This month’s Malaysia Food Fest brings us to Johor, the nearest Malaysian state to us. Despite being just across the Causeway and so frequently packed with Singaporeans especially over the weekends, I must admit that I know very little about the true blue Johorean fare. Well, there are some really popular local delights, like otak otak from Muah, Ogura Cake from Batu Pahat, Fishballs from Yong Peng, Railway bread from Kluang and durians from Segamat. Wait, the last one doesn’t count! LOL
I begin this month’s exploration with Ayam Masak Merah, a purportedly popular dish throughout the Peninsula (judging by the number of times this dish has actually being cooked and blogged) which has its roots from the southern state. Not quite a fan of tomato ketchup, I was rather curious about how it would taste when I saw it being featured in Wendyinkk’s blog last August. The combination of a simple rempah, together with coconut milk and a generous dousing of tomato ketchup… very curious indeed.
Poached Pears in Red Wine is a signature french fruit dessert which is both easy to prepare and delcious to enjoy. Better known as “Poires Au Vin Rouge“, this french classic uses port or some other full-bodied fortified wine as a base for a thick syrup enriched with spices. Its origins can be traced back to another French dessert named Poire belle Hélène created by by Auguste Escoffier, named after the operetta La belle Hélène by Jacques Offenbach. Incidentally creating desserts after popular themes or famous people seemed to be Escoffier’s
favorite past-time speciality as he also gave us Pêche Melba, after the famous Australia prima donna. Jacky Wu of 囍宴 Xi Yan, a restaurant chain in Hong Kong and Singapore specialising in the concept of “private dining” decidedly gave this dish an Oriental twist with their restaurant signature “囍有此梨” 桂花陳酒燴啤梨 Poached Pear in Aged Osmanthus Wine, with the incorporation of 桂花陈酒 aged osmanthus wine from China. The palate experience provided is quite different from that of the original Poires Au Vin Rouge but no less enjoyable!
Woke up real late yesterday and missed the marketing hours of our local morning bazaar which is colloquialised as “pasar”. Not wanting to “succumb” to instant noodles, I prepared “instant” beef noodles with the beef brisket I braised couple of days back and some ingredients I had at home. Simple fanfare with a few ingredients for that extra touch! The gratification was instant as well oh yeah!
柱侯萝卜焖牛腩 Braised Beef Brisket with Daikon in Chu Hou Sauce is one of my favorite dishes from the 粤菜系 Cantonese cuisine. It is a must-order for me whenever I visit chinese restaurants, be it Hong Kong cafes, or traditional Cantonese restaurants. Succulent beef brisket, beef tendon and daikon braised to perfection, drawing in all the flavours from the condiments and spices added, making it a rare treat for me. And the sauce is simply out of this world, especially when left to mature overnight for the flavours to fully develop! Give me a bowl of the sauce and I could polish off 3 bowls of rice with it! Unfortunately not every Cantonese restaurant offers this, owing to the long cooking time required, and for those which do have it on their menu, not all of them do it well. Yes, it is a time-consuming dish to prepare but reassure that it is well worth the effort! Braise a huge pot of it, which is usually what I do, and it would keep me happy for days at ends!
This is going to be a long post given the long ingredients list and cooking method. So please bear with me as the details cannot be spared!
Tarte Bourdaloue aux poires is a classic french pear and almond tart whose origins seem to be in question. Some say it was created by Coquelin of La Pâtisserie Bourdaloue in 1909 and subsequently named it after the famous Parisienne street which the pastry shop still stands. 河田勝彦, the renowned Japanese patissier wrote in his book “Sélection de patisseries françaises anciennes et modernes” wrote that the first written record of this confection was in “Larousse Gastronomique” written by Proper Montagne which noted that it was created by Fasquelle, a patissier along rue Bourdaloue in the middle of the 19th century who named it after Louis Bourdaloue, a famous french jesuit from late 17th century [sic.]. Whatever the case, this is a very rustic tart and the recipe can be tweaked to suit one’s own likes. The recipe is made up of 3 simple parts, i.e. Pâte Sucrée, Crème d’amandes and Poires pochées. Here’s the version I’ve adapted from several recipes I’ve come across.