Saturday, 25 May 2013
One of the greatest joys of food hunting for Johor Kaki blog is to stumble upon unique dishes that I would have otherwise never have a chance to try. Today, I want to share with you, Dizi - a unique traditional Iranian staple available at Parsia Restaurant in Taman Universiti in Skudai, Johor.
Dizi also known as Ābgusht (Persian: آبگوشت) which literally means "water meat", is a traditional Persian/ Mesopotamian mutton stew eaten with flat bread (naan). Dizi is served at Parsia Restaurant at RM12.
Amin, the boss of Parsia Restaurant, told me that this dish is commonly called Dizi, which means "stone" because it is traditionally made and served in crocks made of hollowed out rocks.
Nowadays, Dizi is served in much simpler aluminium pot, and pestle and mortar set.
Dizi stew is made with mutton, chickpeas, kidney beans, onions, garlic, potatoes, tomatoes, turmeric, and spices. The streaky meat and vegetable ingredients are cooked together for hours until it becomes an oily stew.
Amin showed me how Dizi is enjoyed. Amin demonstrated how the broth is strained from the meat and vegetables. The broth is drained into the aluminium saucer using the cap as the strainer.
Dizi is then eaten by dunking pieces of the freshly baked flat bread in the rich sweet and savoury broth.
The tender meat and vegetable solids are then mashed in the small aluminium container using the aluminium pestle. The meat and vegetable are pressed into a paste.
The meat and vegetable paste is spread on a piece of Iranian flat bread before eating. I found Dizi a delicious and interesting dish.
The freshly baked flat bread at Parsia Restaurant is one the best that I have tasted so far.
The flat bread is freshly made right there at the restaurant.
The flat bread is baked using a clay oven or tandoor.
Dizi is a delicious traditional high calorie, high cholesterol staple to provide the needed energy for the heavy physical activity in the Iranian crop fields.
Give it a try. It's delicious and a fascinating Iranian dish.
Restaurant name: Parsia Restaurant
Address: 63-01, 64-01, Jalan Pendidikan 4, Taman Universiti, Skudai, Johor Bahru
Hours: 11:00am to 11:00pm
Dates visited: 16 Dec 2012, 16 May 2013
Friday, 24 May 2013
I had a sachet of A1 Soup Spices tucked away in a kitchen drawer, given to me by Jonathan during my visit to A.K. Koh Enterprise, the makers of A1 products. I had told myself that I would make Bak Kut Teh with it, one day. So, since today is a chilly and rainy day, and I wanted to stay indoors, I decided that today is the right day for homemade Bak Kut Teh.
This is the A1 Soup Spices sachet. A1 Soup Spices is certified Halal and is equally suitable for making herbal soup with chicken.
Tearing open the sachet, a whiff of herbal fragrance escaped through the slit. It smelled like perfume to those who like herbs and was actually quite seductive :) The powdered herbs were held in sachets just like tea bags.
For this post, I followed the instructions on the back of the sachet to the letter. I added soya sauce and oyster sauce as instructed, hence the soup looked like tea. I did not add any MSG. After bringing the water and sachets of spices to boil, the meat was cooked for 30 minutes in medium heat. The aroma from the boiling herbal brew filled the kitchen and quickly spread to the whole house.
The homemade Bak Kut Teh garnished with a little spring onion - ready to serve. These pre-packed soup spices really simplify life a lot.
I like my ribs with a little fat attached. Made with fresh pork ribs, the meat was tender and can be stripped off the bone very easily.
The soup was quite good though it was nothing like Sze Hwa or Ah Soon. Still, I am quite happy with the results and how simple it is to make this classic comfort dish even for people who have no cooking experience - I am thinking of Malaysian/ Singaporean students overseas. These pre-packed herbs can really be a life saver :)
I am confident that with a little tweaking I can bring the taste closer to the big name Bak Kut Teh shops :) Adding mushrooms and peppercorns would help. The next time I try this, I will skip the soya sauce and oyster sauce, and make the Singaporean style peppery version.
(Note: I have not affiliation with A.K. Koh Enterprise and did not recieve any fee for this post or any post in Johor Kaki blog.)
Allan from Nan Bei 南北 restaurant messaged me inviting me to drop by his parents' shop to try their Hainanese mutton soup which they had just added to their menu. I was excited to try Nan Bei's Chinese style mutton soup as I love this dish that is rarely found in restaurants in Johor. I was also keen to enjoy Nan Bei's Tung Po Rou which I blogged about earlier this year.
I dropped by with blogging kaki Semi Han, creator of Bonding Tool, one of my favourite food blogs. Semi's good friend Tyng also joined us.
Allan and his parents whom I have met earlier this year received us warmly. We had an impromptu party and got a chance to try most of the food served at Nan Bei 南北 restaurant.
Semi is a very serious food blogger and Tyng a very supportive friend.
Semi is very meticulous and I learnt a lot about food photography from her today. We even roped in Allan to help in the food photography.
Hainanese Mutton Soup RM15
This is Nan Bei's Hainanese mutton soup. The soup is mildly herbal and it did well to balance the characteristic gaminess of mutton. Following the Hainanese tradition, black woodear fungus and fried beancurd sheets are used in the soup. The chunks of white radish added sweetness to the broth while soaking up the flavours. The crunchy chunks of radish are coveted pieces in the pot as they are loaded with flavours.
The mutton was tender with smokey fatty streaks and only had mild hints of that distinct mutton flavour. We all liked Nan Bei's Hainanese mutton soup. For me, I liked it that the tastes and flavours of Nan Bei's mutton soup are mild with nothing overpowering.
Cabbage with Roast Pork in Claypot RM10
The Nappa Cabbage with Roast Pork in Claypot is another new dish at Nan Bei restoran. The soup is a tasty blend of savouriness from the roast pork and the refreshing sweetness from the fresh cabbage. I love the juicy cabbage as it sponged up the delicious soup and had a tender yet crunchy mouth feel. The Cabbage with Roast Pork won the hearts of the ladies through their stomachs.
We like the Tung Po Rou 东坡肉 or braised belly pork. Those layers of fat are to be enjoyed either fearlessly or recklessly. Today, the fatty layers weren't as thick as that during my previous visit, which would make this dish appealing to more health conscious people.
For me, I prefer my Tung Po Rou to have a thicker layer of savoury, sweet giggly fat since I indulge in this treat only once in a while.
Pig Trotters with Ginger and Vinegar RM7
The braised pig trotters with ginger and vinegar 猪脚姜醋 was quite mild in taste and flavour, so it would appeal to more people. I haven't eaten this dish for a long time and I always had the home made version which is more robust and more herbal.
All of Nan Bei's dishes are eaten with boiled rice. Semi and Tyng both finished their bowls of rice, which is pretty unusual these days especially for calorie counting ladies. When I commented about them finishing the rice, they mumbled something intelligible through their food but their expressions said that Nan Bei's dishes hit all the right notes with them.
Nan Bei restoran is a simple, basic shop serving delicious food at reasonable prices - definitely worth a visit.
Restaurant name: Nan Bei Restoran 南北
Address: 68, Jalan Gaya 1, Taman Gaya
Hours: 10:00am to 6:00pm (Closed on Sunday)
Date visited: 16 Jan 2013, 21 May 2013