Cooking a 3-Course Meal with S&P Santan!

soup ceera

I was fortunate enough to be cooking a complete meal of three courses organized by S&P Santan in Sungai Buloh. The I <3 S&P Santan Cooking Workshop is helmed by Chef Andri Hadi – a very interesting character indeed!

chef andri hadi

I was teamed up with Ceera Noh and I have to admit I couldn’t ask for a better partner. She has solid, practical skills as a mom and seasoned a lot of our dishes to perfection.

team

I was more focused on plating and I tried very hard not to let her down by doing it professionally.

cutting onions

I dare say that our presentation was best – it wasn’t clownish and kid-like on one side of the spectrum it wasn’t sloppy on the other (did three plates for our main course before I was satisfied).

team awesome

The I <3 S&P Santan Cooking Workshop is actually a contest between all the participants. There were 5-6 teams of two in total. I humbly named us “Team Awesome”. smirk

Appetizer: Spinach Broccoli Coconut Soup

appetizer

The first dish that we cooked. I sliced up the broccoli florets and garlic while Ceera did the vegetable soup stock. We didn’t cook the fresh baby spinach but blended it into the soup later, as the chef did.

ceera hb

I also went up to do the Massimo Wheat Germ garlic bread.

butter garlic bread

It’s really easy, just butter one side with butter and twist it, sealing it in with another dab of butter.

spinach broccoli

I love the ease of the S&P Santan Instant Coconut Cream Powder. It comes in 50 gram packs of Original, Omega 3 and Pandan and we used the first for this. You can dilute it with 1 cup of water for heavy coconut cream or 2 cups of thin coconut cream but for this recipe, we just poured it into the saucepan and seasoned it with salt, pepper and nutmeg. I really liked how versatile and convenient the product was.

cooking with ceera

We worked pretty well as a team and since I proofed myself somewhat adept (at least I didn’t burn down the kitchen) – I plated up. Our spinach broccoli coconut soup is a real French style soup – thick and hearty.

layering soup

I floated a tablespoon of S&P Santan Coconut Milk on top for contrast and flavor.

spinach broccoli soup

It received pretty good reviews from the chef and heartened, we moved on to the next dish.

Entrée: Baked Cajun Chicken Wings

entree

This is something that both of us knew how to do and the chef did a demonstration while asking us to work at the same speed – no problems there.

fritter batter

We shared an oven with another group of two girls and thus we put in our chicken together. There is a great irony somewhere here.

cajun chicken

I carefully arranged my chicken wings so that the tips were facing *outside* on the baking tray. This is done so that the heat of the convection oven won’t burn the meat.

perfect wings

Unfortunately, we didn’t know that the oven hasn’t been pre-heated and when the chef came over to everyone’s station to look at their chicken, ours was the very best in the entire class. It’s browned to perfection!

cooking ceera

We made the Coconut Pandan Cheese Sauce with Blue Key Superfine Flour, S&P Pandan Santan Coconut Cream Powder and 2 tbsp grated cheddar cheese. Both Ceera and I tasted the sauce and it was good – I made sure that sufficient time has passed so that any raw flour has been “cooked out”.

coconut milk cheese

I plated the chicken in a smear of the coconut pandan cheese sauce and stood two chicken wings up, supported by each other.

same oven

…and when it came judging time, it turns out that our chicken was raw. -_-

chef andri

It needed 3 more minutes in the oven due to the lack of pre-heating (we both thought the other team had done it).

judging

Oh well.

cajun chicken wings

Here’s our dish!

Dessert: Cavendish Coconut Fritters

dessert

I learned a very nifty trick during the I Love S&P Santan Cooking Workshop. Banana fritters tastes a lot better if you dip it alternately into batter and desiccated coconut. We used 1 cup of S&P Santan Sejati Desiccated Coconut and 1 cup Blue Key Superfine Flour for the dry coating. The desiccated coconut really comes in handy as it has a longer shelf life and comes in a convenient pack.

bananas

We actually learned from the previous mistake and made sure to make two batches. I sliced up one banana for the first test batch while Ceera did the second batch.

coating fritters

Our Cavendish Coconut Fritters were deep fried for 2 minutes in boiling hot oil before we plated up in front of the judge.

deep fryers

I did the plating and I had planned to do a quenelle of vanilla ice cream to show off my skills.

banana fritters

Unfortunately, the ice cream was way too solid and despite heating two ceramic Chinese soup spoons on the burner, I could barely make a passable quenelle. I’m glad I did it though, no one else did and I saw from the blank looks that not many knew what a quenelle is either (except for the chef, of course).

hot spoon

I also finished with a flair with some toasted desiccated coconut and a smear of caramel and passed it to the judge. We were the first team to finish.

quenelle

Although we didn’t win anything (the winner was a female duo from Weibo) it was fun to cook with someone with a Malay heritage and a practical background as opposed to my more recent and modern interpretation of cuisine. Ceera was the one who seasoned and tasted everything and I felt bad that we didn’t win.

cavendish fritters

Nevertheless, it was a fun morning and afternoon learning about the various uses of S&P Santan products. Coconut oil and milk is a source of healthy HDL cholesterol and has numerous health benefits. This is something that Australians and people from the United States are finding out and they’re using more coconut milk in their cooking. The S&P Santan products are easy to use and cater for health conscious consumers as they do not contain artificial preservatives and flavorings.

fritters

It’s a very trendy ingredient and I have a whole range of S&P Santan products at home now. I’ll share more when I cook soon!

keep calm

Do you have your own recipes using S&P Santan coconut milk? Share your recipes at the S&P Industries Facebook page and win more than RM 1,900 worth of prizes!

spinach soup

Thanks to S&P Santan and Chef Andri Hadi for a great time! A big thank you to FFM Marketing for providing the superb venue – I loved the clean and well-equipped kitchen islands. It’s open for rental too – contact marketing@ffmb.com.my or 03-61457888 for enquiries.

spinach leaves

Props to Denise and Michele for their tireless photography and cheers to my team-mate Ceera Noh for being awesome! :)

How to French Cut a whole chicken into a crown of breast (step-by-step with photos)

whole chicken

This is the first time I’ve ever cut up a whole chicken. I usually just specify the part(s) that I want from the butcher and he does the rest of the work. However, this time I needed a very specific cut – a beautiful French Cut crown of breast with the skin intact.

free range chicken

I actually saw this in a MasterClass episode and wanted to replicate the dish. It’s not a live chicken of course but it has everything still intact – head, innards etc – it hasn’t even been disemboweled. I bought this for RM 24.60 – it’s a free range chicken that goes for RM 18 / kg.

removing organs

The first step is to cut off the head, ass (Bishop’s nose) and feet so you have more room to work with.

giblets

Then, you’ll have to take the organs out of the body cavity of the chicken – just put your hand down the cloaca (chicken don’t have an anal cavity) and pull out everything you can feel. It’s connected so it’s not that hard – everything from the heart to the liver can be just extracted by just pushing your entire fist in and pulling hard to get the giblets.

pulling giblets

Think of it as the opposite of stuffing a turkey. smirk

cutting whole chicken

I put everything I’ve cut up or removed on a dinner plate for future use.

removing wishbone

The next thing is to remove the wishbone from the chicken. It’s located somewhere in the neck – there’s a small bone that can be cut out and discarded so the crown of breast will be perfect.

cutting legs

I wanted that particular cut to be heavy on the skin so that it’ll be moist so I made the incisions on the skin very close to where the drumstick ends.

crown breast skin

The next step is to twist the entire chicken leg to the opposite direction (to where the chicken would naturally stand if it’s alive) and cut out the leg at the thigh from the oyster that surround the bone.

removing legs

This will allow the skin from the thigh part to cover the entire breast.

french cut chicken

Next, I sliced off the wings and did a French style cut that exposes the bone of the mini drumstick on the wing. You don’t have to do this but it looks pretty. I didn’t do a very good job at it though since it was my first time – I cut it too high up on the joint.

removing carcass

The last bit that needs to be done is to chop off the rest of the carcass. Save this for stock!

breast crown

You’ll have a nice crown of breast with quite a lot of skin on – just the cut I wanted to have for an awesome dish I made over the weekend!

cut hand

I learned a lot about dressing chickens while doing this (and cut my hands several times too) and I’ll just buy whole undressed chickens from now on…

french cut

…so I can get the exact cut that I want! :)

Curry Fish Head at Sin Kim San Cafe

meng curry fish head

I was in Penang a couple of days ago and met up with Cheryl and Kah Wheng for dinner. They brought me to Sin Kim San at Macalister Road for a really good curry fish head meal.

sin kim san

Sin Kim San Cafe is this sprawling coffee shop with a wide range of stalls offering everything from monitor lizard soup to peh pah duck. There’s another coffee shop beside it which you can order from too.

curry fish head penang

The curry fish head stall is rather well known among the locals. You can opt for fish slices instead of a fish head and there several other seafood items like squid, prawns and catfish on offer. It’s cooked Chinese style with a really spicy kick ass gravy.

bbq chicken wings sin kim san

We also had an order of the BBQ chicken wings. Cheryl mentioned that this stall used to be manned by a dude with Goku hair but that night, an elderly man took his place. No idea whether it’s the same owner – I put forth the theory that it could be the dad but then again I’m not from Penang so I wouldn’t know for sure. Heh.

bbq chicken wings

The BBQ chicken wings is pretty good too – it’s glazed with honey and the BBQ process doesn’t toughen the meat. In fact, it’s quite tender and juicy.

curry fish head

However, the curry fish head is the highlight of the meal. The prawns we added on came partially de-shelled and there’s also tomatoes and pieces of okra inside. It’s topped with mint leaves and what I really like about it is the fact that it doesn’t have tofu products or other nonsense like that. smirk

sin kim san curry fish head

It’s served in a plastic bowl and our combination costs RM 33 for two. I would prefer using a claypot so it retains the heat but other than that I have no complains. The gravy is superb – thick, sweet and flavorful to the point that you can eat an entire plate of rice with just that.

sin kim san dinner

Penang is wonderful – it’s really a place where good food can be found in every corner. I’ve been there a lot of times and I still haven’t eaten all it has to offer. Hell, I’m half tempted to move there. :)

200 chicken wings

200 chicken wings

There is an old man that sets up his humble grill in the afternoons at a coffee shop called Chatterbox Dessert and Cafe. It doesn’t even have a name. I first thought he was a customer, since he was just sitting at a table chilling there with a cold beer. Joanna ordered some chicken wings and the person told us it’s going to take 30 minutes.

joanna me

I finally met up with Joanna just now for a very late lunch. It turns out that she lives just one street across from where I’m staying in Miri. We’re practically neighbours and never realized it. Heh! She brought me to this legendary place which is supposed to have excellent chicken wings.

bbq chicken wings

I hear he only prepares 200 chicken wings every day. He doesn’t do more even though the demand is there. I’ve only seen ONE (1) customer in addition to us who managed to order his acclaimed chicken wings. The next one that came along was turned away coz he told them that he’s out of chicken wings.

Now, this is quite puzzling since we’ve only been there an hour and to the best of my knowledge, only two people ordered the chicken wings. It turns out that the rest were “reserved” – it has been pre-booked by another customer so he’s not even selling a single chicken wing to anyone else.

chicken wings

This is one of the rare instances where a stall successfully manipulates the supply and demand of his wares well. I think manipulate might be the wrong word to use here since the man doesn’t seem to be interested in mass producing inferior quality BBQ chicken wings. He displays passion – watching over the BBQ grill with a determined and almost ferocious intensity.

joanna ask

He’s a man that won’t be rushed too. He refuses to serve the chicken wings until it’s properly done according to his standards. Joanna went over after a while and said it’s okay, we’ll just take it as it is. However, the man politely declined with a smile and said it’s not done yet. It looks done and it smells done but he won’t serve it until HE DECREES THAT IT’S DONE.

You just gotta admire that. Heh!

The chicken wings costs RM 2 each. Joanna paid so I can’t be sure but 5 chicken wings at RM 10 comes up to RM 2 each, unless my math is way off the mark.

We also had chicken rice while waiting for the BBQ chicken wings to be done. I remember the last time I met up with Joanna in Sibu during Chinese New Year, we had chicken rice too. Or at least, I had chicken rice…she didn’t eat.

famous chicken wings

Back to the BBQ chicken wings, it’s every bit as good as I expected. It goes very well with the chilli sauce that came with it but I suggest you eat it au natural. It’s juicy and tender and the marinade he uses is sweet, producing a set of chicken wings that transcends into sublime culinary bliss. :)

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