Posted by: Food Lover | June 8, 2018

Fat Pasha: Decadent Hebrew Cuisine

There comes a time when we cannot abide by another piece of sushi or another plate of pasta.  We don’t want pizza and a steak just won’t do. Instead, we need something refreshing, something exciting. Jewish and Middle Eastern cuisine fills a need in us that goes beyond food. It delights our imagination, fills our hearts with a yearning for distant lands that feel beyond our reach – dishes rich in both history and flavor.  It is a cuisine full of exotic and exciting flavor combinations that refresh our joy for food.   Fat Pasha certainly fills this need for us in a trendy, comfortable setting.  It doesn’t hurt that it’s located on slowly revitalizing Dupont Street, deep in the Western Annex, one of our favorite Toronto neighborhoods and near our Toronto home base.

After our visit, we were informed of the halo of trendy popularity of both the Chef behind Fat Pasha and the restaurant itself. However, we must confess to dining there innocent of those reputations – we just popped in to satisfy a craving and a long-standing desire to try them out. Despite warmly embracing the label “foodie” we aren’t too concerned with trends and reputation, more with allowing our hearts and stomachs to lead us to delicious food.

This is an ideal dining experience to enjoy with a group of friends; seating for about 40 gives it an intimate feel while allowing a lively buzz to fill the room.  The decor provides a feeling of space in a place where tables are a bit snug. A long counter for diners allows them to squeeze in a few extra bodies. Awesome psychedelic posters scattered about the walls attract your wandering attention when it feels rude to reach for your phone.  In our opinion, it’s not the best choice for a romantic date night (leastwise not how we think of those) or a private conversation, but it’s great when you need a dose of social energy with your meal.

Staff are friendly and attentive but can get caught with the energy of the place, so you might have to be a bit assertive in getting their attention when it’s hopping. If that’s something that bothers you we recommend visiting during an earlier, less busy, seating.  Our waitress was casual, straightforward with an easy-going air. Online reviews do mention that the staff may at times overestimate how much people can eat (that was certainly true for our visit), so you might want to order a bit less at first and see where you land. Remember – you can always order more!

Food:

 Cookbook lovers will be reminded of Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes, as Matthew Sherrwood points out in his Globe and Mail review of Fat Pasha. Fans of Ottolenghi’s books ourselves, it was thrilling to experience such food prepared with the deft touch of a chef rather than our own humble, but always careful and sincere attempts.

We feel this place is best enjoyed with a group of 4 – 6. The dishes are intended for sharing, and some are quite large and hearty. Their famous roasted cauliflower alone would have been enough to contentedly feed two people. With so much on offer, it’s hard to fight the impulse to over order, and eating with a group would allow for a fuller exploration of the menu. The three of us had ordered four dishes and were ready to lapse into a food coma by the end of our meal. We could have probably done with three dishes and a shared dessert.  Sadly we couldn’t have had a wafer-thin sweet by the end of our meal, and from our observations of other tables (yes, we’re food voyeurs too) these were worth saving room for.  Fortunately, dishes came out one at a time, at a leisurely pace. Given the richness of the food the extra time was needed to digest a little before we could attack another dish. This also adds to the social atmosphere of the place, making it a great meal over which friends can indulge in banter and laughter as much as in the food.

hummus special1

Hummus: Our waitress let us know their hummus has a great reputation, which pretty much guaranteed we had to try it. They make an extremely creamy hummus, which is achieved by painstakingly removing the husk of each chickpea.  We did this once at home, and while the end result was amazing, it was never to be repeated again – it was just too much work – so hats off to Fat Pasha for going the extra mile! The hummus itself was spread out to form a bit of a rim, holding in a generous pool of extra virgin olive oil, and a thin tahini sauce, with lots of stewed tomatillo, pickled onions, whole chickpeas, fresh flavourful parsley topped with a dusting of earthy paprika. For two with modest appetites, this could make a meal all on its own, there’s so much going on here!  We were quite humbled by the flavors and creativity, and it has encouraged us to be more creative with our hummus at home.

roasted cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower: This is one of their most famous dishes, and when we saw the neighbouring table dig in, it just had to happen.  It is a marvelous sight to behold, like a birthday cake made entirely of a single veggie!  The cauliflower is roasted enough to give it a delicious flavor, without being cooked to mush. Tahini and skhug were layered over top like gorgeous icing. Tahini, for the uninitiated, is made from ground sesame seeds.  Skhug can be found in Arabic, Persian and Hebrew cuisine. Its origins hail from Yemen (at least according to the new sage of our hyper-connected age: Wikipedia) and it is normally a hot sauce made from cilantro and cumin (with a variety of other spices depending on the region and who’s doing the cooking).  The version of Skhug we enjoyed at Fat Pasha had no heat to it at all but was bursting with flavor from their spice mix. The world’s best buttery pine nuts were scattered on top, adding some texture to each bite.  A grating of Halloumi provided a nice salty kick.  Like jewels on a crown, pomegranate seeds are sprinkled on top, their sweet-tart crispness cutting through the earthier flavors and richness of the tahini and skhug. We’ve never had anything quite like it!  It was a marvelous dance of flavours.

latka

 Duck Schmaltz Latkes – Latkes are a classic Hanukkah dish dating as far back as the 1800s′ but the popularity of potato pancakes has made them a staple of many Eastern European kitchens – including Anyes’ Polish household. These lived up to the high standards of childhood, comfort food memories, with much of that success being owed to frying them in duck schmaltz.  Schmaltz is rendered poultry fat used for frying, a substitute for frying in butter when preparing kosher meals.  These latkes were thicker than we’re accustomed to having, which actually made for a lovely consistency. Frying them in duck schmaltz provided an amazing caramelized and crispy outside, with soft creamy potato inside. Served on the side was a homemade applesauce spiced like an apple pie, and a big dollop of sour cream.  To be honest, the latkes were so lovely on their own, we passed on both of these sides.

kabob

Chicken Kabab – This was a daily special when we were visiting. By the time it arrived we weren’t certain we could eat another bite, and were grateful for the smaller portion. Big cubes of chicken breast were tender and juicy, a small miracle on a kabob.  The kabab itself was served with a lovely tzatziki-like yogurt sauce and accompanied by sectioned tomatoes drizzled with dill and parsley oil – just lovely

We had a great meal here and intend on returning with more mouths to feed so we can sample more dishes from their enticing menu.  It was such a delight to eat here, and it sparked our own imaginations for what we could do at home – which to us makes an ideal meal!

Fat Pasha

Website:FatPasha.com

Fat Pasha Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

414 Dupont St.
Toronto, Ontario

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Posted by: Food Lover | June 5, 2018

Proscuitto and Oyster Mushroom Salad

final salad

We first had this salad as Sage Kitchen and Bar in Regina. We loved it so much, it became an easy entree salad in our home. We added the pine nuts and green onions, those are entirely optional.  Sage served this with a buttermilk herb dressing, and we opted for a lemon vinaigrette with a touch of basil.

ingredientsLemon Vinaigrette
Get Recipe

Salad

• 4 – 5 cups of your favorite salad mix – radicchio and arugula make a good choice
• 2-3 oz prosciutto
• 1.5 cups oyster mushrooms – cut into bite-sized pieces
• 1 cup edamame
• 1 medium sweet onion, sliced into thick strips or diced into bite-size pieces

Optional
• 1 tbsp pine nuts
• 2 medium green onions

 

 


Serves 2

1. Prepare Vinaigrette according to the recipe, if circumstances allow making it at least an hour in advance or the night before it best. This allows the flavours to really meld.

2. Soak salad green in ice water for 10 minutes.

ice lettuce

3. Cut green onions into 3-inch pieces. Then vertically slice the onions making thin strips. Place in ice water.

green onions

4. Toast Pine Nuts:
Method 1: Heat pan over medium-low heat. Add pine nuts and stir frequently for 3 minutes.
Method 2: Heat toaster over to325°F. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet, stirring a couple of times, until golden-brown, 3 to 5 minutes. This makes them more evenly brown than the pan method, but they can also burn quickly so they need to be watched.

3. Lightly oil a skillet over medium-high heat. Add prosciutto to skillet, one slice at a time, and cook until crisp; remove from skillet and set aside.

4.  Add onions to skillet, saute until they start to turn translucent. Add oyster mushrooms, cook until mushrooms are lightly browned – about 8 minutes.  Add edamame, cook 1-2 minutes more.  Remove and set aside.

skillet

5.   Drain green onions and dry with paper towel. Toss greens lightly in salad dressing and plate.  Place mushroom mix on top of salad greens.  Place prosciutto on top whole, or crumble it, according to your preference. Top with green onions and pine nuts if using. Drizzle with salad dressing if desired.

Posted by: Food Lover | June 2, 2018

Lemon Vinagrette

2 – 4 tbsp lemon juice (to personal taste)
2 tbsp champagne vinegar
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tsp dijon or whole grain mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup light-medium olive oil*

Optional Ingredients:
1 -1.5 tsp dry basil, or 1 tbsp fresh basil finely shredded**
1 small clove garlic, pressed
1 tsp sugar or honey

* an olive oil with a strong flavour profile will drown out some of the lemon flavours in this dressing. If you don’t have something light tasting on hand, cut it 50/50 with something like canola oil

** if you’re using basil you dried yourself, you can use just one teaspoon. Store bought basil tends to have less flavor, so add a bit extra.  If you’re using fresh basil, bruise the leaves by crushing them between your fingertips or lightly pound it with the butt end of a knife or pestle, before shredding and adding to the vinaigrette.

Note: If you’re making changes to this recipe, don’t leave out the mustard.  This is essential to helping the vinegar and oil combine and stay combined as you eat the salad. If you want the mustard flavor to be more subtle, go with whole grain.

Method 1: 
Mix all the ingredients, leaving out the oil, into the vinegar. Then gradually pour the oil into the vinegar in a slow steady stream while whisking.  If you are saving some of the dressing for another time, you’ll have to give it a good whisking again. On the second serving consider adding half a tsp of mayonnaise to help it combine easier.

Method 2:
Combine all the ingredients into a blender and blend until just combined.  We tend to prefer this method because we have a small one cup blender and because the dressing stays well emulsified for several days.

Serve room temperature.

Food Pairing:

This is a really nice salad dressing for lettuce or garden side salads

This dressing goes really well with salads that have:
Nuts:
Almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts
Cheese: goat cheese or ricotta,
Meats: Chicken, Fish, Lamb, Proscuitto.  Also, meats cooked in Greek seasoning or honey glazes.
Herbs: Mint, rosemary, parsley
Fruit: Oranges, berries, apricots
Greens: Arugula, Peashoots

Wines:

If you’re having salad as your main course some wines that pair nicely with this dressing:
Best choice:  Sauvignon Blanc (New World)
Runners-up:
• Unoaked Chardonnay – especially if the salad contains asparagus or chicken
• Zinfandel (red or white) – really nice with a cobb style salad

Non-Alcoholic:

• sparkling water with orange or lemon twist, or mint (or a combination)
• green tea – light bodied
• jasmine tea – with jasmine flower petals
• flowering tea
• Sparkling juices: mix a fruit juice with mineral water – apricot, apple, peach
• infused water: with any of the following or a combination of your choice – mint, rosemary, orange, berries (especially black berries and blueberries, raspberries), ginger, lemongrass, thyme, vanilla,

Posted by: Food Lover | June 1, 2018

Capocollo

 

5025

Capocollo made by The Cure Artisanal Charcuterie In Saskatoon

Oh capocollo, the sight of your marbling alone is enough to set our mouths watering! This cured meat is made from pork using meat from the back of the neck, which is where its name comes from: capo (“head”) and collo (“neck”). Once it has been seasoned and prepared, it is stuffed into a natural casing and left to cure. It is similar to prosciutto in texture, beautifully silky, and has a rich mouthfeel.

We love it as part of our muffulettas, but it makes a great sandwich meat in general – and don’t forget pizza!

Here’s a great idea from the Food Network: Split a loaf of French bread and brush with pesto. Top with capicola, shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan. Broil until the cheese melts.

Recipes
Clam and Mussel Stew With Capocollo and Vesuvius Tomatoes
Roasted Capocollo Wrapped Pork
Spicy Italian Ham and Salami Sandwich
Cavatappi with Roasted Peppers, Capocollo & Ricotta
Capacollo and Cheese Stuffed Bread

Related:
Salumi: A guid to Italian cured meats
Choose Capocollo
Capocollo on Wikipedia
Food Science: How Meat Is Cured
Speck to Salami: A Quick Guide to Cured Meats
An Award-Winning Cheesemonger Shows How To Make A Next-Level Cheee Plate
Salumi 101: Your Guide to Italy’s Finest Cured Meats 
The Unified Theory of Pairing Cured Meat and Cheese

Posted by: Food Lover | May 26, 2018

Italian-Style Fried Farro

We LOVE this recipe.  It’s really quick, especially if you can find a bag of shredded brussels sprouts at your local grocer. Unfortunately, we had to shred them by hand. It also manages to be healthy and tasty, a magical combination in our books.

italian farro fry

Get the recipe here:
https://www.bhg.com/recipe/italian-style-fried-farro/

Note: The only change we would make to the recipe, is to suggest you bruise the basil lightly between your fingers and tear it with your hands instead of cutting it with a knife. This releases more of the oils in the leaf and helps the basil really stand out!

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • shaved brussels sprouts
  • red onion
  • prosciutto 
  • walnuts
  • garlic
  • farro
  • balsamic glaze
  • parmesan 
  • basil 
Posted by: Food Lover | May 19, 2018

Raspberry and Pistachio Yogurt

raspberry-yogurt

1 serving

Raspberry Topping:
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
2 tbsp raspberry jam*

3/4 cup plain greek yogurt
1 tbsp Chia seeds
1 tsp Vanilla extract (or more to taste)

2 tbsp pistachios

Notes:

* If possible use a raspberry jam from a farmers’ market or one made on-site. They tend to have less sugar and a more concentrated natural fruit flavour.

We always make extra raspberry sauce topping because it’s delicious on so many things – like ice cream, angel cake, and ladyfingers.

Instead of adding vanilla extract you can use a fresh vanilla bean. Place half a container of yogurt in a jar (325g). Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pod and mix them into the yogurt. Nestle vanilla pod husks into the yogurt as well. Let sit at least 48 hours.  After a couple of days remove the vanilla pod husks and discard.

Instructions:

1. Mix chia seeds and vanilla extract into plain yogurt.

2. Mash raspberries with a fork. Add to a small pot over a medium-low heat.  Once warmed, add 2 tablespoons raspberry jam and stir. Allow to cool.

3. Spread pistachios on a single layer on a baking pan. Bake at 325F until they are light brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Keep a close eye on them, they tend to burn quickly.

5. Place vanilla yogurt in a glass, top with as much raspberry topping as you like, sprinkle on toasted pistachios.

Enjoy!

Posted by: Food Lover | May 8, 2018

LooneySpoons: A Cookbook Review

Looneyspoons_CoverNew1-172x221
Janetandgreta.com
LooneySpoons on Amazon.com

We first heard about LooneySpoons while attending a conference on Entrepreneurship. The author of The Wealthy Barber, David Chilton, describes meeting Janet and Greta Podelski after they approached him for advice on how to get their cookbook venture off the ground.  David talked about how he was very skeptical of their chances of success, but quipped: “But they’re good-looking, and I’m shallow, so I stayed.” (cue audience laughter!) David did take the time to listen and left a copy of their cookbook with his mother, an excellent cook, who confirmed the recipes were quite tasty.  The rest – as they say – is history. LooneySpoons was the bestselling cookbook in Canadian history (perhaps it still is), and because we immediately went out and bought a copy of Greta and Janet’s we feel like we’re part of the story (for more on their great story go to JanetAndGreta.com).

The recipes in this book were created to be healthy without being so lean and clean that they put you to sleep mid-meal.  They’re a great choice for those who want a balance between healthy options and the pleasures of everyday life.  This isn’t the right book for those obsessed with every calorie, or who religiously follow a diet of exclusivity. However, if you’re craving some comfort foods (there are a number of pizza recipes), but want to be good to your body, reach for LooneySpoons.

Greta and Janet Podleski are Polish sisters from St. Thomas, Ontario Greta – that matters because one of us (that being G) was born in Poland, and we’ve both traveled there and love Polish food.  Greta and Janet had written other cookbooks in the 90’s, during the fat-free diet craze. However, our understanding about healthy eating has become more well-rounded since then. Janet, a Registered Nutritionist, decided to update their recipe collection to fit with current nutritional knowledge.  The recipes contain healthy amounts of fats (even bacon, which we all know makes everything better!), as well as whole grains. Recipes also come with nutritional information: Calories, fats, protein, carbs, fiber, cholesterol, and sodium.

We particularly like that the recipes are quite easy to follow and use common ingredients found in any grocery store.  Many of them are great workday meal options, with some more time-intensive ones that are perfect for leisurely weekend dinners as well. A number of their pasta salads can also make for great pre-made lunches or side dishes and potlucks.

IMG_7946This is not a cookbook that takes itself seriously, which became obvious as we flipped through the pages. The recipe titles have a goofy sense of humour and incorporate silly graphics. You’ll see things like: “Jerry Spring Roles” and “Quiche Me, You Fool”. With adorable little descriptors like:

Wok This Way: Ever dream of becoming a wok star? Well, now’s your chance for fame and fortune cookies!  This flavourful beef stir-fry with fresh basil, red peppers and onions will get you wokin’ and rollin'”

It’s a nice change from our very serious and intense, sometimes even intimidating, cookbook collection.

Recipe Reviews:
As with all our reviews, we prefer to focus on the things we enjoy, and simply don’t mention the things that weren’t to our personal tastes.


It’s A Little Pizza Heaven
Eats Without Meats: Vegetarian

veggie pizza

We have to admit to being skeptical when approaching the idea of a meatless pizza. There are a few rare exceptions to our “pizza needs meat” rule (like a margarita with our own garden basil and tomatoes – a delight we spend the whole winter dreaming about), but on the whole, we’re confirmed pizza omnivores.

This recipe really opened our eyes.  A whole medley of veggies with three cheese and a pesto topping made for a full flavoured ‘za, we didn’t notice the lack of meat at all! We did, however, notice the recipe photo of the pizza didn’t quite match up with the recipe. There were tomatoes and olives in the recipe book photo – but neither made an appearance in the recipe itself. So we added some grape tomatoes, which worked, as did the olives.  We also made the small change by roasting the broccoli first to give it a richer flavor. Oh, and we doubled the pesto because we our love homemade pesto!

Not only was this pizza delicious when fresh out of the even, it made for an awesome breakfast served cold the next day (cold pizza being a not uncommon breakfast choice in our house). Prep was nice and easy:  slice a bunch of veggies and shred some cheese; this is a low hassle meal. It opened our eyes to the possibility of vegetarian pizza and we now find ourselves exploring other veg combinations.



Shrimply Irresistible

Come On, Get Appy!: Appetizers

Prawns with Fiery Fruit Salsa

This recipe is meant to be an appetizer and would make a great crowd pleaser during a summer backyard party. However, we wanted to give it a go as a dinner dish. And because we’re obsessed with giant prawns, we had gotten a few of these and BBQed them – shell on – to keep them nice and juicy.

The marinade is simple, and is a great example of how they use unusual ingredient combinations to make something quite tasty! This involved soy sauce, lime juice, ketchup, coriander, cumin, and garlic. The marinade was actually the best part of the meal and one we hope to try on other seafood and maybe chicken.

The fiery fruit salsa certainly lived up to its name. It helped that our crushed red chili flakes come from our garden and pack an extra strong punch. The combination of apples and oranges was interesting, but not our favorite. From a nutritional perspective, apples make a lot of sense – they’re a good source of fiber and low calorie. However, we felt the flavour pairing between the shrimp and the apples didn’t go particularly well, and we may try it again substituting the apples for mango or melon.


We’ll share the other recipes we try out and love in the future!

https://www.facebook.com/JanetandGreta/
http://janetandgreta.com/

Posted by: Food Lover | March 21, 2018

A Vietnamese Village Feast!

About The Dinner

We’re thrilled to announce our new Off The Menu event!

How many of us think Vietnamese food is just a bowl of rice noodles and spring rolls (or, if we’re living on the edge, lemongrass chicken), or a bowl of pho? Given what we’re accustomed to being offered at restaurants, probably most of us.

But there’s so much more to this country’s cuisine than that!

The few times we’ve been lucky enough to sample authentic, non-homogenized Vietnamese food we’ve been thrilled. We’re excited to work with the team at Seasoned to provide our guests a Vietnamese Village Feast. You’ll get to enjoy the wonderful flavours of Vietnam without having to buy a plane ticket!

As a bonus, you’ll get to meet and chat with the team that planned the menu and prepared your food. They’re excited to meet you too! This will be part of a series of “Off The Menu” events hosted by Culinary Slut where we give Chefs a chance to cook the food they love, with no compromises.



Location:

Seasoned
230 21st St E
Saskatoon

Date:

April 28th, 7pm

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW!

Before buying tickets please read this to ensure this is the right event for you and that you enjoy your experience with us!

Tickets:

$55
Tickets are non-refundable and include only non-alcoholic beverages. You may purchase alcohol during the meal if you wish. 
Buy Tickets Online
Buy Ticket At The Restaurant: 230 21st St E

View Menu


Menu Details

No Alterations. No Substitutions.

Canh Chua Tôm
Sweet and sour soup with a tamarind broth, elephant ear, shrimp, bean sprouts, tomato, pineapple, nog om (rice paddy herb).

sweet & sour 3

Canh Chua Tôm


A combination of sweet, sour and savoury. This is a very popular dish in the homes of Vietnam and Seasoned is making their family recipe for us. The sour flavor comes from the tamarind soup base and the sweetness is provided by crushed pineapple.  The elephant ear plant is called Bạc Hà in Vietnamese. These are large stocks from a plant with big palm-like leaves. The stalks are a bit spongy, which allows them to soak up the flavours of anything it’s cooked in and provides a nice texture to dishes. Nog Om is known as “Rice Paddy Herb” in English, it imparts a crisp citric flavour that has a cumin-like quality.  It is called the rice patty herb because it grows in watery environments and can often be found thriving in rice paddies.

Build Your Own Fresh Roll!

It’s very common in Vietnam to go for group meals with large platters of food shared amongst everyone and eaten by hand,  either by wrapping them in lettuce or in rice paper.  Diners mix and match flavours as they like.  We’ll be sharing this experience with you!  Rice paper with helpful instructions will be provided so you can build your own fresh rolls!  There will be a selection of meats as well as: starfruit, lettuce, pineapple, pickled carrots and radishes, rice noodles, peanuts, green onion, and basil.  

vegtable

Fruits and Veggies for the Fresh Wraps!

Chao Tom
Grilled Sugar Cane Shrimp

shrim-surgarcane

Grilled Sugar Cane Shrimp For Fresh Rolls

Shrimp is pounded into a paste and then mixed with garlic and other simple seasonings. It is wrapped around a sugar cane and grilled. The sugar cane lightly flavours the shrimp, but it also makes for delicious chewing after the shrimp has been eaten, the fresh grilled juice is one of our favourite things! This dish comes from central Vietnam, in the Huế region. It is particularly popular as a dish served in banquets around special occasions. 

Nem Nuong
A Simply Spiced Pork Sausage

meatballs

Nem Nuong For Fresh Rolls

This is a signature dish from Nha Trang, a coastal city in south-central Vietnam. These are considered a comfort food. They are often served as an appetizer or as part of a rice noodle bowl. We’ll be using them in our fresh rolls.

Thit Bo Nuong La Lot
5 Spice Grilled Beef Wrapped In Wild Betel Leaf

betel leaf 1

Thit Bo Nuong La Lot For Fresh Rolls

Ground beef is mixed with white pepper, star anise, cloves, cinnamon and fennel then wrapped in betel leaf and grilled. Fresh, shiny, heart-shaped betel leaf seems to have no aroma whatsoever, but when it is grilled it comes to life! They have a lovely sweetly spicy aroma that reminds one of incense.  Betel leaf, called La Lot in Vietnam, are especially yummy when enjoyed with pickled carrot and radish.

Mam Nem Dipping Sauce
Anchovies, Pineapple and Lemongrass Dipping Sauce

Most of us are probably familiar with Nuoc Mam, often served with noodle bowls. However, the Vietnamese favour Mam Nem for dipping fresh rolls. This is an intensely flavored sauce made using anchovies, garlic and pineapple. We had never had it before this tasting and absolutely loved it!  It was especially tasty with the Grilled Wild Betel Wrapped Beef. 

Cha Gio
Taro Root and Pork Spring Rolls, with black fungus, carrot, bean sprouts and onion

taro-roll

Cha Gio

Taro root is one of our favourite exotic vegetables. It is a tropical plant with large leaves, and a root that resembles a yam or sweet potato.  The root itself can be purple, pink or white. They have a complex and mild flavour that makes them a delight on the palate, with a softness that will remind you of firm custard.  The combination of pork and taro is quite popular across Asia for good reason, they’re just perfect together.

Thit Kho
Carmalized Pork Belly With Seasoned Egg

pork belly

Thit Kho


While served all year round, this is also a traditional Lunar New Year dish! Big chunks of pork belly are cooked in a silky broth that is salty-sweet.  The pork is slowly braised until it is melt-in-your-mouth tender.  Vegetables are often dipped into the sauce, but we just pour it over our last bowl of rice and savor every bite. This is often cooked in coconut water, which may be added based on the availability of good quality imported coconut in the markets. 

Che Ba Ba
Sweet Coconut Cream Soup Served with Mung Bean, Dates, Glass Noodle, Peanut, Taro Root, Tapioca Balls, Black Fungus

che

Che Ba Ba

You’re probably having the same reaction we did when we were first served this: What?! It’s such a wild collection of ingredients – but wow was it delicious. In fact, at this point, we were wishing we had our stretchy pants on. It was so good we couldn’t stand to leave a single spoonful behind.  The thick and warm coconut cream base was so addictive, and each bite provided a delight of textures and flavors. These sweet soups, with a pudding-like consistency, are called Che in Vietnam. They’re a popular street food, and many young children grow up with fond memories of it simmering on mom’s stove.

Posted by: Food Lover | February 12, 2018

Japa Bowl Shares Their Favs!

Last night’s Off The Menu event was a great success! An intimate group of eight joined us at Cafe Japa Bowl where the Chefs prepared their personal favourite Japanese dishes with ingredients available to them locally. This was our first event, and the feedback we got was great. We’re looking forward to doing another event in April!

Since it was such a cold evening, Japa Bowl greeted us with warm Macha tea. Once we had warmed up they served a lovely sake, welcoming us with an overflow pour. The sake cups (called ochoko) are placed into a wooden Masu box. The sake is poured until it overflows into the box. This is a traditional way to show appreciation and express generosity. It is also an act of celebration, suggesting we should live in the moment, and enjoy the fleeting moment being shared.

sakeoverflow

An ochoko in a wooden masu box filled with sake!

We started with an amuse bouche – marinated lotus root.  We love this dish, it is actually made from the stem of the lotus flower. It has a crisp taste and texture similar to jicama.

lotus root

Marinated Lotus Root

The spicy salad was served with an option of pork belly or marinated beef. Here they let their love of Korean cuisine come through with the tasty dressing.

spicy-pork-e1518395268169.jpg

Spicy Pork Salad

Next, we were served a delicate buttered scallop with red pepper and green onion. In Asian cuisine, the scallop is served with more of it left intact. A couple of our dinner guests found this off-putting at first, but they were brave and tried it – and loved it! That’s part of what these Off The Menu events are intended to do – introduce people to new things, give them a chance to learn, and push their boundaries!

buttered-scallop.jpg

Buttered Scallop

This was followed up with tempura kake and shrimp. Kake refers to a mix of vegetable strips which are fried in tempura batter. It’s very popular in Japanese homes, where it is often a way to use up vegetables to prevent food waste. A favourite comfort food for many, reminding them of home.

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Kake and Shrimp Tempura

We were thrilled to be served soba style ramen noodles, which is a personal favourite of ours. The ramen noodles were served in a very rich sauce that had the heat of wasabi contrasted with a delicious sweetness. This was served with nori (roasted seaweed) and green onion. This is a much-loved summer dish in Japan as the broth is served cold. Rumour has it this will make an appearance on their menu come spring.

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Soba Style Ramen in Sweet Wasabi Sauce

Chicken karaage made the menu by popular request! Delicious, moist chicken in a marvelous crispy batter with a mildly spicy, creamy sauce.

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Karaage Chicken

Our first dessert was a warm bowl of Zenzai-Oshiruku, a sweet red bean soup. This is a winter favorite in Japan and often served as part of New Years celebrations.

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Zenzai-Oshiruku

For the last dish diners had an option of ice cream: mochi, red bean or green tea. Mochi is pounded sticky rice that is wrapped around ice cream. It has an addictive soft and chewy texture.

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Mochi Ice Cream

If you’d like to be invited to the next event, please DM us or send us an email at culinaryslut@gmail.com. Those who get a direct invitation will get priority access, as we want to keep these events small and intimate.

Posted by: Food Lover | February 10, 2018

Off The Menu: Japa Bowl

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We’re having our first Off The Menu event!  At these events, we will go to ethnic chefs and invite them to create the meals they love most.  They can be personal favourites, or dishes from their countries that never make the menu or even menu items that are served without adjustments for local tastes. It’s the food they love, made their way.

We invited an intimate group of 8 people (10 if you include us) to a special dinner at Japa Bowl Cafe. Even we don’t know what is being served.  You can follow the story live on our Instagram!
 https://www.instagram.com/culinary_slut/

If you’d like an invite to the next event please email us at culinaryslut@gmail.com

 

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