteed potatoes. I remember having this the last time I had lunch here and it was really good. The Unc also enjoyed it very much, as the duck and mushrooms were full of flavour.

Come to think of it, I've never had pasta at Max before. The pan seared smoked chicken fillet with spaghetti pasta in carbonara sauce surprised me. The spaghetti cooked al dente and covered with the rich carbonara sauce was delicious and lovely to eat.

Verdict: Definitely one of the best value lunches around. Hopefully they will manage to maintain the good standard even after Max Chin's departure.

To read about my previous visits, click here, here and here.

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

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lot 10 Hutong @ Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur

Lot 10 Hutong, Malaysia's first Gourmet Heritage Village opened its doors in November 2009. Boasting 27 eateries, Hutong is comprised of low chiu pai (heritage brands) street food stalls handpicked by YTL Corp's Tan Sri Francis Yeoh and non-heritage Western/Asian stalls. The heritage brands are family enterprises in their second and third generations, inheriting their skills and age-old recipes from their parents, grandparents and even great-grandparents.

Celebrity food critic and TV host Chua Lam used his calligraphic skills to write the characters "Lot 10 Hutong" in Chinese for the brand's logo.

The beauty of this place is that you get to sample several famous hawker delights at one time without having to drive to different parts of town (or country even). And all in the comfort of an air-conditioned and clean environment. The rustic-looking food court was even designed by an award-winning architect, Yuhkichi Kawai of Japan.

Featuring famous local Chinese cuisine such as bak kut teh, wantan noodles, beef noodles, roast duck, Seremban siew pau, and Hokkien mee, we knew we were in for a real treat when we finally made it here. The food court also have other stalls such as German Cafe, Kissaten (Japanese) and Thai Corner.

Swanky new rooftop at Lot 10 "Forest in The City"

Mo Sang Kor Bak Kut Teh from Klang
Out of the 200-odd bak kut teh shops in the Klang area, Mo Sang Kor was singled out to set up shop in Hutong. The owner, Lee Ah Sang, insists the actual cooking must be done by a family member to ensure authenticity of their bak kut teh. The bak kut teh served in Hutong is actually cooked off site in one of their Klang kitchens. Lee's son, Alvin delivers pots of bak kut teh daily and supervises the running of their stall in Hutong.

We enjoyed the thick, robust bak kut teh soup. Alvin recommended a mixture of pun fei sau (Half Fat Half Lean) pork cuts and they were good. I would have liked more soup. Also, one must finish off the bak kut teh quickly as the air-conditioning tends to cool the food down relatively quickly and bak kut teh is best enjoyed hot/warm.

Prices are slightly expensive; we ordered the Set B which came with a bowl of soup with pork cuts, oily rice and a chinese tea for RM16.20.

As we found out later during a visit to their branch in Taman Berkeley, Klang, one can get the same for half the price (more on this in another blog). However, the convenience of getting to eat this in the city makes up for the high price.

Ho Weng Kee Wantan Noodles from Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur
Ho Weng Kee was opened in 1935 by Ho Weng, using a family recipe he brought with him from Guandong, China. Currently, it is run by his son Ho Chan Tong.

A plate of wantan noodles dished up with utmost efficiency

Rows and rows of glistening char siew (BBQ pork)

Char siew wantan noodles (RM7.90) is their bestselling item and it's easy to see why. They make their own wantan noodles, which explains the delightfully springy texture. I love that they serve the noodles with pickled green chillies. And the thick chunks of char siew were remarkably flavoursome and tender.

My favorite in Hutong, the char siew wantan noodles

Campbell Mini Popiah from Lorong Tiong Nam, Kuala Lumpur
Low Puay Hong, the lady boss of Campbell Popiah still makes her own thin egg skins for the popiah.

As we arrived at Hutong pretty early, we were fortunate not to have to queue for these delectable morsels. They only make 2 types of popiah here, the vegetable or egg skin popiah. Let the owner know which skin type you want and whether you like it spicy or non-spicy, and the guy sets off to work.

We loved the popiah here as the filling was very flavoursome. Minimum order is 2 pieces, at RM2.30 per piece for the vegetable skin popiah.

Soong Kee Beef Noodles from Jalan Tun Tan Siew Sin, Kuala Lumpur

Siew Koy Soong started the Soong Kee Beef Noodles business in 1945. Now in his 80s, the business has since been passed down to his son, Siew Wei Han. Soong Kee prepares their ingredients such as beef balls, tripe, minced beef stew and chilli sauce in their main kitchen and delivers it to Hutong daily.

The owner's grandson ladling beef balls into a bowl

The beef noodles here uses thin egg noodles (the wantan noodles variety), which are generously topped with minced beef. A bowl of this along with a bowl of tripe/beef balls, oyster sauce vegetable and chinese tea will cost you RM8.50. The beef noodles were tasty, but it did not quite do it for me. When it comes to beef noodles, I still prefer the Seremban beef noodle version.

However, I did like the beef balls here as they were nice and bouncy.

Hon Kee Porridge from Jalan Hang Lekir, Kuala Lumpur
The Hon Kee name spans three generations starting from their late grandfather Wong Yu Wah, who started the congee business 60 years ago in Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur.

The workers slicing the raw fish for the porridge

The porridge was really delicious with a thick and smooth consistency. They were generous with the ingredients, a mixture of pork innards (chee chap) and fresh raw fish slices (RM7.80). Perfect eaten with the yu tiao (fried dough stick) (RM1.40).

Yummy porridge

Kong Tai from Singapore
Kong Tai is most famous for its Singapore Hokkien Prawn Mee and Fried Oyster Omelette (or chien).

Cooking plate after plate of or chien

We spotted lots of people carrying plates of or chien back to their table. So, we ordered a plate too. At RM9.90 per plate, it is not cheap. We found the omelette to be a little too starchy for our liking. However, they do use very big and juicy oysters in their omelette, which I guess justifies the price. For us, the Penang version trumps this.

Kim Lian Kee from Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur
This is by far the most popular stall in Hutong during our visit. Throngs of people queue up just for a plate of the their famous charcoal wok-fried Hokkien Mee. A glass vestibule was even specially constructed at their Hutong stall to keep sparks and ash from the charcoal at bay as they believe using gas fire will compromise the taste of their noodles.

The workers were busy plating up dish after dish of Hokkien mee. I observed that they cook only 1 plate at a time (which is good). They also proudly displayed a sign letting customers know that they will still be using charcoal instead of gas fire here to cook their noodles.

The Hokkien noodles (RM8.90) were definitely fragrant, flavoursome and full of wok hei. There was definitely no shortage of lard fritters (chee yau char) in this dish. Some people love it so much, that everyone in the family had a plate of Hokkien mee, EACH!

Luk Yu Tea House

A non-heritage stall, Luk Yu Tea House serves dim sum and Chinese tea.

The lady pushes the cart of dim sum around the food court

We were too stuffed to order any dim sum, however we ordered 1 char siew pau for Baby C as she loves them.
And that concludes our food adventure at Lot 10 Hutong.

Other Lot 10 Hutong posts:


Opening times: 10am to 10pm daily, although it is advisable to come early as some stalls run out before dinnertime.

Verdict: We were able to enjoy delighful hawker fare in a comfortable environment. While some may argue that the prices are too high for hawker fare, bear in mind that you are in a shopping centre and for the price you pay, you get delicious tasting food.

Location: Hutong Food Court, Lower Ground Floor, Lot 10 Shopping Centre, Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
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