A couple Fridays ago my colleague Angel called me up and asked if I wanted to join them for curry fish head. Now for those who aren’t familiar with Malaysian culture, here are a couple of tips:
Friday lunches last for 2 hours
we don’t need to be in fear factor competition to eat something like fish head
Peter Curry Fish Head at Setapak
Angel is a Sarawakian and a true blue Malaysian who knows her way around good foods, so when she ajak, I never say no. Plus, on that day I get to act like a pimp and dine with 5 ladies as a bonus. heehee
Anyway, our destination of the day was Peter Curry Fish Head, a smallish restaurant/kopitiam/taichau place that has a pretty limited menu and plenty of customers. But luckily, Angel already called and made a reservation for us.
curry fish head with everything, namyu chicken wings
The curry fish head comes in various sizes and additions, they are:
SIZE – FISH HEAD + PRAWN + SQUID
S – 18, 28, 31
M – 25, 40, 45
L – 32, 47, 54
XL – 40, 58, 65
For the six of us, we ordered a large portion of curry fish head +prawns + squid (RM 54), namyu chicken wings, vegetable, and seafood tofu. We had rice to go with them, of course.
vegetable and seafood tofu
There isn’t actually many other dishes to order even if you wanted, but they are good and they do have all the bases covered.
The fish head was awesome! It was huge and stuffed with plenty of fish head (red snapper I think), squid and prawns. There are also tofu pok, mints, eggplant, long beans, and okra too. It is pretty much a complete meal by itself with a very tasty curry base that actually wasn’t even really that spicy, tho I am sure you can ask for more kick if that’s what you want.
KY, Angel, Debren, Yin Foong, Sarah, Michelle
The other dishes were pretty good too. The namyu chicken wings were delicious (I made the same thing before, recipe here), and the very plain looking seafood tofu was superb too.
Then there’s the vegetable, which tasted like vegetable (vitamin C quota.. ).
Overall it was a very good meal that might be a little too much for normal days, but for a Friday, bring it on! For the 6 of us, if I remember correctly, the bill came to be around RM 17 or so per person. Not very cheap, but it was a lot of seafood and a good portion of meat. I will be heading there again for sure.
Address: Peter Curry Fish Head 12 Jalan Angsana Taman P Ramlee, Setapak 53000 Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.19243, 101.70823 Tel: 03-4021 5809
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Nam Yu is one those simple marinating ingredient that is quite rather, magical. Not only it can single handedly make your meat extra tasty, it is also very cheap, easy to store, and versatile (you can use it for porridge).
For the uninitiated, nam yu is the older cousin of fu yu (check out my fuyu pork recipe) – with the distinction that this fermented tofu is red in color instead of white. Nam Yu carries a stronger flavor and is a better candidate for marinate.
nam yu fried pork on a bed of lettuce (for presentation la)
Today lets look at one of my favorite beer foods you can make with nam yu, a recipe that is applicable to both pork and chicken (I prefer chicken wings, but any type of chicken cut will work)
marinate, dip in egg white, dip in flour, deep fried, done
pork belly (or ribs, or chicken wings, etc)
3-4 cubes of nam yu
black or white pepper to taste
2 egg white
oil for frying
the same recipe works great with chicken wings too
marinate pork or chicken with nam yu and pepper for at least 1 hour, the longer the better
heat up cooking oil
dip the pork/chicken into egg white, then flour (or corn flour) before deep frying
That’s it! The dish is really this simple. The chicken wings you see below is slightly over fried, I suggest frying with medium heat for longer instead of high heat fast to avoid burning the skin.
For those who are too lazy to cook, you can find pretty decent nam yu pork at Pan Heong, near batu caves, they serve some pretty awesome big prawn noodle and wat tan hor too.
Last week I was invited to a buka puasa dinner at Paya Serai. It is a little bit like going to pasar ramadan at Kelana Jaya, there are over 100 dishes of mainly local delights to choose from, but instead of on a street, you have a comfortable air conditioned dining area, plus you pay a one lump sum instead of having to do so many transactions.
For the Ramadan month, the buffet spread at Paya Serai is spearheaded by Chef Noor Hisham, so in addition to the international dishes, there are more emphasis on traditional Malay cuisine, which is entirely appropriate if you ask me.
awesome ulam spread, and sambal tempoyak too
I usually start my buffet with cold cuts and oysters (which they serve here too), but at Paya Serai, I can never resist their superb selection of ulam and sambal – especially sambal tempoyak. I don’t know if you can find this fermented durian sambal in any other hotel, it is positively pungent and supremely addictive for those who has a taste on the wilder side.
tempura and such, various kuih muih, ice kacang too
A couple dozen types of Nyonya and traditional Malay kuih muih is something not to be missed as well, and over here they have them in small convenient pieces so you don’t over stuffed your stomach too soon.
There’s a tempura stall and some sushi for those who felt like a buffet isn’t complete without Japanese food, but I didn’t have any but didn’t miss them.
paku, curry, and lala
Among the many dozens of traditional lauk, I was surprised to find paku in the spread, it’s one of my favorite vegetables and was always awesome. Their lamb curry, lala, paru (cow’s lung), and satey were pretty good as well.
I didn’t find baigan bhrata, a Northern Indian eggplant dish to be very delicious, but I guess a couple misses among over 100 dishes is certainly acceptable.
these four plates, and I was stuffed :S
Other than the normal buffet spreads, a few stalls were set up at the front of the restaurant too, offering laksa, nasi lemak, roti jala, and even apom. I tried the nasi lemak and it was pretty good (with beef rendang of course)
The buffet certainly had a lot more dishes than I could bargain for, and we eventually reluctantly leave even though there were more to be tasted. What to do, stomach already completely stuffed, haigh.
Curry fish head is one of the Malaysian delicacies that is pretty tough to find anywhere. While most of us consume this at restaurants, it is actually pretty simple to prepare them yourself, and here’s the recipe that I hope you find useful, especially for those who are reading this outside our beloved country.
I like my curry fish head with plenty of vegetables – and here I put tomato, bell pepper, okra, long bean, and brinjal, but if you can generally substitute them as per your liking.
I also use a pre-packaged curry fish paste to keep it simple, but for those who wants it more “authentic”, you can prepare the curry paste yourself by blending curry powder with shallots & garlic, for example.
Anyway, here goes!
plenty of vegetable makes this a complete meal
1 packet of fish curry paste
1 brinjal – chopped into chunks
a bunch of long beans – chopped to 3 inches in length
10-15 shallots – whole
2 tomatoes – cut into 6 pieces each
1 bell pepper – slices
6 okras – halves
1 fish head (grouper or red snapper preferred) – cut into chunks
1 lemongrass – whole, flattened
1 packet of santan (coconut milk, even better if you have fresh ones)
salt to taste
fry the chili paste and vegetable first before adding fish
heat up the wok and fry the sambal paste till fragrant (1-2 mins)
add brinjal, okra, eggplant, and bell peppers, continue frying for another 2-3 minutes
add fish head and enough water to almost cover everything
bring to boil and then add tomato and lemongrass
add the santan
simmer the whole thing until everything is cooked (around 10 mins)
add salt to taste, and serve while hot!
add tomato, then coconut milk
The result is a huge portion of curry fish head that can feed a small family. Just add rice and it’s a complete meal by itself already. Total cooking time should not be more than half an hour too so there’s plenty of time for you to play with your kittens.