Being neither a crab or porridge fan, I found myself going for seconds after my first bowl of Teochew Crab Porridge – one of the five-bulous dishes created by Amy Beh – one of Malaysia’s most seasoned self-taught chef – together with Executive Chef Eric Siew for Makan Kitchen, to mark DoubleTree by Hilton KL’s 5th anniversary celebration.
Now, it was an astounding feat as porridge and soup rank as ‘sick’ food in my book i.e. stuff I’d eat when I’m sick as a dog. Hmm…perhaps it’s a sign I’m getting old (the truth sucks ;p) as I lapped up the tasty, comforting gruel swirling with savoury-spicy flavours mingled with the delicate crabby sweetness.
According to Chef Amy Beh, the idea came from her Teochew background - porridge being her father's fave dish combined with the sweetness of crabs (Penang her home state is known for its seafood). Instead of leaving it plain and clear, she decided to jazz up the crabs with piquant flavours from a mixture of preserved soya beans (taucheo), ground chilli and spices.
I’m more the Lamb-Kut-Teh kinda gal, thanks to the copious servings of ‘bak kut teh’ I had eaten as a child. Executive Chef Eric Siew proved his culinary wizardry by reinterpreting this much-treasured Malaysian dish (certain food TV channel's claim that BKT originates from a first world isle is pure hogwash). The broth - suitably herbaceous with warm woody nuances – was a match made in heaven with the superbly tender Aussie lamb ribs which bore the faintest hint of gaminess.
The dainty Ma Lai Koe or Steamed Sponge Cake were so darn good that the sweet-toothed me unashamedly devoured two pieces. It certainly was easier for me to scoff these babies down than it was for the chefs to come up with the seductive treat. Their secret boils down to the pure, high quality gula Melaka or palm sugar which they bought after a painstaking search.
You can taste some of the deep-seated toffee-like sweetness from the crumbled gula Melaka atop the airy-light Chinese tea cup sized cakes. They look pretty a picture too!
Time and effort are requisite when it comes to cooking Curry Kapitan Chicken and most resto versions tend to fail miserably once those elements aren't factored in. A beloved Nyonya staple which will tempt you into overloading on rice, it’s a feisty delicacy which sets the imagination ablaze, flaunting the chefs’ culinary prowess as much as the complex rempah (spice) mix used.
Coupled with the hearty Nyonya Fish Head Curry, this one feast is that will melt even the steeliest resolve of Atkins’ devotees. An irresistibly rich, robust and ‘lemak’ curry with chunks of fish head, okra and brinjal, you’d want to douse the gravy over mounds of plain rice to satisfy your appetite.
The five-bulous dishes will be served at diners’ table nightly, in addition to Makan Kitchen’s regular spread now until 31 October 2015. Price: RM125 per person.
The dynamic duo of Eric Siew and Amy Beh will headline the following special activities lined up for Doubletree’s 5th Anniversary:
Ocean-friendly Seafood Dinner, AUGUST 15@7pm
A Sustainable Seafood Fest in collaboration with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) RM180
Cooking Class Demo, SEPTEMBER 12@4-6pm
RM180 per person inclusive of Fabulous Five Dinner
Premium Nyonya Private Dining Hidang-style, SEPTEMBER 19@7pm
Special Nyonya menu served in private dining rooms at RM220 per person
LAGI SHIOK! with Five-bulous Durian
The hotel's 5th Anniversary continues with a thorny highlight taking centrestage at Makan Kitchen. Chef Eric Siew presents the King of Fruits aka the durian in different guises: Nasi Goreng Durian, Crispy Durian Fritter, Kek Lapis Durian, Durian Cheese Apam and Ayam Durian Skewer for every table of five diners at Makan Kitchen’s “Lagi Shiok!” with Five-buous Durian Weekend Hi-Tea (RM91 per person) from 1 August until 31 October.
As unlikely as it sounds, the Nasi Goreng Durian works surprisingly well…at least for my tastebuds. I love how the patina of custardy sweetness amplified the fried rice’s scrumptious smoky-savouriness on the palate. Yummylicious!
Coming in a close second in the fave stakes is Durian Fritter – decadent durian flesh sheathed in feather-light, crisp and golden brown batter. An inspired creation drawn from the evergreen appeal of our local tea time treat of goreng pisang.
Durian Cheese Apam hits the third spot with its moist, fluffy texture giving way to an intermingling of mildly cheesy and creamy sweet overtones. Although I find the Ayam Durian Skewer a tad cloying, the chef’s effort in channelling Malaysian famed satay with thick durian puree was commendable. Those who enjoy savoury-sweet pickings would stick up for this unusual combo.
After the inventiveness of the other temptations, the Kek Lapis Durian was kinda ho-hum. Dessicated coconut just don’t cut it in view of the availability of fresh coconut although I found the sponge-like cake sandwiched with durian puree decent enough.
Don't take my word for it. You'd have to savour the droolworthy treats and draw your own conclusions.
For reservations, call Makan Kitchen, tel: 03-2172 7272 or visit: www.makan-kitchen.com for information.