Sunday, August 26, 2012

Stewed Sweet Tapioca Root

 My husband woke up early on Sunday morning and went jogging with my daughter. On his way home,  he went to the morning market to get some ingredients for spaghetti sauce for lunch. While walking in the market, he spotted a small stall selling fruits and tapioca root and he immediately bought some tapioca root home. Tapioca was his favourite since young.  
During our childhood days, rural folks will just grow some tapioca in the backyard and use tapioca to make nyonya cake (tapioca cake) or simply steamed and eat with castard sugar or freshly grated coconut. It is usually serve at tea time and goes well with black coffee. 

Tapioca Root
Brown Sugar / Raw Sugar
Sea Salt
Coconut Milk / Double Cream (optional)
Pandan Leaf

1.  Peel off tapioca skin.  Clean and cut into pieces of desire size.
2.  In a stew pot, pour in water, pandan leaf and tapioca pieces.  Stew tapioca until soft.
3.  Add raw sugar, salt and lastly coconut milk or cream.
4.  Serve hot or cold as afternoon tea break snack.

Points I followed:
-  Try to get young tapioca root, which has less hard root fibre.
-  Must stew until tapioca is soft before sugar is added.
-  Small amount of salt really enhance and balance the sweet creamy taste.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Going Vegan @ Sushi Kitchen

Japanese food is not unusual to most of us as it is recognized as an international cuisine. There are variety of Japanese food such as rice based dishes (sushi, domburi, onigiri, kareraisu, chahan, chazuke&kayu), seafood dishes (sashimi, yakizakana), noodle dishes (soba, udon, ramen, somen, yakisoba), nabe dishes (oden, sukiyaki, shabu-shabu, chankonabe), meat dishes (yakitori, tonkatsu, nikujaga), soya bean dishes (yudofu, agedashi tofu, miso soup), yoshoku dishes (korokke, omuraisu, hayashiraisu, hamubagu) and other dishes (tempura, okonomiyaki, monjayaki, gyoza, chawanmushi, tsukemono). Mentioning the long list of Japanese dishes make my mouth watering and my tummy growling while writing this article... 

Front View - 1st fl

High quality claypot for cooking (I think this pot is from Taiwan)

Most of the local Japanese restaurants that I know in my living area are non-vegetarian but there is one particular Japanese restaurant, Sushi Kitchen - located in Sungai Ara, Penang, serves Japanese fusion organic vegetarian dishes in a unique ambiance. This unique restaurant was introduced to me by a good friend who loves Japanese food and a vegan as well. 
After discovering this restaurant, I bought my family there.  On one of the weekend in May, my whole family together with my sister head for the restaurant and we soon found the place and there were ample parking space in front of the restaurant.  I contacted the restaurant to make prior reservation...  Yes, it was packed.

If you’re coming from the town via the coastal highway, drive through the Bayan Lepas roundabout into JalanTun Dr Awang and head towards PISA, pass two traffic light junctions and turn right into Jalan Dato Ismail Hashim, Drive along Jalan Dato Ismail Hashim and turn right into Jalan Sungai Ara 1, after passing Sekolah Kebangsaan Sungai Ara, which is on your left, Sushi Kitchen is located behind a row of shoplot opposite the school.  

The proprietor is an avid cyclist who has travelled to many countries and helped to raise fund for charity. Besides that, he also advocates green living lifestyle. 

The restaurant is located on the 1st floor of a two-storey shop house. The staircase leading to the restaurant is filled with customer’s testimonials, newspaper articles, postcards and signatures of customers. 

As you reach the top, you can see various sizes of clay pots and urns which are neatly arranged close to the wall. 

Other forms of decorative items includes old refrigerators, sewing machine stand, books, manual type writer, old F&N soft drink bottles, old stereo, tiffin carrier, earthen ware, brassware and many old household items. 

Guest have option to seat on the wooden floor (an elevated wooden stage with table and cushion pad), as well as the conventional dining tables and chairs which are made of hard wood.  
We sit on the wooden floor and my two kids love it, as this way of dining is new to them. My younger daughter was so excited and she started to run and walk around creating disturbance to a young couple dining at the other corner. My husband and sister had to look after the two kids while I was busy taking photos. 
Finally, after taking some photos, we sat down to order our food.  Food we ordered includes Organic Milky Way Spaghetti, Low Beauty Roll, Happiness Family, Golden Age, Sushi Fried Rice, Radiant Light Porridge and Red Sea Udon – TOTALLY VEGETARIAN.  As for the drinks, we ordered Nutmeg juice and Japanese green tea.
My family is not totally vegetarian but it is certainly good to change our way of eating by taking vegetarian food especially Japanese organic vegetarian which is a healthy choice as well. Having taken vegetarian meals elsewhere especially in some Chinese vegetarian restaurants, I do have some concern over the fried vegetarian food which are often oily. However, to my surprise the dishes at Sushi Kitchen are less oily and tasty too. 

There other prime attraction is the price of the food, which is reasonable amidst the cozy and warm ambiance. I would like to share my personal experience savouring the Japanese organic vegetarian dishes with my family.

Organic Milky Way Spaghetti (RM 15.90)
My daughters like it!  They enjoyed the milky sauce with herbs.  The portion is huge.

Happiness Family (RM 26.80)
A good variety of sushi.  Good to have if you are in a group, to taste assorted sushi.

Golden Age (RM12.80) – 6 pcs
Everyone has a piece and we ask for more!  Very refreshing and exotic sushi, topped with ripe mango. 

Low Beauty Roll (RM 6.80)
I personally like it!  Deep-fried until golden brown.  Better to eat when is hot.

Red Sea Udon (RM 11.90)
It tastes like creamy laksa.  Must try!  Again, another huge portion.

Sushi Kitchen Fried Rice (RM 6.80)
A simple Japanese fried rice, fried until fragranced but not oily.  Again, huge portion!

Radiant Light Porridge  (RM7.80)
It kept my younger daughter sit down quietly (for a while), at least gave us some peaceful  time to dine.  This creamy porridge accompanied with freshly cut Julienne vegetables.

Enzyme Hand Wash

Short of serving staff is the only setback in Sushi Kitchen.  I been there 3 times recently and served by only ONE same staff.  She greets guest, sits guest, attends to phone call, takes order, prepares drink, places and serves order, cashiering, clear and set table... and she is cool!
I strongly recommend Sushi Kitchen to all, regardless of vegetarian or non-vegetarian friends.  This is a new-age fusion environmental friendly eating place.  It is not only serving and promoting vegan food but how to live well to improve and save our environment for us and our future generation.  You should come to explore this hidden treasure!   

Please call for reservation (to avoid long waiting):
6 04 - 644 6739 (close on Tues)
Biz Hrs:  11.30 am – 2.30 pm & 6.00 pm – 10.00 pm

Monday, June 11, 2012

Day Trip to Pulau Banding (Tasik Temenggor), Gerik-Perak

February 26, 2012 was just another lazy Sunday for the family. We woke-up late and had brunch instead of the usual lunch…. While we were resting after having brunch, my husband suggests that we make a short trip to Pulau Banding which is located along Jalan Gerik-Pasir Puteh, part of the East West Highway.  I wasn’t sure as to where this place located and how to get there but that was not important because my kids just jumped in joy knowing they are going somewhere. 
We quickly packed some snacks, drinking water and kids clothing and loaded into our car.  My sister was also invited to join us and she was happy to accompany us especially together with the kids.
Raising water level of the dam
Pulau Banding is located within the vicinity of the Royal Belum Forest, a national park in North Perak spreading up to the border of Perak and Thailand.  Pulau Banding is situated somewhere in the middle of Tasik Temenggor, the largest manmade lake in Perak.  It has diverse flora and fauna complement the panoramic beauty of the lake.  The enchanting atmosphere is further enhanced by the unique jungles surrounding the lake.  The lake has a rich source of freshwater fish like Kelah, Tenggalan and Baung.

We left for Pulau Banding from Bukit Mertajam via Butterworth-Kulim Expressway at around 2.30pm and reached Pulau Banding at around 5:30pm.  The Butterworth-Kulim Expressway connects to Gerik, the destination that were are heading. The road was winding, going up and down hill on certain stretch of the road leading to Pulau Banding.  On the way to Pulau Banding, we passed through many villages and various junctions to towns such as Kulim, Baling and Gerik. In fact, Pulau Banding is situated about 41 kilometers away from Gerik town.  
There are two bridges that connect to Pulau Banding.  We crossed the bridge and stopped at the Royal Belum Rainforest Resort to take a rest after a long drive.
Coincidently, the delegates attending the Royal Belum World Drum Festival 2012 were staying in this resort.  After a brief stop at the resort, we proceed to the public Jetty to view the lake before returning home. 
Belum Rainforest Resort - Corridor
Belum Rainforest Resort - hotel rooms fencing

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mini Fruit Tart

Decorated with half-strawberry
Topped with soft fruits
My daughter's kindergarten organized a potluck party to celebrate Teacher's Day.  On that morning, she woke-up early, looking forward to bring the mini fruit tarts to share with everyone.  She didn't eat any at home, wanting to bring all and eat together with her friends and teachers.  This is the first potluck party for her.

Handy container... to share with friends
... but when I picked her in the evening, I only found out that she didn't get to eat any.  Today, I made some especially for her..going to surprise her when she come home this evening... 

What I Used:
Tart Base
  • 200g Butter 
  • 330 - 350g All Purpose Flour 
  • 1 no Egg (whole) 
  • 1.5 Tbsp Icing Sugar
Egg Custard
  • 120g Butter 
  • 4 no Egg (whole) 
  • 6 Tbsp Plain Water 
  • 60g Castor Sugar 
  • 1tsp Vanilla Essence
How I did:
Tart Base
  1. Leave butter at room temperature in a bowl, sieve in flour and icing sugar.  
  2. Lightly stir egg in a separate bowl and add into the mixture.  Mix until combine, a dough form.  
  3. Press the tart dough into tart mould and bake at 180 degree C.  
  4. Leave to cool down and store in an air-tight container.

Tart Shell

Egg Custard
  1. Add butter, castor sugar and vanilla essence into a bowl.  
  2. Lightly mix egg and plain water together in a separate bowl and pour into the butter mixture bowl. 
  3. Prepare a water-bath over medium heat, cook the custard mixture on water-bath.  Stir with whisk from time to time until mixture is thick (similar to "kaya" texture). 
To serve
  1. Scoop egg custard into tart shell and decorate with fruits.
Points to hightlight:
Scoop egg custard into the tart shell only before serving, to keep the crispy texture of tart shell.  Best to serve with soft fruits, such as kiwi, strawberry, blueberry, canned peach, mango, grape, orange, etc.

Specially thanks to Ying Yin's Antie Hooi Sian @ for sharing this wonderful recipe.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Family Weekend Excursion to Teluk Intan (Teluk Anson), Perak

My husband was invited to attend a wedding dinner in Teluk Intan last Saturday.  He looked forward to meet up with old friends and celebrate the auspicious occasion. 

We took this opportunity to travel with the whole family, my two kids and sister.  As the distance between Juru Tol  and Teluk Intan is approximately 228 km, we certainly need to stay a night in Teluk Intan.  Otherwise, it would be tiring to return on that evening after the dinner.  The bride groom recommended us home-stay instead of hotel.

The whole family started the journey at about 16:00 (this is the earliest we can made it!) and arrived in Teluk Intan at around 19:15. While travelling along the highway, there was intermittent rain especially before reaching Ipoh.  My two kids were corporative, sit quietly along the journey.  In fact, they enjoyed travelling and were looking forward to this trip especially my elder daughter.
Upon arriving in Teluk Intan, we tried to locate the location of home-stay from the map given to us but we failed to locate the place and our calls to the home-stay place were not answered.  At last, my husband had to call the groom (we tried not to disturbed him, at first) for help and he sent another friend over to guide us to the home-stay place which located near the crossroad of Jalan Changkat Jong and Jalan Sultan Abdullah.  The name of the home-stay place is TNT Novelty House
TNT Novelty House - front window
We quickly unload our belongings upon arriving, as my husband has to leave for the dinner.  As he left in a haste to attend the wedding dinner with his car, we couldn’t go out to have our dinner.  Unfortunately, the place we stayed, does not sell food but we did bring along some bread, snacks and drinks...

TNT - room wall
My younger daughter couldn’t sleep well due to unfamiliar surroundings and she had to wait for daddy to come back from dinner before she could sleep.  We check-in to a family room with one queen-size bed and single bed in one room and two single beds in separate chamber.  
TNT - single wooden bed
Room furnishing is simple and we liked the bed wooden frame so much, which is made from solid wood.

TNT - wall design & mirror
TNT Novelty House provides ample space for guest to sit in their living hall furnished with wooden chairs, reading tables, dining place, games corner, water fountain, TV room and laundry area.  Its a place worth a visit to explore the beauty of wood work!

TNT - Living Area
Drinking water, water pitcher and other kitchen utensils are provided for guest.  

TNT - Living Area

The rental is only RM60/night for an air conditioned room with attach bathroom.  We could park our car in the porch and there is a care taker looking after this place in the evening.  The house-owner also stay-in.  I consider this place safe, quiet, clean, simple and economical for budget traveller.  In fact, it is very clean!

TNT - games corner
Since the home-stay is located within the town of Teluk Intan, access to amenities such as banks, petrol kiosk, restaurants and shopping mall is easy.

Teluk Intan Chee Cheong Fun
The next morning, we have to pack our belongings and head to the town to search for a small shop selling “Chee Cheong Fun”, which is located before Pooi Yong School in a road connecting Jalan Pasar and Jalan Pasir Bedemar.  It was not easy to locate this shop, as the sign board was hidden.  In fact, when we arrived at 9:45am, the shop was about to close but fortunately take-away is still available and I bought four packets.  

The Teluk Intan “Chee Cheong Fun” is not the same as the usual one sold in Penang.  It is rolled-up with meat mixture fillings and served with pickled green chilli.  I still love the conventional Penang “Chee Cheong Fun” served with sweet sauce, prawn paste, and sprinkled with sesame seeds, but this is something different to me and it taste different from the conventional “Chee Cheong Fun”...

Teluk Intan Leaning Tower
Before leaving Teluk Intan, the whole family had a simple breakfast and then visited the Teluk Intan Leaning Tower (Tilting Tower), the famous landmark.  The leaning tower of Teluk Intan is the Malaysia equivalent of the world famous Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy.  It is located in the centre of the town.  The tower is slanted leftward.  It is 25.5 metres tall and from outside, it looks like a 8 storey building.  The tower is located in the center of a square surrounded by Jalan Pasar, Jalan Selat, Jalan Bandar and Jalan Ah Cheong.  
Background Leaning Tower
We did not walk around the tower as there were crowded with people due to Sunday bazaar held around the leaning tower.

The whole family left for Bidor, the next town before returning to Penang.  Bidor is 42 kilometres away from Teluk Intan.  This town is mainly an industrial area.  When one travels north of Bidor, one will see miles and miles of plantation on both side of the trunk road covered with lush greenery, fruit orchards, oil palm and rubber plantations.

Before the advent of North-South Expressway, travelers had no choice but to pass through this town through the federal trunk road.  As this town is famous for its variety of food, travelers frequently choose to stop-by at one of the eateries before continuing their journey

Bidor famous  'Kai Jai Peng' 鸡仔饼
The most famous food in Bidor undoubtedly will be the herbal duck-thigh-noodle available at one of the eatery that is the famous Pun Chun. The restaurant is located on the main street.  Pun Chun is also famous for its 'Sat Kai Ma' (Chinese: 萨奇马)- a type of sweet dessert and also 'Kai Jai Peng'Chinese:鸡仔饼) which is the chicken biscuit.  Apart from these, another shop next to it, selling large curry chicken bun and hand-made animal figurine moon cake.  We bought some of these delicacies from Bidor for friends, baby sitter, parents and ourselves.

During our last stop to buy two large curry chicken buns, my sister left behind a packet of mango she bought at the market, in the shop after buying some moon cakes.  She only realized when we entered North-South Highway.  As it was not too far away from the Bidor town, we went back to the shop and was relieved to find that the shop owner has kept the mango for us, thanks...

As last Sunday was Mother’s Day, we celebrate it by sharing the large chicken buns with my parents, our baby sitter and myself.  Happy Mothers Day!

Besides these, the other famous produces in Bidor are seedless guava, petai (stink beans), soursop, mango  and durian.

It was a pleasant trip for all of us and we are looking forward for next short excursion with the kids again.