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Tag / potato

The first time I learned about Peru was a bit of a strange and unrelated coincident.

The Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition is known as LIMA. While looking up that up on the internet I was brought to a different Lima – the capital of Peru, and that was how I first know about this South American country.

Peruvian Gastronomic Week at Ritz Carlton - Joyce & Jamie
Peruvian Gastronomic Week at Ritz Carlton – Joyce & Jamie

Fast forward many years later, I found myself sitting across a Peruvian colleague at my work place, and now a chance to get a taste of Peruvian cuisine for the first time in my life. (I ran the photos through my colleagues and he gave a thumbs up on their authenticity)

The Peruvian Gastronomic Dinner starts from 10th to 16th October 2012 and is priced at RM180++ per person (with two pisco sours). It is a collaboration between Ritz Carlton KL and the Peru Embassy.

Ceviche - salmon, mussels, tuna & octopus
Ceviche – tuna, mussels, salmon & octopus

Anyway, lets get on with the food.

Peruvian cuisine has a strong influence from African, Arab, Italian, Chinese, and Japanese cooking. This is particularly evident with the raw fish dish that is Ceviche.

mix this up and you get a good plate of Ceviche - seafood goodness
mix this up and you get a good plate of Ceviche – seafood goodness

Ceviche is in fact declared a part of Peru’s “national heritage”. The dish is a mixture of chunks of fish/prawns/octopus with key lime, sliced onions, chili peppers, salt and pepper.

In this regard, it is actually closer to umai, a traditional Sarawakian dish I had thanks to Irene on our trip to Sipadan many moons ago.

The ceviche was delicious and we had second servings. If you like sashimi, you’ll love this.

octopus with black olive alioli and various types of potato dishes
octopus with black olive alioli and various types of potato dishes

Another interesting dish that stands out here was the octopus with black olive alioli. The octopus prepared not unlike those in Japanese cuisine, but what’s distinctive here is the black olive alioli, a sauce made from garlic, olive, lemon juice, and egg yolk with the taste that reminds me of fu yee (fermented bean curd). This needs a little getting used to, but I find it quite interesting.

Executive Chef Rafael Lopez-Aliaga mentioned that there are over 4000 types of potato found in Peru, and there’s a few samples of dishes made from potato at the festival. I enjoyed the potato with huancaina sauce (yellow chili sauce), and the mash with yellow chili and crab was excellent too.

potato, chicken & peanut stew; sea bass with seafood & spicy sauce; tenderloin beef with onion & potato; beef and cilantro stew
potato, chicken & peanut stew; sea bass with seafood & spicy sauce;
tenderloin beef with onion & potato; beef and cilantro stew

The main dishes from Peruvian Gastronomic festival certainly gives a hint of their origin while retaining a unique. There are 9 different dishes presented here.

Peruvian heritage. Potato, chicken and peanut stew is something that I’ve never tasted before, with a hint of peanut butter and the savory taste of chicken, it is quite special.

Sea bass with seafood & spice sauce (they don’t call it Chilean sea bass here though they are the same thing) goes well with rice, tenderloin with onion and potato savory and delicious, and beef with cilantro stew provided a little kick to the taste buds too.

desserts! - pecan with dried fruits, rice pudding, milk pudding, and more
desserts! – pecan with dried fruits, rice pudding, milk pudding, and more

And then there’s the desserts. The usual suspects were rice pudding, sweet milk pudding, apricot and coconut cake, but of course, there’re those Peruvian influenced sweet dishes such as pisco chocolate cakes, chirimoya, orange and meringue. and lucama crunch.

Always good to have a sweet ending isn’t it?

pisco sour is a definite must try drinks to complete the Peruvian experience
pisco sour is a definite must try drinks to complete the Peruvian experience

By the way, each guest is also served two glasses of Pisco sours to complete the Peruvian experience. The drinks is a mixture of Peruvian Pisco with the addition of lime (or lemon) juice, syrup, ice, egg white, and Angostura bitters.

It was certainly an excellent dinner and a great introduction to Peruvian cuisine. Now where do I find more Peruvian food?

Ritz Carlton, KL

Address:
Peruvian Gastronomic Week @ Ritz-Carlton Hotel
168 Jalan Imbi,
55100 Kuala Lumpur

GPS3.146960, 101.715406
Tel03-2141 8000

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In an unrelated news, our election is here starting tomorrow (17th Oct 2012). Watch this space for more information very soon!

It’s gonna be exciting. :D

I’ve always love beef stew, a hearty dish with super tender beef in thick and flavorful broth, and with the various vegetable in it, a full and balanced meal all by itself.

ingredients for beef stew
ingredients for beef stew

I always thought making a pot of mean beef stew is an exercise in patience, but after doing a bit of research, I found out you can actually make a perfect bowl of beef stew in less than 30 minutes, including time for preparation – with the help of a pressure cooker.

    pan fry the beef till brown, then add water and rosemary
    pan fry the beef till brown, then add water and rosemary

    The ingredients (this is good for 4 bowls)

    • 4-500 gram beef (lower quality is fine, I love those with some tendon and fat attached)
    • 1 bulb of garlic
    • 4-5 sticks of celery
    • 2 onions
    • 3 carrots
    • 2 potato
    • 1 table spoon rosemary (dried is fine)
    • 1.5 table spoon salt
    • 1 tea spoon black pepper
    • 2 table spoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 table spoon cooking oil
    • 1 table spoon flour

    chopped up vegetables and put in pressure cooker for another 8 minutes
    chopped up vegetables and put in pressure cooker for another 8 minutes

    Here’s the instructions, pressure cooker is used twice to ensure the beef gets to it’s super tender consistency while keeping the vegetable not overly cooked

    • heat up some oil in the pressure cooker, then add garlic, and fry beef till all sides are brown
    • add Worcestershire sauce, 3 cups of water, pepper, and rosemary
    • bring to boil, cover the pressure cooker and cook for 15 minutes in high pressure
    • in the mean time, chop up all vegetable and potato to bite size chunks
    • release pressure (by running cold water over the pressure cooker in the sink), then add vegetable to the pot
    • bring to boil and cook for another 8 minutes in high pressure
    • add salt
    • slowly add up to a table spoon of flour while stirring to make the broth thicker
    • serve while hot

     

    a hearty bowl of stew with very tender beef
    a bowl of hearty stew with super tender beef

    The result is a pot of beef stew that is prepared in less than 30 minutes but with beef so tender it almost melt in your mouth. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you’ll have to boil the stew for at least 3-4 hours to get the same result. Alternatively, use a slow cooker.