September 25, 2016

Recipe: Thai Prawn Toast with LINGHAM Chili Sauce

Prawn toast is such a classic American-Chinese appetizer. We don’t find them here much but when I was studying abroad in US, I would always be ordering these in those Chinese takeout places. I often make these little appetizers for myself when I get cravings of juicy prawn filling with crispy golden fried bread these days. These are also great for parties as snacks and appetizers. It’s not difficult to make them and can be easily be whip up pretty fast.

Though the classic version is what I make all the time, I decided to jazz up a Thai version of the Prawn Toast with some distinctive Thai ingredients this round as well as adding a little heat to it. Using one of my favorite LINGHAM’s chili sauces range of Ginger and Thai chili sauces, these little crispy prawn toast are given a burst of gingery sweetness and heat in flavours. LINGHAM’s chili sauce really adds a wonderful splash of flavours in many dishes easily. Whether you are adding the chili sauce into the cooking process or enjoying them served on the side, you’ll be enjoying a luscious natural sweetness and heat of the all-time-favorite taste of LINGHAM’s chili sauce.

I like to give my dishes textures and so I would have half minced fine prawn paste and half chopped prawns. Adding aroma and flavours of Thai, lemongrass, ginger and coriander are the essential ingredients in many Thai dishes. The dish also makes use of any leftover bread that are not as fresh too. Cut them into any shapes and sizes you desire to perk up the presentation of the dish. Make sure the oil is hot enough to fry else the bread with be heavily soaked in oil. These Thai Prawn Toast are pretty addictive and one can certainly get more creative and add in any of your favorite ingredients of herbs and spices too.

Bon appetit!

Thai Prawn Toast with LINGHAM Chili Sauce

300gm         Prawns (shelled & deveined)
1 tbsp          Lemongrass (minced finely)
½ tbsp         Ginger (minced finely)
1 tbsp          Coriander (leaves & stalk minced finely)
1 tbsp          LINGHAM’s Ginger Chili Sauce
1 tbsp          Sesame Seeds (toasted)
3 slices        White Bread (bread skin removed and cut into half)
                   Salt and Pepper to season
                   Oil to pan fry
                   LINGHAM’s Thai Chili Sauce to serve

Cut half prawns into cubes and minced the other half of the prawns finely into paste.
Add in lemongrass, ginger, coriander and LINGHAM Ginger Chili Sauce.
Season with white pepper and salt and mix the filling well.
Spread the prawn filling on the sliced bread and press on some sprinkled sesame seeds
Deep fry the prawn toast on medium low heat oil till golden and crispy for few minutes and drained.
Served hot with LINGHAM Thai Chili Sauce.

Extra Notes and Tips

  • If you are not a fan of coriander, use other herbs like parsley or omit it altogether
  • Use black sesame seeds for extra contrast in colors
  • If fry in advance, keep the prawn toast hot in low heated oven before serving
  • Water chestnut chopped finely can also be added for extra sweetness

September 22, 2016

Cerdito Restaurant @ Bandar Puchong Jaya

When a restaurants serves everything that ‘oinks’ in their menu, you know it’s going to be pig out meal!

Barely a few months old, Cerdito Restaurant, is hell bent on serving the finest pork on the market – the Iberico black pig. Located in the jam-packed area of Bandar Puchong Jaya, the restaurant certainly stands out with its huge neon signboard the evening we were there.

Stepping into the restaurant, I certainly wasn’t expecting the elegance of the minimalist and contemporary ambiance. Love the long and beautiful bar with its backlit wall featuring rows of wines and liqueur. The restaurant ambiance is not only elegant but has an ease of comfort, perfect for casual dining or a place to impress your loved ones.

The friendly young team behind Cerdito Restaurant

Helming the kitchen is Director and Chef Yew Kean Leng together with their team of young management staff. For such a young group, I must commend their effort and services on being one of the better restaurants I have been. Trained in United States, Chef Yew hopes to showcase a world of cuisines using Iberico pig so diners can expect Asian and Western dishes at Cerdito Restaurant.

Kicking off the meal, we quenched our thirst with Cerdito’s signature mocktails of Fiery Float, Spicy Peach Fizz, Cucumber Lemonade and Kiwi Mojiteh. All four cocktails are priced at RM15 each. I really loved my refreshing and tangy Cucumber Lemonade.

From the appetizer section, we first tried the King Oyster Mushroom (RM15). A plate of nicely chargrilled King Oyster mushrooms or Eryngii proved simplicity never fails, especially when the fresh ingredient is cooked right. Beautifully juicy with a firm al dente bite, the lightly smoky grilled mushrooms are studded with bits of garlic and finished with a drizzled of balsamic vinegar as well as some chocolate soil.

The Wild Mushroom Cappuccino (RM18) proved to be truly a luscious cup of mushroom bisque. Earthy and smoky, the bisque was thick, creamy and full of mushroom flavours. The creamy foam added a nice milky touch. Kudos to the presentation as the cup also helps to keep the bisque nicely warm while we were enjoying it slowly. I would order this again.

Cerdito hit their mark with their signature Iberico Pork Sticks (RM30). Scrumptious skewers of Iberico pork chargrilled and served with pineapple salsa. The bits of crispy caramelized edges of the lean and fatty bits of pork is unbelievable good in flavours. Sweet and savory, the pork goes well with the light tang of the fruity pineapple salsa, balancing out the richness of the pork. Superb!

I would not fault the Harissa Chicken (RM20) skewers as the dish was also very tasty but I preferred the Iberico pork sticks over this, simply because the pork is tastier. Nevertheless, the dish is still sufficiently delicious for those prefer a chick over a swine…

Smoked Duck Salad (RM22) was decent with its servings of warm and delicious smoked duck breast with a generous side of greens. I like the juicy citrus segments in the salad as well as the pickled pearl onion.

A swine masterpiece of the Grilled Iberico Short Rack (RM70) proved that quality is essential to making the dish a top-notched one. A thick cut of the black pig short rack is slow cooked to near doneness and finished on the grilled. Though we were a bit hesitant on the pinkness of the rack, we were assured that Iberico pork is the only pork that is safe to eat when it is still pink.

Served with a smear of baba ghanoush or eggplant puree and grilled pumpkin, the short rack was tender and sublime in taste. The lean meat was also unbelievably juicy. Finished with a drizzled of sweet and tangy glazed of balsamic vinegar, the pork didn’t need any sauces because it was already so tasty in flavour with the sides.

The Cerdito Special (RM45) is a personal favorite of Chef Yew and also became one of mine too. The dish looked deceptively plain but has a wonderful familiar comforting flavour. Cooked slowly for hours, the Iberico ribs are superbly soft and has soaked up wonderful juices of the braising liquid. I can’t seemed to pinpoint the seasoning used but the flavour is savory with a solid porky essence that I really enjoyed. Hand me a bowl of steamed rice please…

More swine laden dishes and this round it was a gargantuan hunk of Iberico pork in the Iberico Black Pig Burger (RM45). Served on a fluffy burger bun with tomato chutney and cabbage slaw, the pork has cooked to a nice tenderness with moreish savory flavour. The generous portion of the meat proofs that every bite of this burger will have one singing with pleasure at the sumptuous Iberico pork. A serving of thick cut steak fries and side salad completed the dish nicely.

The Iberico Pulled Pork Sandwich (RM45) is another option to consider with its glorious mount of shredded pulled pork laced with a sweet and tangy BBQ sauce piled on steamed and grilled mantao buns. Crunchy and fresh bites of shredded cucumber and popping sensation ebiko added textures to the sandwich. What takes the sandwich to another level of deliciousness are the golden onion rings and is so crunchy and irresistible!

Saving the best for last, the Iberico Lion Ribs (RM110 – full rack | RM40 – single portion) are one lip-smacking ribs! The faultless pleasure of sinking into these tender ribs is just heavenly. The meat still has a good bite and the house made BBQ sauce has a solid balance of tastiness with tang, sweetness and savory notes. The caramelized bits were exceptionally divine. Served with a side of roasted potatoes and cabbage slaw, opt for the full rack for optimum pleasure!!

Cerdito also has a few desserts on their list worth trying if you’ve got a sweet tooth. Their deconstructed House Made Lemon Tart (RM20) was pretty unique. Tangy and vibrant lemon curds served in shot glass with various crumbs come with a very unique fried Shallot Ice Cream. While some may think this is a bit odd, the savory and aromatic ice cream proved to be a nice savory twist to the tangy and sweet lemon curds.

A safer bet would be their Kahlua laced Tiramisu (RM20). A solid classic rendition of tiramisu that packed a nice hit of coffee and Kahlua alcohol is always a lovely way to end a meal.

There is also the Belgium Dark Chocolate Semi-Freddo (RM20), an icy sensation of a frozen mousse made with cream, eggs, sugar and in this case, dark bittersweet chocolate. Beautifully presented with berries and dried candied orange, the semi-freddo is not overly sweet and I really enjoyed the bittersweet chocolatey notes.

I certainly had a lovely dining experience there and the food solid in quality and flavours. Prices are higher but that’s because you are paying for premium Iberico pork. So if you’re looking for a swine laden menu to impress, head over to Cerdito Restaurant for loads of porky-licious dishes set in a lovely ambiance.

G-11, Kompleks Kenari,
Jalan Kenari 19A,
Bandar Puchong Jaya,
47100 Puchong
Tel: 603 8082 7118 / 6017 380 8989

Business hours:
Tues to Thurs        12noon to 10pm
Friday                    12noon to 11pm
Sat to Sun             11am to 11pm
Closed on Monday

September 17, 2016

Ăn Viet @ The Gardens Mall, Mid Valley

Eat Viet for a Worthy Cause!

Vietnamese cuisine has recently started to sprout everywhere on our shores and I can’t say I am complaining. I adore the cuisine. Love the bold and robust flavours of Vietnamese cuisine that also always gets a vibrant punch of freshness from its usage of raw herbs and vegetables.

There’s one Vietnamese restaurant that has been rocking up authentic Vietnamese dishes in the heavily packed The Garden Mall at Mid Valley. Ăn Viet, which translate to Eat Viet, is not just serving up scrumptious Vietnamese dishes but also joining in the global movement to create awareness of minimizing global food wastage.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, a staggering 1/3 of the food prepared for human consumption globally goes to waste! That’s just a shame. When growing, my parent always made sure I finish the food on my plate, every bit down to the last grain of rice. They have always reiterated that I finish my food, at least what is on my plate and so today, I really dislike wasting food. It’s hard to know that while we have a lot of food available here, the other side of some countries are literally starving. And there’s also all the wastage when our earth is already having issues in shortages of ingredients from land and sea.

Ăn Viet offer diners’ choices of the number of gram of rice (120g, 160g, 200g) or noodles (80g, 120g, 160, 200g) they can eat with no difference in price. What a great idea as this would definitely encourage diners to only order what they can finish and avoid food wastage.

Another worthy cause in addition to minimizing food wastage, Ăn Viet will set aside RM.10 for KOTO, a social enterprise in Vietnam that helps disadvantaged youths to gain access to holistic and vocational skill development opportunities.

The ambiance at Ăn Viet has a warm and comfortable. Lots of wood tones contrasted with grey slate, giving the whole place a nice edgy and modern touch. There’s also a bar cum open kitchen where one can catch some kitchen actions too. By the bar, there is a row of Vietnamese fish sauce which is available for purchase. Ăn Viet use this particular brand for its rich and umami flavours in all their dishes.

Helming the kitchen is Chef Nguyen Kim Tuyen who hails from Vinh Phuc, located about an hour away from Hanoi. Having garnered a solid list of certificates and experience in various restaurants all over Vietnam, Chef Tuyen also has experience as Chef Consultant in the set-up of few Vietnamese kitchens in various exclusive restaurants and hotels. Chef Tuyen’s menu is filled with scrumptious Vietnamese dishes that are suited to our Malaysian palates so one can expect dishes like Pho, Vietnamese Spring Roll, Bun Cha, Grilled Lemongrass Chicken and more.

First up, any Vietnamese meal should be accompanied by their renowned Vietnamese Drip Coffee. Enjoy the Ca Phe Sua Nong which is warm or Ca Phe Sua Da which is iced that packs quite a caffeine punch. Another house beverage to enjoy is the Xa Gung (RM7.90), a house brewed lemongrass and ginger drink. This one is a great tummy warmer. There also a refreshing Lime Mint Tea.

A house specialty to try is the unique Ca Phe Trung (RM8.90), hot Vietnamese drip coffee served with whisked egg yolk. The egg foam gave the coffee a luscious richness as well as a creamier note. I really enjoyed my Ca Phe Sua Da as it was deliciously pack with hits of strong coffee notes and was smooth and creamy too.

Dinner commenced with Goi Cuon (RM8.90), a classic Vietnamese fresh spring roll served with a dipping sauce made with that 100% fish sauce we saw earlier on the bar. The spring roll had lots of fresh and crunchy flavours and textures from its poached tiger prawns, vermicelli, carrots, cucumber, lettuce and herbs. A healthy appetizer that is light and easy to enjoy…

Nom Hoa Chuoi (RM13.90) or Banana Blossom Salad, a medley of banana blossom, cucumber, carrots and onions tossed a light but flavorful zesty and savory salad sauce, is finished with poached prawns, roasted peanuts and fresh herbs. The unique aroma and texture of the banana blossom is light and tender, easy on the palate with a tasty flavour.

Truly unique, one simply must order the Xoi Chien Phong (RM13.90). The crispy ball of fried glutinous rice puff had us all amused at sight. Served with grilled lemongrass chicken salad, the fried glutinous rice puff is delicious. The puff is actually hollow. Crispy with bits of chew parts, the rice puff is lightly sweet too. It goes really well with the smoky chicken salad with lots of crunch from the cabbage slaw and peanuts. The dish is worth a try as I have never come across such a dish in any Vietnamese restaurants here before.

I also enjoyed the grilled rice paper dish called Banh Trang Nuong (RM8.90). The smoky chargrilled crisp rice paper is filled with bits of minced pork, quail egg and dried shrimp. The salty and moreish flavour is rather addictive and would make a great snack or appetizer.

Clam lovers are so going to love the fresh clams cooked in coconut water called Canh Chua Ngao Nuoc Dua (RM13.90). Despite the broth looking cloudy and grey, the flavours are indeed amazingly yummy. Full of briny clam flavour with a subtle coconut sweetness, there are also hints of lemongrass and chili notes. Clams were tender and delicious as well as the additions of juicy soft cherry tomatoes.

The Pho Bo (RM18.90) is a national dish of Vietnamese cuisine and the version here is sufficiently satisfying. Thin and tender slices of lean Australian tenderloin and brisket along with herbs and crunchy bean sprouts are served with medium rice noodles. As mentioned before earlier, one can order the amount of noodles that you can take – 80g, 120g, 160g or 200g at the same price. This is to avoid any food wastage, so order what you can eat!

Simmered for over 12 hours long, the broth is wonderfully beefy with hints of spices. The version hails from the North and so the broth is clear and earthy. Although the Pho Bo here is not as extravagant as some others I have savored before, this one still packed a lot of tasty notes, especially that punchy fiery house made Sriracha chili sauce served on the side. I love the overall flavours of the noodle soup so much that I literally almost polished the bowl on my own.

If there is one must-try dish at Ăn Viet, it has to be the Bun Cha (RM17.90). Chargrilled sliced pork belly and minced pork patties are served in a pool of sauce made using 100% pure fish sauce. There are pickled green papaya, carrots and chilies in the sauce too. Served on the side is thin rice noodles, fresh basil, mint and green coral lettuce.

One is supposed to take bits of everything on the side and dunk it into the sauce, then savor it with the sliced pork belly and minced pork patties. The whole dish is an explosion of flavours from its sweet, savory, tangy and lightly spicy notes to the interesting mix of textures from the pork and rice vermicelli to the herbs and greens. Unctuously tasty, the sauce really packed thunders of delicious flavours that makes you want to keep on eating the dish. Not only is it just tasty, there is an essence of comforting notes on the palate from all its beautiful mélange of ingredients. Simply a Must-Order!!

We also tried their Grilled Lemongrass Chicken (RM15.90), a street dish of rice served with grilled lemongrass marinated chicken thigh, sunny side up egg, chili and pickles. The smoky and tender chargrilled chicken is jam-packed with vibrant flavours of lemongrass, including skewered with lemongrass and grilled. Sufficiently hearty, the one dish meal is laden with enough protein to make me happy and satiated. I really like the sourish appetizing pickles and lemongrass chili that balances up the heavier proteins and rice.

The evening ended with a dessert that looked pretty familiar. Banh Bia (RM8.90) with Condensed Milk Ice Cream (RM RM12.90) is a Vietnamese style durian flavoured ‘mooncake’. Similar to the Suzhou style mooncake, this one has soft layers of pastry enveloping durian and mung bean paste with salted egg yolk. Salty and sweet, the dessert was well-received by our diners that evening. To amp up the flavours, order this with the luscious Condensed Milk Ice Cream.

There is also the Viet-ffogato (RM9.90), a house made concoction of Vietnamese drip coffee with condensed milk ice cream and coconut milk. Strong coffee notes are wondrously balanced with the sweet and luscious scoop of ice cream, a version inspired by the classic Affogato.

I have really enjoyed the scrumptious flavours of Vietnamese cuisine at Ăn Viet. There’s plenty of dishes that easily caters to every one of all ages. Portions are generous for the price and I would certainly return for the following dishes of Xoi Chien Phong, Banh Trang Nuong, Pho Bo, Bun Cha and Grilled Lemongrass Chicken!

LG-203B, The Gardens Mall,
Mid Valley City,
59200 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2201-1191

Business Hours:
Mon to Sat, 1130am - 10pm
Sun & Public Holidays, 11am - 10pm