Potatoes are nourishing, filling and tasty.

THE humble potato, a staple food originally from the Americas and now popular worldwide, is available in so many forms: boiled, mashed, French-fried and so on.

In Malaysia, perhaps rather less well-known is the baked potato a.k.a. jacket potato. You may see it on the menu in the odd restaurant or two. This is a pity, as baking is a healthy way to eat potato. It can either be a side dish or a complete meal in itself.

So what does one need? The larger variety of potato must be used for a start; the bigger the better, for example, Russet potatoes.

The small, thin-skinned and “new” potatoes are not suitable.

Baking requires “old” thick-skinned potatoes. Having purchased the right type of potato, the only other essential is an oven to cook it in. The procedure really could not be more simple.

Wash and, if necessary, gently scrub your potatoes to remove all the earth from them, leaving the skin intact.

Next, prick the potatoes deeply a few times with a toothpick or fork. Place them in a preheated oven at around 180-200°C for about 45 minutes.

You can test them to check whether they are cooked by prodding them with a fork. The skin should remain firm but the inside should be soft.

Two important points to note here are that the potatoes are cooked without any oil or fat. By cooking and eating them with the skin on, you are getting far more vitamins, minerals and roughage than you would with peeled potatoes.

More Food Recipes...


The water Thai

Thailand is visible from the top of Gunung Macinchang in Langkawi, but you don’t have to go there to feel the fiery heat of our neighbouring country’s cuisine. MANY visitors to Langkawi make it a point to ride the cable car to Gunung Macinchang where they can enjoy an unbridled bird's eye view of the surrounding land, including the southernmost Thai islets of Tarutao.

This brings to mind a lovely restaurant that offers great Thai cuisine. No, you needn’t swim across the narrow straits or brave stinging jellyfish to get to Tarutao to satisfy your craving for Thai food. Indulging in such culinary pleasures is much easier than you think.

The Pahn-Thai Restaurant in Berjaya Langkawi Beach & Spa Resort is just a 15-minute walk from the Oriental Village where the cable car is located.

Take a leisurely walk there in the evening as apart from enjoying the scenery along the way, you can also work up a healthy appetite. At the resort lobby, board an open-air van to get to the restaurant on the other side of the property.

The ride is an experience in itself and you can imagine yourself riding a tuk-tuk (taxi) in Thailand. Hold on tight as the driver manoeuvres along the meandering road but keep your eyes open for a picturesque view of chalets in a jungle setting.

Upon arrival, you will need to cross a bridge that connects the main path to a large house-like structure. Enjoy the cool evening sea breeze brushing against your face as you choose the best table for a good view of the glorious sunset.

Chefs On Hand
The menu is very diner-friendly. Look out for little chili icons next to the listings that denote the pedas (hot) level — very useful, especially for those not used to eating chili. Ask for recommendations. If you’re early, the chef himself may come along to help you decide.

Executive sous chef Wong Chin Yee heads a team of three Thai chefs in the kitchen. Wong won the individual hot dish category gold medal at the recent World Chinese Golden Chef Competition.

Thai chefs Hasadee Pooh Pra Khon, Anek Sae Thaw and Dutsadee Khueng Nok Khum have worked at renowned restaurants in Thailand and all over the world!

While waiting for the food to arrive, feel free to walk around and enjoy the famous Langkawi sunset. On a clear day, it is breathtaking to see the evening sky glow as the blazing ball of fire slowly makes its descent below the horizon.

What’s Special

The appetiser to try is Phla Goong or spicy Thai freshwater prawn. It’s not on the menu but the staff will not fail to recommend it to all diners. After all, it is the restaurant's signature dish.

The huge crustacean used is more than thrice the size of prawns we get at the market. Its pincers are gigantic, at least six inches long. Take a bite and you’re immediately stimulated by the liberal use of fragrant kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce, lemon grass and a generous helping of tom yam paste. The prawns are succulent and fresh, almost as if they had just been caught.

Yum Som O, a pomelo salad with shrimps and minced chicken, has its origin in eastern Bangkok. In fact, every dish comes from a certain part of Thailand, so a meal here is like going on a Thai culinary adventure without travelling around the country.

Yum Som O, with only one chili icon, is unique as each bite causes the small pomelo sacs to burst and release the sourish juice to combine with the fish sauce and Thai palm sugar.

After this, move on to the southern provinces with Hor Mok Tha Lay or steamed seafood with chili mousse served in a young coconut. Southern Thai cuisine prominently features coconut milk. For this dish, not only is the milk used to cook the squid, prawn, mussels and fish but also the water from the young coconut as it adds to the aroma.

Next is the Chiang Mai-style Pla Kra Phong Yum Ma Muang Sud. Quite a mouthful to pronounce, this is basically deepfried seabass with a mixed mango salad on top. Eat it quickly or you’ll be disappointed. The moist salad, unfortunately, turns the crispiness of the fried fish into something leathery.

Those with a sweet tooth will adore the dessert selection. Top of the list is definitely Tub Tim Grab, a colourful dessert with yellow jackfruit, white santan and ruby red water chestnut.

Night Magic

At night, Pahn-Thai looks like a magical fairyland with its many small hurricane lamps lighting up the place and the walkway linking it to land. Viewed from afar at high tide, it appears to be floating in the Andaman Sea.

Located near the Berjaya Langkawi Beach & Spa Resort's premier chalets on water, it was once a kelong where fishermen came to harvest the bountiful fish. Most of the original structure has been maintained and customers can see what a traditional kelong looks like.

More Food Recipes...