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Friday, 2 December 2016

It's all about the Bacon by Five & Two Foods

I first got a whiff of this through The Star papers (sometime in the middle of the year) and, being the porkaholic that I am, I was consumed with bacon mania when I saw the article and their website photos.  And then I conveniently forgot about it until recently.

I could not hold out any longer, I have got to get myself a box of this good stuff....and that's what it said on the box itself!  Get ready for some.....Pop! Sizzle! Oink!

Opening the contents, with a smile on my face, this was what I got in my first box....Bacon Jam Original, Curried Pork and Candied Bacon Stix Original.

Let's start with Candied Bacon Stix that arrived in this neat foil package.  Tear open the packet and the bacon strips are wrapped in another piece of aluminium foil.

This is the Candied Bacon Stix (Original Flavour) @ RM23 (for 120g) which is the smallest pack (Small Bite). Of course, there are bigger packs, like the Big Bite (250g), Monster Bite (500g) and Colossal Bite (1kg) which also means you have to pay more (all the way to RM175)! O_o
Candied Bacon Stix (Original Flavour)
I was expecting it to look like this (pic from their website)...dry and almost similar to bak kwa but it was not. It's slightly wet and sticky (from the marinade) and stuck together in its presentation.

That's because they take smoked streaky bacon and smother it in their signature sweet and spicy rub before grilling resulting in a sticky sweet glaze that's not too sweet with just a tinge of heat (and you can certainly taste the black pepper).  The bacon sticks (which looked as if they were cut in half, about 4 inches in length) were absolutely delicious as a snack.

Or eat this between two slices of toasted bread (with added omelette) like I did for breakfast....so good! These candied bacon sticks are going to leave you wanting more.

It has an average shelf life of two weeks but it's not going to last that long, I tell you! ;)  They ask that you refrigerate it right after you receive it but it probably won't even make it to the refrigerator.  It's so addictive I could finish it in one go if I really wanted to.  But I purposely kept some pieces just to see if they taste as good after refrigeration (this pic was taken after half of it was consumed already).

They recommend that you microwave the bacon sticks for 20 seconds for best flavour and texture.  To test their theory, I did just that...and, you know what, they still taste as good.  Or you could just eat it cold straight from the fridge.  So, you have no worries of storing lots of them in the fridge to eat over a two-week period.  But, by the following day, all the candied bacon sticks were gone! :(

The next item I ordered was the Curried Pork @ RM18 (for a 180g jar), their Best Seller from their Curried Meats Section (they also have Curried Chicken & Curried Lamb).

In it you'll find small pieces of pork meat cooked in a curry sauce that looks almost sambal-like.  You can taste the spices in the curry that reminds you of an Indian curry (with ingredients like garam masala, turmeric powder, dried red chillies, curry leaves, fenugreek seeds and peppercorns).

Don't expect the pieces of pork to be tender coz it's not.  It has a bit of a chew and a tad dry (which is to be expected as it had to be cooked until almost dry) but the spices were a bit much for my taste buds.  It also looked on the oily side (when I opened the jar) but give it a good stir and it should be better.  If you're a fan of Indian curries, then this jar is for you.

You can use it to perk up your otherwise plain nasi lemak....like I did.

Or as an additional topping on your crisp roti canai (and I'm sure it'll be good with some fried rice or even just plain rice).

The other jar that I got was the Bacon Jam Original @ RM22 made with pork bacon, onions, garlic, chilli flakes, brown sugar, maple syrup and white wine vinegar.

The bacon chips, cooked in their secret sauce, have the texture of minced meat but you can certainly smell and taste the bacon.  It's sweet (slightly), spicy (just a tiny bit) and savoury all in one with a bit of a tang at the end.  It was praise worthy.

I started spooning the contents into my mouth....I could probably finish the whole jar in minutes but, two teaspoonfuls later, I told myself to stop.  This jar costs me RM22, I've got to make it count, I've got to make it last...haha! :D

Since it's a jam after all, bacon jam that is, it should be spread on toast, don't you think?  Or, take it up a notch, and stir it into some baked beans...before topping it onto your toast....yummeh ^o^

I'm sure it'll taste delicious tossed in pastas....but who wants to cook pasta when we have something quicker...maggi mee ;P  After all, this is all about convenient snacking, isn't it?

It makes a great dip...for french fries ;)

Or if you have any crackers, chips, nachos or biscuits....it works wonderfully with them too...absolutely delish :)  Can you imagine munching on these snacks in front of the TV? :O

All their jams are sold in 180g jars with an average shelf life of 4 months.  As they do not use preservatives, flavouring or colouring in their products, they're recommended to be kept refrigerated.  For best taste, warm up in the microwave oven for a couple of seconds but, if you're too lazy, just spoon out the portion you want to eat and leave it out to come down to room temperature...and you're good to go.

They have at least 10 types of bacon jams on offer on any given day with 3 types of Asian bacon, 3 types of curried meats and 3 flavours of candied bacon stix...check them out on fivetwofoods (I think they have a 'hot' product on their hands)! ^_*

My Personal Opinion

Of the three, my favourite was the bacon jam.  I can definitely see myself ordering that and probably the candied bacon stix again...this time maybe the Brazilian Bahian Flavour (for the candied bacon stix) instead. But I think I'll stick to the Original Flavour (for the bacon jam) since the rest have some type of liquor, beer or wine in them.

At an average price of RM25 for a 180g jar of bacon jam or 120g pack of bacon stix (that won't go very far...*wink wink*), it's the one thing that's holding me back from ordering and eating it on a more regular basis....but as an occasional indulgence...YESSS, please!! 

Well, Christmas is just round the corner....you might want to get yourself some to perk up your dishes...or simply for your own indulgence! ^.^


Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Little Sifu Famous Roast Meat @ Pandan Indah

Like in any housing areas, you're bound to find numerous roasted meat stalls and it's no different in my neighbourhood as roasted meat is a common and popular lunch time meal (sometimes even for breakfast) for many just like "chap fan" (mixed rice).

Finding one stall that does all types of roasted meat equally well is easier said than done as most of the stalls are usually good at one or two types only.  But that was until I found Restoran Little Sifu Famous Roast Meat @ Pandan Indah, a relatively newer shop (on its own) compared to the others here (which are usually a stall inside a coffee shop).

It's an unpretentious single shoplot, so seats may be difficult to come by during peak lunch hour but they're open from morning.  Service can be a bit trying during peak times (with lots of takeaways) as the owner practically does almost everything himself.

Start with the best thing in the house and that is their "Siew Yoke" Rice @ RM6.  Their roasted pork comes with a crispy crackling and the meat is flavourful with a nice balance of saltiness to it.

Check out the glorious crackling :)

My advice is to eat it there to get the optimum taste of the crispiness, otherwise the crackling will turn soft if you pack it to be eaten later.

Coming in a clear second for me is their Poached Chicken Rice @ RM7.50...with added chicken liver which is a must, for me! ;)  They use "choi yin kai" (kampong chicken) here, so the meat has a lot more flavour.  Left to steep in chicken broth and cooked to perfection, it yielded tender, moist and juicy meat....and this is one where I don't mind devouring the skin as well.

Third on the list is their "Char Siew" Rice @ RM6 though my family members would probably say it deserves the coveted second place.  The barbequed pork has a nice caramelisation on the outside with a good ratio of fat-to-lean (even if you didn't specify the cut you want)....absolutely scrumptious!

Or, if you're greedy you can't decide, get a combination of Char Siew & Siew Yoke Rice @ RM7.50.

And, finally, coming in at the back of the pack is their Roasted Duck Rice @ RM6 and the owner seems to have forgotten to give me breast meat.  When it comes to duck, I prefer breast meat...the only time I'd eat breast actually coz those with bones hardly got enough meat on them.
  
Ahh.....this time I got the cut I wanted!  This may not be among the better roast ducks I've had but it's still decent as a choice here.

Rounding up with their Roasted Chicken Rice (with liver again) @ RM6.30.  This is what happens when the place is super busy, everything gets splattered on the plate and they forget to give you the cut you requested (yikes, I got some pieces of chicken breast!) >_<

If you think you've experienced different prices when you eat in and takeaway, you're indeed right.  This is my packed Roasted Chicken Rice with Liver @ RM6.60.  The owner charges 30 cents more for the new plastic box...well, that's thanks to our government for imposing this but not imposing stricter rules to hawkers to not pass on the cost to us.  Although I'm all for recyclable packaging that's environment-friendly, I can't help but note that this results in a 5% increase in our food prices already (based on a packet at RM6) come next year (when it becomes mandatory) and I'm sure we'll still have to contend with rising prices in food next year! >:(  I guess this is a good time as any to bring our lunch boxes with us whenever we go out.

As with any roasted meat stall, you have to start off with a flavourful chicken-infused rice and a good fresh and tangy chilli sauce and I'm glad to report that both are done well here.

Even the soup I like, clear and tasty.

Side orders of silken tofu and bean sprouts are also available.  I liked that my order of Blanched Bean Sprouts @ RM4 (this is small but sufficient for two) were those fat, crunchy Ipoh-type ones topped with lots of freshly fried minced garlic and spring onions.

The Soya Sauce Silken Tofu @ RM6 with lots of fragrant fried minced garlic makes a nice side dish too. Looking at the ridges on the side of the tofu block, I believe this is store-bought silken tofu that's just drizzled with their decent ready-made soya sauce (used for their roasted meats).

This coffee shop also serves a Kopi-O Ping (Iced Black Coffee) @ RM1.80 that I enjoy.

There's only one other stall here selling pork noodles...nothing you should be concerned with as their presence here is just to provide a choice for customers who don't feel like eating rice.

My Personal Opinion

I remember the owner telling me he used to work in the roasted meat stall next door until he decided to set up shop himself.  Looks like this "little sifu" (as in the name of the shop) learned from the master and added on a "little kungfu" himself to enhance the recipe further to make it even better...hehe! :D  But there are still lots of people flocking to the one next door (in Thong Kee Kopitiam) not knowing that this is the better one.

It's now the first choice roasted meat stall for me and my family in our neightbourhood.  You can't go wrong with any one of the five choices here.

Restoran Little Sifu Famous Roast Meat
No 21 Jalan Pandan Indah 1/23E
Pandan Indah
55100 Kuala Lumpur

Monday, 28 November 2016

#ewew makes Salt-&-Pepper Crispy Chicken Skin

I've seen contestants making crispy chicken skin countless times on Masterchef Australia when they wanted to have a crispy element on their dish.  And it's always the same, just put them between two sheet pans and shove it into the oven.

It looked simple enough for me to attempt.  But that was a cooking show and they didn't show us how it was actually done or, more precisely, how long it needs in the oven.  I had to google "how to make crispy chicken skin" and most of the results say to bake at 180°C or 190°C for 40 minutes to an hour.  So, here comes my attempt at making Salt-&-Pepper Crispy Chicken Skin.

To prep the skin, just make sure you scrape off any visible fat from the underside of the skin.

To be successful at this, you have to start with dry skin.  The dryer the skin, the crispier it will be when cooked.  After defrosting the chicken skin (from two whole chicken breasts), I used a paper towel to dab dry the skin as much as possible.

I then laid it on a paper towel to absorb whatever moisture there is from the chicken skin.  I popped it back in the fridge until I'm ready to cook (leaving it in the fridge uncovered dries it out further).

But I took one more step to ensure the skin was dry by taking it out of the fridge (about half an hour before) and putting it on the table under a fan to (kind of) blow dry the chicken skin.  Think of it like how they'd hang and fan-dry a duck or chicken before roasting to achieve crispy skin.....same concept! ;)

Lay the skins on a sheet of baking paper on top of a baking tray.  Season generously with salt and freshly cracked black pepper as it needs to be slightly salty.

Then put another piece of baking paper on top and use another baking tray to press down on top.  This is to prevent the skin from curling.

I decided to bake at 200°C oven and it was ready in 30 minutes.  As you can see, the chicken skin oozes out a fair bit of oil.

So, I would suggest that you let the chicken skin drain on a paper napkin for a while...or, better still, use a tissue and lightly dab on the skin to remove the excess oil (if you can't wait to eat it, that is!).

My Salt-&-Pepper Crispy Chicken Skin look good or what? ;)  You can certainly amp it up or play around with other seasonings like paprika, garlic powder or whatever flavour pleases you.

Look just how thin & crispy it is...great on its own as a snack :)  I've even seen a recipe that asks you to serve the (broken-up) crisps with fried garlic chips, some lime zest and a light drizzle of honey (sounds good too!).

Some parts of the skin is so thin that it's almost see-through!  You can use it as a garnish to provide that crispy element to your dish.

The skins can be baked a few hours ahead.  They managed to stay crispy even two hours later when I had some leftovers, otherwise store in an airtight container.

It's salty, crispy goodness in a bite!  And it's ok to be a little 'naughty'...sometimes! ;)

The crispy chicken skin works even better with Aglio Olio Spaghetti =)

Just crush the chicken skin into smaller bits.....and "tabur" (sprinkle) on your aglio olio (ratio of one skin per plate of pasta is quite adequate).

Who needs bacon.....

....when you have crispy chicken skin! ;D

I used to throw away the skin when I bought chicken breast (for Cookie) but now that I've been successful in making crispy chicken skins, I guess I'll have to reconsider before throwing them away now.

So, enjoy.....take a walk on the wild side...come on....you know you want one! ^_*

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