Seafood Alio Olio on 7Aug2016

seafood alio olio

seafood alio olio

did a very good seafood alio olio this evening on 7.8.2016. ^^

i have not done this for a really long time.

mainly because my helper does an excellent alio olio. she usually uses prawns & sliced chicken breast. on balance i think her best would still edge out my dish tonight.

still my seafood alio olio was very good tonight. 🙂

seafood alio olio

seafood alio olio

i browned the garlic cloves on medium fire. fantastic aroma…added cut chilli padi.

then added prawns & squid seasoned with fish sauce & white pepper.

then added chicken stock.

i removed the prawns & squid then reduced the stock. tasted it, was tasty & intense. i did not add white wine & sugar this evening.

then i added back the prawns & squid, off fire, added the spaghetti & tossed.

last, i added some butter, so the spaghetti & sauce mixed very well.

i topped it with some basil.

seafood alio olio

seafood alio olio

the result was a very tasty pasta.

daughter commented the sotong (squid) was excellent, just the perfect texture. so was the prawn!

& i like the spicy tinge from the chilli padi.

a simple dish & enough for 3pax on a sunday evening.

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • 200g spaghetti
  • 1 whole bulb of peeled garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 medium prawns
  • 1 whole medium squid
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce + 2 tsp white pepper (season prawns & sotong)
  • 300ml chicken stock

Directions:

  1. brown garlic cloves on medium fire. add cut chilli padi.
  2. add prawns & squid seasoned with fish sauce & white pepper. add chicken stock.
  3. remove prawns & squid and reduce stock.
  4. add back prawns & squid, off fire, add the spaghetti & toss.
  5. add some butter, so the spaghetti & sauce mix very well.
  6. top with some basil.

Scrumptious Homecooked Lunch for 30+pax on 25Jul2015

youngest daughter was celebrating an important occasion & invited 30 friends to the house on 25.7.2015.^^

we had a really wonderfully scrumptious family-cooked lunch for her friends.

we did 13 delectable dishes!^^

& her friend made a professional pastry chef standard 2-tier cake. 🙂

wife's PIMMS

wife’s PIMMS cocktail

wife also made a PIMMS cocktail!^^

wife's PIMMS

wife’s PIMMS cocktail

i cannot hold liquor but i liked it very much & took maybe 5 or 6 cups & a bit drunk afterwards. 🙂

#1 wife made a lovely pumpkin tofu salad, something she picked up from marmalade after dining there. 🙂

#2 i did a vietnamese chargrilled pork cold beehoon. 🙂

we recently had this dish at mrs pho. i would think that my version was just as good. 🙂

#3 & i made a chicken ballotine.

#3 i steamed the first batch of 2 for 15mins. it was slight overdone.

the second batch i reduced to 12mins. & this was quite perfect! tender, juicy, flavourful.^^

helper's chicken nuggets

#4 helper’s chicken nuggets

#4 my helper did the chicken nuggets. pretty good too. 🙂

helper's deepfried chicken wings

#5 helper’s deepfried chicken wings

#5 & her chicken wings are a perennial favourite. 🙂

#6 i did a thai red curry sotong.

this the first time i cooked this dish. i fried in butter the sotong (squid) like i did for my flamed squid in spinanch veloute, but w/o flaming it (too tedious for quantity for 30+pax!). i tasted the sotong & it was excellent. i made the red curry gravy using the dancing chef’s ready mix with some cut yellow onions. the curry was just superb, so the combination was just crazy, a clear winner!^^

#7 for the chicken thigh, i pan-grilled on a very hot stainless steel pan. it was perfect, and daughters’ friends walloped the 6 pieces of deboned thighs from 3 chicken in double quick time. 🙂

unlike the red curry dish, for this yellow curry, i made it as a sauce similar to busaba’s to-die-for grilled chicken green curry fried rice.^^

there was actually an egg fried rice dish (which was also pretty good) to accompany the thai chicken & sotong curries but i did not have a photo.

#8 wife made an excellent creamy tomato pasta. she usually use crayfish from chinatown & for me it’s the best pasta ever.

this time, we could not get crayfish at chinatown so she used large prawns as proxy. 🙂

helper's sausage pasta

#9 helper’s sausage pasta

#9 & my helper made her crowd favourite cheese sausage spaghetti.

the whole family like this & all my children’s friends who came to the house previously all enjoyed this pasta by my helper. 🙂

#10 i made an excellent squid ink spaghetti this time, no errors, no horrors, no misses, simply fabulous, par excellence!

very nicely creamy, i added butter (only when tossing with fire off! – you don’t want to boil the butter).^^

& fantastic colour, al dente pasta & irresistible squid ink flavour with wonderful chicken stock & squid.

#11 & the tagliata di manzo had my daughter’s friends swooning & asking for more.

in the end i cooked a second portion, total 4x300g = 1.2kg of 150D grain-fed black angus ribeye.

birthday cake

birthday cake

daughter’s friend made her a totally professional pastry chef standard 2-tier cake.

birthday cake

birthday cake

plus lemon tarts & also cup cakes. every cake item was just fabulous! 🙂

#12 i made my usual tiramisu.

it was as good as ever. daughter’s friends finished an entire tub. ^^ i had a spare tub though. there was too much cake already so we saved that.

& my daughter arranged a photo booth which was a lot of fun, & her friends came in all kinds of costumes.

the photo booth guy just finished national service & is going to london for further studies. that’s what young people do a lot these days, with internet & social media offering excellent reach, connectivity & empowerment! 🙂

what a simply incredible, most enjoyable & memorable occasion to be savoured.

c.h.e.f andy

Pleasant Dinner Tete a Tete @ La Braceria on 18Apr2015

wagyu & porcini fettucine

wagyu & porcini fettucine

a friend bought dinner this evening at la braceria on 17.4.2015.^^

he had wanted me to try shelter in the woods but that was fully booked for the evening. 🙂

years ago, la braceria was located at ming teck park area, close to my place. after that the chef has moved to different places a few times.

this friend last joined my home dinners more than 1/2 year ago. this time, he wanted just to buy dinner & have a tete a tete. 🙂

we ordered 1 antipasti & 2 pastas to share, and my friend wanted to share a choc lava cake.

fritto calamari

fritto calamari

fritto calamari

fritto calamari

the calamari was good! batter was not crispy & yet it was very nice overall, and with a touch of mayonnaise. ^^

wagyu & porcini fettucine

wagyu & porcini fettucine

wagyu & porcini fettucine

wagyu & porcini fettucine

the wagyu & porcini fettucine was “must try for meat lovers”, according to the menu.

& YES!! must try!

pasta was very good indeed. very tasty & savoury.

seafood squidink linguine

seafood squidink linguine

seafood squidink linguine

seafood squidink linguine

seafood squidink linguine

seafood squidink linguine

we also had the seafood squidink linguine. there was quite a bit of scallops & squid. again very tasty. this i can make myself though, and my version of seafood squid ink linguine is almost as good.^^

flamed lava cake

flamed lava cake

flamed lava cake

flamed lava cake

i am impressed with the flamed lava cake. the flavour was very good. texture was better than my lava cake, a lot more lava, anyway i will adjust my lava cake a bit & see if i can produce more lava. the lava texture is an important contributor to the overall experience.

while it was a very enjoyable dinner with friend who picked up the tab, the dinner cost S$102, about same as what i paid the other night for 2pax at il Lido.

there was no comparison for the ambience & class of il Lido, and we had black cod with unit & scampi pasta with uni & a grilled octopus. on top of that we had 2 great amuse bouche of fine dining standard. so la braceria pales by comparison & is really not competitive on price.

c.h.e.f andy

10-course Homecooked 11pax Western Buffet for RI Buddies on 6Nov2014

did another of my homecooked meals for my friends for lunch on 6.11.2014.

usually for western dishes,  i did sit-down dinners serving course by course. but there’s advantage in having pre-cooked food & serving as buffet. though i enjoyed every minute of cooking (& often experimentation) for family & friends, the purpose is not just about food & cooking but to be part of the conversation & shared memories. 🙂

for this lunch, i did 10 dishes. 🙂

the best dish, most popular by far & winning hands down, was the #1 oven grilled miso salmon belly – marinated & kept in chiller for 3 days & in the oven for 15mins at 25odegC. taste was excellent, perfect combination of flavours.

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#2 miso belly pork

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#2 miso belly pork

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#2 miso belly pork

the #2 miso belly pork was an experiment. i used the same marinade for the miso salmon belly. i did slow braising using cold crackpot to 79degC, so the pork belly was very tender before marinate. however my marinade was just too little & did not infuse the flavours well. also i used the same 15mins oven grill to do the sliced pork (to save electricity). i think i need to use a hot pan on high heat then the searing could be done very quickly w/o overcooking the already cooked meat.

#3 the beer can chicken was another experiment! i brined a small 1kg whole chicken in usual sugar & salt (but boiled with a packet of chinese tea this time). i put sliced garlic under the skin & use a bbq meat dry rub. then i did the usual beer can chicken oven grill at 250degC for 25mins & 175degC for 15mins.

wa..this chicken was really tasty, moist & tender – my best roast chicken ever. 🙂 but no hint of any tea flavours though!

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#4 pumpkin tofu salad

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#4 rockets for tossing #4 pumpkin tofu salad

my helper prepared the pumpkin tofu salad. it’s a dish put together by my wife after dining at some place that served that. i could do this but my helper did this regularly for my wife’s packet lunch, so i got her to do it.

i did the extra virgin olive oil, balsamic, sea salt & honey (did not have agave nectar) mix, and did the tossing when about to start the meal. 🙂

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#5 striploin – slow crockpot braising to 52degC placed in fridge overnight then pan grilled

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#5 striploin – slow crockpot braising to 52degC placed in fridge overnight then pan grilled

#5 striploin was another experiment – slow crockpot braising to 52degC (rare) placed in fridge overnight then pan grilled. i did this before for my daughter’s packed lunch. she said it was very flavourful.

today though it was overshadowed by the #7 tagliata di manzo, which had a better usa harry’s grain-fed angus striploin cut & was done on the spot just before start of the meal. 🙂

#6 kurobuta was prepared in the same way – slow crockpot braising to 79degC (well done) placed in fridge overnight then pan grilled.

the meat itself was very flavourful so the dish was well received. this was an experimental variation of my usual pan-grilled kurobuta.

i wasn’t confident of the result of the slow crockpot striploin so had a back-up usa harry’s grain-fed angus striploin which i decided to cook anyway.

#7 tagliata di manzo is commonly served in italian restaurants. e.g. as 1 friend mentioned during lunch, capri, but also in say alborgo, valentino etc.

i did this #8 “monterosso miky” seafood risotto with a vegetable base & prawn stock, so it’s a tasty dish. the prawns & squid were fried in butter separately, and the live mussels were cooked separately in butter, chilli padi, sliced ginger & orange peel. mussels were very tender & tasty too.

the #9 squid-ink seafood linguine was good too. one friend liked it especially for the mango clams. 🙂

the #10 pumpkin cheese cake was my second try. a really lovely cake. the first i made for family dinner on 24.10.2014 was very good. and it’s great that this one was just as good.

a very nicely balanced cake. it was though a bulkier cake than the other lighter cakes i made, and while i liked it a lot, it was a cake that i would probably not take 2 helpings at one go.

c.h.e.f andy

Superb Homecooked 6pax Family Dinner on 24Oct2014

wife's quinoa salad

wife’s quinoa salad

had a 6pax family dinner on 24.10.2014. missing our son who is in london. 🙂

wife made a very nice quinoa salad, with some avocado & roasted nuts. i really liked this. she brought this salad with some packed food sometimes for office lunch in.

pan-grilled portobello mushrooms

pan-grilled portobello mushrooms

our helper made a pan-grilled portobello mushroom. this was also very nice with simple sea salt, pepper & olive oil.

oven grilled miso salmon

oven grilled miso salmon

oven grilled miso salmon

oven grilled miso salmon

i recently came up with a new very light miso salmon recipe. this was quite different from the miso belly pork & nobu miso cod recipe which used a lot more miso & infused flavours. i served this to my friends during 11pax lunch on 15.10.2014 (first attempt of the new recipe). they all loved it. & i did this the second time this evening. again it was everyone’s favourite. even my wife & eldest daughter who generally didn’t like salmon that much, liked this dish.

pan chargrilled kurobuta

pan chargrilled kurobuta

i did a pan chargrilled kurobuta. it was not as good as the other day. i should not play safe & try to cook it totally well done & have it just a little pink instead.

the tagliata di manzo (sliced pan chargrilled beef) was excellent today, both the USA grain fed ribeye & australian wagyu MBS 4/5, very nicely charred for maillard reaction and nicely medium rare. my wife did the very nice restaurant plating with rockets & cherry tomatoes. 🙂

i did a squid-ink linguine today, with squid & littleneck clams (la la). it was excellent, and the la la were done very nicely. 🙂

& i have kind of perfected my “miky monterosso” seafood risotto, very sweet & tasty prawn stock (head & shells) with vegetables (celery, leek, yellow onions, carrots). 🙂

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pumpkin cheese cake (very 1st attempt)

pumpkin cheese cake

pumpkin cheese cake (very 1st attempt)

1 charmed dish was my very first time new dessert – a pumpkin cheese cake. i could taste the cake paste i mixed & knew the taste was good. but it was the first time i baked it so uncertain about timing & texture & how it would turn out. as it turned out it was almost perfect – beginner’s luck! 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Seafood Fried Rice

#8 spicy seafood fried rice

spicy seafood fried rice

wife had appointment & children eating out this evening.

no dinner plans. found a packet of leftover rice (1 bowl maybe) in the fridge. don’t feel like doing anything else so did a fried rice in double quick time. 🙂

defrosted a packet of prawns (about 10 pieces), shelled & cut off the heads & kept for stock. defrosted a large squid, took off the red skin, dice-cut the body. i seasoned both the squid & prawns separately with little bit fish sauce & white pepper. then put a piece of butter on pan on medium high till quite hot then fried the prawns. then removed the prawns & fried the squid.

seafood fried rice

seafood fried rice

seafood fried rice

seafood fried rice

seafood fried rice

seafood fried rice

seafood fried rice

seafood fried rice

for the rice, i added 2 tablespoon olive oil, put on medium high heat, added 2 tablespoon garlic & 1.5 tablespoon of the sichuan spicy chilli sauce. then i added the rice & break up the crumby parts with the ladle & let the chilli coat the rice grains. immediately i pushed rice aside, cracked 2 eggs & let the white firmed a bit, then spread over the rice, and mixed for 1 minute. then added the prawns & squid & off the fire, tossed a little & put out on the serving dish. then i added the chopped spring onions. voila!

the whole process including defrosting the prawns & squid, about 15minutes. 🙂

after whatsapping the photos, both son & daughter decided to eat some before going out, so we polished off rather quickly. 🙂

#8 spicy seafood fried rice

spicy seafood fried rice

i did the same fried rice with more elaborate preparations recently during a 9pax 12-course dinner for my friends on 15.7.2014 which everyone liked it a lot. this evening’s was i think just as good.

looking at the photo of the real thing – crystal jade lamian xiaolongbao seafood fried rice, i guess it was still kind of far off. both my children though liked it quite a lot, and they felt the rice was very good too. the rice were individual grains well coated not mushy & nice & fragrant. good wok hae! 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Seafood Risotto Par Excellence

seafood risotto modelled after monterosso miky

seafood risotto modelled after monterosso miky

i repeated my lake como, cinque terre, milan grand tour tasting menu for 11pax friends get-together on 30.7.2014.

while overall it was not as good as the last round, the seafood risotto though was outstanding. and so was the tiramisu. 🙂

seafood risotto modelled after monterosso miky

seafood risotto modelled after monterosso miky

seafood risotto modelled after monterosso miky

seafood risotto modelled after monterosso miky

i am very happy with this risotto. the key was the intense stock from prawn shells & heads. there was also the vegetable base from chopped carrots, celery, leeks, yellow onions & green pepper which i softened before adding 1.2 cups of rice. the vegetable sweetness balanced well the prawn stock sweetness. the aborio rice was done al dente by putting in a 210degC oven for 10 minutes, which took it to about 90% cooked.

the prawns & squids were pre-cooked, fried in butter.

the mussels & mango clams were cooked when serving the dish. i did them separately adding sliced ginger, chilli padi & orange peels. they took only few minutes. then the risotto was put on high fire with remaining stock added & just before serving the prawns, squids, mussels & mango clams were added, & cooked for 1 minute. 🙂

the risotto was so very tasty, almost dare i say as good as miky’s…almost but never quite…& the seafood were all so very fresh, tasty, done just right & not overcooked. 🙂

& my friend took such nice photos above as well!

c.h.e.f andy

Seafood Risotto

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

did another excellent seafood risotto for my friends on 31.7.2014.

was trying to copy/recreate monterosso restaurant miky’s incredibly tasty flamed seafood risotto. couldn’t do the flamed pasta part of course, so just the seafood risotto. 🙂

i used my favourite chef john of foowishes.com shortcut oven-baked paella method.

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

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littleneck clams (“la la”)

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razor clams

medium prawns & squid fried with butter

medium prawns & squid fried with butter

for seafood, i fried shelled prawns & cross-cut squid(lightly seasoned with fish sauce & white pepper) in butter.

i also very lightly fried the razor clams which i had earlier removed from shell, cut away the innards & cleaned.

i fried ginger & some orange peels & added the littleneck clams to a pan over high fire, adding a little white wine. then cover & let the shells open. discarded any unopened clams.

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

seafood risotto prawns, squid, razor clams, littleneck clams)

for the stock i sautéed the heads & shells of 10 medium prawns in olive oil & tumeric & added 500ml of vegetable stock & boiled for a hour. as i was preparing lobster pasta, i added the lobster shells to the shellfish stock as well. 🙂

i sauteed carrot, celery, onions, then leek & garlic in olive oil as a stock base, added turmeric for colour, added 1 cup of arborio rice (which i bought recently at monterosso) & then added the prawn stock & bring to boil. then i placed the oven-proof pan in a preheated 210degC oven for 10mins. i tasted the risotto. the flavour was excellent, and in this case as the stock already had some salt in it & mindful that the prawns & squid were also seasoned i did not add more salt. the risotto was about 85%-90% cooked with the centre slightly hard.

i set it aside. when ready to serve, i added remaining stock & juices from the fried prawns, squid, razor clams & just some from the littleneck clams enough to cover the risotto & placed on high fire w/o cover, added salt & paprika to taste. once risotto was almost cooked i added all the ingredients & covered for 1 minute. this cooked the risotto to al dente. the taste was excellent, super tasty from the sweetness of the vegetable, stock & also the prawns, squid, razor clams & littleneck clams. 🙂

miky's famous flamed seafood risotto

miky’s (monterosso) famous flamed seafood risotto

miky's famous flamed seafood risotto

miky’s (monterosso) famous flamed seafood risotto

sure, it’s not really comparable to miky’s famous flamed seafood risotto which we had at monterosso during our recent amsterdam, lake como, cinque terre, milan adventure 13-24apr2014. still it was a supremely enjoyable dinner. 🙂

c.h.e.f anfy

Ingredients-

  • 10 medium prawns (shelled & de-veined)
  • 1 large or 2 medium squid (cross-cut)
  • 300g razor clams shelled with innards removed & cleaned
  • 500g of littleneck clams cleaned
  • 1 yellow onion (chopped)
  • 2 stalks celery (chopped)
  • 2 stalks leek (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 500ml prawn & vegetable stock
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric (or saffron)

Directions-

  1. fry shelled prawns & cross-cut squid(lightly seasoned with fish sauce & white pepper) in butter. very lightly fry razor clams (after removing shell, cutting away the innards & clean). fry ginger & some orange peels & add the littleneck clams to a pan over high fire, adding a little white wine. then cover & let the shells open. discarded any unopened clams.
  2. stock – sauté heads & shells of 10 medium prawns in olive oil & tumeric & add 500ml of vegetable stock & boiled for a hour.
  3. cook risotto -saute carrot, celery, onions, then leek & garlic in olive oil as a stock base, add turmeric for colour, add 1 cup arborio rice. add prawn stock & bring to boil. place oven-proof pan in a preheated 210degC oven for 10mins. taste the risotto & add sea salt, paprika to taste. risotto should be about 85%-90% cooked with the centre slightly hard. set it aside. when ready to serve, add remaining stock & juices from fried prawns, squid, razor clams & just some from the littleneck clams enough to cover the risotto & placed on high fire w/o cover. add salt & paprika to taste. once risotto almost cooked add all the ingredients & covered for 1 minute & cook the risotto to al dente. serve.

Vongole Linguine with Squid

 

vongole linguine with squid

vongole linguine with squid

was at sheng shiong the evening before & bought some lalas (littleneck clams) at S$3.90/kg.  they were quite large & plump. 🙂

toying with doing a stir-fried dish with curry leaves. anyway did a pretty good spicy vongole in white wine on 8.3.2013 which was a while ago & thought i would try again. so decided to cook vongole the following day (28.3.2014) & kept the lalas in a bucket of water in the fridge.

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vongole linguine with squid

vongole linguine with squid

vongole linguine with squid

it is really an easy dish to prepare.  🙂

i boiled the linguine (200g) with a little oil & table salt, ending just before the 11mins instructions, drained & cooled with cold water to give al dente texture.

i then did the usual slow browning of garlic cloves till they were softened & the alio olio aroma filled the kitchen. then fried the cut sotong (squid) in butter & cut chilli padi, and took them out. i then added the fresh cut basils & lalas & stir-fried for several minutes under high heat until the clams open up. usually i would add some white wine but i did not have any ready for use, so i skipped that.

i then added the linguine to the sauce pan & tossed, and added sea salt & 1 teaspoon + sugar to taste. voila, ready to serve! usually i would add some coriander for garnishing but i did not have, so skipped again! 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

 

Nice Lunch @ Nasi Padang River Valley at Zion Road on 23Jan2014

curry chicken

curry chicken

i used to eat here more when my children were younger (meaning i was younger & had more capacity for carbo & cholesterol) & also buy back for home gatherings.

the food was more expensive in recent years but still good. i had a few meals at the nasi padang stall at tanjong pagar railway station which was also good and a lot cheaper before it closed (wonder where it moved to?).

nasi padang river valley

nasi padang river valley

my sis had wanted to try this stall again so we came early at 11am+ on 23.1.2014. still empty but they filled up quite quickly. we ordered 6 dishes for 3pax, cost S$25.

assam fish

assam fish

sotong (squid) in tomato sauce

sotong (squid) in tomato sauce

beef stomach

beef stomach

lady fingers

lady fingers

brinjal chilli

brinjal chilli

rice with beef stomach

rice with beef stomach

the curries were good as usual, but the both chicken & beef stomach curries while fragrant were really much too salty. the assam fish (ikan tenggiri) was excellent, with slight sour kick. the sotong (squid) in tomato sauce was great to. and the 2 vege, lady fingers & egg plants were very good.

it was a really nice meal, slightly much for 3pax lunch, so S$25 i guess was quite ok really. hawker food can be expensive too these days.

c.h.e.f andy

Fish Head Curry Lunch @ Banana Leaf Apolo on 29Aug2013

haha..was in 2 minds whether to make this post. 🙂 why? see here = https://chefquak.com/2013/08/31/why-i-blog-my-guidelines-perspectives/

i enjoyed very much the lunch with old RI schoolmates & chatting over a cuppa afterwards at tekka food centre on 29.8.2013. 🙂 we are at a stage of our life where we are relaxed, enjoy company, want to spend time together, have different life perspectives & experiences to share, and enjoy listening to others’ perspectives whether they are same or different from our own. 🙂

the makan (“food”) at banana leaf apolo @ race course road was also ok, though pricy & nothing memorable (except the fish head curry). still i decided to make a quick post to record this get-together. 🙂

fish head curry

fish head curry

we ordered 4 dishes to share among 6pax, and the vegetarian among us ordered just naans & a paneer (indian cottage cheese that tastes like tofu) dish with curry. including lime juices, the meal came to S$150, about S$22pax. it’s quite ok but NOT cheap at all especially for our vegetarian friend.

best among the dishes was the fish head, predictably. it was a very good fish head – very fresh red snapper head & very tasty curry. i enjoyed it very much & i also got to eat the eyes etc. slurp, slurp! 🙂

chicken tikka

chicken tikka

the chicken tikka (cutlet) was a tandoori version & a bit dry, kind of below average really!

chicken curry

chicken curry

we also had a chicken curry & small squid curry (i forgot to take photo). both curries were tasty, but these were really quite cheap dishes with very cheap ingredients. eg at prata cafe @ evans road, you can get a very tasty mysore mutton curry for S$3.50! at chinatown market, you can get 1.5x the portion of small squid for S$3 & just plonk them in a curry mix.

basmati rice

basmati rice

the lunch might not be value for money, but i did enjoy very much including the basmatic rice & sides & was even inspired to cook a fish head curry myself the next day. 🙂

there are so many inexpensive eating places at race course road for both north indian dishes & the largely south indian fish head curries & chicken & squid curries we had. i plan to have fish head curry again & hope to have better review to post than this one on banana leaf. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Lunch @ Sarang Restaurant at Orchard Central on 20Mar2013

korean banchan (side dishes) comprising kimchi, peanuts & kimchi carrots

korean banchan (side dishes) comprising kimchi, peanuts & another veg kimchi

had lunch with my sister today. I had 2 xS$30=S$60 deal.com Sarang vouchers (which I paid S$30 for) expiring soon so we decided to lunch there.

I don’t frequent korean restaurants much these days. My family are mostly carnivores aka meat-eaters and for barbeque beef we generally prefer the Japanese-style korean barbeque yakiniku restaurants. One of my wife Lisa’s favourite yakiniku place is Aburiya. We used also to go to Chang & Hyangtogol but find them rather expensive. Though we all like banchan, those very nice free & refillabe korean side dishes, but they cannot be our sole motivation for having korean.

Sarang at Orchard Central served a very small banchan, comprising just peanuts (which was very nice & we duly had our free refill of peanuts), and the usual cabbage kimchi & another vegetable kimchi.

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kimchi belly pork with tofu stew – S$15.80

We ordered the kimchi belly pork.  Though I would have liked it with a lot more soup (like the kimchi chigae which I always like and order at Aburiya & Watami),  this belly pork was differently done (not just boiled like in kimchi chigae to add base to the soup) & very much better, had very good “mouth-feel”(口感) in texture and taste.

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spicy sotong (squid) – S$11.80

We also had the spicy sotong (squid) which was a generous helping. It might be too spicy for some but was perfect for me.

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galbi (korean beef ribs) – S$24.80

We also added the usual galbi – korean beef ribs. It did have a bit of fat & tendons but it was a very nice dish which I liked a lot and was as good as that served at Chang (though I would need to confess that was many years ago). I guess the chef was a bit modern in his approach so his banchan was not quite the traditional big spread of side dishes, his sotong (squid) was accompanied by thin white noodles & this galbi dish also came with a cup of smooth potato mash (not in picture).

The meal comprising 3 very good dishes & banchan came to just S$34nett (about S$26++) using the vouchers.  I think the prices were actually quite fair for the quality of food offered even though I am unlikely to frequent soon without the discounts.

c.h.e.f andy

Korean Spicy Sotong (Squid) Salad

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Korean spicy sotong (squid) salad

was rummaging through my fridge one day and saw this bottle of gojuchang (a savoury and pungent Korean fermented red pepper paste) – see picture below. I must have bought that months ago from a Korean provision shop. It is supposedly such an indispensable universal seasoning condiment – and I do often take it at Korean restaurants eg for bibimbap (a signature Korean dish-a bowl of warm rice topped with seasoned sauteed mixed vegetables usually with a raw egg & beef) – but it seems that I have found no use for it.

gojuchang - Korean fermented red pepper paste

gojuchang – Korean fermented red pepper paste

I googled the internet and chanced on this Korean Spicy Squid Salad Recipe. I tried it, and it was easy to do & good. I didn’t have watercress & cucumbers so I used what I had in the fridge – kang kong, celery and bean sprouts, and it turned out rather well, as seen in the above picture – my first & only attempt so far! 🙂

The bean sprouts & kang kong were just blanched, with the latter squeezed dry on a sieve to remove excess water as shown in the video. The celery & yellow onions I thought needed some sautee-ing, which I did to soften, and they turned out very well indeed.

After that it was just a matter of adding & mixing gojuchang & other seasoning. It made for a very refreshing & nice salad, a pleasant addition to dinner. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • 1 large squid (250g) skin, wings & head removed
  • 1 stalk of celery cut 2cm size
  • 1/2 yellow onion diced
  • 1/2 a bunch of kang kong
  • a handful of bean sprouts

Seasoning mix:

  • 2.5 tbsp gojuchang Korean red pepper paste
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • sea salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Prepare the squid – remove the head, wings & red skin. cut open the squid length-wise. for the chequered pattern cut, slice length-wise along squid 1/4in apart, careful not to cut through. then cut the squid in 1/2 length-wise. now slice across & cut through the squid every 4th cut – that will produce a 1in width cut with square-cut patterns.
  2. Make the salad – blanched the bean sprouts & the kang kong & squeeze out excess water from the kang kong by placing on a sieve. sauteed the celery & yellow onions. Cooked the squid in boiling water for 4minutes until cooked. In a large bowl, mix everything together – the squid, vegetables & the seasoning mix. serve.