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Home-Cooked: Prawn Noodles - PerutBesi's Style

>> Wednesday, December 21, 2016

When you're too lazy to bother with recipes & you don't purposely purchase ingredients for a meal, you're exactly like the PerutBesi! Welcome to my world in the kitchen! I rarely buy ingredients specifically to cook something, but I'll check what I have in stock & I'll think of something to cook...hahaha...yeah, it may not be the best way, but it has been working so far...

I've been experimenting on prawn noodles twice. Last night was my 2nd time cooking prawn noodles again & I think it tasted pretty good :) The hubs approved with a big smile on his face *yay*

What made me think of cooking prawn noodles last night? Well, it's the home-grown kangkung (the Thais call it "morning glory") that I've just harvested - it has to be cooked & enjoyed, right? :D

Part of my small 'lil garden before I harvested most of the crops :P

The 2 veggies that I harvested yesterday 

I'm sharing a simple "recipe" of sort with steps on how I prepared my version of prawn noodles (it's all "agak-agak"/by estimation method). It may not be exactly like the original, but I think it tasted pretty good to us. Heh. If you're picky, you may not want to follow my recipe. But if you're an "explorer" like yours truly, then enjoy this journey of discovery! Feel free to tweak the recipe according to your preference! :)

* serves 2 persons. If you don't take pork, you can use ikan bilis/chicken as well, I'm sure.

Ingredients for soup (Set A)
- garlic, 5-6 cloves chopped/blended 'til fine
- shallot, 3-4 bulbs chopped/blended 'til fine
- chili boh paste, approximately 2 tablespoons
- dried shrimps, 3-4 tablespoons
- ikan bilis/dried anchovies, 1 handful
- cooking oil, 2 tablespoons or more

Ingredients for soup (Set B)
- fresh prawn shells (I used just 10 prawns + at least another 15 prawn shells from previous consumption; I just ate the prawns & kept the shells with their heads in the freezer)
- pork bones for soup, 2 palm-size pieces (if you have more, your soup will be tastier, so you can use however much you can afford to add into the soup...hahaha...I just had 2 more pieces left in the freezer, so that's all I used)
- rock sugar, 1-2 pieces to taste
- salt, 1 teaspoon or according to your preference
- chicken stock/cube, optional (I didn't use it as I don't have any in the kitchen, but it'll make the soup tastier, I'm sure)

Ingredients for the overall dish
- noodles, cooked, drained & set aside (you can use the yellow noodles, vermicelli/meehoon, or like me, use those air-dried Vit's noodles)
- kangkung, at least 2 handfuls, blanched/pre-cooked (I just used however much that I harvested from my garden)
- fresh prawns, shelled (that same 10 prawns in Set B)
- egg, hard-boiled & halved
- fried shallots, optional (I didn't have & was too lazy to fry them on the spot)
- beansprouts, as much as desire, optional (I didn't purchase beansprouts)

1. Bring a pot of water to boil.
2. Add in the pork bones.
3. Add in the fresh prawn shells. If you want it to be more fragrant, you can fry/stir-fry the prawn shells with the other ingredients of Set A first before adding to the pork-based soup.
4. Keep the soup boiling on medium flame & proceed with the next part of the preparations.

5. Heat frying pan/wok with at least 2 tablespoons of cooking oil.
6. Add the chopped garlic & shallots & fry 'til fragrant, but not 'til it starts to brown.

7. Add the dried shrimps & ikan bilis into the garlic+shallots mix & fry 'til fragrant. I had a pre-fried dried shrimps + ikan bilis + chili mix, so I used that instead of individual ingredients.

8.  Add the chili boh paste into the pan & stir-fry 'til the paste mixes well with the other ingredients.

9. Add the paste into the soup & stir/mix well.
10. Do a taste-test before adding the rock sugar & salt &/chicken stock. (this is because the chili boh paste + dried shrimps + ikan bilis can be rather salty)
11. Scoop/filter out all the prawn shells & pork bones. (I allowed the soup to boil with all the ingredients for another 10-15 minutes before filtering the prawn shells + pork bones)
12. Discard the prawn shells.
13. Peel off the meat from the pork bone & set aside.
14. Blanch the fresh prawns in the soup 'til cooked. Set aside.
15. "Assemble" your noodles, veggie, half the hard-boiled egg, prawns & pork in a bowl & add the prawn-pork soup into that same bowl.

Tadaaaa! PerutBesi's version of simple prawn noodles! Bon apetit!

Me thinks me is quite a good "agak-agak" chef,


Review: Green Tomato Cafe & MyBatik

>> Monday, December 19, 2016

Earlier this month, I was invited to a nasi lemak cooking demonstration workshop at the Green Tomato Cafe in KL. I was actually pretty excited since I've never really had the opportunity to formally learn the art of cooking a good plate nasi lemak.

Upon arriving at the Green Tomato Cafe, I was informed by the owner that their blender wasn't working & thus, they had to cancel the day's nasi lemak cooking demo :( Instead, I was offered the opportunity to experience batik painting at the same vicinity! Now, that too was interesting although very different from what I've expected from this review session :D

The entire area is managed by the same person, Emilia Tan, who is the founder of the MyBatik workshop & the Green Tomato Cafe. She's very hands-on & creative, & her passion for batik painting can be seen in her cooking, coffee art & other workshops that her place offers (it's a whole, long list of workshops available, so check out their website or give her a call to enquire! She can even customize & accommodate a variety of requests).

The batik workshop area

One of the many batik paintings

According to Emilia, there are 2 ways of batik design drawing. The most popular way is the canting way, where the artist draws the design "free hand". MyBatik is the only place in KL with batik design molds for their batik design printing. It's very much easier for newbies to explore the art of batik making & painting, plus it's less stressful as well!

Batik design mold in hot wax

My chosen batik design mold

Important tips to batik painting!
First, we'll need to select the batik design mold of choice.
Once that's done, you'll need to place the mold in hot wax.
Next, shake off excessive wax & press the mold onto the cloth material. If there's too much wax on the mold (you didn't shake off the excessive wax enough), upon pressing on the cloth material, the prints will look blotchy & thick. If there's not enough wax on the mold (you shook too much 'til no wax is on the mold or you took too long to transfer the mold from the hot wax to the material that the wax solidifies), your batik design print will not be visible enough & when you paint, the paint may seep out of the design onto the empty spaces of the cloth material.

I did some 'test runs' before I was confident enough to stamp the design onto my white shirt!

Hmm...doesn't look perfect, but let's try the 'real deal' now...

Step 1: Soak the mold into the pan of hot wax 'til the mold is heated up.
Step 2: Shake off the excessive wax 'til there's no wax dripping from the mold.

Step 3: Without wasting any time, transfer the waxed-mold onto the shirt/material.
Step 4: Press hard & for at least 5-7 seconds so that the wax gets printed onto the shirt/material. (ensure that you place a layer of thick plastic + newspapers beneath the shirt so that the back of the shirt won't get the wax as well)

Tadaaaa...my wax-print! Looks a 'lil inconsistent...but it's a good 1st attempt :P

Optional: If you would like to write your name/initialize on the shirt, use the canting method. Similar procedure, a bowl of hot wax is prepared. Dip the canting tool into the bowl of hot wax to scoop up some hot wax.

Draw/Write your name/initials without spilling the wax onto your shirt/material.

SO ugly...hahaha...it was a challenge to write properly using wax!

Step 5: Paint your batik using fabric watercolor (I think) & paint brushes!

We were given only the 3 primary colors: blue, yellow, & red. So get creative & paint away!

I started painting the leaves first...

Then I painted the flowers...color tones is something that I wanted to achieve, so I took my own sweet time to finish up the painting.

Painting completed!

The next step was to soak the fabric in sodium silicate for a minimum of 5 hours to 'fix' the colors onto the fabric. While that's being done, I went over to the Green Tomato Cafe for a simple review of their best sellers.

Simple outdoor cafe

Dish #1: Wild Mushroom Soup (RM12.00/serving)
It was quite a pleasant surprise to find a small cup of wild mushroom soup loaded with mushrooms in every mouthful. The cream-based soup is adequately thick, well-flavored & fragrant with the aroma of all the different types of mushrooms, from oyster mushrooms, button mushrooms to golden mushrooms. It's served with some croutons as well.

Dish #2: Eggs Benedict (RM19.00/serving)
Poached eggs with chicken ham on toast, topped with home-made Hollandaise sauce
I love eggs Benedict & I'm glad that these poached eggs were cooked perfectly. The yolk was still runny, but I couldn't really taste much of the Hollandaise sauce. The salad was lightly dressed & the sauteed herb-potatoes was a decent side dish to accompany the eggs & toasts.

Dish #3: Home-Made Pizza Margherita (RM20.00/serving)
Everything from the base to the toppings are either home-made or freshly prepared. It's a very light-crusted, simple yet delicious pizza to have on a lazy Saturday afternoon :) They even have pizza-making workshop for children, so check out their website for more details/drop them an enquiry!

Ice Lemon Juice (RM10.00/glass)
Freshly squeezed lemon juice with syrup for a refreshing treat.

We were chit-chatting casually with Emilia after our meal to get to know her more & her business better when she shared with us that coffee art can be a very simple art to master. She applied her batik painting techniques & skills to coffee art, so it's a different approach to the popular coffee art that we find at various cafes.  

The milk had to be steamed as usual & the latte was prepared.

Next, just scoop some milk foam & place on the top of the latte. Using a sharp tool, 'draw' the flowers & hearts that you desire.

Tadaaa! The simple coffee art that even kids will enjoy making :) Emilia runs such workshops as well as hot chocolate art for kids. To her, nothing is too difficult to design as long as you use your creativity :D

Thank you for the creative experience, MyBatik & Green Tomato Cafe!

We left in a hurry with our packed shirts as we couldn't wait for the 5 hours 'til the night nor had time to come back the next day to pick up our shirts. Emilia's worker graciously packed the soaked shirts for us & Emilia gave us instructions on how to complete the batik process. The following photos & descriptions below will show you the end process of my batik shirt, which I'm so proud of! :D

Photo of the compound (taken from inside the car as it started raining!)

After 5 hours...

Step 6: Wash away the sodium silicate in clean water (I washed it at least twice...haha)

Step 7: Boil a pot of hot water & add the soda ash powder into the pot of boiling hot water.
This solution will help to melt the wax away.

Step 8: Soak the shirt into the pot of hot soda ash water, 'stirring & rinsing' it using a stick to ensure that the wax falls off the shirt/get dissolved into the pot of soda ash water.

Step 9: Remove & transfer into a pail of clean water to ensure that all the wax is removed from the shirt.

Step 10: Hang dry the shirt without direct sunlight exposure!
Your batik print shirt is now ready to be worn :D

What do you think of my self-painted batik t-shirt? I thought it's pretty good for the 1st attempt...hahaha, don't you agree? :P

Green Tomato Cafe/myBatik
Yayasan Seni
333, Persiaran Ritchie off Jalan Ritchie
55000 K.L.
Tel: (+603) 42515154/ Whatsapp numbers: (+6012) 2579775, (+6014) 2470224
Business hours: 8:00a.m. - 5:00p.m. daily (even on public holidays)
Email: manager@tmsart.com.my
URL for the MyBatik workshop: http://www.myBatik.org.my
URL for the Green Tomato Cafe: http://greentomatocafe.com.my/
Online Shop: http://www.myBatik.com
GPS: 3.15937,101.7369173

Creative juices flowed for half that day!

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