While fusion food has gotten a bit of a bad rep over the years from many restaurants that came up with dishes that were neither here nor there, I still always applaud those who dare to imagine and come up with something different from the ordinary. Sometimes it is done by mixing ingredients from different parts of the world, other times by turning traditional recipes upside down. Either way, it is one way to ensure that culinary art does not stay stagnant and only look backwards.
glorious miso grilled hake steak with spicy mussel soup
Several days ago I received some fresh ingredients courtesy of the Zealand Trade Enterprises, and as part of the challenge, we were supposed to use them and come up with dishes worthy of sharing. Since cooking is one of my many hobbies, here goes!
For dinner last Friday, I decided to make grilled hake (or any cod, really) with miso marinate & vege, while the wife came up with spicy mussle soup as a companion dish. Both seafood ingredients were New Zealand products.
Hake steak from New Zealand, miso as main marinate ingredient
I will be sharing the hake steak recipe here:
Hake steak (or any white fish, such as cod) 250-300 gram per pax
asparagus & mushroom (sliced)
a few gloves garlic
2 tablespoon cooking oil
Ingredients for marinate:
2 tablespoon miso paste
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup cooking sake
1 tablespoon sesame oil
asparagus and mushroom as sides
Cooking instructions (fish):
mix marinate in a bowl and apply generously on fish, let marinate for at least 15-30 minutes
heat up the oven to 175 C
pan fry the fish for 2-3 minutes
bake fish in oven for 10 minutes
fish: pan fry before oven, vege: sauteed
Cooking instructions (vegetable):
heat up frying pan with cooking oil
fry garlic till fragrant
add mushroom & asparagus and saute for 2 minutes
add leftover marinate to the vege and continue to saute for another 2 minutes
Time your cooking of vegetable to coincide with the fish so that they’re both served hot. Enjoy!
spicy New Zealand mussel soup made by Haze Long
Since we lack tomato puree or white wine, the spicy mussel soup involved the use of sake, ketchup, New Zealand mussels, and black magic. My wife made it, so I don’t think I’m qualified to know enough of the recipe to share it here.
While we’ve been cooking more at the new house, I’ve been somewhat neglecting updates on writing about the food we’ve been cooking. Well, here’s one that I made several weeks back that should be easy for anyone who knows how to light the stove – a simple mushroom and prawn fried rice dish.
home cooked mushroom and prawn fried rice
1.5 cups of rice (cooked & cooled)
6-8 medium prawn, peeled
half a yellow onion, chopped
a handful of mushroom, sliced
3 tablespoon cooking oil
half a clove of garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon dark soya sauce
1/2 tablespoon soya sauce
salt & pepper to taste
chili & some basil (optional)
fry the ingredients one by one, and eggs last
prepare all ingredients and place on the side
heat 2 tablespoon cooking oil and fry garlic and onion till it starts to fragrant
add mushroom, then prawns a minute later
add rice once prawns starts to cook, stir and add sauces
part the rice in the center, add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, then add eggs
stir everything till egg is cooked
add greens on top and viola, you have a plate of awesome fried rice!
This is a complete meal in a dish, add sambal for extra kick.
A couple weekends ago Haze and I spent a better part of our afternoon reorganising the kitchen, throwing out expired stuff, rearranging condiments, sauces, and figuring out where is the optimum places to put pots and pans.
After all the hard work, I had to test run the new and improved cooking environment, so I thought I’d try my hands on a homemade roast chicken.
This recipe is inspired by the version of roast chicken at Graze KL Hilton I tried last year.
the ingredients – chicken, root vegetables, thyme & rosemary
The three basic ingredients are chicken, root vegetables, and herbs. You also need an oven, and I strongly recommend having a thermometer to check if the chicken’s cooked too.
Ingredients (for 2 pax):
half chicken, leave the skin on
potato, carrot, leek, mushroom (you can mix and match, chop to bite size)
garlic (cut off the top or bottom)
fresh thyme and rosemary
salt and pepper for seasoning
half a cup of olive oil
2 cups of stock or broth (water is a viable option too, I used leftover soup)
cut vege, arrange chicken, simple
pre-heat oven to 175 Celcius
apply generous amount of salt and pepper on both sides of chicken
pour some olive oil baking pan (or in my case, an oven safe pan)
put herbs on both sides of chicken
arrange vegetable and garlic bulb around the chicken
pour the remaining olive oil on chicken and vegetable
pour 1 cup of stock/broth in the mix
internal temperature must be over 75 Celsius
place the chicken in oven for a total of 50 minutes (70-80 minutes for whole chicken)
after 20 minutes, baste the chicken and vegetable with remaining broth at every 10 minute interval
chicken is done after 50 minutes, internal temperature of meat should exceed 75 Celsius
Carve the chicken and serve!
the result is a success, might try crispy skin style next time
The result is a pretty delicious roast chicken that’s rather tender, there are also enough side dishes to make a complete meal as well. If you include leek in the mix, consider putting it under the chicken to prevent them being burnt.
Oh, the garlic turned out great, if you love garlic, consider putting more than one bulb.
Try it yourself at home, bon appétit! Click for more simple recipes from yours truly.
OK, here’s a chicken chop recipe that’s so simple and versatile even the most amateur of kitchen warriors would have no problem preparing it. Best of all, it’s far healthier than the deep fried variety you get at “western food” stalls, and easier on the wallet too.
get your friendly chicken seller to cut the thigh & drumsticks in one piece
A useful tip – go to your local wet market and get the chicken seller to prepare chicken chop cuts for you. They are professionals and can do it within seconds (takes me 10x as long), and you also get the leftover bones that you can use as soup stock.
So here are the ingredients I use, and there’s a great flexibility here.
two pieces of thigh + drumstick, cut in chicken chop style
2 table spoon oyster sauce
2 table spoon dark soya sauce
a pack of king oyster mushroom
1-2 yellow onion
pepper and some rosemary (optional)
Mushroom and cauliflower can be substituted with other items – carrot, leek, capsicum, and tomato are all great choices.
fry for a bit before putting everything in oven
marinate the chicken with dark soya sauce, oyster sauce, and pepper. Feel free to add some rosemary too. Let this sit for at least 15-20 minutes
heat up the grill pan, and pan fry the chicken with minimal usage of oil for 1-2 minutes on each side
place the mushroom and vegetable around the chicken and shove everything into the oven (start heating it at 175C during the pan fry process)
bake for 20 minutes, remove and sprinkle some salt on the vegetables
serve while hot
a bit of capsicum would have given the chicken chop better color, oh well
And there you go, a meal for two that is easy to prepare, rather healthy, and positively delicious! I make this about once every couple weeks, and each time with different side dishes (vegetables). You can actually do the same with pork as well, though I usually make namyu pork chop instead.
Ben’s is one of the latest restaurants to open on the 6th floor of Pavilion KL, replacing the ill fated Carat Club, as I suppose, the owner probably discovered that diamonds and food doesn’t necessarily go well together.
If you’ve just spent 2 month’s salary on a piece of carbon, chances are your appetite might not be very good.
Ben’s at Pavilion, 6th floor
Ben’s is another restaurant under the BIG group, which also owns T Forty Two, Plan B, and such. Their website is at thebiggroup.co, yes a URL with .co and not .com.
Ben’s interior has it’s design cue from Delicious, there’s sofa and tea table both indoor and outdoor, smallish dining tables and comfortable chairs. The outdoor area overlooks Jalan Bukit Bintang, giving it a nice city ambiance but without the exhaust fumes from cars on street level.
Spaghetti Pomodoro with chunks of Pecorino Romano cheese
The menu at Ben’s is almost too extensive, you’ll most likely find yourself spending at least 5-10 minutes going through the listing of dishes on your first visit. I did the same, and finally settled on Spaghetti Pomodoro. A pretty simple pasta dish that turned out to be a delight, I love the chunks of Pecorino Romano cheese on it, and everything was just in the right balance – sauce, pasta, everything.
On the very next day, I went to Ben’s again, this time with Winnie & Horng.
Our orders took some 20 minutes to prepare, a pretty long wait for weekday lunch, but luckily it was worth it. The beef lasagna ordered by Horng was superb, packed with ample amount of cheese, beef, and cooked to perfection. You could cut it with just your spoon. The pickest eater gave his approval.
Winnie had spaghetti carbonara that did not disappoint. I’m not a big fan of cream based spaghetti but this one was pretty good when I had a bite. Of course, the chunks of romano cheese helps. 😀
wagyu beef pie
I opted for the portobello mushroom burger. I first had this type of burger back in the States, and so far only very few places has this on the menu.
Instead of one huge mushroom, the burger had 2 slightly smaller one instead, sandwiched by 2 pieces of sourdough, cheese, and some greens. It was pretty good, but would be better with one giant mushroom and probably less healthy choices of bread instead, then again I’m nitpicking.
On another separate visit (this time on Saturday), Haze ordered the Wagyu beef pie for lunch. She love the beef, but thought the pastry was slightly too thick.
KY, Haze, Horng, Winnie
Main dishes at Ben’s are priced from just below RM 20 to RM 30 and up, with majority in the RM 20+ range.
Customer service is exemplary, case in point: Winnie found a single strand of eyelash on her pasta after eating 70% of the dish and informed the captain. The captain was very apologetic and offered her a dessert (we had the velvet cake, was good!), and on top of that, took the dish off the bill. We postulate that the eyelash probably belong to Winnie herself to begin with.
Now if only they can shorten the time it takes to serve those delicious dishes, this would be a perfect mid-range lunch option.
Video taken on 24th July, 2013 during a separate visit:
Ben’s (Another Bright Idea by BIG),
Level 6, Pavilion KL 168, Jalan Bukit Bintang Kuala Lumpur