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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

#ewew cooks Sticky Honey Soy Chicken Wings

I actually learned this recipe from Astro's afc shorts where they show you short clips of recipes as fillers in between cooking shows.  And it's super easy to follow as they show you step by step how the dish is cooked. You can either record the short clip (and view again) or you can (like me) pause the steps at intervals to jot down the ingredients needed.

One day, I caught this short clip on how to make Sticky Honey Soy Chicken Wings.  The end result looked tempting enough, so I thought I'd give it a go.

Ingredients:

6 chicken wings, without the wing tips (about 500g)
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

Marinade:
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp water
2 garlic cloves (minced)
2 cm ginger (peel & grated)

Preparation:

First, prepare the marinade.  Mince the garlic cloves and grate the ginger.  Then, add the rest of the marinade of honey, soy and water and mix well.

As the original recipe was made with 1kg of chicken wings and I only bought 500g worth, I made adjustments to the marinade (and seasoning) accordingly but I did bump up the black pepper a bit more.

Method:

Pour the marinade into a saucepan and bring to a simmer.

Simmer until the sauce thickens and is reduced by half (about 4 minutes).

Season the chicken and pour the reduced marinade (once cooled) over the chicken.  Get your hands in there to ensure the marinade is rubbed all over the chicken.  Stick it back into the fridge for a couple of hours (or at least an hour) to let the flavours develop.

When you're ready to cook, take the chicken out from the fridge and let it come to room temperature. Arrange the chicken wing pieces on a lined tray.  Pour what's left of the marinade over the chicken.

Preheat oven to 200°C and bake for 25 - 30 minutes.  You can choose to turn your wings halfway through to get a more even charring on all sides (I did that).  But if you choose not to and only char the presentation side, you can too but your wings will need a shorter cook time (probably 20 minutes will do).

The end result....lovely sticky-sweet-garlicky-savoury Sticky Honey Soy Chicken Wings y'all!

Serve that with a side salad and some potato wedges...and you have yourself a complete meal of protein, carbs and veggies.

And because the marinade has garlic, ginger and soy in the mix, it goes very well in a Chinese meal of rice-with-dishes set-up too.

To make life easier, you don't even have to make your own salad and fries.  Just get those pre-washed salad leaves in a packet and ready-made potato wedges from Aeon...and heat/crisp up the wedges in the oven toaster when you're ready to serve.  How easy is that? ^_*

Come to think of it, this makes a great dinner party menu as the main course, don't you think?  So easy to put together (since the chicken wings and marinade can be prepped ahead of time), all you need to do is to concentrate on roasting a lot of chicken wings! :P

Ah, forget about the fork....let's not be dainty about it.  Just get in there with your fingers...after all, it's finger lickin' good! ^o^

Ideally serves 2 small eaters as a main meal...but it could also be finished by one famished person.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Red Leaf (Prawn Mee) @ Jalan Loke Yew

I came here specifically to look for the stall that sells Penang Hokkien Mee (or Prawn Mee to KLites) after drooling over the mouth-watering photos from blogs, kyspeaks and vkeong, and an article in malaymailonline.

To locate this prawn mee stall, look for a visibly old coffee shop by the name Kedai Makanan Red Leaf @ Jalan Loke Yew although the name Kedai Makanan Shoong City may probably be the name you'd spot first (if you're entering from the front of the shop).  I read somewhere that that was the old name of the shop.  Either that or it could be the name of the shop that takes over at night serving "tai chow" (stir-fry) dishes as I noticed a water-filled tank that's used to store live fish for consumption.

The fact that they call it Hokkien Mee in itself makes the stall pretty authentic already, don't you think? ;) Ok-lah, the word Prawn was still in there....but that's just for those KLites who may misinterpret it as Fried Hokkien Mee.

Anyway, let's cut to the chase and focus on what I'm here for.....and that's for the prawn mee!  I came with high expectations for something good, so I decided to go with a bowl of (large) Prawn Mee (with bigger prawns) @ RM10 (RM9 for small...and by that, I mean small bowl of noodles, not small prawns) to satisfy my yearning for a bowl of excellent prawn mee.

Oh my, oh my, they certainly delivered where the prawns were concerned...they were big, fresh, firm, sweet-tasting and utterly succulent.  They were cooked to perfection unlike many that tend to overcook their prawns to death! >.<  I counted...and there were seven prawns....which is unquestionably good value for the price charged! ^.^  And another thing, no slicing of the prawns in half (or any such crap) to try to make it look as though they're giving you more prawns.  I hate it when they do that coz they make the prawns lose their firmness and bite (some even curls up when cooked). >:(

Was there any doubt as to how good the prawns would be....just look at that pile of cooked prawns at their stall (and those you see here are the smaller ones).  They use sea-caught prawns here (with softer shells) unlike those lower quality hard-shelled or farmed prawns that lack sweetness (which I dislike)Even my regular neighbourhood prawn mee stall acknowledges that the farmed prawns don't taste as good (so, those who use them are obviously watching their profit margin).

Actually, the ingredients here are pretty simple...there's the usual lean pork slices, kangkung and fried shallots (I always ask for the bean sprouts to be omitted) in my bowl of prawn mee.  They don't have those premium ingredients like pork ribs, pork intestines or XL-sized prawns with shells on that you can add on to your prawn mee...and they don't need to (I didn't miss it) coz the prawns were just that good.

Some think that the lean pork slices aren't crucial in a bowl of good prawn mee but I beg to differ.  The ones here are perfectly lean, sliced to the right thickness and nicely tender.  The only thing that wasn't to my liking were the fried shallots.  They seemed too finely chopped to me and I suspected that they were the store-bought kind (made in large quantities with the use of a food processor) though they were still of a decent quality and tasted alright.

But the key to any good prawn mee fundamentally lies in the broth.  And this broth, visually, had a good colour to begin with.  The first sip of the broth and I was bowled over big time by its rich crustacean undertones.

The prawn-y broth had this innate sweetness to it...probably (and hopefully) from the truckload of prawn shells that were used to cook the broth (or, maybe, a bit of MSG was in play?).  Let's not kid ourselves, we know many hawkers use it, it's only a question of how much (though some will vehemently deny it, of course, if asked).  For me, personally, I'm ok with it as long as the amount used is minimal.  I read from a newspaper article that they boil their broth with large pork bones and prawn shells over long hours to extract the sweetness.  I personally prefer a broth that's more savoury than sweet but certainly didn't mind it.  You can balance out the sweetness by dunking in all the spicy chilli paste like I did (the chilli paste is also really good).  The broth was so good that I had no trouble finishing the entire bowl...big some more! ^o^

So outstanding and memorable that I had to return the following Sunday to have it again...only to be driven away by the massive traffic jam (caused by Ching Ming).  So, we returned the following week.  This time, I had the (big) Prawn Mee (with small prawns) @ RM7.50 (RM6.50 for small bowl).  Just look at the prawn/sambal oil around the rim of the bowl...if that's not a beautiful sight, I don't know what is! ;)  It was on this visit that my suspicion was confirmed that the fried shallots were indeed store-bought as we witnessed the fried shallots being taken out from a pre-packaged bag (one of the stall owners was seen banging on the package probably to dislodge the fried shallots that were stuck together).

I wanted to try the smaller prawns to see if they could stand on their own against the bigger prawns (there were only two options when it came to the size of the prawns).  Even with small prawns, the bowl of prawn mee was still awesome!  But for an extra RM2.50, I think it's worth it to 'upsize' the prawns to make it even more awesome!! :P

I seldom order big for noodles but I did in this case coz I was hoping to get more broth, not more noodles! ;P See, I almost finished all the soup (which I usually try not to do)...a testament to how good the prawn broth really was.

My Personal Opinion

Other than, perhaps, a few missing slices of hard-boiled egg (which would have made the bowl 'complete') and the fried shallots not conforming to my overly strict preference of them being freshly fried, there's no denying that this is a very good prawn mee...and it has become a top favourite of mine since eating it.

I'm really glad that I sought out this hidden gem of an excellent prawn mee.  Seriously, I can't gush enough of the prawns itself which were fresh, firm and sweet, unlike any of the prawns I've found (and eaten) in a bowl of prawn mee before.

Although I prefer the broth to be more savoury than sweet (well, I can counter that by just adding all the chilli paste in), I do know a lot of people want that inherent sweetness in the broth.  So, if you're among them, you have to seek this place out to try the prawn mee and you'll be glad that you did....that's how confident I am that you'll like it! ^_^

Kedai Makanan Red Leaf
No 61 & 63 Jalan Loke Yew
(corner of Lorong Loke Yew & Jalan Loke Yew)
Pudu
55200 Kuala Lumpur

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Ra.Ft Cafe/Bistro @ Arcoris Plaza, Mont Kiara

Ra.Ft Cafe (in the vicinity of KLCC) is a favourite cafe of mine, usually for breakfast and brunch, sometimes for dinner too.  The folks of Mont Kiara can count themselves lucky that a second branch has opened there in January this year.

Knowing that they'll serve up the same good food, I decided to pay a visit to Ra.Ft Cafe/Bistro @ Arcoris Plaza, Mont Kiara just to have a peep at their new place.  From the al fresco seating outside, the space they occupy seemed spacious...initially.

But once inside, it was not as spacious as I thought.  The cafe takes on the same theme (similarities are very obvious) as their original Binjai outlet, down to the decor, colour scheme and furniture, except that the seats are much closer to one another because of the smaller space overall (which includes a very small children's play area as well).  I felt that it was a bit crammed for me.

Looking at the menu, I noticed a few new offerings, among them was this Ra-Ft Dome @ RM22 featuring toasted home-made bread with home cured salmon, a poached egg and an avocado spread served with a side of rocket salad.

The home cured salmon takes on a pinkish tinge as it's reportedly cured with beetroot.

A ravishing poached egg with runny yolk lies underneath the dome of cured salmon together with a lusciously creamy mashed avocado that's so good.  The side salad of rocket leaves added a much needed fresh element to counter the richness of the creamy yolk and avocado spread.  Absolutely delicious. ^o^

I also noticed their Lunch Special (scribbled on their blackboard) of Sea Bass Fillet with Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli & Cauliflower @ RM36 and wanted that.  They were kind enough to accommodate us (even though it was breakfast time) but I then noticed they quickly rubbed away the chalked writing on the blackboard (right after we ordered).  I'm not sure what's the story with that...perhaps there's no special for weekends and that was yesterday's lunch special, maybe?  I was duly informed that there weren't any sweet potatoes, so I requested for it to be substituted with smashed potatoes (the same ones from the breakfast dishes).

The sea bass fillet was fresh with a nice crisp skin and easily flaked at the touch of the fork.  I would have loved a creamy sauce of some sort (other than the drizzle of balsamic dressing) to offer a bit of richness to the dish and, at the same time, make the fish just a tad more moist.  But, overall, a simple dish that should still please the lighter palates.

Of course, we've always enjoyed their Ra.Ft 'All in One' Breakfast @ RM32 showcasing their house-made bread, butter mushrooms, baked beans, smashed potatoes and roasted tomatoes with our choice of scrambled eggs, streaky bacon and scrumptious house-made pork sausage.

You can also chose to customise your own breakfast...we did with My Breakfast @ RM28 opting for croissant, scrambled eggs,bacon, mushrooms and smashed potatoes.  I felt that the scrambled eggs were just a hint less fluffy and creamy than the ones we had at their Binjai outlet and I would have personally liked the pan-fried bacon to have a bit more colour though they were still very fragrant and tender.

Having said that, the food here was delicious nonetheless.  Perhaps, that's how the chef chooses to do it here (I do know that's how some prefer their bacon to be done).  Or, perhaps, it was just that day.  On hindsight, they were super crowded and the food did take a bit longer than usual to arrive that day.  Right off the bat, I noticed that there's a greater Japanese clientele in this branch (compared to the mostly western clientele in their Binjai branch).

My Iced Latte @ RM10....the coffees here are still as good and pocket-friendly as ever :)

My family's sunshiny juices of Fresh Orange @ RM12.50 and Sunny Day @ RM16 (a mixture of orange, mango & pineapple) that's both refreshing and invigorating.

My Personal Opinion

The place still serves up the same good food (with the same hospitality) as their Binjai branch though, personally, this place didn't endear me as much as their Binjai outlet did.  I definitely prefer the spaciousness, setting and ambience of their Binjai branch because I like roomy spaces...but that's just me.

After having tried the Mont Kiara branch, I think I'll stick with their Binjai outlet since it's also much closer to where I live.  But having said that, Mont Kiara folks are fortunate to have a lovely brunch spot for good food, and even better coffees, that they can call their own. ^.^

Check out my earlier write-ups of their Binjai branch here, here and here for a peek at the yummeh dishes that I've had the pleasure of eating before.  If the heart of KL is too far for you, fret not, you can now head to Mont Kiara instead! ;)

Ra.Ft Cafe/Bistro
Lot G16 & G17 Arcoris Plaza
10 Jalan Kiara
Mont Kiara
50480 Kuala Lumpur 
Tel: 6412 2127

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Critters in my Porch

These photos have been lying in my phone for a while...might as well get to writing the post so that I can delete them away.  Time for a creepy post.  Not creepy as in scary but creepy as in creepy crawlies! >_<

Some of the critters who visit phonghong's garden are cute but I'm afraid the ones who come to my garden porch are usually pesky ugly-looking insects.  Why they would want to come here, I don't know...I don't even have lovely, delicious plants for them to eat.

Some of my uninvited guests include:


This multi-legged creepy crawly we call a centipede.  They're so disgusting-looking, they make my hair stand on end! >_<


Luckily I spotted this grotesque intruder....time to bring out the hose and spray it down the drain.


There was even a time when I found a baby centipede in my basin of water.  Nope, still revolting...even if it's baby-ish.


This millipede, though still fugly, is at least a tad less disgusting than its 'cousin', the centipede, because of its cute, round body....and the way they move.


Another trespasser was this wriggly earthworm.  Why on earth does it want to crawl in here?  I don't even have earth in my garden porch.


Once, I found a baby dragonfly in my basin of water.  How it got there, is a mystery.  Maybe, it kamikaze-d into the sea (aka my basin).


Maybe it thought it could swim! :P  Ah, too bad, down the drain it goes.

And then there was this sad 'couple'....till death do us part :D

Sadly, critters who venture into my porch are a very unfortunate bunch coz they're unaware that they're walking into a "killing field"....where a serial killer lurks! O_o

Let me show you some of the unlucky visitors who strayed into the wrong porch! ;)


One day, I discovered the gruesome torso of a grasshopper on my porch...what a horrible way to die....decapitated...and that wasn't the first.


Another time, this young grasshopper's legs were dismembered...ouch, that must have hurt!  Oops, I hope 'nothing' was riding on the grasshopper (like one of TM's stories), otherwise it'll have to find another 'mode of transportation' and hail another 'cab'...kekeke! :D  Luckily, I've not come across any butterfly corpses.


And for the lizards who call my house home, it's better to go 'house-hunting' for a new place for I've seen you-know-who chase and injure them till they shed their tails...and die.  Lizards are icky...and a nuisance, so I don't mind them being caught and killed.


Poor beetle of some sort...no bugs can escape this vicious killer!  Even if you think you can fly....think again, you can't escape his clutches.  I've even seen him swatting at houseflies (with precision)...and those who dare enter the house don't leave alive (as I often find them dead on the floor). >.<

Warning to all creepy crawlies:  There's a serial killer lurking out there....and if you value your already short lives.....it's best you find another porch if you know what's good for you! ^_~


Guess who?  He's bad, he's bad.....you know it...who's bad? ;)


Who me?  But that's my nature.....I hunt...I'm a natural born killer! :P

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