My love affair with Malaysian food started with a visit to Kuala Lumpur after graduating from University. I was fascinated by the fusion flavours of the Far East with Southern India. Spicy, umami filled curries with an array of meats and loads of carbs!! Perfect for an indulgent meal.
When I saw images of Roti Canai and Nasi Lemak on Halal Girl About Town‘s Social media stream, I planned to visit as soon as I had a break from School! Taking Halal Girl’s advice I reached Roti King early, as expected there was a queue before the noon opening.
The restaurant is situated in the basement of a block of flats, and I felt it adds to the atmosphere of a no-frills eatery, not too dissimilar to the ones found in Malaysia. The restaurant is clean but small and houses approximately 20-25 diners at a time. Once the doors opened we were quickly seated and our order was taken by a very friendly Malaysian waiter.
We ordered two Roti Canai, one with dhaal and the other with fish curry. The rotis were cooked fresh to order by the skilled Roti masters. The roti dough is flattened, layered with oil and folded, then reflattened and cooked on a hot oiled griddle. As the rotis are pulled off the griddle, they are scrunched up to push out the extra layers of flaky pastry.
The rotis were served piping hot, and were seared with a perfect level of browning, to ensure an even crisp. The layers in the roti were apparent and it wasn’t as greasy as I had feared!!
The curries that accompanied the Roti were packed with umaminess, especially the fish curry. Both curries were lighter than their Indian counterpart. The addition of coconut milk provided a rich, creamy and smooth feel on the palate. We enjoyed dipping the rotis into the steaming bowls, and even after the rotis had finished we unashamedly ‘drank’ the remaining curry with our spoons.
Ever since Ping Coombes won Masterchef, I’ve had an affinity with Rendang. My affection with red meat has been well documented and doesn’t need much elaboration, especially after fellow bloggers Steak and Teeth infamously labelled me the ‘Meat Whisper’. Therefore the Beef Rendang was always going to be on my list of things to order!!
Slow cooked pieces of boneless beef, with background hints of coconut, tamarind, kaffir lime leaves and fiery red chilli; served with white rice. Although this was a pleasant dish, it wasn’t the best rendang that I’ve tasted. The coconut was overpowering and there was a lack of fiery chilli punch. I felt that the dish needed some umami and/or sharp hints, possibly via the introduction of a fiery shrimp-laced sambal oolek (Malaysian/Indonesian Chilli Paste).
Some regard Nasi Lemak as the national dish of Malaysia, it’s a dish of Steamed coconut rice served with peanuts, fried anchovies, cucumber, egg, chilli sambal and spiced fried chicken. It’s usually eaten for breakfast. Erm.. I don’t think Mrs HF would come near me, if I had fried anchovies anytime before Noon!! Apparently, the best way of eating Nasi Lemak is mixing everything together, eating crispy chicken, sweet coconut infused rice, fiery sambal, salty and crisp fried anchovies. The dish is an eruption of sweet, spicy, salty and fishy umami flavours in every bite.
The eyes of the younger members of #teamhaloodiefoodie lit up when a cone shaped roti with sugar sprinkles, vanilla ice cream, and a drizzle of chocolate sauce arrived at the table. So, I’ll let them describe the desserts!
This reminded us of a sweetened version of a Paper Dosa: flaky, paper thin, and brittle, with a thin layer of caramelised sugar. It was delicate and light. Coupled with the rich vanilla ice cream, it was the perfect way to end the meal.
Roti with butter topped with condensed milk filling. Much like the Tissue Roti, this was delicate and light, however the condensed milk filling added more substance, making it more filling than the tissue roti.
The bill came to £45 for 5 diners, which included a service charge and tips. I’m sure you’ll agree it is very reasonable for authentic Malaysian food close to Central London. I asked the younger members of #teamhaloodiefoodie whether they would like to return, and the answer was a resounding YES!! I would especially like to return for some more Roti Canai and some of the dishes we haven’t tried yet, including the divine looking Kari Laksa. We’ll be back soon!
Stoke Newington has a thriving Turkish community, and with its grand domed mosques, it’s coffee shops selling freshly baked Anatolian delicacies, and it’s traditional Turkish Hamaam tucked away in a side street, I sometimes feel as if I’ve been transported to Turkey itself.
I’ve been to Istanbul once before, and during the Autumn half term Team Haloodiefoodie decided to revisit the land where East meets West; the land of the Sultans and the Ottomans. Istanbul is a short 3.5 hour flight from London, so if you catch an early morning flight, you’ll still have plenty to explore on your first day.
The Sultan Ahmed area is the cultural heart of the city. It’s only a 30 minute taxi drive from Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, and has many hotels. I would suggest you stay in a 3-star hotel, which usually serves a simple but hearty Turkish style breakfast of cheese, sour cherry jam, honey, eggs and bread.
The hotels in Sultan Ahmed are within walking distance of the main Istanbul attractions: Topkapi Palace, Sultan Ahmed Camii (the Blue Mosque) and the Hagia Sophia.
I recommend getting a Muze Card for 85TL (£20), which gives you access to a range of attractions including Topkapi and Hagia Sophia. More information can be found here:
Topkapi Palace housed the Ottoman Sultan, his family and various service personnel. It is by far the most popular attraction with beautiful Ottoman Architecture and ornate furnishings. I recommend starting your tour of Istanbul here. I was in the ticket queue for 2 hours during my first visit!! This time, I avoided the queues by reaching the palace at 9am, and I was one of the first to purchase our Muze cards. Topkapi contains 4 main courtyards, various receiving rooms, and the Sultans private quarters. It also contained mosques, kitchens, the Treasury, bathing pools and a hospital!
The views overlooking the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus are breathtakingly beautiful!
The Palace also houses the Sacred Relics which include the cloak and Sword of Rasullah SAW, as well as other relics such as the Staff of Musa AS and the Turban of Yusuf (AS). No photography is allowed in the Sacred Relics section.
There’s so much to more see, you can easily spend a few hours in Topkapi, soaking up life in Ottoman Times!!!
Hagia Sofia was originally a Greek Orthodox cathedral with Byzantine architecture. It was converted into a Mosque and is now a museum. It has high domed ceilings, marble pillars and Mosaics depicting Jesus, the Virgin Mary, John the Baptist and other nobles.
The Blue Mosque is also in the same vicinity, I suggest you visit at a prayer time to hear the call to prayer echoing around the high domed ceilings. Stay after the prayer for the impressive recitation of the Imaam.
The sunset tour of the Bosphorus was another highlight of our trip. The most picturesque time to start the tour is about an hour before sunset. We boarded from Eminonu (A few stops on the tram from Sultan Ahmed). Eminonu is a busy transport hub, with ferries to the Asian Side of Istanbul and a bus station. (You can also take the 99A bus to Eyup Sultan from Eminonu).
Eminonu is very busy, with many sellers of Hamsi (Fried Anchovy Sandwiches). You can also buy freshly fried Lokma, (Turkish doughnuts).
The Mosque is built next to the grave of the famous companion of Rasullah Muhammed SAW
The Grand Bazaar is the perfect place for retail therapy. You can buy almost anything within its winding streets!!
The Spice Bazaar is where you can pick up all manner of spices, teas and the occasional love potion! You can get Urfa Pepper for your adana kebabs here! See my recipe for further details. http://haloodiefoodie.com/haloodiefoodies-adana-kebab-live/
The museum contains many ancient Quran manuscripts and relics of the Kabah
You are spoilt for places to eat in Istanbul, with all manner of cuisines available. We made a conscious effort to sample both the traditional and modern cuisine. Here are some of our highlights.
Situated near Sultan Ahmed’s tram stop is the famous Tarihi Sultan Ahmet Koftecisi which was established in 1920 and is, therefore one of the oldest Kofte houses in Istanbul.
These beef kebabs were cooked over charcoal, the lack of spice was substituted by the super succulent and unctuous kebabs!
I found out about Virginia Angus during my internet trawl for steak places in Istanbul. So after reading Isha prayer in Sulaymani Mosque, we walked through some narrow roads to finally get to the burger eatery. I was surprised to see what looked like takeaway from the EastEnd of London (no disrespect to the EastEnd!!). Nevertheless, the promised lure of Black Angus beef took us inside. As soon as I saw the aged meat on display, any doubts about the eatery soon disappeared. Virgina Angus is not your usual steak and burger joint, they farm their own Black Angus in the lush fields of Eastern Anatolia.
We ordered The Leave it to the Chef Platter, which started with thinly sliced subtly smoked beef. Served with soft and buttery bread rolls.
The burger and steaks were cooked over charcoal and were served medium, the steaks juicy and succulent. The french fries were a little underdone and lacked seasoning. The beef served on the platter wasn’t aged, although the quality of the black Angus beef was apparent.
As part of the platter we were also supplied with a cute mini Virginia burger, with smoked veal, double cheese and caramelised onions!! Totally luscious!!
After eating half of my the mini burger!! I just had to order another one!!
The Virginia burger came sliced in two, with grill marks on the inside of the patty! This patty was cooked rare and juicy. The smoked veal added a salty, smokiness to the juicy beef and the subtle sweetness of the caramelised onions came through in every bite. Mrs HF had a bite and commented that the patty texture was too rare for her liking. That was good news for me, as she concentrated her attention on the french fries while I enjoyed the burger!!
Cag Kebab is a horizontally rotating Lamb kebab cooked over a wood fire. The marinated lamb slices are stacked with layers of lamb tail fat, which help maintain the kebabs juiciness.
Kasab Osman is along the road from Sehzade. Established as a Butcher ‘Kasab’ in 1964, Kasab Osman opened as a restaurant in 1990. The doner kebab uses good quality lamb and is cooked over a wood fire! It’s nothing like the doner found in most takeaways in the UK, utilising lamb shoulder. Also try the amazing Iskinder Kebab here!!
Hafiz Mustafa is Istanbul’s premium dessert parlour. Established for over 150 years, Hafiz Mustafa serves a variety of Turkish sweets including Baklava, Kunefe, Turkish Delight, Creamy Rice puddings and all manner of sweet treats!
The quality of the Baklava was outstanding, and they don’t compromise on the quality (or quantity) of the nuts. The vividly green pistachio Baklava is a must.
If you prefer a more refined meal, then make your way across the Bosphorus to Chef Mehmet Gurs’ acclaimed Mikla Resturant. Situated on the rooftop floors of The Marmara Pera Hotel.
A modern take on Hamsi (Fried Anchovy Sandwiches) found in Eminonu. This was a creative dish which married the intense flavour of the anchovies, with the texture of crispy olive oil bread and the subtle coolness of the lemon dip. Very clever!!
Bonito served with Salicornia, Fennel, Sunchoke, Caper and Apple vinegar. The Bonito was firm and its taste was highlighted by the sharp vinegar dressing.
For my second course, I ordered the Pistachio crusted Grilled Lamb, served with Liver, Mushroom, bulgar and cornelian cherry. The presentation of the dish blew me away. The lamb was cooked medium rare, as requested, succulent and well seasoned. The pistachio crust gave the dish much need texture and the liver added a subtle earthiness.
Mrs Haloodiefoodie went for the fish dish as her second course. The monkfish was perfectly cooked and really meaty. The sauce with the red beans perfectly complimented the fish.
I wasn’t expecting this dessert to look so stunning, amazing colours and textures. I’m glad it tasted as good as it looked. The buffalo yoghurt was sweet and had a Khoya/Mava type of creamy smoothness. The sharp strawberry sorbet gave the contrasting freshness to the rich yoghurt. The fennel sauce added a hint of liquorice flavour to the dish.. I was a happy diner!!
The sharpness of the blackberry sorbet contrasted and cut through the richness of the bittersweet chocolate. This dessert was thoroughly enjoyed, and one of the best I’ve ever had.
The night ended with breathtaking 360° views of Istanbul from the Rooftop terrace!
I have uploaded some key places that we visited during our trip. I hope you find it useful!
We really enjoy our short trip to Istanbul. It’s the first time Mrs Haloodiefoodie has been away from all the children for an extended period of time! Don’t worry we have set a firm resolution to bring the Junior members of Team Haloodiefoodie to sample the cultural and culinary delights of this wonderful and unique city!
This next instalment of my seafood odyssey brings me to this healthy snow crab recipe. These crabs are caught from the unforgiving Icy corridors in the North Pacific and Atlantic oceans. I became fascinated with this clawed delicacy after watching The Hunt for Snow Crab: Deadliest Catch on The Discovery Channel.
This is an ideal dish for the cold winter days, to warm you up and give you that extra spring in your step. Snow crab legs are often sold ready cooked so very little preparation is required. I hope you enjoy and share this dish with your family and loved ones.
Thoroughly clean and wash the snow crab legs, also at this point it would be a good idea to score the legs with a sharp knife so that later we can easily remove the delicious white meat. Please take care when doing this.
Stock – In a large pan add 3 pints of water, to that add the stalks from half a bunch of coriander and 2 celery sticks cut into small pieces. Bring the stock to boil and allow to simmer until this has been reduced by a third, leaving you with around 2 pints of stock. Remove the stalks and celery sticks.
Season the stock with salt and white pepper to taste.
Add the prepared snow crab to the stock and allow to simmer on a very low heat for around 5 mins. This all allow the stock to infuse the flavour of the snow crab.
Remove the stock from the heat and carefully remove the crab legs and allow to cool so that we can remove all the white meat. It is now time to put the finishing touches to this dish.
Optional – if you like a bit of a kick then add a pinch of chili flakes to the stock
Add one tablespoon of soya sauce to the stock
In a small frying pan heat the sesame oil and fry the ginger for around 1 mins.
Add the fried ginger and oil to the stock.
Add the snow crab meat.
Ready to Serve and enjoy! Don’t forget to garnish the dish with a sprig of coriander.
I hope you enjoy the HaloodieFoodie version of this tasty starter, please don’t forget to subscribe and keep updated with the work of the HaloodieFoodie!!
In this next sea food adventure, we have a simple fool proof dish that will impress your friends and family. As you have seen from my previous recipe, I really love of seafood and I could eat the following dish 3 times a week and still want more!
Firstly, its important you purchase fresh sea bass fillets to enjoy the maximum flavours of this sweet and delicate fish. Wild sea bass is an even better choice and is available March to August. Sea Bass is very flavoursome and therefore only requires simple cooking to produce a good dish.
Slash each fillet on the skin side 3 times.
Season the fish with salt and pepper, and rub each fillet with the olive oil. Make sure that the skin side is well coated with the oil – to ensure that the skin crisps up when you cook it.
Heat a heavy based frying pan, making sure that the frying pan is very hot. Fry the fillets, skin side down. Be careful; they will only take a few minutes to cook. Cook until golden and crispy, then turn the fish over and cook for a minute. Remove the fish onto the serving plate.
In a separate frying pan heat the sesame oil, fry the ginger and the chillies until they start to colour and crisp up. Add the spring onions and remove the frying pan from heat.
Garnish the fish with good quality soya sauce and add the ginger/spring onions mixture over the fish.
Serve with olive oil crushed baby potatoes and carrots.
I hope you enjoy the recipe, please feel free to provide a comment below.
Greetings, Inshallah this is the first of many posts I am able to share with you. Before we progress I would like to thank HaloodieFoodie for allowing me the opportunity to use this fantastic forum.
At this point it would be appropriate to put my culinary journey into context. In 1987, I moved away from home to study at university. It was the first time I came ‘home’ to an empty flat and the absence of the glorious smell of delicious home cooked food. Although, I did received a steady supply of ready-made spice mixes from my beloved mother, three years of trial and error gave me a thorough grounding into the road that lay ahead.
After graduating, my journey took an unexpected twist when I linked up my family to launch an Indian restaurant – this we successfully ran for twelve years, I enjoyed every moment, even though it was excruciatingly hard work, moreover the unsocial hours impacted on my family life.
Travelling and sampling different cuisines has really enhanced my understanding of food, this has played a key role in developing my skills that I have embraced. Over the years my travels have taken me to France, Italy, North Africa, South Africa, Middle East and of course India. To appreciate food you have to enjoy it, the enjoyment is even greater if you can try making it and sharing it!
Let commence with this simple starter – I love sea food and nothing annoys me more than having to eat over cooked prawns. Prawns and most other seafood are very delicate and are to be treated with care, over cooking any seafood will ruin the enjoyment of “fruit de mare” – Fruits of the sea.
To serve 4 people as a starter you will require the following ingredients:
24 headless king prawns with Shell
4 cloves of garlic
Fresh flat leaf parsley for garnish
40g of butter
3 tablespoon olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 red chilli or a pinch dried chilli flakes (or more if you like it hot) – this is totally optional but I do like the chilli kick
Step 1 – Prepare your prawns, when using king prawns I always make sure that they are de-veined. Wash and allow to dry before placing them in baking dish.
Step 2 – Peel and finely chop the garlic. Now scatter the garlic, olive oil and the butter over the king prawns.
Step 3 – Wash your fresh lemon in hot water and dry, grate the lemon and collect the zest.
Step 4 – Add seasoning to your king prawns, salt and pepper to taste and the lemon zest.
Step 5 – Add the chilli (optional step) and mix the king prawns will all the ingredients.
Step 6 – Bake the king prawns in a pre-heated oven at 190o C / gas mark 5 for approx. 12 mins. A good indicator that the prawns are cooked – the shells will be pink in colour.
Step 7 – Garnish with finely chopped parsley and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Ready to serve with a thick slice of tiger bread!
Hope you are able to try this simple and very tasty recipe. Your feedback and suggestions are welcome.
As a child I didn’t really enjoy eating fish. Probably due to the fact that Gujarati families really only know one method of cooking fish; fried in a shallow pan with a rich and flavoursome tomato sauce. The intense flavour of the tomato sauce and the fishiness of the Salmon was overwhelming for my immature palette.
Only after starting my professional life did I experience the wonders of ocean cuisine. Whole day professional development meetings at work are difficult at the best of times, the lunch break is a welcome relief from ‘death by Powerpoint’.
One meeting interluded with a fabulous spread for lunch. I was hit with a dilemma. What do I eat?? Shall I play safe and have the vegetarian option….. The carnivore inside me woke up… Shall I ask whether the meat is suitable for Muslim consumption? Can I confidently trust the meat was slaughtered according to the principles laid down by deen????
The fish main course provided the answer….. Lovely, moist, opulent salmon, perfectly seasoned with no hint of fishiness. My oceanic culinary journey had finally started.
Did you know?
The great thing about fish is variety of flavour between different types. Whereas other meat have degrees of being cooked, fish must always be cooked well, so the degree of flavour is down to the fish itself and the spices used.
Today I present my wife’s Herb crusted Salmon recipe, it was also my first iftaar meal.
Fish is a delicate meat and needs to be treated with appropriate care. The crispy herb crust complements the soft sumptuous fish, a departure from the harsh over rich flavours of my childhood.
I apologise for the ‘untidy’ picture. I had a big decision to make. Eat iftaar or take the picture!!! True foodies will appreciate my conundrum!
I hope you enjoy the Herb crusted Salmon, please don’t forget to subscribe and keep updated with the work of the HaloodieFoodie!!