Fact. I’ve never tried Filipino food. Ok, maybe once, when a friend brought over some cassava cake. Neither have three of my friends. So we all went down to Adobo Experience to give it a try.
We went early, around quarter to 6. The place wasn’t busy and our server was eager to take our order. We needed more time. To explore this exotic to us cuisine. We finally went with his suggestion of crispy pata which is deep fried pork hock to share as an appetizer. Mmmm, crispy pork skin. Three of us choose different versions of adobo, which is a meat stew. Hubby was the odd one out and went with the kare kare which is a peanut sauce based stew. The food was tasty. They also have a meal for a large group called Boodle Fight Experience. Google it. It’s now on my bucket list.
The food came reasonably quickly. But after that, the service fell down. The restaurant got really busy and it turned into Chinese style service. Where you play hail the waiter. If they see you. We decided to share the halo halo dessert which is more than enough for the four of us. It was pretty tasty. But it took a long time to order and then to arrive. Food is good, service not so much.
I haven’t had a dosa in a long time. So when a friend of mine mentioned that Madras Cafe was having a dosa festival, I just had to go. They had a special menu that featured 100 dosa and dosa variants.
We started off with the podli idli. Idli is a savoury rice and fermented black lentil cake that is steamed. This version was subsequently fried and mixed with spices. It had a tang of heat and the fried onions added a nice crunch. I ordered the mix vegetable dosa for my main dish. It came with a side of soup and a couple of dipping sauces. It was quite tasty. Hubby asked the server for his recommendation. Our server, who I assumed was also the owner had a thick accent that I found difficult to decipher. Hubby accepted our server’s suggestion. It was a vegetarian dosa, bursting with vegetables and flavour.
I love hole-in-the-wall family run places. This is the sort of place that I would come back to, if I found myself in the area again.
We went to The Himalayan a couple of months ago, on the recommendation of a friend. It’s hidden away in a strip mall by the Westbrook LRT station. Easy to miss. It looks like a family run operation, and a busy one at that. Seating is limited, so best to go in the off peak hours. Hubby and I went early on a Saturday for their lunch buffet.
They have a good selection of vegetarian dishes, along with some meat. Everything was extremely tasty. Some of the things I tried included: pappadam, saffron rice, dal, butter chicken, Everest lamb and chili tofu. They also had a salad bar and a few desserts. The mango pudding, fruit salad and halwa were good. They also serve naan on the side.
The service was prompt and friendly. Well worth a return visit.
I love slow cookers. They give you time when you don’t have time. I got inspired to make this dish by someone microwaving their lunch at work. It smelled like peanut butter. I love peanut butter. I found this recipe via A Year of Slow Cooking blog. The recipe can be gluten free, if GF soy sauce is used.
The smell of peanut butter overwhelming my house was too much to bear, I kept on sneaking samples as it was cooking. It goes really well with a vinaigrette coleslaw. I didn’t need the bun; I could have ate it on its own. It has a strong peanut flavor, with satay undertones. Be sure to use the peanut butter that only contains 100% peanuts. No sugar or other additives for a natural taste. I used blade roast and shoulder butt instead of tenderloin. I shredded it in my Bosch Kitchen Machine. It was doing ok, until it got the parts covered with the connective tissue. I pulled those by hand. It is really moist and tender.
Saint Patrick’s day is coming up. I’m thinking shades of green, or what do to with that pandan paste that has been sitting in my freezer. My first experiment, pandan coconut muffins. To be honest, I don’t really know what pandanus leaves taste like. It has a prominent odour, after cooking it reminds me of steaming rice. I’ll have to admit the muffins tasted mostly of coconut with a nice, chewy texture and a ton of green. Tasty.
Pandanus leaves are very popular in southeast Asia. They are used in both savoury and sweet dishes. I thought they were hard to find, until I saw them in the freezer section of Lambda Supermarket. I bought the frozen leaves and blended them into a paste.
For this recipe, I found the amount of pandan paste insufficient. Since I made my own, I kept on adding until the batter turned a nice green colour. I’m guessing it was almost a cup when all was said and done.
The aroma of pandan permeated the house so much, that even hours later, it still smelled like the rice cooker was on all day.
I had already judged this restaurant before I ever ate a meal here. I am going to be honest in my review. Last time our reservation was cancelled but we arrived on time. I decided that I would give this place a second chance. When we arrived, there were two tables, a reserved for two and one for four that had yet to be cleared. We we given the one for two and we did not have a reservation. Moral of this story: even though they accept reservations, don’t make one.
There was only one server for a busy dinner service. We waited 1o minutes to order, and the waitress apologized. They were out of a lot of items. We wanted to try the glutinous rice rolls and Hainanese chicken laksa. They were out. So we ordered deep fried chicken nuggets Taiwanese style, preserved duck egg with tofu, and seafood laksa with yellow noodles. I overheard the table next to ours trying to order bubble tea. They were out of some of the flavors. My friend had the cold honey lemon drink and I had the dates and longan tea. Our food arrived in good time. We had to ask for bowls as we were sharing our meal. I was surprised when the server came by to do a quality check.
The food was really good. Everything was flavorful. The dates and longan tea reminded me of the Chinese soup my Mom used to make. The drink tasted sweet, like luo han guo (monk fruit). I liked the preserved duck egg with tofu. It was topped with a sweet soy type sauce and bonito flakes. The laksa was spicy enough for me, but my friend preferred Tropical Delight’s version, which was spicier.
We had to get the attention of our server to get a takeout box. I can recommend this restaurant for its food, but not for service. Perhaps I expected more than I got. I am used to subpar, even rude service in some Chinese restaurants. I don’t expect it from a Malaysian restaurant. If you really want to eat here, be patient and skip the reservations.
I went to Lambda Supermarket today and found some unusual items that I have been looking a while for. I always thought this store had less selection than T&T and Topps, but today I was pleasantly surprised.
I’m slowly putting together a plan for making ramen noodles. Food grade potassium carbonate, lye water or kansui is used to impart the yellow color and chewiness in the noodles. It’s also used to boil bagels. In stronger concentrations, it’s used in soap making as well as oven and drain cleaner. Sound delicious? Now all I need is a pasta roller attachment for my KitchenAid standmixer.
I’ve been looking for fresh ramen noodles too. The fresh package I bought did not look or taste like ramen. The frozen is pictured below and locally made; I have yet to try it. The most authentic I’ve tried came from a local shop in Toronto.
The third item is frozen pandanus leaves. They are used a lot in south east Asian cooking. I had a use for them at one point; now I have forgotten what it was. Oh well, when I remember, I will have them at hand. I own a copy of Thai Street Food by David Thompson and it has all sorts of dessert recipes that use that ingredient.
I found this little gem while shopping at Lucky Supermarket next door. I’m really used to visiting Chinese bakeries with all the predictable Chinese favorites. I suspect, this bakery caters to Vietnamese and Filipinos. They had an assortment of western bread, cookies, pastries and cake. But they also had various sweet rice desserts, and cassava cake. My friend was so happy to find a rice cake that she hadn’t eaten since childhood. They also had the Vietnamese equivalent of lo bok go, steamed daikon cake.
I’m on a mission to try all the southeast Asian restaurants in town. Well, mostly the Malaysian and Indonesian ones. Indonesian Kitchen is a small family run restaurant located on the ethically diverse International Avenue. Not much to look at from the outside, but the interior is warmly decorated. There are also shelves of crafts from Indonesia and a small selection of dry groceries. If I were more familiar with Indonesian cooking, I would have picked up some.
We started with the fried cassava. So good. Think of it as a spicy french fry. The chicken curry was up next. It was pretty average; I definitely expected more of a flavor hit. The mie goreng satisfied my craving for carbs after climbing. It was slightly sweet, which I was also craving. The shrimp chips and fried egg were a nice touch. Surprisingly, the tempeh was my favorite dish. Tempeh is a fermented soy product. I’ve cooked it before, and found the taste a little hard to swallow. But this version tasted good and combined with the sambal (chilli) sauce, was very tasty.
Worth a return visit, to try some of the other dishes.
Today’s foray to Indonesian Kitchen reminded me of the great taste of cassava. Cassava is a starchy vegetable that is used as food in a lot of Asian and African countries. It’s used a lot in subsistence farming. There is one ironic thing about this tuber. It is toxic to humans because it contains cyanide. There are two varieties, sweet and bitter. I assume they only sell the sweet variety in the grocery store. It requires proper processing techniques to be safe to eat. With sweet cassava, peel off all the skin (just the white flesh showing), cut off any dark streaks, grate and cook. Most of the poison is in the skin. The bitter variety, apparently has to be soaked for days in water or fermented underground. Then cooked really well. Processed, it is commonly known as tapioca. I usually dislike processed foods, but I appreciate it needs to be processed to be made safe for human consumption.
I’ve modified the recipe below, by substituting the evaporated milk with water, adding some unsweetened shredded coconut, a dash of vanilla extract, and a couple tablespoons of sugar. I’m pretty sure I used around four cups of cassava – I didn’t measure, it was two large tubers. It’s surprisingly tasty, with the rich taste of coconut and a nice caramelized flavour.