Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Smoked Salmon Latkes

The idea for this dish comes from a game called Cafe World on Facebook (*sheepish*) yes! I play a lot of games on Facebook. As you can see, one can always learn even from games :P. All the dishes that you can "prepare" in this game are well known dishes such as Hamburger, Pie, Chasu Ramen, Shumai dumpling. They do have some fantasy dishes like "dino drumstick". I know all the dishes they have until I came across "smoked salmon latkes". Since I was curious, I asked Mr. Google, and I got 36.000 hits with pretty pictures and recipes.

After reading some recipes, I got the Idea, it's more or less fried potato cakes with smoked salmon. So I gave the recipe my own twist. :)

Here is the latkes

And here's the Latkes with smoked salmon and cream cheese
smoked salmon lateks

Smoked Salmon Latkes with Cream Cheese

5 large potatoes, grated

1 egg
1 green onion
1 package smoked salmon, take out 3 sheets and sliced finely, keep the rest for the rosebuds
cream cheese for dipping
salt & pepper

Mix the ingredients evenly and using a Tablespoon form round potato cakes and fry this potato cakes directly on the pan.
Put the fried latkes on a plate and decorate them with the smoked salmon and cream cheese

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Tandur Lasan

After I read a post at berlin.unlike about Tandur Lasan and read how nimmersatt rave about this place. I was excited and went there the next weekend. Exactly as berlin.unlike has described. It is a hole in a wall and they made flatbread as fast as a machine would do. I was naturally impressed by the freshness of the bread. Remember? Everything which is freshly made, taste better! And Gosh, How it was freshly made, my bread with sesame seeds & goat cheese (€1,00 but no picture) made by order and came out directly from oven. I also bought 4 flatbreads (€1,20) to take home and if they are good covered even after few days, they are still very soft and pliant.

Here is the row of unleavened bread
tandur bread

The man behind the oven
tandur lasan

As I was fascinated by the rows of the breads, my spouse noticed this
lasan restaurant broschure

and insisted that we try their restaurant on the same day, so off we go to the U-Kottbusser Tor and ate their Kebab & soup

I ordered a Kebab Kubideh (€5,00 with a soup as appetizer), I escpecially ordered Kubideh, because I love Kubideh from El-Reda and I want to compare them. Unfortunately the Kubideh here is a dissapointment. The kebab was hard and too salty for my taste. The rice was not silky and succulent but more like hard and dry. However the bread with the soup was good. I ordered okra soup and with lots of chilli flakes, it was great. My spouse prefer the complimentary lentil soup and he said it was alright.

kebab tandur

Here is the picture of both the okra soup and lentil soup and of course the tandur bread
tandur bread with soup

Tandur Lasan
Kottbusser Damm 6
10967 Berlin

Adalbertstr. 96
10999 Berlin
U1/U8-Kottbusser Tor

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gyu Don at Heno Heno

Everytime I shop at Oriental Supermarket, I pass through this cute japanese restaurant and I'm intrigued by its cute wooden japanese billboard.

heno heno

So I went in and found out that they have one of the simplest menu I've ever seen. They only serve gyu-don aka beef over rice, some udon and curry rice/udon, miso soup and onigiri.

I must say the gyu don is terrific & authentic, fine beef stripes salty from shoju and sweet from mirin. Underneath all those beef stripes and onion lay succulent rice absorbs all the goodness from the beef's sauce.

gyu don

Because I "only" ordered a small gyu don (€3,80) I wanted something more and I also ordered Onigiri with salmon flakes (€1,20). It's exactly how an onigiri should be; rice with seaweed and in the center of those rice lump, flakes of salty salmon. What I also want to try next time is their Onigiri with Umeboshi (japanese salted plum).
gyu don & onigiri

Heno Heno
Kantstr. 65
10627 Berlin

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I surely mentioned that I don't really cook Indonesian food in my kitchen. But my spouse loves Indonesian food and he can really cooks them too. (Psst, that's how he won my heart, Love surely goes through the stomach) So last weekend, when he was in good mood, he declared that he wanted to cook central-Javanese Pecel (Indonesian salad). Now you wonder, why I emphazise on the central-Javanese. You see, I was born in Jakarta, the capital and there Pecel is purely vegetarian food with deep fried tofu and tempe as protein source. But in central Java they serve Pecel with beef, chicken and omelette. I was astonished at first but after a while I can enjoy them too.

So these are the ingredients for the Pecel: Bean sprouts, cabbages, Chinese long bean, underneath is the water spinach and sliced tofu and tempe.

Pecel raw Ingredients

In the middle of the picture. That's the secret weapon. We bought packages of peanut sauce from Indonesia. So now if you such a black square stuff in your asian market. You know exactly what is good for. The peanut block only need to be mixed in with hot water and voila! you got a versatile peanut sauce for pecel, siomay and even satay. Okay for true Indonesian cooks, they are going to complain and say that will not do. Because there are some minor difference in the spices. For me they are peanut sauce. I can only taste minor difference so it doesn't bother me at all.

For the Pecel basically you just need to slice the veggies into bite size and fried the tofu and tempe. It's not exactly diffcult, it just a lot of work. The curly stuff beside the tofu and tempe is actually deep fried beef tripe. Like I said, it's central-Javanese style so meaty stuff or something which comes out of animal is a must.

Pecel Ingredients

After everything are all set. You just need assembly everything together. My spouse insists on rice to be mixed along with the pecel. Again I blame it to the central Javanese style. So first rice in the bottom of the bowl then various boiled veggies then the deep fried tofu and tempe, Then pour the peanut sauce on top. As garnish you can put some fried schallots and Kerupuk. Mix them all together and it's all ready


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cafebar Emanuele Italiano

Are you a coffee addict? Well I am! I can't function well if I don't drink a shot of coffee. Like a hungry beggar, I'll even drink the beverage my college's cafetarias try to pass as "coffee". In TU-Berlin, that's the grad school I'm attending now, there are several cafetarias. And Studentenwerk Cafetaria in our main building have the best coffee. For a mere 35 cent you got filtered coffee that are brewed by a super automatic machine from wmf. The coffee taste alright if you add lots of milk but don't expect more than what you pay for.

IMHO, the worst coffee is the one served in the cafeteria in the Mathematics' building. For 40 cent you got drip-brewed coffee in a teeny weeny plastic cup. And because of the tiny cup, there's simply no space for milk. Actually, now that I think about it I'm not sure which one is worse, the one in the math's building or the one in the main library. Yuck! don't even get me started. I shudder at the thought of those black-potion-in-a-plastic-cup. But woe me, I have to drink those sour and bitter liquid for the their caffeine to keep me awake and concentrated.

After years of suffering from those horrible "coffee", I'm glad to share the news that a trained barista has recently opened a mobile coffee shop directly in front of TU Berlin's main building. I'm not kidding! An experienced barista who can actually brew espressos!! He told me that he used to work in an Italian restaurant but they kicked him out. So he didn't have any choice but to open up his own business. Back in Italy, he was trained as a barista, and that's how he got the idea to make a mobile coffee shop.

Emanuele Cafebar Italiano

I ordered a Latte Macchiato yesterday morning and it was directly brewed in front of my eyes. After all those sappy coffees, this freshly brewed latte macchiato was heaven. It was full of that intense flavor that's real coffee. It's dark and concentrated with a little bit of brownish oil on the surface. Combined with the milky foam, the coffee tasted mildly sweet and smooth. Okay you need to pay 1 euro for a cup, which means 60 cent more than that disgusting stuff which is called as Kaffee by those people in the math building's cafetaria. But still that cup will cost you 3,50 euro in other coffeehouse. So it still is a bargain!

Here is the interior of the cute espresso bar

Cafemobil Rogoli

So please people who study in TU Berlin, go and buy your coffee from this man. Keep him nearby Heck! Those of you who don't study in TU Berlin, come to our campus and drink you coffee here so that he can stay longer around.

Emanuele Cafebar Italiano
Straße des 17 Juni (In front of main building of TU-Berlin
U2-Straße des 17 Juni/S-Tiergarten

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Spinach ricotta with orange juice dip

I am veeery picky with my own dip. I have been buying dips for past 2 months because they are always on special!!! - 2 for $4 - 50% off - buy 3 get 1 free and so on....
List of the dips that I have eaten;
  • tzatziki
  • hummus
  • garlic hummus
  • corn relish
  • cream and herb
  • basil with roasted cashew nuts
  • salmon
After two months eating commercially-made dips - I realised that maybe I should make my own.
Trying to be adventurous combining unusual ingredients and finger cross - hope for the best.

150 grams fresh spinach, chopped finely
100 grams fresh ricotta cheese
100 grams sour creams
3 tablespoon for finely chopped garlic chive
100 ml of fresh squeeze navel orange
Pinch of sugar
and lots of plain crackers

1. Mixed everything well together (except the crackers)
2. Serve it with crackers.

What I love about this dip is that you can taste some sweetness, some sourness and let's pretend that it's a lil bit healthier compared to other dips.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Beef noodle soup at Ho Lee China Restaurant

Remember Ho Lee China Restaurant? The one that Jacky Chan visited when he was in Berlin while filming his movie "80 days around the world"? Anyway, when I was there the last time, I saw that they also sell beef noodle soup (it was pasted on their window). They even claimed that they're the king of beef noodle soup (written in Chinese). I was naturally intrigued, would theirs be better than my favourite one in Dodeli China Restaurant?

Last week, it was cold! (no sunshine at all at the end of may) and I craved for a warm noodle soup. So I thought that it's a great time to judge Ho Lee's claim.

Let's start with what do I like about their noodle soup? I love their condiments, they serve a plate of spicy bamboos pickles and I also like their deep fried peanut. I also like that they serve the coriander leaves and scallions in separate plates.

Ho Lee's condiments

The soup was clear and beefy but personally, I think that it lacked spices. It's no biggie though since I can add black vinegar and chili oil to the soup. The beef slices was definitely tender but again, they lacked spices. They tasted as if they're only boiled in water. In their defense, they are really generous with the amount of the beef served.

Ho Lee's Beef noodle soup

And here is the photo, after all the condiments were put on top of the noodles

Ho Lee's Beef noodle soup

What bothers me the most is their soft noodles. You know, that taste of overcooked noodles. My first thought was, It doesn't feel like freshly made noodle. So when I was paying the bill I asked the waiter, whether they made their noodle themselves. The answer surprised me, He claimed that they made their noodle themselves in the restaurant. If so, it's such a disappointment, house-made noodles shouldn't taste like that. It should be bouncy and springy! Even the seafood noodles in Arirang (they don't specialize in noodle) has more of a bounce.

For a king of noodle soup. I would say it was an average achievement. Come on, when you claimed yourself "king", I expected something bigger and better. Okay, not necessarily bigger but something grander.

Honestly, I hesitated quite a long time before I decided to write this post, because the beef noodles soup doesn't impressed me much. And I thought, should I actually write about this restaurant? But there're not so many authentic Asian food in Berlin. If I just write stuff that I really like, then I'll be finished in 1 month and I don't have anything else to write. So dear follower please just bear with my honest opinion and don't expect flowery phrases to describe some so-so food. But if I find something worth to be praised then you can be sure that it's something worth to try.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Salmon Head Soup

My Father was born in a small fishing village and because of that he loves seafood more than everything. And he shares this love for seafood with his children too. Since I was a kid, he brought me and my siblings to a seafood market at the harbour. He showed us how to choose fresh fish and how to recognize the different types of fishes, while enjoying fresh salty sea air and jumping around the busy harbour at the same time. Those times were one of the memorable times I have of my childhood.

Because of his love for seafood, everyday my mom would prepare a seafood dish escpecially for him. Almost everyday there's fried fish, our most favourite type is silver pomfret deep fried until the fins are crispy, which only available in pacific ocean. Here in Berlin, I never have the opportunity to eat seafood like crabs, squids or fish everyday, as there's no ocean near Berlin. So seafood become a special meal for me and sometimes I indulge myself in fresh seafood bought in fish monger.

This salmon head soup is one of them, Salmon head is one of the cheapest part of fish, as the westerner don't really eat fish head. For one salmon head I only need to pay 1,50 and it's quite a big one

fish head soup

To choose a fresh fish, there's some step to follow:
1. The eye should be clear and not cloudy or red (filled with clotted blood)
2. The gill should be reddish with fresh blood and not greyish red
3. If you press on the fish flesh, it should be firm and fleshy and not soft and soggy

I post a picture of the from the salmon head that I bought, It was quite a fresh one

salmon's gill

The ingredients you need for the salmon head soup
  • 1 fresh salmon fish, cleaned and the gill removed
  • 1 big stalk Bok Choy
  • 1 piece Tofu
  • 1 piece ginger, shelled and sliced finely
  • 2 pieces garlic
  • 2 shots of Shao Xing wine (you can use the little cap of the bottle to measure it)
  • pepper and salt to taste
  • a pinch of MSG
  • 1 dried chilli (optional)
fish head tofu soup

The first thing to do is make sure that the salmon head is cleaned and there's no scales attached, sometimes there are still scales on the neck part (Kama as the Japanese will call it)

Now you can first deep fried the fish to make the skin part crispy so that when it's cooked in soup it become puffy. I hate deep frying at home so I usually skip this step and directly cook it

So now how I do it
  • Boil the fish head together with ginger slices and garlic pieces
  • Once it started to cook put in the sliced tofu
  • I like soup to be a little bit spicy so I add one dried chilli into it
  • Season with Shao Xing wine, salt and msg
  • Put in the sliced bok choy (I don't like my veggies to be extremly wilted) So at this point of time I turn off the heat and let the heat of the soup cooks the veggies naturally
  • It's ready to be served