Fishy no more to avoid...............

Avoiding fish because of its smell and taste?

A FRIEND of mine can never eat fish when it is served whole (that is, with its head and tail).

Nothing odd about this since I can never eat meat served whole either.

Also, what turns her off fish dishes are their, uh, fishy taste.

Fish is tricky to prepare. Even when cooked in rich, spicy curries, one can never quite get rid of the fishy taste and smell. Or hanyir, as the Malays would say.

There are two ways to eliminate this fishy problem. First, simply ensure that your fish is fresh. This means its flesh is firm, its smell is not unpleasant and its scales are intact.

Second, washing them properly before cooking is important. You can either rinse it with salt and water, or with tamarind juice.

Next, comes cooking the fish. There are many ingredients you can use to make this nutritious seafood delicious: ginger, garlic, lemon grass, spices, turmeric, limes and the like.

Below is a recipe for baked fish by Izzi Restaurant on Jalan Sultan Ismail in Kuala Lumpur.


This recipe is for one person and it makes the most of fish’s juicy and tender textures. The sour and spicy tomato coulis gives it added flavours.

Pronounced as “coo-lee”, coulis is a thick sauce made from pureed and strained vegetables. It is commonly used in meat and vegetable dishes as well as a base for soups and other sauces. (the fruit version is used for desserts).

For this recipe, all you need is:

• 150gm butter fish steak, or boneless white fish such as kurau
• salt and pepper to taste

Season the fish with salt and pepper and bake in the over at 375ºC for around 7 minutes.

Baking fish at high heat will keep it moist. Do not worry about burnt fish as it cooks quickly.

As the fish is being baked, you can start making the coulis. For this you need:

• 40gm fresh tomatoes, peeled, cored and blended
• 10gm tomato paste
• 2gm Italian basil
• 2gm cili padi
• 2gm lemon juice
• salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients and simmer until the sauce is reduced. Meanwhile, gather together:

• 1 tbsp oilve oil
• 50gm fennel, sliced
• 50gm gobo root, sliced
• some sweet beans
• salt and black pepper to taste

In a pan, heat up the olive oil and saute the vegetables for around 3 minutes. Do not overcook the vegetables so that they remain crispy and sweet.

Then simmer the sauteed vegetables with the coulis until the sauce is further reduced. Serve the coulis on a plate, place the baked fish on top of it and garnish, if you like, with some Thai basil and grated parmesan.

Now tuck in and enjoy this fishy deal!

My recommendation: This is a dish to get non fish-lovers to enjoy fish dishes. You can omit the cili padi and the lemon juice from the coulis and add baked young potatoes to go with the fish. The tomato sauce will disguise the fishy flavours that children often find unappealing.

More Food Recipes...


Ipoh old-fashioned kopitiams

TALK about food in Ipoh and the older generation will mention Old Town across the Kinta River, with its fan-ventilated kopitiams serving sar hor fun, char kway teow, satay, nasi kandar and egg tarts. But for the younger folks, these eateries are passé! The food scene has changed in the former tin-mining city and the happening place is now Greentown, Ipoh’s latest commercial district.

In particular, Greentown Business Centre has developed to become the Ipoh version of Bangsar in Kuala Lumpur, while the adjacent Greentown Square is fast becoming packed with boutiques offering Malay clothes. Both complement each other, creating the city’s hottest eat-drink-and-shop spot.

One of the most popular halal restaurants here is Restoran Laksamana Cheng Ho, which also happens to be the first Chinese Muslim eatery in Ipoh, with its strong element of Chinese décor and tables covered with red cloth.

The menu is divided into western favourites, rice favourites, hawker favourites, breakfast special, laksa, pasta, snacks, salads, snacks, soups, pasta, teppanyaki, burgers and sandwiches and dessert. The best part is, the restaurant caters to all budgets.

Fried Rice & Laksa

After a seafood salad, I had an excellent Laksamana Cheng Ho Fried Rice. The rice, fried with squids, prawns and green peas, was garnished with two sticks of satay and crackers. Excellent!

I also had the laksa — the ingredients were unique. Apart from shredded pineapple and cucumber, there were pieces of fu chok (dried beancurd), hard-boiled egg and fish paste. The gravy was watery and tasted like diluted mee rebus gravy with a light fishy aroma.

If you come in a group, it’s best to pick one of the set meals. Set B, meant for five-six persons, really excited me. For RM78.80 nett, you get rice with crispy chicken in plum sauce, deepfried siakap fish with Thai sauce, beef ginger with spicy onion, nonya style prawn sambal, sizzling Japanese tofu and Chinese tea. That means you get Chinese, Japanese, Thai and nonya fare in one sitting.

Variety, Variety

Another prominent pork-free restaurant is Restoran The Mouth with a menu of 114 items. Dishes are priced from RM4 to RM12 and include Thai Style Chicken Chop, Mongol Chicken Chop, Mongol Venison Rice and Black Pepper Hor Fun.

Maria’s Café should appeal to cake lovers. It’s like Starbucks and Coffeebean, and serves cakes, coffee, floats and more floats!

Kimberley Café offers Chinese food. Its specialities are Emperor Chicken (chicken cooked with herbs) and Boneless Chicken with Dried Chili.

There are two Japanese restaurants — Ten-Good and Jyu Restaurant. For curry dishes, go to Jyu which serves Tori Curry Rice, Katsu Curry Rice and Ebi Curry Rice.

For a taste of traditional Western food, go to Ye Old English.

Old Town White Coffee has a strong presence in Greentown, occupying the top and ground floors of a corner lot.

For basic kopitiam fare, pop over to Restoran F&B Station which is famous for its honey roasted chicken wings and popiah. Want tosai, capati and teh tarik? You will find them in Salam Corner and Restoran Nasi Kandar Pesanjung.
Steamboat & Booze

Another highly recommend eatery is Chatter Place. The variety of food is impressive and reminds me of Kuala Lumpur’s Kim Gary. I ate Oriental pork chop and a mildly spicy tom yam bihun.

For a little action, go to Persiaran Greenhill’s Mamamia Steamboat Restaurant where, displayed buffet-style, are items like squid, fish, chicken, mantis prawns, noodles, cabbage and lots more. Outside, a teppanyaki cooking station adds to the dining pleasure. Pick your food and the cook will fry it for you.

Boozers are spoiled for choice in Greentown. Stairway Pub & Bistro opens early for its Happy Hours. Its state-of-the-art karaoke facilities upstairs are extremely tempting. Mike’s Place blasts the night away with live band performances and its electrifying music is bound to set your feet on fire! 11 Pub and Bistro lures a funky crowd with its cool draughts and soothing décor.

Greentown also caters to pre-dinner and post-dinner activities. The more action-oriented can indulge at J-Box Karaoke or Greentown Snooker Centre.
From Zegna To Jubah

Women can pamper themselves in Angel Spa for some slimming and beauty treatments, Pusat Reflexology Everhealth for Tibetan Huo Long Treatment and even Y&K Nail Studio.

While the husband is chilling out with a beer, the fashion-conscious missus can pick up the latest designs in Liv Fashion Design, Glamour Boutique, Zegna Collection Boutique and Ru Ru Boutique. Swanky and classy are the keywords here.

In Greentown Square, you’ll find the latest in baju kurung, sarung and jubah at Kedai Kain Syakirah, Fesyen Wor Idaman and Angur Collection.
How To Get There

Greentown is located at Jalan Sultan Abdul Jalil, near Ipoh Parade and Majlis Perbandaran Ipoh. It is best to park your car and explore the area on foot. But remember that parking space is limited, so come early.

More Food Recipes...


Seafood Pie recipe

Seafood Pie

1 packet store-bought puff pastry
Seafood pie can be served with a salad for a wholesome meal.

  • 300g white fish fillet, sliced thickly
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ onion, sliced
  • 75g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 potato, boiled until tender and cubed
  • 2 tbsp frozen peas
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp corn oil
  • 200ml fresh milk

  • 2½ tbsp plain flour mixed with 2½ tbsp water
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¾ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¾ tsp salt or to taste
  • ¾ tsp sugar or to taste

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Lightly season fish with marinade for 20-25minutes. Heat butter and corn oil in a non-stick saucepan. Add garlic, bay leaves and onion and fry until fragrant and onion starts to brown. Add mushrooms and potato cubes and fry for a while. Pour in milk and add the thickener. Bring to a low simmering boil, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Turn off the heat when the mixture thickens. Adjust the seasoning, add green peas and fish slices.

Fill two small pie dishes or a big pie dish with the prepared filling. Roll out the puff pastry so it is large enough to cover the pie dish. Trim the edge or allow the pastry to overhang slightly. Brush the top with the beaten egg. Bake in preheated oven at 190°C for about 25-30 minutes or until pastry top is golden brown. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

More Food Recipes...