Gourmet Garden

Hunting For The Flavors & Texture Of Yesteryears'

Recipes

This category will show case the recipes and process of preparing a certain dish.

Kuih Kapit, Where Did It Come From and How to Make It?

Posted by Jason Wong On January - 10 - 20145 COMMENTS

Kuih Kapit, Kueh Kapit or Kuih Belanda which they are fondly called in Malaysia is a type of festive food that are traditionally made with simple ingredients of sugar, flour, eggs, fresh coconut milk and lots of love and hard work  to usher the Chinese Lunar New Year. It is one of the must have in our family, but after the passing of my late mother some 10 years ago, we no longer make our ones. “It is not about the destination, but the journey”, the preparing and making of the kuih kapit is often a family affair where you could see whole families pitching in to do whatever they can from preparing the liquid batter to baking to fold and to canning the festive delicacy. Children normally have the most fun, they would always stay glued to the sides like scavengers waiting for the sweet, creamy and eggy fragrant rejects.

Where did kuih kapit come from? Did the Chinese migrants back then during the 14th century already started using metal moulds for baking? But during that time, the European or Western world has already begun using metal utensils for baking. The Kuih Kapit shares similarity with the medieval Dutch wafers that are made with the similar method and utensil used to make kuih kapit over open flame ovens or stoves. The Dutch invented the waffle iron that consisted of two hinged iron plates attached to two long wooden handles to prevent the burning of hands in the 13th century. This food is most preferred among the women from there, although they don’t love it as much as they love using the best pair of compression socks women. 

Dutch in Bahasa Malaysia is Belanda, thus the name Kuih Belanda. Many biscuit making and cake baking techniques were exported into various Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesian through conquests and travels to these countries since the 14th century by the Dutch and Portuguese. Which were then assimilated into the Peranakans and Nyonyas  cooking and baking practices, and now it has become one of the must have snacks or delicacies for celebrating Chinese New Year. Nowadays we like to use more advanced machines, for example I vacuum seal everything at the end to keep the fresh flavor. Read more about vacuum sealers from this website: http://vacuumsealerresearch.com.

Kuih Kapit Recipe/Ingredients:

  • Sugar (granulated) – 300gm.
  • Rice flour – 250gm.
  • Tapioca flour – 2 tablespoon.
  • Whole egg (as fresh as possible) – 10.
  • Coconut milk a.k.a Santan (fresh) – 400ml.
  • Lots of patience and love.

Utensils/Tools:

  • Kuih kapit moulds.
  • Charcoal grill.
  • Charcoal.
  • Water and spray can to keep the heat at a desired temperature.
  • Some damping rags for oiling.
  • Ladle and pot.
  • Flat surface chopping board for folding the wafers.
  • Flat surface biscuit or milk powder tin cover.
  • Airtight empty bottle or milk powder tin can for storing the already cooled wafers.

Method:

  1. First sieve the dry ingredients of rice flour and tapioca to make sure there are fine.
  2. Combine sugar and the sieved flours, and mixed thoroughly.
  3. Add in the already lightly beaten eggs and coconut milk, and stir until sugar is dissolved and all the ingredients are combined.
  4. Start the charcoal fire and let it flame down until the charcoal is smoulder red without visible flames (medium/moderate consistent heat). 
  5. Heat up the kuih kapit moulds over the hot charcoal, then lightly damps/grease it with oil.
  6. When the moulds are hot enough, ladle a scoop of batter onto one side of the mould, coating it thinly while allowing the excess to flow back into the pot then snap it shut.
  7. Place the filled/coated mould on the grill and baked until half cooked, then run a knife (butter knife will do) around the edges of the mould to get rid of the excess before flipping and returning the uncooked side to the grill.
  8. The kuih kapit is ready when the wafer turns light beige brown in colour with a firm yet flexible texture. It is time to remove it from the mould by peeling it away and immediately folding it in half, then into another half again (should resemble an open fan). Use the flat surface cover of a biscuit or milk powder tin to flatten the wafer, preferably with some force or weight. 
  9. Let the folded wafer cools down before storing into the bottle or tin can to prevent the wafers from getting stale and un-crisp.

Tips:

  • The coconut used to press for the coconut milk/santan should not be too old. Old one will too much fat content and thus the kuih kapit cannot last long in storage and will turn stale faster.
  • Don’t use too much or too little batter as it will affect the texture of the wafers.
  • You may thin the batter, if the viscosity is high or thick, with some water. Do not use too much water as it will affect the taste.
  • Maintain a consistent heat, use the water spray can to cool down the heat or extinguish the flaming flame. Burning the wafers will result in a bitter after taste.
  • The best kuih kapit is the one which is fluffy crispy, rich, creamy, eggy and not too sweet.
  • Drink a lot of water to maintain your body temperature internally and externally.

Other than the traditional fan shape kuih kapit, there is a more exotic variety which has crisp, sweet and savoury meat floss filled and rolled in it. Rather than just simply folding the thin wafer into a quarter, it is filled with a small heap of meat floss in the centre and then rolled into a cylindrical shape where both ends are closed up.

Making kuih kapit is communal and time consuming activity where everyone in the family pitches in to help, but with the increasing demand for time to be placed on earning a living and the migration of family members to another region. It has become difficult to find or see families carrying on the tradition of homemade kuih kapit. And that is why some families have turned this communal activity into a cottage industry where families are brought up around the flames of the charcoal grill with the sweet fragrance of baking wafers and the sound the metal sound mould clinking against each other. One such place is the one we visited back in the year 2009, Eng Seng Penang Kuih Kapit in Gat Lebuh Presgrave. They do not only make this festive wafer delicacy for Chinese Lunar New Year, but the whole year round from their rented place. They produce both the traditional fan shape wafers and the variety with meat floss in it, each bottle of the traditional version is priced at RM25.00 and the more exotic meat floss version at RM30.00 per bottle. Their kuih kapit is said to have a shelf-life of two and a half (2 1/2) months. For bookings or orders, you are welcome to call them at o4-261 4419 or visit them at 30, Gat Lebuh Presgrave, 10300 Penang.

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Scones At Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa

Posted by Jason Wong On January - 16 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

Scones are originally from Scotland and are single-serving cakes or quick bread. Scones are the basic component of the cream tea or Devonshire tea. Traditionally, they are made from wheat, barley or oatmeal with baking powder as the leavening agent, unlike tea cakes and other sweet buns, which are made with yeast. They are often lightly sweetened and occasionally glazed. A recent interaction with Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa’s Executive Pastry Chef, Chef Nazeri Ismail, has shed some light into how scones are made and served fresh daily for their high tea at their Spice Market Café.

Their specially customised scone recipe was concocted by Chef Nazeri and his team to suit the preferences of their customers who return to the lush tropical ‘rainforest’ paradise filled with melodised birds chirping, shaded by a 225 year old rain tree and cooled by the ever refreshing sea breeze. The simple yet tantalizing recipe was shared with us during one of our visit to their café:

  • 700gm – flour
  • 300gm – milk powder
  • 300gm – icing sugar
  • 25gm – baking powder
  • 10gm – salt
  • 250gm – butter
  • 2 – whole eggs
  • 200ml – fresh milk
  • 1tbsp – concentrated Vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees C.
  2. Rub icing sugar into butter with fingers until crumbly.
  3. Add egg whites, first, in the icing sugar and butter mixture then the yokes.
  4. Tip baking powder and salt into the flour.
  5. Then add the butter, icing sugar and egg mixture into the flour and baking powder and salt mixture.
  6. Then add milk powder, and mix well before pouring in the fresh milk.
  7. Add concentrated Vanilla extract.
  8. Gently knead the whole mixture until it holds but still crumbly with some air trapped inside.

At this stage you may want to add the fillings that you may desire, here we have walnuts and raisins that will be kneaded into separate dough. The walnuts must not be chopped too fine to prevent overly excretion of oil. Cut the dough with a dough cutter into 4-5cm in thickness. Place cut dough onto a baking tray, brush it with egg wash and bake in the pre-heated oven for 10-12minutes until risen and golden on top.

The “Scones High Tea” is available 24/7 from 2:30pm to 5:30pm daily at an affordable price of RM28++ and RM35++, from 15th December 2012 onwards.. The sets consist of a pot of tea and any two selections of scones that one could choose from either vanilla, vanilla with raisins, vanilla with walnut or Parmesan cheese variants. With each different choice, there are different accompanying condiment selections like jam, butter, cream cheese or blueberry cream cheese, and clotted cream, all equally great when smothered on the warm, light and crumbly pastries. 

Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa will be celebrating their 40th Anniversary in 2013, and in conjunction with the festivities, they have come up with a limited edition charm bracelet and key chain souvenir series. To collect each charm, just spend RM400 on a single receipt at their Spice Market Cafe to get them. Collect all 4 and head on to Amee Philips for them to be attached to their specially designed chain to make it whole, for free. With all 4 charms you will be entitled to enjoy discounts from the various outlets in Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa with savings ranging from as low as 10% to 33%, for more details please refer to their staffs.

During the special event to introduce and the charm bracelet and keychain and a sampling of their scones, a small and simple fashion show was organized by Amee Philips that showcased some of their latest creations.

For more details of the “Scones High Tea” and the 40th Anniversary Charm Bracelet/Keychain and promotions, please make your inquiries at Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa’s Spice Market Cafe or call 04 8888788.

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Another year is almost over, and Dong Zhì is just a day away. We last wrote about Dong Zhì or Winter Solstice was in year 2008.   This year we would like to share 2 new modern recipes for Tang Yuan that may appeal to the younger generations.

 

The basic Tang Yuan Dough:

  • 225gm glutinous rice flour
  • 180ml water

Mix the water into the glutinous rice flour, and then knead into smooth dough that is non-sticky.

 

First up is something sweet, Tang Yuan in Honey Syrup. The traditional or usual syrup for Tang Yuan is sugar syrup infused with ginger for that heart warming sensation. To add fragrance, ‘pandan’ leafs are used. For the honey syrup, the ingredients are as follows:

  • 150gm gula Melaka
  • 50gm Maltose
  • 30gm Honey
  • 3 springs of Pandan leaves
  • 1.2lt water (reduced to 950ml after boiling)

Mix all together and dissolve over low heat, then strain the syrup to prevent lumps or impurities.

For the savoury Tang Yuan, we have come upon one that is served with Tom Yam soup as oppose to our previous clear anchovies and soy bean base soup. The making of the Tang Yuan is as usual and the soup used is according to the Tom Yam recipe that we have shared previously.

  • 200gm Tom Yam paste
  • 2 to 3 stalks of lemongrass
  • 2 to 3 stalks of coriander with roots
  • 5 springs of kaffir leaves
  • A few slices of lengkuas(a.k.a galangal)
  • 1 red onion
  • 3 to 5 cloves of garlic
  • 2 whole limes
  • Chili padi (amount depends on how adventurous are you)
  • Mushroom
  • 250gm sliced chicken meat
  • 200gm fresh soft shell prawns

The first thing is to slice the lengkuas or galangal into thin pieces, cut and crush the lemon grass stalks and extract the coriander root, then soak all of them in water. Bring water to a boil and throw them all in. Then cut up the onions and garlic before adding them in with the chili padi. After the ingredients have emit their fragrance and taste, spoon in the Tom Yam paste and squeeze in the lime juice and let boil for a few more minute to let all the flavours infuse. Now it is time to put all the remaining ingredients (mushroom, chicken and prawns) and cook until tender then serve with the tang yuan.

 

 

 

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Chee Meng Wantan Mee is Back!

Posted by Jason Wong On February - 13 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

After loosing touch with Chee Meng Wantan Mee, we have finally got them back on our radar. They are now back in their old spot at “Tai Wah Cafe” on Agryll Road. After moving out of Thong Seng late last year, they went for a self proclaim holiday until the 7th day of the Chinese Lunar calender. Business is as usual and will be closed on every Tuesdays.


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Dhoby Ghuat Wantan Mee At Tong Seng Kafe 洗布桥云吞面

Posted by Jason Wong On January - 16 - 20112 COMMENTS

A different person was manning the Wantan Mee stall during our last trip (6th Feb).

One or two months back we wrote about “Chee Meng Cafe”, but it has since changed to “Tong Seng”. And the Chee Meng Wantan Mee that we have mentioned has moved to a new location that we have yet to find out. Anyway, the replacement wantan mee stall is no lesser in uniqueness as compared to Uncle Chee Meng.

We were sceptical when we approached the shop due to the unfamiliar faces at the shop, therefore we only made an order for a regular single serving of dry wantan noodles. After trying that faithful bowl, we continued with our brunch at Tong Seng. Always keep an open mind when it comes to new eating outlets, the most you will get run over once by the shop! T The wantan noodle stall at Tong Seng is a branch of the “Dhoby Ghuat Wantan Noodle Stall” that has more than 10 years of history. This branch at Jalan Dato Koyah is being manned by Yvonne. The business hours are from 6:30am up till 1:00pm daily except Wednesdays, as the shop rests for a day.

Although the noodles are not as thin as the ones use by Chee Meng, the dark soya sauce dressing for the dry version can compensate for it. It had a sweet caramel, smoky and nutty taste, which reminded us of the good old simple taste of wantan noodles. Nothing complicate, just good tasty dark soya sauce combined with fragrant lard oil tossed into al-dente egg noodles. An easy task but hard to master for many. Even the wantan dumplings also pack with nostalgic flavours.

Tip: As the noodles are not as old or dry, best is to order extra dry with lard bits and savour. Additional moisture would make the noodles lose their crunch.

Then after the first single serving we tried their “Spicy” wantan noodles. The noodles are toss with premix spicy mixture which is supplied some distributor. Same as the previous encounters, the mixture tend to have powdery texture at the end of the serving. But the taste that was delivered at this stall was slightly different with a more peppery taste as we continue eating.

Then we notice that it had stewed chicken feet, one of the must try of this stall! At RM3 per serving of 9 pieces, it all comes down to about 33cents per piece which is similar to the price of this delicacy when I was still in secondary school. The tastes had a good balance of savoury, sweet and spice, which all came from the equilibrium use of star anise (八角), cloves, Chinese cinnamon (肉桂), Sichuan pepper(花椒), and good quality dark soya sauce. The texture of the chicken feet was tender but not too soft with low amounts of oily aftertaste. It was not “sticky” and without the overwhelming feeling that Gill finish the whole bowl of gravy like drinking soup. We even asked Yvonne whether she can throw in some rice vermicelli and flat rice noodles with the gravy. And she did.

When you are dining at Tong Seng, do try out their kopi ‘o’ and also their nutmeg juice.

Business Hours: 6:30am up till 1:00pm daily except Wednesdays

GPS:5.41989, 100.3317

Overall experience:

Taste

3.5/5 (Good)

Texture

3.5/5 (Good)

Service

3.5/5(Good)

Cleanliness

3.5/5 (Good)

Atmosphere

2.5/5 (Average)

Price

3.5/5 (Fair)

Portion

3.5/5 (Good)

Value

3.5/5 (Value)

Notice the old warping bowls that they serve their noodles in! They are at least around 60 years old. The bowls were once used in festive celebrations and meals that were prepared by their grandfather.
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Kok Fish Head Curry 国加哩鱼头

Posted by Jason Wong On January - 6 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

During lunch with FoodnTravella last Sunday afternoon, we were told by her friend that there was a fish head curry in the Zim Sum Restaurant premises on Anson Road that operates in the evening. And of cause after getting wind of the stall, we decided to try out the fish head curry a few days ago after running some errands and meeting some clients.  The stall is run by an uncle and his assistant (worker lah), and it offers fish head curry, fish meat curry, fried balacan chicken and omelette.

The curry is made to order and there are a few sizes to choose from in terms of fish head size and pieces of fillet required. The one we had was RM22 and it was quite a big piece of head and belly, as you can see from the following photos. The fish head was bigger than the size of my wife’s palm and there were lots of okra, tomato, onion strips and mint leaves. Taste wise it is not very exclusive or unappealing; it was actually comparable to some of the more “famous” curry fish head businesses in Penang. The curry was predominantly sour with a sweet after taste and was not too spicy. The longer the fish sits in the curry gravy, the thicker it gets. Even though the curry was made from curry powder, the gravy was neither sandy nor grainy in texture.

Other than the curry, we also tried their balacan chicken which ranges from RM5.50 to RM11.00. The chicken is also made to order. The taste of balacan was light and the texture of the chicken was crisp on the surface and tender in the inside. If you are not a fan of fish head curry, you could try their balacan chicken, egg and rice set which I saw quite a few ordering. Address: 35, Jalan Anson 10400, Penang

Business Hours: 7pm to 11pm daily and closed on Wednesdays.

Overall experience:

  • Taste & Texture: 3.0/5
  • Money Value: 3.75/5
  • Service: 2.9/5
  • Cleanliness: 2.5/5
  • Atmosphere: 2.5/5
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Sarma-Stuffed Vine Leaves

Posted by Jason Wong On December - 27 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

Last weekend we were invited to a pot-luck Christmas party at Carol’s. For that particular party we decided to try out something new that we have not made before because of the difficulty of sourcing for the main ingredient, vine leaves.

We have researched and learnt of the ‘Dolmathes‘ or stuffed vegetable during our quest of compiling suitable recipes for our clients to create distinctive dishes for their restaurants. But due to the difficulty of acquiring vine leaves, we have placed this particular recipe or dish on the side lines until this Christmas. We were able to get a few pieces of this so call vine leaves during one of our eat-out occasions.

Dolma is a stuffed vegetable dish that uses a vegetable that is hollowed out and filled with stuffing. And for dishes that are wrapped in vine leaves or cabbage leaves, they are called ‘sarma‘. But in many languages the distinction is usually not made, with dolma being a preferred reference to this dish.

The recipe that Gill used were actually a combination of a few that we have read and made changes of due to the lacking of certain ingredients. In many instances, this dish is made of 70% meat and 30% of rice, but it all comes down to your personal liking or of yours guests. The version that Gill made was with higher rice content as compared to meat.

Ingredient :

  • Vine Leaves – raw or packed in brine

Stuffing

  • Olive oil
  • Rice – wash and drain (Thai fragrant rice with higher starch percentage was use, alternatively shot grain rice can be used)
  • 2 x Whole onions (Chopped)
  • 3 x Garlic cloves (Chopped)
  • 1 x Tomato (Cut into thick slice)
  • 1 x Lemon
  • A handfull of Almonds (Crushed)
  • A few pinches of Cinnamon powder
  • A small handful of fresh Parsley (Chopped)
  • 400gm Minced Beef / Pork
  • ½ can of tomatoes puree
  • Some Water
  • Chicken stock or water (enough to cover the parcels)
  • Salt, Black Pepper and Sugar to taste

Steps:

  • Wash & boil the raw vine leave in 30 sec depending on the Vine Leaves thickness. This step is to make the leave slightly soften and good for wrapping process.
  • If your Vine Leave is in brine, put them in a saucepan and pour warm water over them in order to remove some of the saltiness and acidity from them. Keep the vine leaves in water for about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

  • Sautee the onion & garlic with olive oil until they are slightly brown and fragrant
  • Put in the rice & stir, insert the minced beef and follow by parsley & almond and stir
  • Throw in tomato puree, lemon juice, water, salt, pepper and sugar to taste.
  • Simmer the stuffing until it has soaked up the liquid/sauce (the stuffing should be in half cooked condition) then removed from the heat and set aside

  • Use 1 or 2 vine leaves for 1 parcel. (Coarse surface of the leaves should be facing up)
  • Spoon the stuffing on the center of every leaf and roll them in small parcels.

  • Place some thick tomato slices evenly on the base of the saucepan to prevent the parcels from burning.

  • Put the entire parcels evenly on top of the tomato slice.

  • Pour in the chicken stock or water to just cover the parcels

  • Then put a flat ceramic plate on top of the parcel to avoid the parcel floats
  • Put on the lid and simmer for about 20 min (depending on stuffing) or until the stuffing is cook.

You may change the recipe by skipping the tomato puree if you do not like the taste of tomato, and put in more herbs and mints to substitute the tangy taste with more earthy flavours. Used what you or your guests like best in term of taste profile.

The saram/dolmathes tasted similar to the Chinese ‘Bak Zhang’, or rice dumplings, with one of the major difference with ‘Bak Zhang’ are that the saram’s vine leaves can be eaten and the ‘Bak Zhang’ wrapped cannot be consumed.

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Savory Tang Yuan for Winter Solstice (Dong Zhì)

Posted by gill gill On December - 21 - 20101 COMMENT

Have you heard or try Savory Tang Yuan before?

It is truly a “Forgotten Recipe” from Hakka & Cantonese Dialect. We have received many readers request about this savory tang yuan recipe since we’ve posted the winter solstice from 2008.
Other than we talk about the sweet version which has tones of fans, we rather share those who are forgotten and unique from the rest.
We have prepare the steps with photo and recipe below, and do enjoy the cooking and happy winter solstice to you & your family 🙂

Step 1 & 2. Begin of the Yellow Bean & Anchovies Soup Base

Step 4. Chicken Gizzard to Give the extra texture
Slice Pork & Spring Onions
Tang Yuan In Bean and Anchovies Soup

Savory Tang Yuan Soup

Tang Yuan:

I don’t really know what and how to make the tang yuan dough, but all I know is using glutinous four to makes it up…heee

The only tips that I can share is, cook the tang yuan in boiling water and wait until its float on top of the water, and its cooked. And throw them immediately into Ice Water. This step is to make the ball springier and doesn’t go lumpy /mushy.

We don’t really measure what we cook for this Soup, and is all according to the taste

Soup base (basic soup base for wonton noodle soup):

  • Handfuls of Dried Soya Bean
  • Handfuls of Dried Anchovies
  • Chicken or Pig born
  • Water for soup

Ingredient:

  • Cabbage (coarsely shredded)
  • Chicken gizzard (thick slices)
  • Pork belly 600gm or more (in whole pcs)
  • Spring onion (4cm in length)
  • Home fried shallots

Step by Step:

  1. Put Soya Bean & Anchovies into soup bag/sachet. Don’t insert the bag too full, when it cooks, the beans will be bloated. The ideal portion is 1/3 of the bag. Or put those 2 ingredients in 2 different bags.
  2. After filled in the Soya Bean & Anchovies in the bag, put them all into boiling water and cover the lid, with medium to low heat, and cook about 30min or until you can smell the aroma.
  3. Take out the soup bag. Leave the soup aside.
  4. Boil water in another pot, to poach the whole pcs of pork belly and chicken gizzard until it’s done or tender. Take out and drain. Cut them into thin slices when it’s cooled. Set both aside.
  5. Warm up the Anchovies soup and throw the cabbage in and cooked till tender. Add Salt to taste. Drain the Vege and set aside.
  6. Basically the cooking step is all done.

Eating Step:

Just heat up the soup, scope all the precooked ingredient, tong yuan, cabbage, gizzard, pork belly, spring onion, and pour the steaming hot soup into the bowl and top with some homemade fried shallot. Enjoy!

Those precooked ingredient and soup can keep into the refrigerator and you may heat up for the next day. Except tang yuan, its good when eat its fresh.

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