Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Cambodian food tour

Head here in a few hours for a look at Lok Lak to Pat Prik Gang and Soup Psut.

These are just some of the yummies that Cambodia has to offer.

Comment/Mail/ Tweet/ or basically let me know in some way about the Khmer recipe you want and I'll blog in this space as soon as I get back to Manila, armed with authentic recipes.

Till then, hope you're all having food that is making your taste buds explode in joy!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Confessions of an unwilling vegetarian

Well, not exactly entirely unwilling but I’m not all that gung-ho about the idea either. But then again, as the Indian in me is more than ready to bow down to an idea of religious fast, my husband and I are embarking on our green journey starting today.
To put things in context, I am a carnivore, a hard core one. I like to have bacon and sausages for breakfast, chicken fry and Dal for lunch and chicken Biryani for dinner. I enjoy meat in the very many forms, chefs have offered them to us, the human race and I don’t see anything wrong with it. Now this is an ideology that I’ve struggled to stick on to when I turned environmentalist and worked for Greenpeace India. And while my planet is priority number one for me, somehow I could never bring myself to go green in the food sense.
But this time with the change in diet being limited to a few weeks, I am hoping to see it through to the end. The catch however is that I know very few vegetarian recipes. To be clear, my collection of non-vegetarian recipes outweighs the vegetarian ones, about fifteen to one. Yes, sad but true. But then the happy news is that it’s not that bad to go vegetarian if you hail from the sub-continent. After all we do have an overwhelmingly large collection of the best vegetarian dishes. All I need to do is to wade through the excellent recipes that have been kindly placed at my disposal by the Indian food bloggers of yore.
And so today my quest begins to find those simple, vegetarian recipes that will strike a chord with my taste buds. Keep checking back as I don’t belive in hogging and will most certainly be sharing the best recipes with you, with my comments on how they turned out when I tried them.
And so you never know, by the end of my fast, I might just get so hooked that I might have them veggies asking me to go find a chicken for a change! ;)
Till next time then, here’s to wishing that you all sleep with a tummy full of yummies tonight!

Picture courtesy

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Scrumptious Java

Have you ever noticed how prettier a place is, the yummier their cuisine? Not trying to be provocative here, but take Kashmir and its Wazwan or Kerala and its Sadhya for examples. To me, the food of a region always reflects the personality of the region. No place illustrates this better than Yogyakarta in Indonesia.
Javanese food is a harmonious combination of all the possible influences of the South East of Asia and India as well. The noodles are a little bit of Malaysian street food. The Padang chicken curry that peeks out from the window of the Padang eateries reminds me of mum’s chicken curry from back home. Wedang Ronde, that is all about the luscious rice balls soaked in a ginger soup reminds me of the Philippines Halo Halo and the Chinese teas. And then there is the Pergedel Goreng, which is all Indonesia and leaves your tongue gasping for more. And also giving you that special high that balances out the spiciness is Indonesia’s very own Bintang beer.
And all this for less than 100’000 Indonesian Rupiah! No, there is no need to faint! That converts to less than 500 Indian rupees or PHP.
So anyway, many of my friends wrote in saying that I was making their tummies ache with the pictures of all the yummy food that I had polished off while I was in Yogyakarta. Some of them wanted to know whether it was really that good or whether it just looked good. Well, to prove that I indeed enjoyed the food, loved it in fact and so that you guys can try for yourself, here are few of my favourite recipes from the trip.
Ayam Goreng Kalasan - The first dish my taste buds feasted on. Chicken drumsticks that were fried to perfection yet were succulent. Eaten with white rice and fresh raw vegetables, the plate is completed with a large shrimp cracker. If you’re in India, I would suggest going with a Pappdam instead. Here’s an authentic recipe you can try out.
Pergedel Goreng – As complicated as the name sounds, this is actually nothing but fried potato. But the kind of fried potato that you just cannot have enough off!  As you eat it with rice, you realize that it is mashed and that it melts in your mouth. Made with meats ranging from mutton to beef, the dish is very, very simple to make! Don’t believe me? Check this recipe out.
Wedang Ronde – A dish that many tourists miss out on, as mainly street vendors sell it. And not a lot of tourists have locals that guide them in the right direction. We were fortunate enough to be taken to Alun-Alun or Yogyakarta’s South Square where we tasted this delicacy. Was it a soup? Was it a drink? Hard to tell! Delectable rice balls steeped in a ginger and lemon liquid that opens up your throat as you devour it! If you don’t see yourself sitting cross-legged on a pavement eating/drinking this, make it at home with this recipe.
Enjoy you guys! And if you don’t get Bintang as an accompaniment, remember that a fresh lime soda will do just as well!
So till next time, here's wishing that you all get your share of lip-smacking treats! 

Friday, February 19, 2010

In the Orchard

I’ve always been a sucker for Chinese food back in India. The very thought of Hakka noodles and chicken Manchurian throw my taste buds into a mad tizzy. I could eat Chinese everyday and my friends from college will testify that we almost did. From sharing Schezuan triple fried noodles to chicken lollipops and sweet corn chicken soup, Indian Chinese never failed to hit the spot.

So its little wonder that I landed in Manila, widely touted as home to exotic cuisines from across the world with vivid pictures of ginger-garlic and soya sauce based delicacies dancing in front of my eyes. Within the span of few days I realized how limited my love had been. There, awaiting my taste buds were dishes from Malaysia and Singapore, Cambodia and Vietnam and of course the Philippines itself. (I will be writing more about the Chicken Adobo- my favourite Pinoy dish soon)

Suffice to say that I’ve been immersing myself in these flavours that range from the super spicy of the Schezuan style to the light, subtle flavours of noodle soup. Which is why my husband and me were amongst the first to sample the wares of Orchard Road, a restaurant named after that famous street in Singapore.

The heady fragrances wafting from the restaurant was more than enough for us to ignore the ‘We are on a dry run’ sign and walk straight in. Built with a large open kitchen in the centre, and the tables set around it, Orchard Road resembles a food court. On walking in, we were handed an order sheet that urged us to “Enjoy our Singapore food trip.” Our eyes lit up at the dishes on offer, from a variety of Congee to hot desserts named Bubur Cha Cha and Dimsums of all kinds and preparations with exotic names like Mee Reebus and Char Kway Teow. Though there are inviting and illuminated pictures decorating the top walls of the kitchen, I was still lost without translation.

Ever ready to experiment, my husband ordered Singapore fried Bee Hoon, while I chose the rather conservatively named Black Pepper Beef and Rice. Twenty minutes later we were looking at the most appetizing looking plates of Asian food we had seen in a while.

Bee hoon turned out to be stir-fried rice vermicelli mixed with generous portions of mushrooms, carrots and garlic and marinated in quite a number of sauces. Diving into it with forks, we soon found out that the dish had a generous hint of flavours and not overwhelmingly so. The vermicelli is delicate, yet gives out a barely noticeable crunch. The vegetables retain their identity, despite being mixed in with soya and oyster sauce. It’s a must try! And for those who cant make it to Manila or Singapore, I’ve found a recipe that will get you a close approximation of the dish, here.

Black Pepper beef and rice was just that, with a bull’s eye or a sunny side up accompanying it. The beef was tender and the preparation seemed pretty straightforward with the flavours of garlic, onion and capsicum making their presence felt. The pepper and the stir-fry sauce perfectly complimented each other and I ended up leaving the plate squeaky clean. In my search for replicating the dish, I’ve found a pretty close recipe here. While it’s traditionally served with rice, I can totally see the dish making an excellent combo with noodles as well.

Our first visit was on a weekend and was such an excellent experience that we headed there yesterday as well. While we repeated the Bee hoon, we decided to go with Hokkien Mee (A version of prawn noodles) and fried Dimsums for variety. Sadly, while the Bee Hoon was still delicious, the other two dishes did not rise to our expectations at all. We’ve decided to find out who the chef who makes Bee Hoon is, and to figure out what else he dabbles in.

So for those in Manila, and heading towards Orchard Road, I recommend the Singapore fried Bee Hoon as your safety dish, while you experiment with other side dishes. This way you won't leave totally unsatisfied.

And for those who’re following the blog from India and elsewhere, check out the links to the recipes. A change in our usual style of cooking is mostly always good.

So till next week, here’s wishing you all a lot of yum-yums in your tum-tums.


(Orchard Road is located in the Second Floor,Mega Mall, Ortigas, Pasig City)