Thursday, 3 December 2015

#ewew cooks Pan-Seared Seabass by Urban Stove

I have tried Urban Stove's dinner boxes before  and thought the concept was great as it offered novice cooks a chance to cook a restaurant quality dish in the comfort of their homes.

When delivery of my first dinner box didn't quite come up roses (due to the delivery boo-boo) and I subsequently made a complaint to Urban Stove, they immediately offered me a 25% discount on my next box (which I took up, of course).  So, this box cost me RM86.25 (instead of RM115), thus making it about RM14 per person per meal.

So, here's Meal 1 from my second Urban Stove dinner box....Pan Seared Seabass on Red Capellini Primavera.

The Ingredients:
Seabass fillets, capellini, celery, leek, zucchini, onion, garlic, thyme, tomato puree and chicken stock.

The Recipe:

Simply follow the instructions on the recipe card.

 The Prep Needed:
Mince the garlic and finely dice the celery, leek, onion and zucchini.
The Cooking:

Saute garlic and onions in olive oil till soft.  Add chopped up celery, leek and zucchini and stir-fry for a couple more minutes.

Add the tomato puree and half the thyme, stir for another minute.  Add  the chicken stock and simmer for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and tender.  Season with salt, pepper and a bit of sugar.  The sauce is done!  Unfortunately, the celery takes a longer time than the rest of the vegetables to soften and, even though I simmered for double the time, the celery was still crunchy in the end (the recipe should have told us to add the celery first) and the sauce wasn't reduced (ended up with quite a watery sauce).

Cook the capellini in salted boiling water until al dente.  Drain and toss in some olive oil to keep it from sticking together.

Next, season the seabass and pan fry in olive oil.  The recipe asks that you pat the fillets dry.  The extra step I took last time when I cooked the Crispy Seabass by Urban Stove (which was not in the recipe card) was to dust the skin with some flour.  I didn't do it this time and ended up paying the price with the seabass sticking to the pan and the skin not crisping up so well.

The food is ready to be plated and served.  Pour the red primavera sauce into the centre of your serving plate.  Twirl the capellini on top and top with the pan-seared seabass.  Finish with a sprig of thyme for decoration.

And here's my Pan-Seared Seabass on Red Capellini Primavera by Urban Stove.  Overall, it was edible, the pan-seared salmon was fresh and flaky but the primavera sauce wasn't thick enough to coat the capellini, so you end up eating an almost soupy kind of pasta.

Oh yeah, and the portion of pasta given was too little for 2 pax...I ate up 1 1/2 portions actually! >.<

For my son's plate (who doesn't like anything in a tomato-based sauce), I fried some (from my own stock of spaghetti) with dark soya (Chinese-style) and topped it with some fried shallots that was already available in the kitchen.

Just look at how thin the portion of fish was!  It was definitely thinner than the one I had in my first dinner box.  Maybe, that's why I had a harder time frying and flipping the fish!

Now which plate do you think looked more sumptuous.....the one I simply fried on my own above ;)

.....or the one from Urban Stove?  Kekeke! ;D


Meal 1 was just acceptable.  This pan-seared seabass wasn't as good as the crispy seabass from my first Urban Stove's dinner box.

The Positives: 
Seabass fillet and vegetables were as fresh as they can be.

The Negatives: 
1)  Seabass fillet was a bit too thin
2)  Celery didn't soften at the same time as the other veggies
3)  Cooking time in the recipe wasn't on point
4)  Sauce was too watery
5)  Portion of pasta could be more

Coming up next.....Meal 2!


  1. You know what? I prefer the one you fried on your own hah..hah...I am not a fan of tomato puree. Besides, the pasta coated with dark soya sauce looks tastier :)

  2. yay, another urbanstove exploration ... exciting! being an italian food fan, i'd probably opt for the original pasta preparation, but your son's plate looks mighty tasty too ... at first glance, i thought you used bee hoon instead of spaghetti because of the darkness of the noodles, but then i realised it was thicker than bee hoon ... anyway, it's nice to see how you adapted the food to both ends of the spectrum of flavours, east and west :D

    1. For the 'east' version, I took a leaf out of Kim Gary's menu! ;)

  3. I prefer tomato taste to dark soy sauce. Perhaps they should specify to use a non-stick pan to pan fry the sea bass. As long as the sea bass is fresh, the dish should be ok. Do you need to wash all the ingredients provided before cooking - as in wash the seabass, celery and etc?

    1. For all of their meals, we were given instructions to wash the vegetables only. I did use a non-stick pan but the seabass still got stuck a bit....maybe I didn't put enough oil or the fish was not ready to be flipped yet.

  4. very expensive for a one person meal, so that price I can prepare 2 meals for my family of 3 >_<

    1. Let's say it was one and a half meals for this particular meal! :D Yeah, if you were to compare with "tai chow" or our own Chinese-style home cooked dishes, RM38 for 2 may seem expensive. I think we have to compare it with café/restaurant-style prices.

  5. I really enjoyed this service! It makes it so easy for those who'd like to cook at home but just don't have the time to go shopping and prepare the ingredients... now, if only they'd include a clean up service too. :-)

    1. Yeah, I think this is more for those who don't have time to go grocery shopping or very little time to prep and cook at home.

  6. I have some friends who tried this Urban Stove thing before, and she didn't like it. She said this is not for novice cooks, because you still need to know how to cook to be able to pull off the instructions. It is just like driving, if you can't drive, having the instructions is useless. I guess she has got her point.

    1. I agree with your friend that some of the recipes are not for novice cooks. You need to know how to cook to tackle those (though some recipes are relatively easy to do). Unless you've cooked before, you'd find it difficult to prep the veggies especially when they ask you to julienne them (you need some serious knife skills for that).


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