It’s that time of the year to kick up your heels and embrace the warmth of the season with friends and family and, a hearty dose of happy feasting!
Words: R. Rajendra
SPICE UP FOR CHRISTMAS
With tinsel and baubles costing a bomb nowadays, it’s time you raided the pantry for some ideas on how to decorate while perfuming the house with natural fragrances.
- Tie long quills of cinnamon or cassia bark with festive ribbons and place near warm areas of the living room.
- Take an orange and stud it with cloves in a neat pattern. Either place a few oranges in a bowl or secure them with string and hang them up at different lengths.
- Tie sprigs of pine leaves with herbs such as rosemary or thyme and place them in little glass containers.
ME LIKE MEE!
A perennial favourite with Malaysians, this humble hawker fare is a spicy stir-fry dish made with yellow noodles (mee), chicken meat, fish cake, tofu, eggs and cabbage. Calamansi lime and sliced chillies as garnishing enhance the flavours for a satisfying meal that will leave you hankering for more. Often sold by Indian Muslim street hawkers (mamak or mama means ‘uncle’ in Tamil and refers to the cooks who prepare this dish), Kamal’s Mee Goreng Mamak is now available on all Malaysia AirAsia flights and is priced at MYR12. The online pre-booked meal includes a free 100ml bottle of mineral water. www.airasia.com
Up to the end of the year, the Dragon-i Group of Restaurants is having a Hairy Crab Set Menu promotion at all its outlets at very attractive prices. From as low as MYR148++ per pax (minimum two pax), guests get to indulge in a sumptuous six-course Shanghainese meal on weekdays; on weekends and public holidays, the set menu is priced at MYR178++. Also known as Chinese mitten crabs, hairy crabs from Yangchen Lake in Suzhou, China, thrive in an environment that is pure and rich in micronutrients. The sub-tropical climate also ensures the crustaceans mature into juicy and healthy creatures. Certified fresh and genuine by the Chinese and Hong Kong authorities, the crabs are now being air flown from China to Malaysia by Dragon-I Group of Restaurants to enable guests to savour the juicy sweetness of the meat in a variety of ways. For details, visit. www.dragon-i.com.my
Melakan /Portuguese cuisine is a delicious hybrid that fuses European cooking styles with local ingredients. Short of travelling to the Portuguese settlement in Melaka, finding authentic Melakan/Portuguese dishes is the proverbial needle in the haystack. Luckily, Portuguezze Kitchen, a small diner located within the Food Emporium in Sungei Wang Plaza in Kuala Lumpur enables foodies to try out these home-cooked dishes prepared by Chef Sheena Monterio. Signature dishes include Chicken Devil Curry, a fiery curry made with dried chillies. Also recommended is the Portuguese Grilled Fish and the sublimely delicious Fish & Mango Curry, a mildly spicy curry that uses young mango flesh for a sweet tang. Meals are priced from MYR9.90!
Address : Portuguezze Kitchen, Lot 3A, Food Emporium, Level 3, Sungei Wang Plaza, Kuala Lumpur.
Telephone : +6 012 696 8441
FOR THE LOVE OF FRUITCAKE
Historians say that an ancient version of the fruitcake was placed in tombs by Egyptians as a farewell gift to their loved ones. The Romans added pomegranate seeds, pine nuts and barley paste to create a ring-shaped cake, which kept well and even travelled to battlefields with their soldiers. Later, when explorers ventured out to the exotic East and returned with spices and sugar, these ingredients transformed the cake to a luxury food item. During Victorian times, alcohol was added, lengthening the keeping time. So ‘luxurious’ it was that at one point in the 18th century, the cake was outlawed and deemed ‘sinfully rich’.
TASTY TEA TWIST
Here’s a clever twist to what you can do with tea! Lipton tea has joined hands with young chef Nik Michael Imran to concoct interesting and refreshing beverages from the versatile tea. Here’s an example of how you can jazz up tea; if you find this recipe exciting, head over to www.asianfoodchannel.com for more tantalising tea recipes.
- 1 Lipton Yellow Label teabag
- 75ml hot water
- 3 tsp sugar
- 5 tbsp orange juice
- 3 tbsp lychee juice
- 3 tsp sugar
- Ice cubes
Steep teabag with hot water for about four minutes. Discard teabag and stir in sugar. Add a little ice to reduce temperature of tea before mixing in orange and lychee juices. Add more ice and enjoy a cool and delightful drink. Serves one.
COOL AS A CUCUMBER
Don’t limit the cucumber to dainty sandwiches or for reducing puffiness under eyes. The humble cucumber is actually a powerhouse of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. Loaded with Vitamins B1 to B6 and C, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc, this fruit can assist in stabilising blood pressure while its high sulphur content promotes hair and nail growth. Apart from eating it raw, toss chopped cucumbers in salads, or purée it into cold summer soups like gazpacho. You can even make a cucumber gimlet with gin, lime juice, cucumber juice, sugar syrup and ice for a refreshing drink. Skip the booze for an equally delicious virgin version.
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