Saturday, November 21, 2015

Recipe: Spicy, Sweet & Sour Meatballs with Lingham’s Extra Hot Chili Sauce

I love a good sweet and sour pork! So much so, the dish is a constant favorite in our meals. Making a darn good sweet and sour pork requires skill and I have long admitted that the best are still the ones whipped up in commercial kitchens and restaurants because of the high heat of their industrial burners. Nevertheless, I never gave up making the dish at home. Well, my version at least.

Tasked with a challenge to try out the new Lingham’s Extra Hot Chili Sauce, I decided to give my favorite dish a new makeover. I am always game for spicy food. In fact, my heat tolerance is quite high and I do admit to loving Szechuan tongue-numbing food too. When I tasted Lingham’s Extra Hot Chili Sauce, it was a big hit of heat even with a little taste. Said to be 300% hotter than its original Lingham’s Chili Sauce, this one is definitely not for the faint-hearted. Using the ripest and spiciest birds eye chilies together with its original and naturel ingredients, Lingham’s Extra Hot Chili Sauce stirs up your heat sense like no other. Not just all heat, the Lingham’s Extra Hot Chili Sauce also has a good note of sweetness and is just as flavoursome as the original sauce.

For my version, I am calling it the Spicy, Sweet & Sour Meatballs with Lingham’s Extra Hot Chili Sauce. I love meatballs and always have minced meat ready in my freezer. And so I decided to make my version with meatballs instead of the cubed pork. Feel free to substitute to other minced meat if you do not like pork. The recipe is pretty simple as one mixed up the minced meat and seasoning, shaped into balls and fried. Then cut up all the vegetables and fruit and mix all the sauce ingredients together. Heat up the work on medium to high heat, add in all the meatballs, vegetables, fruits and sauce ingredients. Stir fry till it comes to a boil and turn off heat to serve.

Yes, it’s not rocket-science so it’s really doable in your kitchen. Instead of ketchup, I also use plum sauce as I love the flavour and it goes so well with Lingham’s Chili Sauce. The Worcestershire sauce gave the dish an umami note. The meatballs were nicely moist and tender. The dish had a good balance of sweet and sour and I really enjoy how the Lingham’s Extra Hot Chili Sauce gave this dish a good kick of heat, making it even more appetizing with steamed rice.

Try this recipe and leave me a comment to let me know your feedback. Have fun & enjoy the dish…

Spicy, Sweet & Sour Meatballs with Lingham’s Extra Hot Chili

300gm        Minced Pork
2 Tbsp         Light Soy Sauce
1 Tsp           Five Spice Powder
1 Tbsp         Cornstarch
1 Tsp           Sesame Oil
Pinch of Salt & Pepper to season
5 small        Cherry Tomatoes (sliced half)
1 small        Japanese Cucumber (cut into wedges)
3 small        Red Onions (or 1 large cut into wedges)
100gm        pineapple (tin or fresh – cubed)
1 small        Green Bell Pepper (cut into wedges)
1 Tbsp         Cooking Oil + Extra Cooking Oil for deep frying

Sauce Ingredients
1 Tbsp         Lingham’s Extra Hot Chili Sauce (adjust heat level to your preference)
5 Tbsp         Plum Sauce
1 Tbsp         Worcestershire Sauce
5 Tbsp         Water
2 Tbsp         Syrup (from canned Pineapple or add 1 tsp sugar)

Mix minced pork, light soy sauce, five spice powder, cornstarch, sesame oil, and pinch of salt & pepper together.
Knead the minced pork and take the whole mince to throw it in the mixing bowl for 5 minutes till the mince developed a sticky texture for a bouncy meatball texture.
Shape the minced pork into balls and set aside.

Cut all the tomatoes, cucumber, red onions, bell pepper and pineapple.
Mix all the sauce ingredients together and adjust the flavour to your liking. Set aside.

Heat up cooking oil in small pot till hot and deep fry the meatballs till cook and lightly dark and crispy.
Use a new pan, add the 1 tbsp cooking oil on medium heat and add in the red onions to saute.
Add in the bell pepper, followed by the pineapple, cucumber and cherry tomatoes.
Add in the fried meatballs and stir fry all together till well mixed.
Add in mixed sauce to the ingredients and stir fry till mixed and boiled, then turn off the heat.
Serve hot with steamed rice.

Extra notes and tips
  • Adjust the Lingham Extra Hot Chili Sauce to your heat level or use the Original Lingham’s Chili Sauce for a milder heat.
  • Substitute minced pork for minced chicken or beef.
  • Substitute pineapple for lychees for sweetness and less tangy flavour.
  • Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on the finished dish for extra toasty and nutty note.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Jing Thai Restaurant @ Jalan PSK 1, Seri Kembangan

Scrumptious Thai Dishes with Bold Flavours!

Food hunting is always fun! Despite it being hidden in Seri Kembangan, we managed to locate Jing Thai through waze one early Sunday evening. The restaurant has been operating for 8 years and we met up with the new owner Brandon who had just took over Jing Thai Restaurant 10 months ago. Jing Thai is set in a rustic no frill ambiance. There are plenty of parking available and the restaurant is very spacious to accommodate large parties.

Set against the background of a forest, Jing Thai offers a large alfresco dining area as well as aircon dining room. In the evening, it is great to dine under the stars as there is often a cool breeze around the open air restaurant. Tiny lights strung all over the restaurant also added a glittery charm to the ambiance. One can see some of the kitchen actions in all the open kitchen and bar surrounding the dining area too.

Jing Thai’s menu is pretty worn down but offers a lot of Malaysian’s favorite Thai dishes. The restaurant also has other dishes that is not in the menu so ask for specials if you are adventurous. There are plenty of seafood dishes and BBQ dishes at Jing Thai. The restaurant offers live fishes such as Jade Perch and Tilapia as well as crab and cockles.

First up, a dish that we all enjoyed, especially me because I only like chicken feet when it’s deboned. Our Chicken Feet Salad (RM16 small / RM22 medium) looked plain but had really good flavours. Crunchy chicken feet skin was dressed with sliced onions in a spicy and tangy dressing with lots of coriander to kick start our appetite with a zing!

We also had another salad of Thai Style Abalone Salad (RM26). This one shared a similar dressing to the earlier salad but had a sweeter note.

The food here looks innocently plain but there are certainly loads of flavours in every dish. Our Cold Glass Noodle (RM13 small / RM20 medium) was studded with plenty of prawns, squid and fish. Black wood fungus added a good crunchy note to the slippery glass noodles.

Jing Thai offers the red or clear tomyams and we opted for the clear version. Our Tomyam Seafood (RM20 small / RM34 medium) fooled everyone with its non-fiery look but once we all tasted it, it was like a firework of flavours in our mouth. Super spicy in heat, this tomyam soup is quite lethal and had all of us sweating while enjoying it. I had double helpings because it was simply so shiok!!

Filled with loads of seafood and herbs, the soup very spicy with a good dose of sourness too. My kind of tomyam soup…

For greens, we had their Pucuk Paku with Sambal (RM13 small / RM18 medium). Decent, the paku vegetables sufficiently tasty and tender.

Another must-order dish would be their Thai Style Lime Steamed Tilapia (Seasonal Price). Our tilapia was beautifully fresh, sweet and firm. The lime sauce was quite lethal and deliciously piquant. Bold flavours of spicy, sour, sweet and savory really took this dish to another level of enjoyment. I find the sauce so additive, I kept on enjoying spoonful of it happily with rice. One can even have sea bass or Jade Perch prepared this way too.

We also had their Thai Style Lime Steamed Squid (Seasonal Price) prepared the same way as the fish. It was certainly beautifully executed as the squid was tender and well flavoured.

What took us by surprised was Jing Thai’s Homemade Red Curry Chicken (RM18 small / RM28 medium). The chef’s own version, the curry is very unique and is a fusioned version of Thai, Myammar, Indonesian and Nyonya all combined. It is creamy, spicy and rich with lemongrass and other spices and herbs. The boneless thigh pieces makes it easy to be savored and is perfect with steamed rice.

Another highlight of our evening was the Special Homemade Thai Style Prawn (RM35 small / RM48 medium). The robust and piquant flavours of the curry varies from the chicken one but is equally tantalizing. It is also creamy, spicy, savory and lightly tangy. The sweetness of the prawns really went well with the sauce that also has loads of spices and herbs.

Jing Thai is one of the very few restaurants that offers crabs. One of their signature way to prepare crab is the Thai Style Curry Crab (Seasonal Price). I had something similar in Bangkok and really enjoyed it. The crab is smothered in a curry and egg gravy laced with lots of aromatics. I can still taste the sweetness of the crab through the sauce. This one is finger-licking good!

Besides just the usual Thai dishes, Jing Thai offers BBQ in the menu. They offer lamb chop, fish, crab, squid and cockles grilled over hot coals and served with their house chili dipping sauce. We caught some BBQ in action and couldn’t wait to dig in.

Our BBQ Lamb Chop (Seasonal Price) was super scrumptious! Tender and juicy, the lamb pieces was also smoky, flavourful and damn shiok. It’s truly worth a few orders as one might not be enough….

The BBQ Cockles (Seasonal Price) is also damn shiok. Large cockles are well grilled and cooked to perfection. As we pried the shells open, plum cockles appeared. The cockles were still juicy and had a nice subtle smokiness to it. Dipped these in the tangy spicy sauce and enjoy the plum cockles with a different flavour to it. I would gladly head back to Jing Thai for their BBQ dishes too.

Dinner ended with a simple Coconut Pudding with Sago. Refreshing and sweet, dessert was pleasant and a lovely ending to a very spicy and shiok meal!

Lot 1397, Jalan PSK 1,
Taman Bukit Serdang,
43300 Seri Kembangan,
Tel: 011 1088 9666

Business Hours:
Lunch      11.00am to 2.30pm
Dinner     5.00pm to 11.00pm
(Open Daily except 2 days during Chinese New Year)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Ishin Japanese Dining @ Old Klang Road

An Indulgence of a Kaiseki Style Menu

For 6 years since it opened its doors, Ishin Japanese Dining has been creating a name for itself for serving some of the best Japanese cuisine in our metropolitan city. Located in Old Klang Road, the fine dining Japanese restaurant is housed in a bungalow that can be quite discreet if one is not looking out for it.

Ishin continues to be a force to be reckoned with among Japanese diners as well as local diners. Many flock to this elegant dining scene for their luscious list of tempting Japanese dishes filled with lavish as well as premium ingredients. Helmed by Chef William So currently, Ishin offers a solid list of ala carte dishes as well as lunch sets and the classic Kaiseki style menu.

The dining scene in the restaurant is elegant with minimal décor dressed in lots of shades of wood. Paintings of Japanese Sakura gave the ambiance a beautiful charm. An unusual circular sushi bar is the center of attention in the room. Glowing in golden halo, the bar is a place to be where diners can catch sushi chefs in actions and enjoy some sake from their sake list.

There is also private dining areas on the higher level with tatami room as well as more sectioned rooms.

I have personally had Ishin’s ala carte menu before and enjoyed the amazing meal tremendously. Back at Ishin, it was to savor their Kaiseki style menu that is now available upon request. Though one need not make any reservations, it is still recommended for the best possible dishes from Chef William.

Kaiseki  (懐石?) or kaiseki-ryōri (懐石料理?) is a traditional Japanese menu that consists of several courses of selected food served to diners on a tray individually. It is literally an art form today where Japanese chefs focuses on serving a balance Kaiseki menu of taste, texture, presentation and colors of food. Using and focusing on the freshest seasonal ingredients are a must in any Kaiseki menu. Another important element is the presentation so even the plates used are carefully selected to enhance the food.

Our Kaiseki menu kicked off with the Saizuke or Appetizer course of Nama Mie Kaki With Tabasco, Ankimo Ponzu and Ume Shu On Snow served on a long platter.

In full glory on its own, the Nama Mie Kaki served on ice is just unbelievable gorgeous in flavours. Hailed from the pristine waters of Mie Prefecture in Japan, the Mie oyster is utterly sweet and creamy with salty briny finish. A gentle squeeze of lemon added the final perfection for this piece of exquisite molluscs. I wanted more of this oyster…

Ankimo Ponzu may not be for everyone but it is certainly a favorite of mine. The foie gras of the sea, Ankimo is monkfish liver. Steamed and served in classic Ponzu sauce with chili-tinted grated daikon and scallion, I really enjoyed the luscious rich notes of the liver. The citrusy sauce cleverly balance the richness of the liver and gave it a vibrant boost of flavours.

Ume Shu on Snow features the popular Umeshu wine with plum served in a pretty square glass to act as a palate cleanser as well as to sweeten the course after two savory appetizers.

The next course is Futamono, a soup course of Double Boiled Blue Fin Soup. The Japanese uses every part of the fish and this dish was created using the gelatinous fin part of the much sought-after Bluefin tuna. The collagen like fin is double boiled over low heat in dashi stock till it becomes a firm gelatinous texture. More ingredients such as charred leek, mushroom and yuzu peel is added for flavours. The soup has a thick consistency to harmonize with the gelatinous pieces of fin. It is quite a unique dish as I have never tasted this part of the tuna before.

One of my favorite course of Kaiseki is the Mukōzuke or Sashimi course. Our plate of Akazai Ebi and Itoyori Tai with Caviar was beautiful at sight. Itoyori Tai or Threadfin Bream is paired with Akazai Ebi or Langoustine with black caviar for a contrast of flavours and textures. The fish has a firm but tender texture with a gentle sweet note while the langoustine is simply divine with its superb sweet note of the sea. I also enjoyed the texture of the langoustine as a sashimi as it has a firm and almost crunchy and gelatinous texture all rolled into one. Black caviar added a salty briny note to balance the sweetness from both fish and langoustine. Divine….

Our next course is Tempura of Amaebi Kakiage. The course is light and showed off how the Japanese popularized the crispy light batter of tempura that is now highly used all over the world. This one has a medley of matchstick vegetables with sweet shrimp in crispy tempura batter. Simple and rather nice for a change in the heavier courses earlier.

Tarabagani, Oyster Meat with Yuzu Sauce showcase more Japanese seafood of king crab with oyster in a yuzu sauce. Artfully presented, the lightly grilled king crab has a delicious sweet and subtle smoky note. The oyster is lightly battered and fried. The lemony citrus sauce enhance both crab and oyster nicely.

Kagoshima Beef was out-of-this-world!! With a marbling grade of A5, these pieces of beef hailed all the way from the Kagoshima Prefecture in Japan. It is superbly well marble evenly and is pretty in pink. Served raw with a side of hot stone, diners are recommended to just lightly grill this premium meat for a few seconds on each side only.

Such luscious umami notes and the beef literally melts-in-the-mouth… the Kagoshima Beef is one indulgence to be experience if you still have not had it before. There is a sauce made with chili bean, miso, garlic and more that is savory and lightly spicy served on the side. It gave the beef a different aspect of flavours. I still prefer to enjoy the beef with just salt and pepper. This one demands a hefty price tag of RM250 per 100gm.

Our savory last course was 3 Layers Toro Sushi. The least delicate dish of the Kaiseki menu but certainly full of flavours. Chef William’s creation of sliced seared Otoro or Fatty Tuna covering a roll filled with minced Otoro and Uni on sushi rice and crowned with salmon roes proved to be a mouthful. Nevertheless, it has such a great flavour combination of the fatty tuna and sea urchin with briny Shujiko salmon roes. The house cured salmon roes stood out with its gorgeous salty and rich briny notes. It has a unique popping texture that burst in the mouth wondrously. Superb roes but it also covered the natural sweetness of the Uni… not that I am complaining.

Our Kaiseki menu ended with another famed Japanese fruit of Musk Melon. A little too ripe but still enjoyable as the melon is very sweet and enjoyable.

Our Kaiseki style menu for the evening is priced at RM200 per set without the Kagoshima Beef. The Kagoshima Beef is available for RM250 per 100gm. Prices are on the heavier side but do remember that these are premium ingredients air-flown directly from Tsukiji Market, Tokyo, Japan. Ishin Japanese Dining has proved its worth in the Japanese dining scene that they still have what it takes to serve up a majestic fine dining Japanese experience. For more affordable dishes, there are lunch sets or ala carte dishes available daily as well.

For reservation, please call +603-7980 8228.

202 Persiaran Klang,
Batu 3 3/4,
Off Jalan Klang Lama,
58000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 603 7980 8228


Business hours:
Lunch 12pm-3pm
Dinner 6pm-1am

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