Spicy Tamarind Tava Fish

What do you do when you have some beautiful fillets of Basa at home? You hurry up and cook something delicious with them! Before I get to the recipe, I want to say this one can be made with ANY good white fish. Basa is a great cheap option, but pomfret or even kingfish would have to be my preferences. Of course go ahead and use cod or halibut, though I would avoid Hoki because it does have a very overpowering smell and flavour.

Now this recipe is definitely one from India, and it is definitely amazing. This style of fish is one I’ve eaten at an aunt’s house who hails from a different community, though within the same language group. I know – India is a little complicated in that sense. Okay a lot complicated *sigh*. Point is, fish is not something I grew p with, and this particular style of cooking fish is not something you would see in my specific community. It is, however, so delicious… it’s ridiculous.

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This recipe use a lot of tamarind pulp. You can usually find a bottle of this in th e Asian food aisle of your local supermarket, or head over to an Asian/Indian grocery store. Something a little off the original recipes is my addition of ginger, only a little, to brighten up the flavour. Now ginger is something I tend to add to a lot of my recipes because of the overall health benefits that come with it – trust me a little bit of it in your diet will go a long long way. Back to the tamarind – if you are able to find tamarind in block form then you can soak the same amount in some warm water for a couple of hours before removing the pulp from the mixture and using that. It does take longer, but of course fresh will always be better.

 

Let’s also talk about the marination. There really isn’t much to it apart from the fact that you want to give the fish at least 30 minutes to soak up in all the wonderful flavours. This tenderises the fish, and also just laces everything with the marination, which I just love. The maximum time to marinade the fillets would be 2 hours for uncut fillets like I used, but 30 minutes if you are using small chunks. After the fish is done marinating, we coat it with a mixture of rice flour and a touch of semolina for crunch. This will essentially glue the marinade and the flavour to the fish, while giving you a delicious toasty and crunchy topping to bite through. Even talking about this has me pretty damn excited.

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The ingredients for the marinade itself are really straightfoward. Start with the tamarind, some dried chilli, chilli powder, a touch of turmeric, asafetida, some corinader, a pinch of salt, crushed garlic and minced ginger – BAM. You need to soak the dried chilli in a 1/2 tsp of hot water for 10 minutes before transferring the chili to a mortar and pestle, and crush away. The final marinade should be nice and thick, but smooth overall. You have to rub the marinade into the flesh of the fish. If you plan to use skin-on fish, then use a sharp knife to just score the skin. This way the intense marination flavour with get straight to the meat and the skin too. Yum yum yum!

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So here we have the recipe card! Do tell me what you thought about this one

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Review: Devon Cafe

Devon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

SO again, I’m sorta going through my backlog of posts here *sigh*. Such are the hassles of taking time off from blogging, but loving food and restaurant hopping too much to let it go. I figured I should start my new reviews with possibly one of my go-to places for brunch in the city – Devon Cafe. Located on Devonshire street in Sydney, this place is quaint and kind of looks out of place in a fairly old and run down looking street.

Is this place my favourite? Well it’s high up on my favourites list, but yes I sometimes do have mixed feelings about Devon. I am a big fan of their breakfast items, but not so keen on some of the lunch items – particularly the sandwiches. But nonetheless, this cafe is a fabulous and bustling place to head to for a decent meal. The portions are pretty huge, and I can only call the prices moderate.

Now for the run down of the meals.

Let’s start with the Breakfast with the Sakuma’s 

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This comes with a truly delicious miso grilled king salmon fillet, smoked eel croquette, kewpie mayo, 63° egg and radish salad. Firstly, look at that plating!! Isn’t it stunning??

The salmon was incredible. It was flaky, and tender and flavoursome with the rich miso laced throughout. This was complimented so well by the creamy avocado and salad alongside breaking through the richness of the fish. The egg was cooked so nicely, with a yummy runny yolk allowing me to drench everything in the tasty yolk. This yolk acted like an interesting and rich sauce, with the kewpie mayo, for the smoked eel croquette.

Now I was genuinely afraid of the eel croquette, considering I have never eaten it before *yikes*. But when I took a bite, I fell in love. It was smooth, smokey and full of flavour. The crunchy coating matched that beautiful smokey smoothness, and thankfully not any part of this was soggy. The entire fried thing with the yolk and mayo was truly divine.

Next up – Egg’s Blini

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So here we have buckwheat blini’s, topped with cured Salmon, avocado, poached eggs and some broccolini. 

Now the little Blini pancakes were light, they were fluffy, and they were simple to rip apart and savour with the salty cured salmon. Now the salmon was a little too salty for my personal preference, but the creamy sauce and the avocado did break that down a little. The broccolini has a bit of a bite to it, and tasted delicious soaked in the runny yolk of the poached egg, and the creamy sauce poured all over.

Finally – (awkward moment when I forgot the menu item and it no longer is actually on the menu!) Chorizo and Blood sausage, with harrissa and crispy potatoes.

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Now this was a little daunting for me. The blood sausage in particular. I guess I just play it really safe with my foods? I don’t know. I never grew up eating items like blood sausage, or eel.

The harissa was spicy and fragrant, and was amazing when paired with that sausage and the crispy potatoes. Oh the sausage? So incredibly rich, with that beautiful chorizo spicy flavours. The egg complimented everything in this meal, and that is really all that I can really say about this one!

Now to rate:

Food: 8/10

I think there are items on the menu that are fabulous, and others that are kind of average. Breakfast with the Sakuma’s is probably the best thing I’ve eaten here.

Service: 5/10

To be frank I found the service slow, and a little bored. It took a while for the waitress to come to our table with the menus, then to take the order, and then with the food. Sure there is always a rush at Devon, but the time it took did bug me a fair bit.

Ambience: 9/10

Oh Devon is so cute and the courtyard has to be my favourite. It bustling and busy and always a little loud. It makes the experience fun, and when there is such a big crowd… you know it is a good place 😀

The Menu: 9/10

I love how experimental this cafe is with interesting flavours and meats to go alongside brunch classics like pancakes, salmon and your simple salad. This is something that really makes Devon stand out.

Overall Score: 7.75/10

Is it worth heading there? For sure.

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Avo Smash, poached Egg and Eggplant

MAKE BREAKFAST AMAZING AGAIN.

and make it at home.

SO many people spend anywhere between 15 – 30 dollars on their Sunday brunch, each week! Now, if you are willing to put in the 10 minutes of time it will take to make the food, you are going to save so much money. This particular recipe is so simple and easy, and you can actually make most the elements ahead of time and keep them in the fridge to use in other recipes. To top it off, there are plenty of ways to tweak this recipe for a new flavour each and every time, that way each Sunday will be amazingly special.

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Here comes the tricky part – the avocado. Why is it tricky? How many times have you cut open an avocado thinking it is the right softness to use, only to find it horribly hard or yucky and black? Oh it happens to all of us. The trick is to just understand the firmness. When you grab the avo, I normally do this with my non-writing hand to check, it should be firm enough to give a little resistance, but soft enough that you can push the skin in. Some people seriously have a knack for this.

To the avocado I always add some kind of cheese. In this recipe I went for cream cheese, but some delicious crumbly feta or ricotta are perfect substitutes. If you are vegan, then go ahead and add just a touch of Silken tofu to add a delcious creamy element to the avocado smash. I also add a hint of sumac because I just love the tangy spice that it provides, a squeeze of lime, which preserves the green color, and some parsley too. If not parsley you can add chives, or dill even to just freshen up the avocado even more. You can also add a touch of paprika if you like a little heat to your breakfast.

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In terms of the egg, I went for a yummy runny yolk by poaching my egg, but my parents personally love a good ol’ sunny side up. So no matter what the preference, you can use it. If you prefer scrambled, then add some of the cheese you used in the avo smash to the eggs. To poach the egg – I cannot believe I forgot to take photos! – add a touch of lime juice or vinegar to your pot of hot water. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, generate a vortex by making circles in the water using the end of a spoon. I like to crack the egg into a little bowl before  this point to make life a little easier because once the vortex has been made, you just want to slide the egg straight into the centre, slowly and gently. The egg should swirl around and essentially fold up on itself. I remove the egg as soon as I can see that the white has cooked off using a slotted spoon, but keep cooking the egg to your liking. Make sure you set it aside to dry off a little on some kitchen paper.

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Now this is the part I do beforehand. The roasted eggplant and the tomato-basil sauce. Stay tuned for the recipe, but any kind of tomato relish or even left over pasta sauce would work well. For the eggplant, I cut it up in thin slices and placed them in a roasting tray. I coated the eggplant generously with olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper and roasted them at 180 degrees celcius, until the eggplant is beautifully golden and soft and has started to caramelise a little.

Here is the recipe card for this particular breakfast recipe!

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Easy Chicken Cacciatore

This has to be a recipe that I have been wanting to make for at least a whole year. Countless times I have looked at the recipe, tried to prepare for it, but then it just never happened. So many times I saw this recipe on televisions, Food network ftw, and so many times did this recipe pop up on my you-tube ‘recommended list’ . What is Chicken Cacciatore??

So according to my research, it is an Italian chicken recipe which literally means a Hunter style chicken pot. It’s tender chicken cooked in a tomato sauce keeping it moist and literally falling off the bone. The ingredients in this recipe are so simple and easy to find. Sure it does take some time, but you won’t regret it at all… trust me.

Now typically you should use chicken marylands, but I went ahead with drumsticks because I had them on hand. Essentially you could use any cut of chicken, but to maximise the flavours you definitely want to use bone in and skin on pieces. This way when you brown the chicken in the initial stages of this recipe, you essentially render down the chicken fats. Then you end up cooking all the wonderful vegetables in this flavourful fat and well, everything becomes super delicious.

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This recipe uses what I would call the ultimate flavour trifecta (maybe 4-fecta. What is the actual word for this?) , onions, garlic and celery. Oh and add carrot to that too. In this recipe I think these are the essentials. I like using plenty of garlic, but of course that depends on your own taste. Now there aren’t any real spices apart from salt, pepper, and chili flakes, which makes the flavour so true to the vegetables in the recipe and so light on the stomach too.

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All of this combined with good ol’ canned tomatoes and you get this insanely delicious sauce, rich in flavour, and rich in texture too. The tomatoes will need a bit of sugar and extra salt to cook them through well, and soften down the chicken, and of course to cut the sourness of the fruit.

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What makes this recipe so great? The fact that it is literally so simple. You just have to let stew away for a really good 30-40 mins until the meat just seperates from the bones and the tomatoes have caramelised slightly. Here is the recipe card, and see for yourself just how tasty this one ends up ❤

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Creamy Beetroot, Mint and Pecan Dip

What do you do with left over beetroot? You make easy dip ofc!!

I love making dips at home. Firstly, you know EXACTLY what is in it! That is the best part. There is no added sugar, there are no preservatives, and no fake stuff. Plus, making dip is SOO easy! Trust me, once you start making your own, you will not go back to anything from the store. And this one is just so simple!

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You can make this same recipe using tinned beetroot directly, but I love the sweetness that beetroot picks up from roasting it. It does mean the dip takes a bit longer to make, but it’s an easy step with no fuss. Just clean, peel, slice, roast and rest. o real heavy work.

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I like using pecans in this dip, largely because I always have pecans in the house.But you can use pine nuts, hazelnuts or even almonds. Literally grab what you have lying around to give this dip a delicious nutty texture and flavour. The mint just makes this dip so fresh and is the perfect compliment to sweet beetroot and the nuts too.

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Now if you have left over feta, go ahead and add that with the cream cheese. It will add a tasty salty element to the dip. Plain cream cheese works a treat, and that is usually how I do it.

All you need to do is blitz everything in a food processor until smooth and creamy and then serve with some chips, a touch of paprika and olive oil. Yum yum!

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Review: Mr Wong’s

Mr. Wong Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

So to celebrate my birthday *sigh I am getting older* among other important things, we headed to Mr Wong’s in Sydney’s CBD, and boy was I truly impressed. Tucked away in an alleyway with very modest signage is this wonderful restaurant, that isn’t small at all. Upon entering you feel gusts of cool breeze (It’s the aerodynamics of the room #engineeringgraduaterighthere) and you see the expansive set up all decorated in a colonial french theme. I loved the colors, the vibe, the ambience, and the sounds from the place – it was all so cozy and inviting.

We had a reservation, but we were a little early. Thankfully they seated us right away. Now the first thing I noticed, were how friendly and smiley the wait staff was. Not a single one looked unhappy or b***hy – something I have noticed in the city. The second thing I noticed was how incredibly loud the table next to us was. Here we were having an intimate dinner while a bunch of corporate dressed men were swearing their heads off. It did ruin the mood a little, but alas not the fault of the restaurant itself.

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Oh and you can literally see the chefs working! It’s so wonderful! The open kitchen really shows you the story of how the food is made and I loved it. The fact that the kitchen was so beautifully clean was another awesome point.

Now to the bits and bobs of the food and menu. Firstly, the wine list – so good!! They have a fabulous range of drinks to serve, which I loved. We didn’t order anything too heavy, considering it was only the afternoon. We stuck to a simple Reisling and Rose wine. We also were offered complimentary tea, which I really enjoyed. I chose Chrysanthemum, which is deliciously nutty and subtle and perfect with food. I would definitely recommend grabbing a nice tea during your meal, I find that it helps all the food just go down well.

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Okay, the menu. It’s expansive! I loved that there were multiple dim sum options, and they were certainly very unique. I had never seen aubergine (eggplant) and chicken together in a dumpling, thought we didn’t order it.

We stuck with our favourite, the Pork xiao long bao, a delicious steamed dumpling which has a broth encased. It’s incredibly hot so you need to ‘pop’ the dumpling before eating it otherwise you will burn your mouth. Would I recommend it. Yes. Hell yes I would. The dumpling was soft and delicious and the pork was tender and flavourful. The broth wasn’t overpowering at all and just complimented the meat beautifully.

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For mains we decided to order the Kung Pao Chicken, along with the ‘Typhoon shelter type’ King crab fried rice. The rice was such a treat to the eyes. The speckles of the crab meat, the garlic, the rice, and chilli were just beautiful. The rice itself was surprisingly light, and not oily at all which I really loved. Normally I find fried rice at restaurants just drenched in oil, with all it’s flavour taken over by this oil. But not at Mr Wong’s. The rice was perfectly seasoned, and was just so damn good! In my opinion this was one of the best fried rice’s I had ever eaten.

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The Kung Pao Chicken was wonderful. Just wonderful. It was a true balance of sweet, spicy and salty – umami :P. The chicken had a beautiful smokey color and flavour, and the roasted peanuts were just a lovely crunchy compliment to the soft and tender meat. The meal came with fried chilli as well, and not only were these great to look at, but they tasted phenomenal when eaten with pieces of chicken and rice also.  The green’s along with the chicken balanced the saltyness of the meal greatly, and offered some color and freshness to the meal and palate too. With the fried rice… it was absolute perfection.

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Did we order dessert? Sadly. No we didn’t – We got macron’s from Adriano Zumbo in QVB instead ❤

Okay time to rate the place. My favourite part.

Food: 10/10

I really have nothing more to say about it. It was delicious.

Service: 9/10

I’m only taking a point off because the wait staff that looked after us was a little slow, and well forgetful :/

Ambiance: 10/10

They have done a fantastic job at Mr Wong’s in bringing in a bit of history and culture into the restaurant. The whole place is warm, and inviting and tells a little story about the food and everything behind it. The fact that the kitchen is completely open to everyone, is a huge added bonus.

The menu: 9.5/10

Half a point off because I would have liked to see more chicken in the meat section of the menu, but otherwise this one is really great.

Total score: 38.5/40 OR 9.625/10 😀

Would I go back. Of course.

Malaysian Style Marinated Chicken

So I initially wanted to make Satay chicken, now the chicken itself could absolutely be served with a home made or store bought satay sauce, but I will also go through my delicious tamarind sauce that pairs amazing with the chicken and can also be used as a marinade too 🙂

It has been a while since I made some chicken, so I figured why not? Now I used chicken thighs, really just for the flavour and tenderness of this meat, but if you want to go for the healthy variation use chicken breast instead. Of course bone-in skin on would be the most flavourful, but to make life a little easy I went with skinless and boneless thigh fillets. Chicken tenderloins would work as well!

This recipe is really quite simple. I recommend blitzing the peanuts for the tamarind sauce FIRST, and then processing up the marinade followed by the other sauce ingredients. In terms of the marinade, I’ve made this quite mild, but do feel free to add plenty more chili. If you don’t really have time to marinate the chicken, it’s fine to liberally coat the meat and fry everything up, but ideally overnight will ensure tender flavorsome chicken.

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Again, the ideal situation is to grill the chicken on a grill plate or barbecue to to get that beautiful and delicious charred flavour, but pan frying or roasting them in the oven work well too. Honestly, I do find it just a bit easier on the clean up side of things to just use a non-stick fry pan or pot (particularly on those work/school nights). Just ensure to move the chicken around in the fry pan to ensure you get color on the chicken, by removing it from areas of high moisture. This is the obvious downside to using a fry pan or pot, but in the end the choice is yours as to which cooking method to use.

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Now the marinade is easy and delicious and packed full of flavour. I mixed up tamarind, chili, lemongrass, a touch of lime juice, fresh coriander leaves and stalks, ground coriander, peanut oil, some water, shallots, turmeric and garlic. SO much flavour and variation in one go. Trust me, this marinade is just bang on.

The sauce is really very similar, but of course I added peanuts. I cooked off the sauce before serving to get rid of any raw garlic and shallot flavor. For the sauce I used plenty of tamarind, lime, peanuts (as I said), garlic, ginger, shallots (as I said), dried chilli, chili powder, turmeric, coriander leaves and stalks, ground coriander, kecap manis (sweet soy sauce), peanut oil, lemongrass, and water. Here the essential differences between the sauce and marinade, is that I chose to use dried chili and peanuts in the sauce and ofc the soy addition.

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Now this marinade, and this sauce could be directly used as a marinade for fish and ofc (in the case of the sauce) a marinade for chicken. Trust me it turns out delicious.

Okay. Recipe time!

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Trust me, try this one. It is SOO good.

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