Showing posts with label beetroot. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beetroot. Show all posts

Monday, September 16, 2019


The curtain-raiser of Truffle Radish Puff with Twin Purple Sweet Potatoes from Elegant Inn Hong Kong Cuisine’s Unique Vegetarian Set looks almost too pretty to be eaten.

An artistic creation featuring crisp, deep-fried purple sweet potato slices arranged around a flaky domed puff stuffed with truffle oil-scented radish and carrot julienne, the pastry’s outer layer is similar to that of a traditional Teochew mooncake crust: delightfully feather-light and crisp to the bite.
It’s one of the many inventive specialities showcased in the restaurant’s special set menu to commemorate Gau Wong Yeh – the Nine Emperor Gods Festival, a major Toaist religious celebration held on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month. Devotees usually observe a strict vegetarian diet with many flocking to the Nine Emperor Gods temples in Ampang, Selangor and Butterworth, Penang for prayers.
Elegant Inn HK Cuisine is one of the rare Chinese restaurants in the city to offer a specially composed vegetarian set menu to mark the said festival. According to proprietress Jeanette Han, “our vegetarian menu is increasingly popular with diners who adhere to vegetarianism during the Nine Emperor Gods Festival. Since I’m not fond of greens, I challenge my chefs to create unique vegetarian dishes for this period.”
Her culinary team deftly rises to the occasion with that opening volley. The subsequent soup course proves equally show-stopping; a masterful demonstration of nifty knife skills that has beancurd ‘blooming’ into an  otherworldly blossom with fine, wavy tendrils in the Double Boiled Soup of Tofu Blossom with Fresh Beetroot & Carrot.
True to the Cantonese preference for clear, uncomplicated flavours, Han says she prefers to serve soups with a natural, delicate sweetness culled from the ingredients used; through 4-6 hours of double-boiling. Hence one sip of the dark yet beguiling broth is enough to suffuse the palate with the inherent sweetness of beetroot, carrot and wolfberries chosen for its preparation.

Another clever masterstroke comes in the form of Trio Treasures Stuffed with Organic Beancurd & Quinoa. A more refined vegetarian version of ‘yong tau foo’, the pan-fried wedges of brinjal, bittergourd and red capsicum come stuffed with mashed organic beancurd with quinoa instead of fish paste. The slightly nutty and appealing stuffing is further enlivened by a tantalising dressing concocted using lychee vinegar and sesame sauce.
Crunchy like asparagus, plump groundnut sprouts is a new ingredient that rouses much interest among our dining party. The sweet subtlties of the Groundnut Sprouts Wok Fried with Sweet Peas & Premium Cordycep Flowers make it a noteworthy dish.
Springy hand-made noodles are stir-fried with porcini mushrooms and leafy greens result in a tempting serving of Premium Wild Porcini Noodles. Touched with truffle oil, the noodles leave us happily satisfied without feeling bloated.
Such hazy weather calls for a soothing dessert broth and the Double Boiled Snow Pear with Chuan Bei and Citrus Peel is roundly welcomed as chuan bei mu or fritillaria bulbs is known for its lung-soothing efficacy in traditional Chinese medicine herb.

The mildly fruity-sweet broth is also cooling for the body, making it a nice panacea for the hot, smoggy weather. Complementing it is Yan Xi Lotus Bloom Pastry – a flaky, multiple layer flower-shape pastry with sweet lotus seed paste centre. We learned the artful creation was inspired by the hit Chinese drama series, Yan Xi Palace.
Priced at RM138++ per person (minimum 2 diners per table), the Nine Emperor Gods Festival Unique Vegetarian Set from Elegant Inn Hong Kong Cuisine is available from September 29 to October 7, 2019.
For reservations, please call Elegant Inn HK Cuisine, tel: 03-2070 9399. Address: 2.01, 2nd Floor, Podium Block, Menara Hap Seng, Jalan P Ramlee, KL.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018


Organised in partnership with the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Malaysia, I had my first-ever Polish dining experience featuring a four-course menu by Guest Chef Marcin Budynek (below pix, left) at the Polish Tatar Food Festival at Shook! which is on its last leg today.
After graduating from the Poznan Culinary Schools in his homeland, Chef Marcin’s culinary passion saw him gleaned global experiences across Italy, England, Chile, South Africa and Spain. The enterprising chef also runs the Marcin’s Culinary Academy and helms his own Bistro Dobra Zmiana and Tawerna Fisza restaurants on top of hosting popular daytime television cooking shows in Poland.
Historically, Polish food is an intriguing mixture of traditions and cultures: Germans, Tatars, Turks, Armenians and Lithuanians among others. The nomadic Tatar — a Muslim ethnic minority whose roots can be traced back to the Mongol Empire who setled in Poland at the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th century brought with them one-pot meals cooked on open fire and dishes such as beef tartare, manta (dumplings), hot soups thickened with meat and vegetables, pilaw (pilaf) and baked goods.
From the get-go, diners can whet their appetite with curtain-raisers of Beef Tartare, Beef Chebureki with Crème Fraîche or Bezduszniki - Tatar Dumplings with Chicken or Vegetables. Dotted with spicy mustard, the raw minced beef is palatably tantalising with the occasional bursts of saltiness, tartness and sharpness evoked by the inclusion of capers, chopped onion and cornichon pickles mixed into it.
The Beef Chebureki looks exactly like our local curry puffs — a half moon shaped baked pastry with lightly spiced minced beef filling minus any chilli hotness. As for Bezduszniki - Tatar Dumplings with Chicken or Vegetables, they are possibly the original speciality that gives rise to wor tip or Chinese pot stickers and gyoza.
Soups are also popular in Polish cuisine. In the summer months, choldnik or Cold Beetroot Soup tops the list. The refreshingly tangy soup boasts a brilliant pink hue thanks to the blended beetroot. Cucumber julienne and hard-boiled egg lend textural interest whilst yoghurt and lemon juice endow the soup with rounded creaminess without being overly cloying. A fresh herb known as purple radish gives it a nice peppery finish.
Both the Cream of Sauerkraut with Beef Ribs as well as the Beef and Lamb Stew are so hearty and substantial, they are practically a complete meal on their own. The former is palatably tangy with a silky lushness to it whilst the latter, served with unleavened bread roll, tastes comfortingly voluptuous like being enveloped in mum’s embrace.
Grains, meat and freshwater fish are dominant in the Polish diet as are cured meat and sausages. Sour cream and yoghurt are preferred while common vegetables include beets, cabbage and potatoes. The various main courses: Baked Duck with Potato Cake, Roast Lamb Shoulder with Vegetable Pilaf and Salmon with Butter Emulsion with Casserole of Beans and Pickled Vegetables offered are reflective of those traits.
My portion of baked duck is reminiscent of duck confit; the faintly gamey and briny meat evokes the aroma and deep flavour of Lunar New Year-ish waxed duck. Served with a slab of potato cake similar to hash brown, the rustic dish redolent with the musky earthiness of mushroom is complemented by savoury duck jus.
Research shows Polish Tatar and Asian food share more commonalities than we realise. A good example is the lamb and pilaf combination in which hints of spices perfumed the rice and meat. My dining partner happily polished off everything as the dish was comparable to a well-made biryani worth its grain. Although we didn’t try the salmon, the fillet looks good, accompanied by a generous serving of beans in tomato sauce.
Entertained by authentic Tatar music performed by Maria and Marcin Ruminski from Poland throughout dinner, I relished every bite of my Traditional Tatar Stulistnik Pastry with Lemon Cream and Fruits. Smeared with lemon cream, the roll of delicate paper-thin flaky pastry is complemented by fresh berries.
The Tatar fondness for dumplings extend to dessert. Proof of the pudding is the pair of Steamed Sweet Manta Dumplings with Cottage Cheese and Fruits. Simpler yet no less appealing are the cushiony-soft Sweet Buns with White Buckwheat and Poppy Seeds.
Available tonight from 7pm until 10.30pm, you can opt for a three-course dinner at RM160 nett per person or four-course dinner at RM180 nett per person. Guests can also choose selected dishes from the menu at à la carte prices.

For reservations and enquiries, please call Shook! @Starhill Gallery, tel: 03-2782 3875 or email

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