A Touch of Nyonya Influence by Chef Debbie Teoh @ Chatz Brasserie

It’s exactly a year ago that I wrote about Chef Debbie Teoh and her delightful Nyonya specialities. It was also at the same venue – Chatz Brasserie at Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur. Read about my post one year ago here.  The authentic Nyonya fare served up by Chef Debbie must have been such a hit that Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur has decided to bring her back again this year and timely too – for the upcoming Mother’s Day celebrations!

nasi ulam
Nasi Ulam

I had a sense of deja vu as I walked into Chatz Brasserie – everything seemed almost the same as last year. Even Chef Debbie herself. She looks exactly the same as when I first met her last year. The same welcoming smile, that warm demeanour and her signature kebaya top with the sarong-turned-harem pants bottom … something which is so totally unique.

I can’t be running around the kitchen in the tight sarong kebaya, you know, so I have adapted it to something more practical!” explained the enterprising Chef Debbie with a laugh.

ulam platter
Ulam Platter consisting of fresh cucumber sticks, four-angled beans and mint leaves

To whet our appetites, we had the Nasi Ulam which is cooked rice tossed with a variety of local herbs. Very thin shreds of daun kunyit, lemongrass, shallots, kaffir lime leaves, bunga kantan, chillies are mixed with fried dried shrimps and bits of salted fish and these are tossed together with rice, resulting in a super aromatic dish. This is such a laborious dish as all the herbs have to be sliced by hand. Back in the old days, Nyonya matriarchs used this to test out potential daughters-in-law… the finer they can slice the herbs, the more qualified they would be!

sambal udang kering
The mouth-watering Sambal made with dried shrimps and belacan (shrimp paste)

I love the Ulam Platter as this particular version has mint leaves in it. Taking a stick of fresh cucumber, I wrapped it with some mint leaves together with some of that delightful sambal, popped the bundle into my mouth and I had this refreshing crunchy textures doing a tango on my tongue. I did the same with the four-angled beans and thoroughly enjoyed the affair.

aubergine w sambal
Aubergine with Dried Shrimps Sambal

The Aubergine/eggplant fried with a sambal made from chillies, shallots and dried shrimps calls for white rice, and a lot of that is needed as dinner progressed. That’s because I realise all the rest of the dishes served were so good that one simply has to add on the white rice.

itek tim
Itek Tim – savoury duck soup with salted mustard leaves

The Itek Tim – duck soup is so well flavoured by the salted mustard leaves and bombay onions which impart a sweetness to the soup.  I can finish off a big bowl of this, all by myself.

lemak nenas ikan sepat
Lemak Nenas Ikan Sepat

There’s such a contrast of flavours in the Lemak Nenas Ikan Sepat which is essentially fresh pineapples cooked in a coconut curry with salted fish. The sourish tangy pineapples balances out the creamy sweetness of the coconut milk and the ikan sepat just adds on that “more rice needed” factor.

ayam buah keluak
Ayan Buah Keluak

The Ayam Buah Keluak is the only repeated dish from last year’s repertoire. The repeated feature is justified as this is such a typical Nyonya speciality. The “buah keluak” or Indonesian black nuts is somewhat scarce here and Chef Debbie actually sourced her supply from Melaka. As Chef Debbie explains it “You have to soak the buah keluak overnight before you can crack them open to dig out the dark brown filling inside”. It is the dark filling that gives this dish its special identity: the taste of the filling is a mix of earthy mushrooms and rich chocolate, as strange as that may sound! This particular dish is best eaten, not freshly cooked, but should be kept for a couple of days, so that the buah keluak flavours can truly infiltrate the gravy and chicken!

fried fish
Fried Fish with a Mango Sambal

gulai ikan pari
Gulai Tumis Ikan Pari

Chunks of stingray cooked in a spicy sourish gulai (gravy) is really irresistible.

otak2
Chunky Seafood Otak-otak

One of my favourites for that night is the Otak-otak. Instead of the usual fish slices, Chef Debbie has put in chunks of succulent squids, prawns and fish fillet. All these encased in a rich spicy coconut custard and wrapped up in banana leaf parcels – really good. I had 2 of these aromatic leafy parcels all to myself.

chendol
Chendol with Coconut Milk

kuih talam
Special Seri Muka

Chef Debbie really spoiled us with her delightful desserts. First up, we each had a bowl of icy Chendol in thick creamy coconut milk and gula melaka. The chendol here is of a dark green hue, thanks to the thick freshly-made pandan juice used. It’s a far cry from the anaemic-looking chendol we usually get elsewhere.

Then we had this basket of Kueh Seri Muka which is very unique. Instead of the usual coconut cream layer on top, Chef Debbie used mashed taro (yam) instead. I wish I was not so stuffed then that I could only manage to eat two pieces of these because they were just absolutely yummy.

pulut panggang
Pulut Panggang

We had this plate of petite Pulut Panggang served before us and the lovely chef explained that she scaled down the size so as not to overwhelm her guests. How thoughtful… and as it turned out, those banana-leaf-wrapped-and-grilled glutinuous rice rolls filled with spicy shrimp sambal were such a blast that most of us took 2 pieces each! As a special treat, each of us also got to take home a Nyonya Bakchang made by the Chef herself.

debbie
The lovely Chef Debbie Teoh

Now, if you want to get a taste of all these Nyonya delights, be sure to head over to Chatz Brasserie @ Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur from 11 May to 10 June 2012. From Mondays to Fridays, you get to indulge in Nyonya cuisine in Buffet Lunch priced at RM62++ per person while Buffet Dinner is available every day at RM82++ per person. For weekends, there’s the Nyonya Weekend Hi-Tea priced at RM59++ per person.

For Mother’s Day on 13 May, there is the Mother’s Day Brunch priced at RM68++ (adult) and RM34++ (child). With an additional RM10, fathers and kids can cook for mothers in a cooking session assisted by Chef Debbie.

Guests staying at Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur and Parkroyal Serviced Suites Kuala Lumpur are entitled to 20% discount off the Nyonya cuisine promotion while senior citizens above the age of 55 enjoy 50% discount. UOB and CIMB cardmembers also enjoy special discounts.

Chatz Brasserie
Lower Lobby Level
Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur
Jalan Sultan Ismail
50250 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2147-0088
Fax: 03-2147-0099

Chatz Brasserie

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6 Responses to “A Touch of Nyonya Influence by Chef Debbie Teoh @ Chatz Brasserie”

  1. May 6, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    ooo, i think i’d go crazy at the ayam buah keluak section and take as many buah keluak as i can! i love it! and i’d try not to feel guilty if other customers complain to the staff that there’s no more buah keluak left! :D

    • Pureglutton
      May 8, 2012 at 11:59 am #

      Hehe, Sean… I’m just trying to imagine you rummaging through the pot for the buah keluaks! :-P

  2. May 6, 2012 at 7:38 pm #

    Your pictures look yummier than the food!!! ;DDD nice nyonya kuih…ughh!!! I am sooo hungry now..>.<

    • Pureglutton
      May 8, 2012 at 11:58 am #

      Thanks, Eunice :-) Oh yeah, the nyonya kuehs were all delicious!

  3. May 9, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

    I love ayam buah keluak. Not had good ones for quite some time though…

    • Pureglutton
      May 15, 2012 at 10:33 pm #

      Then it’s time you head over and try out Chef Debbie’s version – very yummy!

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