Showing posts with label locavore. Show all posts
Showing posts with label locavore. Show all posts

Friday, January 26, 2024



Banker turned baker Marcus Low shows his creative culinary prowess transcends the dessert realm at the new MadHatter Boulangerie in Kepong.

The 2015 MasterChef Asia First Runner-up remains a wizard at conjuring sumptuous treats as evidenced by the array of luscious dessert creations he plied us with during our visit recently.

Not only does Marcus uses premium and locally sourced ingredients, his artful, judicious pairing of cogent and cohesive flavours readily sets him apart from other pâtissiers in the city.
Upon sampling Marcus’ distinctive dessert creations such as Raspberry Rose Lychee, Chocolate and Cherry, Local Chestnut & Coffee Tart, Chocolate Calamansi, Apple Cinnamon and Banana Bread with Caramelised Cardamom Cream, we find ourselves spellbound by his superior skills and knowledge.
Striving to use more locally sourced ingredients, Marcus tells us his supply of rare jungle fruits and other exotic produce is procured from the Orang Asli community and through like-minded partners such as Langit Collective and Chocolate Concierge.
A good example is Bidara or Indian jujube, a local fruit that’s rarely if ever used in French pâtisserie. Instead of raisins, Marcus gives bidara the major role in the fruity filling for his Pain Aux Bidara (one of the distinctive items found in MadHatter Baked Boulangerie).
Marcus who made his maiden business debut in 2017, opened his MadHatter Desserts shop in Uptown Damansara to much social media fanfare. Now, post-pandemic times has driven him to streamline and relocate; he is focusing on providing dessert solutions for businesses whilst his ‘food with a purpose’ philosophy continues through attempts to include more locally sourced ingredients into his creations.

The new MadHatter menu also offers a selection of hot dishes in addition to dessert. Top of the list is MadHatter Signature Focaccia with Deli Cold Cuts (RM28). According to Marcus, the two distinctive charcuterie items: Smoked Paprika & Cocoa Husk Lamb and Ayam Kampung Ham with Turmeric Leaves are made on premise. We find the localised tastes punching above their weight; the emerging accents palate-pleasing and instantly cognizant.
Our enlightening culinary sojourn continues with Faux Liver Paté with Cerapu Jam. Whipped up from an ingenious blend of cashew, nam yue (red fermented beancurd) and blackened kulim (jungle garlic or Scorodocarpus borneensis Becc.), the meatless spread is winsome. We like its nutty creaminess accentuated by complex nuances of nam yue and kulim.

Spread onto toasty bread slices and cocoa husk crisps, we couldn’t stop raving over how well it paired with the cerapu (button mangosteen) jam’s delicate tart-sweetness.

According to Marcus, the cocoa husk crisps we tried is made from ground cocoa husk. “Cocoa husk is high in protein and pectin. Ground into powder, it can be used to make noodles and bread just like flour.”
Tasting somewhat woody-earthy like mushroom, the thin Cocoa Husk Crisps serve as a perfect foil for the deliciously creamy Smoked Mackerel Paté studded with salmon roe.
Fast gaining favour among local gourmands thanks to its musky-garlicky-truffle scent, kulim (another local fruit) when infused in olive oil, bestowed depths of flavour in the freshly baked and sliced Focaccia with Tomato and Kulim Olive Oil.
Adventurous eaters should wade into the boldly inventive Deep Fried Pomfret Open Sandwich with Tempoyak Mayo (RM32). Much to our surprise, the fish’s inherent sweetness held its own amidst the pungency of the creamy fermented durian mayo. Possibly not for the faint-hearted but this is a notable option if you seek something off the beaten culinary path.
Offal fans will find much to love in the Beef Tongue Stew with Swiss Cheese, Chimichurri & Bagel (RM36). Irresistible chewy-soft textures and unapologetically big, hearty flavours rule here. The accompanying coleslaw adds refreshing contrast to the ensemble.
Redolent with the warmth of spices, the Johor style Kacang Pool proved on-point. Topped with a sunny side up egg, the comforting bean stew induced us to lap up everything.
There is nothing coy about the Kukur Mushroom Pate Pizza Focaccia (RM22). Earthy-woody nuances abound in every mouthful – something mushroom enthusiasts will appreciate.
So if you’re tired of the ho-hum café fare, go give your tastebuds a rejuvenating jolt with the noteworthy and one-of-a-kind savoury and sweet treats from MadHatter.

For more information, please call MadHatter, tel: 03-6734 9632/012-370 4327. Address: 26, Jalan Medan Putra 4, Medan Putra Business Centre, Kuala Lumpur.

Saturday, October 13, 2018


Bambangan. Tuhau. Tarap. Losun. Wonihan Leaves. How many of these ingredients ring a bell with you?
After 15 years of food writing, I’m painfully aware and slightly ashamed to realise how little I know about the food of Sabah and Sarawak. After the informative and educational Ropuhan di Tanak Wagu cooking demonstration conducted by Pison Jaujip, I vow to learn as much as I can about the wondrous culinary secrets and traditional recipes of East Malaysia.
Held during the recent Cooler Lumpur Festival, Pison’s Ropuhan di Tanak Wagu event enabled the friendly Kadazandusun chap to show how he prepared several Sabahan recipes using local ingredients from the Land Below the Wind like those mentioned above. (Note: ropuhan means kitchen and tanak wagu means young lad in Kadazandusun) 
Having made it his mission to promote the traditional and interpretations of ethnic recipes before they are lost with the passing of time, Pison is a wonderful fount of information and knowledge on the culinary heritage of his native Sabah. Some of the interesting ingredients he showcased include:

Bambangan (mangifera pajang) also known as wild mango looks like an oversized potato-brown, husked coconut. Depending on its ripeness, the bambangan boasts bright yellow flesh with pleasantly sweet or mildly sour-sweet taste. Ripe fruits tend to exude a noticeably sweet floral-mango or banana-like aroma. When skinning, take care to avoid the sap which can ‘burn’ and cause skin blisters. The edible, faintly bitter kernel -- said to be efficacious against breast cancer -- can be chopped up for sambal too.

According to Pison, Bambangan can be made into pickles or preserved like his Noonsom Bambangan recipe. All you need is to peel the skin of 1 medium half ripe Bambangan and slice the fruit. Cut up the Bambangan seed/kernel into strips or grate finely. Mix both the Bambangan flesh and seed/kernel together with salt to taste. Store in a tightly covered jar for 7-10 days and serve mixture as a condiment to go with rice.
Chunky pieces of Bambangan can also be stir-fry with roughly chopped pieces of salted fish and chillies to create an appetising starter. 


A type of wild ginger, Tuhau (etlingera coccinea) is prized by Sabahans for its high fiber content, antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Shaped like a long stem with pinkish-brown hue similar to that of torch ginger, Tuhau is also partaken for its many health benefits: for blood cleansing as well as to reduce high blood pressure.
Pison says tuhau can be sautéed with salted fish, made into spicy sambal or dried floss. Just like lemongrass, the Tuhau’s woody outer layer is peeled away and only the tender, edible inner pith is retained. When cut into smaller pieces, you'd find tuhau excretes fine strands of sticky sap between the cuts. Taste-wise, I think it’s faintly earthy and vegetal; a cross between galangal and rhubarb. Tuhau is usually eaten sautéed with salted fish, made into spicy sambal or shredded to be turned into serunding (deep-fried floss).

For Rinawal Tuhau, Lado Momporok Om Pinaga Kolopis (Picked Tuhau with Bird’s Eye Chillies and Limed Juice - refer middle pix), mix 300g Tuhau (thinly sliced or finely pounded) with 150g lime juice or vinegar and 3-5 bird’s eye chillies (thinly sliced or pounded). Season with salt to taste and serve.


Also known as the common mahang (macaranga bancana), the broad leaves resemble the footprint of a dino to me. Native Sabahans use them to wrap food especially Linopot Linangatan Guol — cooked rice with yam and sweet potato to sustain them when they forage in the jungles or work in the fields.
Like banana leaves, Wonihan Leaves exude a natural, distinct scent that suffused whatever is wrapped in them. They are sturdy, water-proof and bio-degradable; ideal for packing and keeping food fresh.
Here’s a simple Linopot Linangatan Guol recipe shared by Pison Jaujip:

1 cup white hill rice
1 cup purple hill rice
2 cups water
1 medium size yam
1 small sweet potato
4-8 wonihan leaves

Wash and drain both types of rice. Place into rice cooker and add water.
Peel yam and sweet potato. Cut into cubes.
Stir into rice to mix well. Cook rice until yam and sweet potato soften.
Use wooden spoon to mash rice, yam and sweet potato according to desired texture.
Wipe wonihan leaves and place 3 tablespoons or more of rice mixture onto each leaf.
Compress the rice into trapezoid shape then tuck, fold and wrap the wonihan leaf over it to cover snugly.
Enjoy Linopot Linangatan Guol with assorted traditional accompaniments

Sabah also produces its own garam bukit or fine hill salt
The wrapped, slightly sticky rice certainly whetted our appetite, especially when accompanied by traditional condiments: pickled and sambal tuhau, preserved bambangan, mixed local vegetables with salted fish and crispy tuhau floss.

(Note: Sabah’s hill rice and wonihan leaves are sold at the Borneo Market in Seri Kembangan)

Pison also piqued our interest with a local salad Kinotuan Mirolot Sinapakan Tonsin Sada (mixed vegetables with salted fish) featuring native produce such as Langgangon (white bird’s eye chillies), Topu (torch ginger bud), Losun (Sabah spring onion) and Tonsin Sada (salted fish).



100g losun (cut into 2” pcs)
100g langgangon (sliced)
50g topu (sliced)
50g tuhau (sliced)
50g tonsin sada (cut into chunks)
2 tbsp cooking oil
Salt to taste

Wash, rinse and cut ingredients as mentioned above. Heat oil in pan. Sauté salted fish until golden brown. Add in sliced ingredients. Stir to mix well. Cook for 3 minutes. Season to taste and serve.

The enterprising Pison also makes jam and preserves from his native land like the variety of jams shown here. For more information, follow Pison Jaujip on Facebook:

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