Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Restaurant review: Kailash Parbat, Singapore

So, my overenthusiastic attempts at photo-taking finally took a toll on my poor Canon 40D DSLR camera and it is currently sitting at the service center recuperating! Without any thoughts of food, recipes or cooking to occupy my mind, I thought I'd focus on completing a restaurant review that I'd been wanting to post on my blog for a long time but never got around to doing.

Kailash Parbat is an Indian vegetarian restaurant in Little India in Singapore, known for their chaats (especially Pani Puri & Ragda Patties), assorted varieties of Bhatura and Sindhi delicacies. There are two restaurants - one on Serangoon Road (next to the Indian temple) and the other one at Syed Alwi Road (opposite Mustafa Shopping Center). Kailash Parbat was heavily recommended by one of our good friends and since then, me and hubby have been to both outlets. That being said, we have been to the outlet opposite Musthafa more frequently because after a grueling session of shopping, it offers the nearest solution for a hungry belly and aching feet! 

The outlet on Serangoon road is larger than the one on Syed Alwi road but the interiors are similar. Right now the construction on Syed Alwi road is quite an eye sore (evidence in pic!). Both restaurants are well maintained and tastefully done. I have not seen either restaurant crowded as yet but that's maybe because I always happen to go on weekdays. I avoid going to Little India over the weekend like the plague! I'm sure most Indians living in Singapore would agree 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Recipe of the month: Vegetable Curry Puff

After yet another humdrum day at school, the three kids jumped out of the car (much to the amusement of their mother) and raced towards their favorite local bakery, their eyes gleaming with excitement at the thought of the delights that lay enclosed within the gleaming glass shelves. Within a matter of seconds, their rumbling tummies had relayed the message to their mind as to what yummy snack was to be relished that evening. For the two younger kids, it would be a crispy, flaky, delicious vegetable puff and for the older, it would be a warm, flavorful and satisfying potato bun. The orders shouted out and money paid, the kids then polished off the goodies within a matter of minutes. With messy faces, smiles of contentment and a pleasant feeling of fullness, the only thing that remained was the anticipation of the next time they would get to relive this happy memory!

This was me and my siblings several years ago in my hometown, doing what we did best together....creating happy food memories! Going to the local bakery was a common occurrence for us and one that was met with eagerness. It is what brings a sense of déjà vu whenever I come across any snack that has ties to my childhood. To tell you the truth, I never imagined I would make baked goodies like stuffed buns or puffs at home because it seemed to me that certain types of snacks are meant for eating in a cafe or bakery! But if you have seen my Potato Bun post, you would know that I have changed my mind now  

Singapore and Malaysia have their own version of puff called Curry Puff which is an extremely popular snack in this part of the world. It can be either vegetarian or non-vegetarian but most often, it is the latter. There is a snack stall in the food court at my workplace where they have the most delicious curry puffs which contain curried potatoes and boiled eggs. I absolutely love it and treat myself to one every now and then during tea breaks. Although different in taste and texture, the curry puffs here  remind me of the puffs that I used to enjoy when I was in India so I thought to myself why not try making my own version at home using a mixture of Indian and Singapore influences. I decided that if the procedure was too elaborate then I wouldn't bother in the future but it turned out that my concern was unwarranted! After going through many recipes, I decided to make the puffs using puff pastry (just like how it is in India) and for the filling, my main inspiration was this wonderful blog called Singapore Shiok that I had chanced upon a while ago while browsing the Foodgawker gallery. I had never worked with puff pastry before so I didn't know what to expect but it was problems encountered whatsoever! The filling requires only a handful of ingredients and can be made within half an hour. Prepping the puff pastry is simple and if you prepare the filling ahead of time, you can pop the puffs in the oven and 20 min later, you will have a fabulous snack ready!

Try this recipe and I promise you that you won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Baker's Corner: Chocolate Fondant

Chocolate Fondant is a popular dessert that combines the elements of a flourless chocolate cake and a soufflé. Some other names used are molten chocolate cake, chocolate moelleux and chocolate lava cake.

The first time I saw a chocolate fondant being prepared was by a contestant on the UK version of the popular TV show MasterChef, a few years ago. With raised eyebrows, the judges of the show, John Torode and Gregg Wallace intimidated the contestant with the ominous prediction that the outcome could be disastrous if the fondants were either over or under cooked. True to its notorious reputation, the fondant has been the downfall of many a MasterChef hopeful. So, that being said, I've always wanted to prepare this dessert to see how I would fare!

I attempted the chocolate fondant for the very first time recently when I hosted a dinner party at home for a gang of six girlfriends. This is a sophisticated dessert and has the 'wow' factor when done right so I thought that if I succeeded, I would get a collective pat on the back but suppose I didn't, it wouldn't be so terrible because I believed my friends wouldn't judge me! Come to think of it, I even considered telling them that it was a chocolate cake! *chuckles*

I got hold of several recipes and finally settled on Gordon Ramsay's recipe for Chocolate Fondant. Among all the recipes that I studied, the flour content in this recipe is slightly higher than the others but I was drawn in by the ratings and rave reviews. I didn't have time to do a practice batch so I just prayed that on the day of the dinner party, my efforts wouldn't go in vain! Cut to the chase, the day of the party, the center of the cake was indeed gooey and the overall taste was rich and chocolatey. In the end, even though I overcooked my fondants by a measly minute or two (darn!), my first attempt at a Chocolate Fondant was still a success so, as the Brits would say, I'm mighty chuffed!

Update: I've gotten better at subsequent attempts as you can see!

In the words of Gordon Ramsay - Gooey Chocolate Fondant with powdered sugar and fresh berries ....DONE! 😊