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.
Ben’s (Another Bright Idea by BIG),
Level 6, Pavilion KL 168, Jalan Bukit Bintang Kuala Lumpur
One of my favorite dishes out of mom’s kitchen is undoubtedly the tau eu bak, or braised pork belly with soya sauce. While I’m not sure of it’s origin, this dish seems to be quite common among Hokkien/Nyonya people from Penang, Melaka, and even Singapore.
the finished product – tau eu bak (braised pork belly with soya sauce)
Before having a proper kitchen, I usually get my fix for tau eu bak at Champs, Centrepoint (and they do cook up a fine dish). However, it is RM 20+ a pop and I thought wouldn’t it be nice to give it a try ourselves.
This is actually the dish that prompted us buy pastle and mortar and made the sambal belacan.
the ingredients for a bowl of proper tau eu bak
Surprisingly, tau eu bak isn’t really hard to cook at all. Everything you need can easily be obtained at any wet market (or properly stocked grocery store) for less than RM20, and the resulting bowl of goodness can feed 3-4 people.
10 cloves of garlic, don’t need to peel
a couple cinnamon sticks
1 star anise
1 teaspoon of rock sugar
a teaspoon of 5 spice powder
3 table spoon of dark soya sauce
4-6 dried mushroom
5-600 grams of pork belly
mushroom, pork, dark soya sauce, the essentials
soak dried mushroom with warm water till soft, remove stems
pan fried pork belly in medium heat till slightly brown, oil is not needed
add dark soya sauce on each side and fry a bit more
add about 2 cups of water, and throw in all the spices and mushroom
keep cooking until the sauce becomes thicken, this takes another 20 minutes or so
taste the sauce and add more sugar/dark soya sauce, or even salt to taste
add hard (or 80% boiled egg) in the last couple minutes
cut pork belly into bite size just before serving
To prepare the eggs
bring the water to boil with eggs in it, and keep on boiling for 2 minutes
stop the heat and leave eggs in hot water for 7 minutes to get 80% hard, or 10 minutes if you want it all the way 100%
Johnny & Haze, Johnny really liked the dish, despite his facial expression here
There it is, pretty straight forward recipe isn’t it? It was lucky that Johnny joined us for dinner that night as the dish was really too much for just two of us. We had it with plenty of sambal belacan, was a pretty fine dinner, I think mom would be proud 😀
Ever since we got the kitchen renovated, it’s been more and more cooking adventures, and as such, this blog will start to share some recipes I gather/invent/randomly made up.
The Salmon Steak is a very simple and healthy *gasp* dish that I learnt during my stay in the States many eons ago.
ingredients for salmon steak dinner
First, the ingredients, assuming for two person:
2 pieces of salmon steak (Norwegian if you’re rich, Alaskan also if you’re rich, I got mine from Cold Storage for about RM 10 each)
salt and pepper
a clove of garlic, a carrot, fresh shiitake mushroom, french beans
steamed vegetable, sauteed mushroom, and pan fried salmon steak
marinate both sides of salmon steak with generous amount of salt and pepper, leave for 20-30 minutes
cut carrot & french beans, then steam them till soft (you might want to steam the carrot first, and longer)
on the frying pan, first fried some sliced garlic till golden brown, then remove them
with the same oil, now sauté the mushroom (cut in half), then remove them
the frying pan can now be used to fried the salmon steak, in medium heat, for 5 minutes a side
by this time, your vegetable should be ready too, serve everything at once, sprinkle some salt on the steamed vegetable
salmon steak with carrots, mushroom, and french beans
So there you go, salmon steak with mushroom, carrot, and french beans. If you want to be healthier, consider baking the salmon instead, but I’d probably advice to add a small slice of butter on top if you do that.
Everything here costs about RM 30 for two, not exactly very cheap, but boy it is good!
I can’t really claim that Kepong is one of my favorite places when it comes to food, getting there during rush hour can be quite a PITA, on top of that, I don’t exactly know many good eats around the area other than Kaka bak kut teh (they have pork kidney!), the original KTZ, and several other restaurants I don’t usually frequent unless I happen to be there.
To be honest, if it wasn’t for the fact that the invitation to Sliver Spoon Trattoria was from the owner Jessica, a long time friend, I would have probably skipped this food review session already. As it turned out, I was more than glad we made the session.
Silver Spoon Trattoria
Located at a pretty unassuming part of Kepong, Silver Spoon is sitting on the first floor of Wisma Manjarala. The decoration an ambiance of the restaurant rivals many 5 star hotel eateries, and yet a look at the menu pricing shows that the place actually live up to it’s name “Trattoria” – casual, affordable, and a hell lot less up tight than those so called haute cuisine establishments.
We were seated at the private room with a bunch of other usual suspects – fatboybakes, nomadgourmand, Gareth, Kim, Terence, Horng, and Haze. Our host was Jessica, someone I’ve actually known for some 8-10 years. According to Terence, she’s grown up rather well.
We got started with some feta and olive foccacia, the dough served here is home made and they really tasted subtle but good. I also love the mozarella sticks with it’s really hearty cheese in almost liquid form, the salmon rice ball was alright too, but I couldn’t really taste much salmon in there.
If I had to choose one appetizer, I’d probably go for the stuffed portobello mushroom. Sitting between a bed of salad and minced meat, the mushroom was really really yummy, I had two pieces despite eating on a budget due to the number of dishes to come.
wine, silver spoon special mock tail
For those who are familiar with Kepong, you might remember that there was a place called Chef Ken in the 90s. It was a place famous for really cheap but awesome Italian food. Well, Silver Spoon got Chef Ken himself back to run this place.
According to the “old timers” like Fatboybakes who used to frequent Chef Ken, this place retains every bit the originality of his foods, down to the famous tiramisu (about that later)
The other appetizer we had was the prawn and avocado stack. Grilled fresh local prawn served on a bed of avocado with other salad and probably some balsamic vinegar. Though the prawn itself lacked strong flavor, overall combination turned out quite well.
Wild mushroom risotto was prepared to cater a bit towards the local taste (meaning slightly more cooked than the “real” Italian style), I love it! The smoked salmon pizza too was pretty good, but I’d love to have a lot more salmon to go with the crispy crust (from freshly made to order dough). Then again, it’s hard to argue when the pizza is priced at less than RM 30.
The 3rd main dish we tried was the delightful duck confit. Instead of just the drum stick, this one came with the whole 1/4 duck. I loved the taste, and made some sneaky moves to acquire quite a bit of duck skin. *slurps*
Grilled baby snapper was one of those dishes that doesn’t really seem to fit in. I’ve never seen whole fish served in such setting, with potato and beans on one side, and a slice of lemon on another. It did, however, turned out to be quite tasty, just not particularly very “italian” to me.
Lastly, there’s seafood marinara. The pasta came with generous amount of mussels, clams, prawns, squid and fish chunks on a tomato based sauce. I only had a couple bites and found that the taste was quite agreeable indeed.
chocolate pot, creme brulee, tiramisu
Then there’s the desserts. We had chocolate pot, creme bruelee, and tiramisu. I find the chocolate pot a tad too rich (but goes well with wine though), the creme brulee satisfying, and the tiramisu a must order if you like your dessert to be rather alcoholic, it was niceeee!
Of course, we finished everything.
Rebecca & bf, Kim & Gareth, Terence & Horng,
KY & Haze, Jessica, Joe & partner & Cheng Yi
We had loads of fun time at Silver Spoon, the food was great, drinks aplenty (Jessica’s dad even brought out the Royal Salute), and above all, the company was excellent.
I’m definitely going there again. The pricing was definitely very reasonable, lamb shank for RM 38, marinara for RM 29, desserts at around RM 15 or so, soup at RM 12. Great food, reasonable pricing, and awesome ambiance. What more could one ask for? Open a branch next to my house la Jessica!
Address: Silver Spoon Trattoria,
1st Floor, Wisma Manjalara,
52200, Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.195364, 101.632456 Tel: 03-6277 0445