Cooking my own Thipsamai branded Pad Thai (Bib Gourmand)

Thipsamai

Thipsamai is a Bangkok institution that serves up pad thai in a huge multi-room sprawling empire in Pratuphee. There is a long queue snaking out the front every single night. The army of chefs work fast though so the line moves relatively quickly. They’ve recently been honored in the Michelin Bib Gourmand listings and I decided to check them out after my visit to Raan Jay Fai.

Thipsamai-Bangkok

I had eaten at Elvis Suki, Raan Jay Fai and Tongue Fun ice cream in the past 3 hours so I was quite full. Fortunately, Thipsamai has a gift shop inside their restaurant that carries complete, ready-to-cook versions of their famous pad thai! Enterprising bastards! I decided to forgo eating there and get some packs to bring home instead. I also bought one of their branded plates and glasses so I could replicate the meal at home. At least, that’s what I told myself but I really wanted souvenirs too.

Pad-Thai

For my first attempt, I armed myself with large prawns (can’t have pad thai without shrimp), roasted peanuts (which I crushed), spring onions, firm tofu, egg and butter. I used the regular green version (the red one has shrimp oil). The packaging said to fry the dry pad thai noodles in oil till soft before mixing the sauce packet with an equal amount of water and pouring it in.

HB-Chopping

I thought it was a bit unusual to fry dehydrated noodles with butter without rehydrating them first but it works!

HB-Cooking

Here’s another photo of me doing domestic things while wearing a stringer that shows off my muscles for your viewing pleasure.

Maha-Nakhon

I paired it with a Maha Nakhon bottled beer I painstakingly brought back from Bangkok. This was the only one that survived. Another Cheers can exploded in mid-air from the air pressure differential and soaked all my packed clothes. The pad thai was decent but I felt like it could be improved.

Pad-Thai-Cooking

Thus, I refined my processes during my second try a week later. I used the red Thipsamai pad thai box with shrimp oil this time. I also bought bean sprouts (which I forgot the first time around) and Thai bird eye chillis. I fried the eggs first in a separate frying pan and made a flat omelet that I sliced into strips before adding it during the final stir. I also cracked in a raw egg to help things bind together.

Pad-Thai-Thipsamai

I threw in half of the bean sprouts, omelet, Thai chilli and spring onions and used the other half as a raw garnish so it remains crunchy. I also had a squeeze of lime and crushed peanuts as a topping. This version is insanely delicious! I love the combination of sweet notes from the peanuts and butter, the salty overtones from the pad thai sauce, the raw elements in the bean sprouts and spring onions, followed by a nice kick from the Thai chillies. I’ll rate it 10/10 if I’m allowed to rate my own cooking.

Thipsamai-Pad-Thai

I respect how Thipsamai pad thai leverages on their success by selling branded food and souvenirs. I’m all about resourceful minds and I enjoy food related souvenirs. That’s the only type of souvenir I buy. I got one of their vintage fridge magnets to put on my fridge and their Thipsamai plate and glass (same as the ones they use in-house) has been one of my favorite crockery for plating. I’ll be sure to revisit when I’m in Bangkok again to see how my own take on their ready-to-cook pad thai compares with the restaurant version.

Merryn’s Ayam Pongteh

Pounder

I am currently experimenting with different recipes to make my meal prep taste better and I have found a winner. This is the reigning champion – my current favorite! Ayam pongteh is a Nyonya dish made with taucu (fermented soy beans). It has a very distinctive taste that I like. I used the base recipe from Merryn and modified it according to my taste buds. This is for 8 portions:

  • 2.5 kg chicken legs
  • 0.5 kg chicken breast
  • 6 shallots
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup taucu
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp palm sugar
  • Potatoes
  • 6 cups water

Fry Garlic

I had to get a pounder for this. You need to slice the garlic and shallots into manageable pieces and pound it to extract the flavor and increase the surface area of the aromatics. You also need a medium to fry them in.

Taucu

I used the chicken skin from the breast meat – you can get a small amount of grease from it. The original recipe has oil but I’m cutting down on excess calories so mine just uses a minimal amount which is skimmed out of the gravy later. You need some agent to fry the minced garlic and shallots.

Pongteh Paste

Next you add in the taucu, light + dark soy, and palm sugar. You might need to break it up into smaller pieces first if it comes in block form. You fry this entire mixture for 30 seconds or so until it forms a sticky paste. You can literally see it bind and bubble up when that happens.

Chicken Arrange

Next I arrange the chicken legs into my rice cooker (you can use a pot, I just don’t have one big enough) with the potatoes on top and pour in the mixture. Add in 6 cups of water and you’re set!

Chicken Pongteh

I didn’t put in the breast meat coz I don’t want to overcook them. I wait until the chicken leg is done cooking (up to your standards when that happens) and take them out before dunking in the breast part into the gravy. I don’t cook my chicken breast long since it goes through a reheating process which dries it up if overcooked. I usually just leave it in for a minute or two and finish up in the microwave when I eat it.

Ayam Pongteh

This is really delicious! I’m a huge fan of it and I can’t wait to prepare it again coz I was the happiest guy eating this compared to other meal preps. My next prep will be chicken curry, let’s see if that can topple this one as my favorite meal! I suspect not coz I like sweet gravy in my meals. I made a lot for this but stored it separately, to add to the containers when I heat it up.

Soy Chicken with Basmati Rice and Broccoli

Soy Chicken

I’ve always been a huge fan of soy chicken. It’s one of my favorite dishes at the chap fan place. I Googled the recipe for this and settled for one which I thought sounded good. I had all the stuff I needed at home, except for sugar and Shaoxing wine. I’ve completely cut out added sugars from my diet and I never needed Chinese cooking wine. However, I know people put those two in good soy chicken so I used that recipe.

Shaoxing Wine

I’m aiming to eat 204 grams of protein per day so one portion for me is 1 chicken leg + ½ chicken breast. I got 2 kg of chicken legs and there were only 7 inside so one portion is 1 ½ chicken breast only. I marinated the 2 kg of chicken legs and 4 chicken breasts in my huge rice cooker. I knew it was a good idea to get it coz I’m going to use my rice cooker to cook everything too! I don’t have a pot large enough to cook everything at once.

  • 2 kg chicken legs
  • 4 chicken breasts (halved)
  • 1 cup light soy sauce
  • ½ cup dark soy sauce
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup Shaoxing wine
  • 1 cup water
  • Coriander (snipped into small pieces)
  • Garlic (to taste)

(makes 8 portions)

Soy Chicken Marinate

I just chucked everything into the rice cooker and let it sit for 1 hour before turning on the power. This, in hindsight, was a mistake. It takes so much longer to cook chicken legs compared to chicken breasts. I should have cooked the legs first and then added the breasts at the very end. As it turned out, the chicken legs were undercooked and the breasts were overcooked. However, I think if you chop up the chicken legs, they’ll cook around the same time.

Lu Jek

It did taste good though. I would even say it’s delicious! This has topped my favorite meal prep recipe, slightly higher than chicken rice. I kept the sauce separately in the fridge so I can add a spoonful of the soy sauce jelly to the hot microwaved rice. It cools down the rice perfectly so it’s ready to eat instantly.

Soy Chicken Sauce

The collagen in the chicken also allows the gravy to solidify into a bottom layer of jelly and a top layer of fat which makes it easy to skim off the hardened fat after it’s cooled down in the fridge. I pair 1 chicken leg and ½ breast with Basmati rice and broccoli for an awesome meal.

Basmati Chicken Rice in a Rice Cooker

Rice Cooker

I have had the craving for chicken rice for a week now but I had to finish my meal prep before I can cook a new batch of food. I also didn’t have a rice cooker. I needed a big one coz this recipe chucks everything – rice, chicken etc into the pot at once. I dropped by Citta Mall yesterday and picked up a large 2.8 liter rice cooker for just RM 146. Good price.

Chicken Rice Ingredients

You need:

  • Chicken leg (drum and thighs)
  • Basmati rice (you can use any rice but I only have basmati)
  • Chicken stock
  • Spring onions
  • Coriander
  • Ginger

Chicken Rice Pot

I also bought some side greens coz I want to consume enough fiber. It’s optional. Some people like to eat this with a garlic chilli mixture but I’m particular to the sweet dark soy sauce from Indonesia so I got that inside. The prep is really easy, just wash the rice, put it into the rice cooker as if you’re cooking rice. Next, salt the water and dissolve in a few chicken stock cubes. Spread the ginger slices all over the rice. Finally layer the chicken on top and put a few stalks of spring onions to add an aromatic note to the rice.

Chicken Rice Cooker

Press the rice cooker button and the whole thing will be done as soon as the rice finishes cooking. I usually eat skinless chicken breast but the chicken rice gets most of its flavor from chicken skin so I feel that using chicken leg is better in this recipe, even though it’ll increase the fat content by quite a bit. Some people also put a bit of sugar into the water but I don’t have any at home. I’ve quit eating sugar for almost a year now.

Chicken Rice

It’s actually very delicious, yet simple to cook. I’m very fond of Hainanese style chicken rice though, so your mileage may vary. 1.8 kg of chicken leg makes 7 portions, each with a drum and thigh each. I’m not sure of the macros on these things though. I’m on clenbuterol right now so I can afford to be a bit fast and loose with my food intake, at least till I cycle off at the end of the week.

Stir Fried Marmite Mushrooms Recipe

Marmite

I’ve been trying to eat healthy since I’ve started hitting the gym regularly. I go six days a week (1 rest day) and I’ve been getting really good results that I want to start off this post with a shot of my back. Haha! I’ve been working those shoulders and lower back for 3 months and it’s starting to look pretty sweet, if I say so myself.

Back

Anyway, one thing I’ve been eating a lot of lately are mushrooms. Why mushrooms? Well, mushrooms are the best food for dieters! 100 grams contains only 22 calories! It’s has a lot of important nutrients and it’s relatively high in fiber so it’ll fill you up. This is my recipe for stir-fried Marmite mushrooms!

You will need:

1. Assorted fresh mushrooms
2. Marmite
3. Coriander
4. Butter and garlic

I got a mixture of enoki, brown, button and Portobello mushrooms but any fresh mushrooms would do. Slice up some and leave some whole – this is mostly for texture when you eat it, you don’t want everything to have the same shape and texture in a dish.

Garlic

Next, chop up some garlic. You need garlic for most dishes. Fry the garlic with a little bit of butter until slightly brown.

Cooking

Add the mushrooms into the pan.

Mushrooms

Add 1 teaspoon of Marmite. A little goes a long way here.

Mushies

You want to stir fry them until they’re soft and bleed out a little water.

Coriander

Cut the end (stem) of the coriander into small 1/2 inch sections and add to the mushrooms when almost done. This will add a lot of taste and the cooking process will soften the usually tougher stems so it’s easier to eat.

Stir Fried Marmite Mushrooms

Garnish with the leaves of the coriander and serve hot. I love eating this coz it’s delicious and the Marmite contains Vitamin B and folic acid so I’m getting a lot of nutrients while at it. I’m also trying to cut sodium from my diet so by adding Marmite, I can cut out salt and it still tastes good! I’m cutting weight now so I have this meal in addition to 1 whole rotisserie chicken (for protein) most days. Try it out, you’ll be surprised such a simple dish can taste so good!

Do check out their Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/marmitemalaysia/
I saw some really good recipes up there perfect for CNY.

Lobster ravioli with whole American lobster

Lobster ravioli with whole American lobster

This is what we cooked up for last night’s dinner. It looks real good eh? That’s a whole boiled Maine lobster (which is technically called an American lobster) served with lobster ravioli in brown butter sauce.

Boston Lobster

I wish I could say that I cooked the lobster and it originally came like this.

It did not.

Atlantis Lobster

The lobster came like this. smirk

Haha! It’s a whole cooked American lobster packaged by the huge Atlantis-IMF conglomerate. It came from the US and it’s frozen. The entire lobster cost RM 49.50. I hear that lobsters are getting cheaper nowadays coz the sea temperatures are rising, which makes the crustaceans hatch earlier and grow faster. Also, the overfishing of cod in the Atlantic means there are fewer natural predators to eat baby lobsters.

American Lobster

That means you can get lobsters at a pretty decent price nowadays, which explains why large F&B chains can offer it at RM 50 or so for a whole lobster, dine-in. That’s where the first lobster photo came from.

Three Bridges Lobster Ravioli

The ravioli is also store-bought. It’s made by Three Bridges and comes in a 9 oz (255 gram) pack. It’s just RM 34, made in California and described as 100% natural with “wild caught, North Atlantic lobster with creamy ricotta and vine-ripened tomatoes”.

You just need to boil it for 5 minutes.

Brown Butter Sauce

The only thing I made is the brown butter sauce, with lots of French origin butter and Himalayan pink salt.

Lobster Ravioli

There’s something to be said about just cooking something easy during a weekend. This seems to be a popular brand of lobster ravioli too, there was a lone Caucasian woman who took a few packs, presumably to eat something familiar at home. It tasted yummy though, both of us enjoyed the meal tremendously.

Boodle Feast – A Boodle Fight Meal!

Boodle Feast

This is the Boodle Feast that we had earlier this week. I had no idea what a “Boodle Fight” was until I saw photos of a previous one. It’s a tradition from the Philippines where you eat with your hands from a communal mound of rice surrounded with meat and seafood on a bed of banana leaves.

Boodle Fight

This seems to originate from the Philippine Military Academy, where they call it a Boodle Fight.

Boodle Sibu

My bro Eddy took the time to make this happen. It’s a good thing his wife is Pinoy (and cooks really well) and the 9 of us sat down to this unique dining experience at his home.

Grilled Meat

The meat is primarily grilled using the BBQ. Jona has been working the grill the entire day to prepare this dinner.

Toli Shad

There was the delicious ikan terubok (toli shad) – a popular local fish which is currently only available from several spots in Sarawak.

Ikan Terubok

This is what the fish looks like before cooking. It has been salted although it’s not salted fish per se. It’s a strange hybrid I’ve grown to love.

Banana Leaves

The banana leaves were laid down to cover two tables – first a bed of smaller leaves and then the full green luscious ones were put on top as the eating surface.

Making Boodle Fight

There are no plates or spoons – you use your hands for the Boodle Feast.

Layering Boodle Feast

It was a lot of food!

Boodle Preparation

There are three kinds of eggs – salted duck eggs were mixed into the rice together with boiled quail eggs and halved chicken eggs on the side.

Rice Mound Boodle

Pork chops, barbequed beef, mutton, chicken, fish and sausages represented the protein while cucumbers, okra and tomatoes provides a palate cleanser of sorts.

Boodle

I thought the tomatoes were brilliant as it gives a burst of citrus like tang, which prevents an overload from the massive amounts of meat.

Boodle Feast Us

You basically take a portion of rice from the middle to your own eating spot on the banana leaf and start eating.

Boodle Table

Hands are utilized for everything and it made for a really unique and interesting no-cutlery-allowed eating experience. I ate so much from the boodle feast I felt like bursting!

3 delicious pork jerky sandwiches a.k.a. How to use up your CNY bak kwa

Pork Jerky Sandwiches

I bought a lot of bak kwa (pork jerky) for Chinese New Year and we’re still eating them now! Part of the reason is that we’ve gotten gifts of pork jerky as well so the stock keeps on piling up. Fortunately, I like bak kwa and I’ve made three (3) sandwiches made with pork jerky that would satisfy any tastes – one is hot, the other is room temperature and the last one is cold.

1. Open Faced Pork Jerky Sandwich with Gui Fei Meat and Pork Floss in an Omelet

Open Faced Pork Jerky Omelet Sandwich

This is a hot sandwich that I like to make in the evenings. Gui Fei meat is another popular product during CNY – it’s Chinese bacon, smoked with spices. I’ve been baking a lot of bread lately and Red Bean Toast is one of my favorites. I got the idea from a Taiwanese bakery, it makes the bread slightly sweet. I’ll use two eggs with a splash of milk to make the base and add in the pork jerky, Gui Fei meat and sprinkle some pork floss on it before buttering the thick slice of bread and grilling it. It’s delicious!

2. Pork Jerky Sandwich with Pasta and Arrowhead Chips

Pasta Arrowhead Chips Sandwich

The best thing about this sandwich is that it goes very well with arrowhead chips (ngaku chips). I use whatever leftover pasta my better half has and pile it on top of a slice of minced pork jerky. This works best with minced pork jerky instead of the tougher sliced pork jerky for some reason. Just put another slice of regular bread on top and serve with lots of arrowhead chips for a quick late night snack.

3. Bagel with Pork Jerky and Salad

Pork Jerky Salad Bagel

This is my favorite cold pork jerky sandwich! I use a bagel shaped bread (it’s actually more like a brioche) and slice it in half before adding a slice of sliced pork jerky. I like carrots so julienning 1/3 of a stick with a mandolin works for me. I also added some thick sliced cucumbers and mayonnaise on top. There’s lettuce on the bottom of the pork jerky and some sweet corn on the side. It’s a perfect cold sandwich, eat this chilled for the best effect!

My Little Helper

It’s quite fun to think of new combinations! I have one hot, one cold and one room temperature sandwich which I can modify around. Best of all, I have my own little helper! Haha.

Mi Sedaap Goreng Ayam Krispi with fried chicken drumsticks and sunny-side up egg

Mi Sedaap Ayam Goreng

I’ve always been a huge fan of Mi Sedaap since it came out. I’m not the only one either – I’ve seen many people at the hypermarket aisles grabbing packets of Mi Sedaap and/or asking their parents to get that particular brand. In fact, all my friends living in Australia wants me to bring over Mi Sedaap whenever I’m visiting down under!

Mi Goreng Ayam Krispi

I think a lot of this is due to the awesome springy noodle texture and the generous 91 gram packs. This is very unusual – in a good way. You’ll notice that no other commercial instant noodle manufacturer has such a large serving – it’s usually 79 grams or less. I can barely manage to eat 3 packets while I can easily eat 3 packets of any other manufacturer.

Mi Sedaap Flavor Sachets

The other important bit is in Mi Sedaap’s flavor sachets – there are five (5) of them in total! There’s the 3 liquid ones – chilli sauce, soy sauce and flavored oil, plus the 2 dry ones – powdered flavor and the dried onions. It’s important to mix everything except the dried onions, that one goes in last, so the crispy element is there.

Now, with the new Mi Sedaap Goreng Ayam Krispi, all these wonderful characteristics are amplified!

Noodle Cake

I just tried the new Mi Sedaap Goreng Ayam Krispi with fried drumstricks and it was awesome! You will need:

  • 1 packet Mi Sedaap Goreng Ayam Krispi
  • 1 chicken leg, portioned
  • 1 chicken egg
  • Flour, baking powder, salt and pepper to taste

I first battered and deep fried the chicken leg and set it aside to rest. You can do this in any type of oil except EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) since the flash point of EVOO is too low for deep frying tasks like these.

Cooking Noodles

I also fried a sunny-side up egg before I set a pot to boil for the Mi Sedaap Goreng Ayam Krispi.

Springy Noodles

The Mi Sedaap Goreng Ayam Krispi just needed a quick 3 minutes in hot water before it’s tossed in all the flavor and oil sachets (except the special Krispi Krezz Krezz bits).

Sachet Trick

Pro tip: It’s highly important that the Krispi Krezz Krezz sachet is only opened and poured on top of the noodles after it’s tossed so that it doesn’t get soggy. It’s meant to provide a crispy contrast to the springy noodles and it’s delicious!

Tossing Noodles

I love the Krispi Krezz Krezz bits! I feel that all the other “Mi Goreng” type competitors are sorely lacking in both getting the flavor profile right and in the crispiness of the fried onions. You’ll notice that once you go Mi Sedaap, you’ll never go back coz the flavor sachets are amazing! It really makes the noodles taste like real Mi Goreng with its robust and full flavors.

Krezz Krezz Krispi Sachet

I also personally like the springy texture of Mi Sedaap’s noodles. I consume a lot of instant noodles and I can wholeheartedly endorse Mi Sedaap’s noodles as the best! Just follow the timing instructions and you’ll never get soggy or “gritty” (from uncooked flour) noodles anymore.

Krezz Krezz Krispi Bits

The latest Krispi Krezz Krezz Yang Lebih Rangup bits brings this to a whole new level! It tastes like fried chicken has been added to the noodle. I’ve always been disappointed with other manufacturers fried onions – they’re either soggy or flat, there’s completely no crunch to the fried onions, which is a very important component in Mi Goreng. The texture contrast that the crispy Krispi Krezz Krezz bits bring to the table (no pun intended) is amazing.

Eating Mi Sedaap

The new Mi Sedaap Goreng Ayam Krispi is a huge improvement that tastes like all Mi Goreng type noodles should – check it out and see what I mean. Remember to put in the Krispi Krezz Krezz bits in last, a lot of people put it in together with the rest of the ingredients prior to tossing due to laziness or ignorance and that’s wrong – it’s meant to be crispy, so think of it as a topping. :)

I heard Mi Sedaap is also giving out tickets for Hot Air Balloon rides now. Check out the Mi Sedaap Malaysia Facebook for more information, tips and recipes!

Our traditional fish pie for New Year’s Eve dinner

Fish Pie

I wanted to have a traditional British fish pie for New Year’s Eve dinner so I used ½ fresh salmon and ½ smoked salmon with snow crab meat for a pie. I actually modified Jamie Oliver’s fish pie recipe which used half smoked haddock and half fresh salmon for a “smokier” dish than all fresh fish.

Salmon Fillet Steak

The salmon I got were nice fillets meant for pan-frying that costs RM 79.90 per kg. There was another batch of salmon steaks going for half the price but I didn’t like the look of the sad pieces of fish lying about so I paid premium for the fresher salmon.

You will need:

Fish Pie Recipe

  • 300 grams salmon fillets
  • 150 grams smoked salmon
  • 250 grams snow crab claw legs
  • 4 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 bunches of spinach
  • 3-4 Brussels sprouts
  • 800 grams of red potatoes
  • 200 grams freshly grated Cheddar cheese
  • 1 lemon

Curly Parsley Flat Leaf Parsley

I bought a packet of parsley and you can see the difference between flat-leaf and curly-leaf parsley. There are equal amounts of each in the pack, I just used the flat-leaf ones, also known as Italian parsley.

Fish Pie Cheese

I chopped up all the vegetables into small pieces and lined the bottom of the baking trays with it before adding the grated Cheddar cheese on top. I used two, and that was a mistake, you can’t split a recipe in half like that, will show you why later.

Red Pontiac Potato

Meanwhile, I peeled the Red Pontiac potatoes for chopping into 2 cm chunks. Red potatoes are perfect for baking but due to it’s starch content, is not so suitable for frying. These aren’t the potatoes for French fries, but it’s good as mash.

Dicing Red Tomatoes

The red potatoes are then dumped into a pot of salted water and boiled for 15 minutes until soft.

Skinning Salmon

I started on the fresh salmon fillet after that – you need to skin it since the recipe calls for the fish to be skinned so the easiest way is to de-skin it is to run a sharp knife under it.

Cutting Fish

I chopped up the fresh salmon fillet into bite sized pieces and did the same for the smoked salmon and snow crab claw legs…

Fish Crab Pie

…before dumping everything into the baking trays.

Mixed Fish Pie

You just need to give it a good dousing of extra virgin olive oil and add some salt and black pepper before mixing *everything* thoroughly.

Fish Pie Topping

The red potatoes are mashed and then put on top of the fish pie as a topping. This is where I went wrong coz I used two baking trays and the potatoes were barely enough to cover both!

Potato Topping

I actually needed a deeper baking tray which would provide the same surface area for the potatoes but I really had to stretch the potatoes to cover both trays.

Baked Salmon Pie

I put both of the fish pies into the oven for 40 minutes and they came out perfect!

Fish Pie Baked

The kids both tried it but declared it to be too salty as I had forgotten smoked salmon is already seasoned and added too much salt to the recipe.

Baked Fish Pie

My better half also thought the same, and I had a huge thirst after eating all that due to the sodium.

Fish Pie Cooked

I think I’ll use cod next time instead of salmon, and hold back on the liberal handfuls pinches of salt. smirk

New Year Eve Dinner

Nevertheless, it was a great New Year’s Eve dinner together with the family. :)

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