Friday, May 04, 2012
A Touch of Nonya Influence with Debbie Teoh 2012 @ Chatz Brasserie, Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur
Save these dates.
From 11 May to 10 June, Debbie Teoh's Nonya food promotion is back at Chatz Brasserie, Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur. Famed for her Nonya dishes, this is the best opportunity to sample her repertoire at a restaurant since she does mostly catering.
Last year's (see the previous blogpost) promotion received an overwhelming response that she's back with a bigger repertoire of dishes. If you are lucky, you may catch such old fashioned goodies like this version of Seri Muka that combines the creamy pandan rice flour layer with a taro layer. Simple but darn satisfying.
Our tasting session started with Nasi Ulam, a dish much favoured by Debbie herself as she ate loads of this dish after giving birth to her kids. Nonya mothers will often prepare this dish for their daughters to restore their body to a balanced yin-yang state.
The preparation of this aromatic dish is often used by Nonya matriarchs to test their daughter-in-laws in the fine art of cutting the herbs as finely as possible. You will find finely sliced turmeric root, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf, turmeric leaf, cekur leaf and torch ginger flower.
Next it was the Itek tim, the savoury duck soup with salted mustard vegetables or kiam chai. Onions and shiitake mushrooms are also added in the soup. Not overly salty, this dish is boiled with spices such as nutmeg, peppercorns, ginger and garlic.
For the buffet spread, Debbie will be alternating this soup with last year's Hu Pioh T'ng (fish maw soup).
One of the biggest treats is the Ayam buah keluak, that uses the dark Indonesian black nuts. These hardy nuts take time to prepare since it needs to be soaked for overnight before it can be cracked open. Its deep dark brown filling has a meaty earthy taste that resemble mushrooms and chocolate. The nuts are cooked in a chicken curry. As Debbie shares, the trick of getting it to taste so good is to keep it for two days for the flavours to develop.
Aubergine fans will love this Terung served with sambal udang kering that uses one of the Nonya's must-have ingredients, dried prawns. It is a simple dish with the aubergines that is fried and topped with the fragrant sambal to give it flavour.
The Ulam platter is an assortment of fresh mint leaves, cucumbers and four angle beans that is served with a slightly piquant sambal dip that has dried prawns and chillies. Great excuse to eat your greens with the delicious dip. My favourite was the fragrant mint leaves with a generous dose of the sambal dip.
I was a bit slow in opening up my Otak Otak parcel and was surprised to find the aromatic coconut milk based custard to be filled with chunks of seafood such as fish fillet, prawns and squid. The aromatic daun kadok (wild pepper or betel leaf) is also added to each parcel. Eat this with rice but it is best eaten with bread that you can mop up all the sweet juices.
Next it was the Gulai Tumis Ikan Pari that uses stingray fish pieces that is cooked in a thick hot and sour curry broth. This definitely meant lots of rice to pair with the wonderful curry.
This was my favourite that I could have eaten bowls of rice with just the rich curry. The Lemak Nenas Ikan Sepat has pineapple chunks inside the creamy curry. Salted fish gives the curry a slight edge to alleviate its rich taste.
Bonus dish of the day was fried fish served with a tangy mango acar.
It has been a hot day with the sun blazing so it was nice to have the refreshing cendol.
Unlike those commercial versions, the cendol strands are made from green pea flour mixed with fresh pandan leaves. That's why these strands have a deep jade green colour versus those pale green ones we usually get from the factories.
Last but not least, it was tiny nonya kueh in the form of banana leaf wrapped glutinous rice rolls with rempah udang. The slightly sweet dried prawns filling has candied winter melon and toasted kerisik to give it lots of flavour. We also get to take away Nonya bak chang since the rice dumpling festival is just round the corner on June 23.
From Monday to Friday, the Nonya buffet promotion is RM62++ per person for lunch. Dinner is RM82++ per person and available daily. During weekends, it is only available for Hi-Tea for RM59++ per person. For Mother's Day, there will be a special brunch for RM68++ per adult and RM34++ per child. For an extra RM10, fathers and their kids can join in for a cooking session for mothers. Senior citizens get 50% discount. Parkroyal guests for the hotel and serviced suites enjoy 20% discount. Even Standard Chartered and UOB Bank credit card holders enjoy special offers
Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur
Jalan Sultan Ismail
(Pork Free. Promotion runs from May 11 to June 10 only. For more pictures, see my Flickr set)
*Note: This was a review based on an invitation by Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur
** The background of the dishes is the beautiful Nonya batik with its many motifs and patterns.