Tag / nyonya food
Welp, it’s been almost three years since I last have an entry on cooking, I guess it’s not better time than now to put in one of my favorite dishes mom used to cook when I was a boy – Nyonya seafood curry with salted fish bone. This really came about because I managed to get some really big whole salted fish from the Filipino market in Kota Kinabalu.
ingredients for seafood curry pot
As the name of the dish suggests, this is a classic Penang style Nyonya dish. Unlike normal curry dish, the presence of salted fish bone gives it a better taste character that’s much better than salt ever would. It is also a dish that has pretty much everything in it – vegetable, seafood, santan, and with steamed rice, makes a whole meal.
blending onion, ginger, garlic
Anyway, here’s the ingredient list of the version mom makes:
- 1 KG prawns and/or other seafood (mussels for example)
- 2-3 pieces of salted fish bone (kurau fish preferred)
- 1 clove garlic
- 1-2 onion
- 1 inch ginger
- 1/2 dozen cili padi
- spring onion
- curry paste (best if you can get them from morning market)
- 1 tomato, 1/2 dozen lady’s fingers, 1 brinjal
- 2 packets of coconut milk
- 3-4 spoon cooking oil
“tumis” chili paste with oil, and then add seafood
- clean and soak salted fish bone for 10-15 mins
- grind up onion, ginger, garlic, and cili padi to a paste
- heat up oil and fry the paste for a minute
- add curry paste to the mix, stir for another minute
- add salted fish, seafood and stir until slightly fragrant, perhaps a minute or so
- add vegetables, stir for another minute
- add santan, bring to boil for a couple minutes
- cut up spring onion and add to the mix (for looks only lah)
add vege and santan next
Remember to serve this with a nice plate of steamed rice, low carb diet be damned.
viola, it’s all done, seafood curry with salted fish bone
I promise to not let another 3 years passed before putting up another recipe on this blog, and this is in fact, the 100th. You can find more of my simple recipes here.
Haze always described me as someone who’s bordering insufferable when it comes to dining at shopping malls. It usually takes me quite a bit of merry-go-round trying to evaluate what is worth eating before settling into a restaurant. Luckily, at IOI City Mall, I found just what’s worth spending a meal – at Kakatoo.
Kakatoo at IOI City Mall
The restaurant is tastefully decorated with a modern touch and Baba Nyonya colors, and with a cute logo to boot, it is one of the better looking outfits among the many restaurants on the lower ground of this huge IOI City Mall.
As for menu, they offer a mix of Western & classic Nyonya dishes, I was only interested in the latter.
cencaru with sambal, just like how mom makes them
For the two of us, we went for the classic dishes that defines any Nyonya restaurants – ikan cencaru with sambal, and paku paki sambal belacan.
The fish (RM 29.90 for two) was on point. Fried to perfection and with properly seasoned sambal too. They gave a bit of extra sambal tumis in the middle, but I’d be a happier man if even more was offered.
paku pakis with sambal belacan
In retrospect, we probably should have ordered some other vegetable dishes that provides a bit of variety in taste, but thankfully the pucuk paku pakis (RM 16.90) did not disappoint. It was spicy, crunchy, fresh, and definitely went well with rice.
KY & Haze at IOI City Mall
The Nyonya dishes experience at Kakatoo was one that worth revisiting, and now if I go to IOI City Mall again, I know where to go for a decent meal I won’t regret.
LG-78B & 78C,
IOI City Mall Putrajaya,
62502 IOI Resort City, Putrajaya
GPS: 2.970467, 101.713870
Since Setia City Mall is arguably the most happening shopping center nearest to our residence, we’ve been going there quite a bit. To be honest, shopping mall food aren’t usually in my list of preferred lunch/dinner options, but sometimes you do find a gems among the thorns.
For Setia City Mall, Tuk Tuk and Little Nyonya being some of our favorites, and today we’re going to talk about the latter.
Little Nyonya at Setia City Mall, almost always packed
It’s easy to want to give Little Nyonya a try when you’re at the mall. It is almost always one of the most crowded restaurants on the lower ground level. The decoration is simple and optimised to packed as many customers as possible, so comfort level may not exactly be on top of their list.
Think of it as a place for quick eats instead of leisure dining with great ambience and you’ll not be disappointed.
asam pedas fish, asam prawn, two style kailan, rendang chicken
Little Nyonya offers quite a comprehensive list of menu with individual dishes such as nasi lemak, rendang beef with rice, nyonya curry chicken rice and so forth as well as dishes to share ala “tai chao” style.
For the four of us, we ordered four dishes, a starter, and some desserts for dinner.
Apart from asam pedas fish (RM 22.90) which I thought had a good seasoning and base but lacking quality fish (dory was used I believe), the other three dishes were on point. Asam prawn (RM 19.90) had a balance of asam & cooking caramel taste to it, two style kailan was as advertised, and the redang chicken (RM 17.90) turned out to be one of our favorites of the night, really good marinate that seems to penetrate the poultry while not being over powering, we would definitely order this dish again.
pie tee, bubur cha cha, cendol, pengat pulut
Pie tee (RM 7.50) is a must-haves at any Nyonya restaurant, and this version is well, acceptable.
For desserts, I thought cendol (RM 5.50) was perhaps a little too watery for my liking, it did have a good gula Melaka presence. Others were happy with bubur cha cha (RM 4.80) and the rather rarely seen pengat pulut (RM 5.80). Pengat pisang, pengat ubi keladi, bee koh moy, and ais kacang were some desserts we did not try, perhaps next time.
for a restaurant this size, the menu is rather extensive
If you find yourself at Setia Alam City Mall, Little Nyonya is certainly a place worthy to spend a meal on, especially when Tuk Tuk is overly packed.
LG-43, Setia City Mall,
Persiaran Setia Dagang,
40170 Shah Alam, Selangor
GPS: 3.085229, 101.458629
Tel: 03-3375 8788
Hours: 10 am to 10 pm
Several weeks ago I was invited to a soft launch of Little Mums, the restaurant that was run by the same people that brought us Mum’s Place at Damansara Perdana, a restaurant that I’ve reviewed almost ten years ago, with shitty camera phone then. As the name suggests, this offshoot is run by the second generation, offering many of the best selling dishes from the parent restaurant.
Update 29/6/2017: This restaurant is closed, rumor has it that the owners moved out of the country.
Little Mums at Damansara Uptown
Located at the back row of Damansara Uptown, Little Mum spots a modern yet simple interior, and while parking isn’t the most ideal this part of PJ, it is not exactly an exercise of patient either. Little Mum serves both lunch and dinner, and offers several individual plates in addition to the usual “tai chao” style dishes.
prawn sambal petai, fried cencaru, soft shell crab with butter cheese sauce
On our visit, we started off with an appetizer with the crab cheese sticks (RM 16.80), a dish that would really go well with some cold beer, which sadly they do not offer.
Our main meal was served with steamed rice, and we had prawn with sambal petai (RM 31.80), fried cencaru with cili padi paste and petai (RM 26), soft shell crab with butter cheese sauce (RM 10.20/100g), daun keledek with lime juice (RM 15), and brinjal with black pepper (RM 15).
daun keledek, terung black pepper
These dishes were as good as I remembered them. The cencaru and soft shell crab stood out as the two must-order dishes were strong tasting in a good way, especially for those who like their food spicy. While daun keledek is one of their classics, I found myself really enjoying the black pepper brinjal even though as with the other previously mentioned dishes, it was really spicy as well.
crab cheese stick, sago gula melaka, cendol, pulut tekan
For dessert, sago gula melaka (RM 6.30) was really well executed, and pulut tekan (RM 7.30), served with homemade kaya, is another must-try. This version is like hot KFC vs stale fried chicken from the roadside, you gotta try it.
I did find the cendol with red bean (RM 6.30) a little underwhelming though, and perhaps being from Penang has something to do with that judgement.
KY, Horng, Yuki, Haze
Little Mums serves Halal food and the prices are nett. While it is slightly on the high side when it comes to pricing, they do deliver rather well in terms of quality of food. Would certainly visit again.
13, Jalan SS 21/1a, Damansara Utama,
47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
GPS: 3.136665, 101.620997
Tel: 03-7710 0388
Horng and I were both from the same “11200” postcode back in Penang, an area that is called Tanjung Bunga (literally cape of flower). So it was a bit of a wonder why it took us so long to step into the Tanjung Bunga nyonya restaurant at SS2 despite having driven by the shop lots on multiple occasions over the years.
well, my very first address was under the Tg. Bungah postcode
As a rule of thumb, if a restaurant has been there for ages and do very little in terms of decoration or renovation, chances are the food is usually at least decent.
In that sense, Tanjung Bunga Penang Nyonya Cuisine is one such places, the interior is rather basic but clean, with air conditioning system that sort of works.
curry fish head, asam prawn, perut ikan
Tanjung Bungah restaurant offers pretty much all the essential Penang nyonya dishes. For the five of us, we ordered five different dishes for dinner. Serving time was actually pretty fast, with the first dish arriving some 10 minutes after ordering.
Curry fish head with garupa was rich, spicy, and true to Nyonya style, comes with a plenty of vegetable and even mint leaves. Fried asam prawn was prepared the way my mom would, which also reminds me of the version at Kah Soh – retaining the sweetness of tiger prawns while infusing the dish with just the right amount of dark soya sauce and asam.
Perut ikan, or pickled swim bladder curry, could be slightly richer and creamier, but a passable dish nonetheless.
inchi cabin and paku pakis
Then there’s paku pakis, or the wild fern shoots, a vegetable dish to fill the vitamin C quota, and one with texture that I always love. The preparation method here is more “lemak” than spicy, which suits us just find as there was already curry on the table.
Our favorite dish turned out to be the inchi cabin, or the Nyonya fried chicken. The unique blend of spices and sauce used to marinate this version of fried chicken was just spot on, We wish we ordered more.
Dinner came to be about RM 15-20 per person, which is on par with other similar restaurants, would not hesitate to go back there again.
Tanjung Bungah Nyonya Cuisine
117, Jalan SS 2/6, Ss 2,
47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.116029, 101.616522
Tel: 03-7877 4531
Hours: lunch and dinner, closed on Thursdays