Friday, August 29, 2008

Bubur Cha Cha

Most Malaysians grew up with this fantastic dessert. It's a thick, sweet broth made up of mostly yam & coconut, hence the name Bubur (broth). Don't ask me about the Cha Cha part. I don't know where that came from. But what I know is that Bubur Cha Cha was a delight for kids my generation. I don't know about kids nowadays. They only play computer games.

I even had Bubur Cha Cha in Melbourne before but of course as with most South East Asian food there, it was sub-standard, to borrow my brother's term for any food that does not suit His Royal Highness' Majestic taste buds.

To eat nice Bubur Cha Cha is like eating sin. And this sin tastes really good with lots of sweetness & lemak (fats) in abundance.

350-400gm of yam, final weight after shaving off skin and cut into 1 cm cubes
400gm -500gm of assorted sweet potatos*, final weight after shaving off skin and cut into 1 cm cubes
300gm of coarse sugar
1 kg of coconut
4-5 pandan leaves

5 no of water chestnuts, skin off and cut in small cubes
little drops of pandan green
50 gm of tapioca flour

1) Skin off, wash and cut yam and sweet potatos into cubes. Steam until soft (If you squeeze the cubes lightly, it will crumble).

2) With 1 cup of water, squeeze the coconut for 500gm of 1st santan.

3) Add some more water to coconut until you get 1400gm of 2nd santan. If you dont have fresh ones, then use those packet liquid ones. For 1st santan, use 400gm of coconut milk with 100gm of water. For 2nd santan, use 700gm of coconut milk with 700gm of water.

4) Prepare Pomegranate: With a few tablespoon of sugar from the recipe, add 200gm of water and boil into sugar water. Coat chestnuts bits with some pandan green colour, followed by tapioca flour generously. Put coated chestnuts on a sift and shake off excess flour. Boil in a pot of water till transparent. Strain and put in sugar water. Set aside to be added later.

5) Bring rest of sugar, 2nd santan and pandan leaves to a very light boil and till sugar melted. Turn to low fire. Add steamed yam and sweet potatos dices, followed by 1st santan. Bring entire mixture to an almost boil or a very light boil. Do not let it goes boil completely otherwise the coconut will separate with water but without the almost boiling point, the mixture may turn sour bad faster. Add pomegranate mixture. Serve hot or chill before serving if you like it cold like me.

** Orange, yellow and purple-with-white/lighter-centre sweet potatos can be used. The orange type tends to turn mushy easily. So take care when steaming. Yellow potatos are really yummy and the texture is smooth, so you may want to use a little more of that & a smaller amount for the orange type.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Church of Saint-Merri

Malaysian tourists travel in fear most of the time. Now, I'm not talking about fear of robbery or fear of losing passports. Those are very legitimate & natural feelings that any tourists would have travelling in any unfamiliar places. But what's really pervasive in the psyche of Malaysian tourists (or should I include Singaporean as well) is the fear of running out of time. Everyday, there are places to go, targets to hit, before the sun goes down. A holiday where you relax & do nothing does not exist.

So being the true Malaysians that we were, as soon as we dumped our luggage into our room, we hit the streets of Paris. Now, the great thing about being in Europe is that everywhere that you turn your head, you're looking at another historical monument.

This is the Church of Saint-Merri. We were strolling along Rue Saint-Martin when we came across it.The facade of the church was under renovation & was quite inconspicuous. We would have missed it if not for my killer tourist instincts.

The church was completed in 1552 & was dedicated to an 8th century abbot by the name of Meredicus, or otherwise also known as Merri. So that's who Merri was... I kept thinking that it was Mary, or something close to that. Strangely enough, French men often have girly sounding names.

This beeautiful organ was reconstructed in 1781 by Cliquot, a famous organ builder. Of course there's no way I could have known this. Its from Wikkipedia.

The gothic interior architecture is just simply breathtaking & as with most churches, the place offers a quiet solitude from the hustle & bustle of the Parisians outside.

Apparently, this church carries the oldest bell in the history of Paris. It was built in 1331 & had somehow survived the bloody French Revolution. I didn't know where it was, or whether the entrance to the bell tower was accesible to tourists at all. So there was no sign of it.

The church is basically surrounded by individual open chambers which are dedicated to different saints.
Being there, you can't help but be in awe at the grandeur & scale of things. It is first & foremost a place of worship, a spiritual sanctuary. The place is so silent that you can even hear your own thoughts & prayers. I know what I prayed for, but I hope Nee was not asking for a bigger kitchen again.

The Church of Saint-Merri is located along rue Saint-Martin & Rue de la Verrerie.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Mitsu Shabu Shabu

It's been a looong while since we wrote any food reviews. Well, it's definitely not because we've stopped eating. It's just that somehow we've been putting the reviews on the backburner.

We went to a Japanese style shabu shabu last week. Nee's brother Roger was back in town so it was a small family gathering of some sort.

I know the restaurant looks empty but business is really not bad here. I mean just look at Mr. Mitsu. He seems really happy & on top of things.

The unique thing about this place is that the table comes with a built-in electric stove, & there's one each for every seated customer. So that should be an exciting experience in itself if you're a gadget kinda person.

But if you're the mama-cooks-everything-for-you kinda person, then it's bad news cos you've got to DIY. The soup is basically chicken based soup, very tasty but of course there will usually be a hint of msg. But in this case not too strong as we really dont feel thirsty after. The soup pot is standard and you can ask for refill. There is basically no charges for soup. You can just go about ordering the normal set of meat, fish, prawns and so forth. We can either order in sets or individual plate of single type of food. The set is a good deal. For RM 25, we get shabu shabu slices of tenderloin beef a large vegie platter which consist of veg, tofu, seaweed, mushrooms with tang hoon and so on. Lamb set is RM18. Seafood set ranges from RM20 to 35. You can order mixture of seafood too. O combo of meat.

The food here is really pretty fresh.

This item of big head prawn is expensive. We ordered as individual platter. Cost about RM72 for about 6-7 prawns. Indulgence for the Melbourne boy.

This restaurant has its original roots in Sibu, where it's successful 2-storey HQ restaurant is located. From the looks of it, it's doing well & may be here for a longer time than most shops, considering the fact that it's a Foochow-based business. Based on that fact alone, you can almost bet on it.
TIP for cooking: If you're a cooking-challenged kinda guy like me, there's hope & salvation. Look for the Hotpot button, press on it & adjust the temperature to somewhere around 180 deg & it'll keep the steamboat steaming hot & warm for the whole duration.

Mitsu Shabu Shabu is located at Jln Simpang Tiga, in between Swinburne & RHB Bank. We definitely rate this place with a min of 8-9/10 for good service, clean and cool place (very important when eating steamboat in a place like Kuching), reasonable prices and fresh food.

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