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VASCO’S,
Hilton Kuala Lumpur,
Jalan Stesen Sentral 3,
Kuala Lumpur Sentral, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2264 2596
Business hours: 6am to midnight, daily.

GOING back to basics and incorporating traditional Indonesian recipes to the buffet is the concept behind Hilton Kuala Lumpur’s Ramadan spread“Tradisi Nusantara”, this year.

Executive sous chef Mohd Hashrul Sehwan said the menu featured many Indonesian dishes because of his background as his paternal grandfather was from Surabaya, Indonesia.

“My mother is a good cook, too. She ran a stall in Johor where I often helped out.

“Both of them influenced my love for cooking. I like home-style cooking with original spices and specific methods to get the distinct taste.

“Over the years, some ingredients became hard to find and chefs either omitted them or used alternatives which resulted in a change of taste over time.

“So, I want to recreate the food that I ate at home while growing up,” said the chef from Batu Pahat.

Hashrul said the most important element was the ratio of spices and cooking method.

Gulai Tunjang Padang Asli Takano is a dish many do not attempt at making because of the long hours of cooking and expensive ingredients involved.

Gulai Tunjang Padang Asli Takano is a dish many do not attempt at making because of the long hours of cooking and expensive ingredients involved.

“Indonesian-Malay cuisine use a lot of spices. I have created a list of ingredients that are needed as per the original recipe.

“There are no shortcuts. For example, we will not use packed chilli paste but we grind the chillies.

“The only leniency is that we will tone down on the spiciness of dishes to suit local and international palates,” he said.

Some of the highlights include Gulai Tunjang Padang Asli Takano, Ayam Panggang Bumbu Bali Barongan (top pic) and Rendang Minang.

Hashrul said Gulai Tunjang Padang Asli Takano, which is made with beef tendon, is a dish that is hard to come by because of the long hours of cooking and expensive ingredients.

He said not many people cooked this dish and were not aware of the correct ratio of spices to get the taste right.

“We had multiple tasting sessions before deciding on the best recipe.

“The Ayam Panggang Bumbu Bali is also very special because the spices are ground using a mortar and pestle, just like in the old days,” Hashrul said, adding that freshly ground spices lent a more distinct flavour to dishes.

For his Rendang Minang, Hashrul prefers premium cut beef as it is more tender and takes 30 minutes to cook.

“We also have our own spice mix with 11 herbs and spices for the roasted lamb,” he said.

The Nasi Biryani Burung Puyoh is like any other briyani but cooked with quail.

The Nasi Biryani Burung Puyoh is like any other briyani but cooked with quail.

Hashrul said they also experimented with a few recipes, which will be on the break-of-fast menu such as Nasi Biryani Burung Puyoh (quail biryani rice) and Petai Pegaga Masak Lemak (twisted cluster beans and Indian pennywort herb in coconut cream).

“The briyani dish is cooked in the same way, but instead of chicken, we used quail and it tasted just as good. So, we decided to stick to it.

Sambal Udang Petai.

Sambal Udang Petai.

“As for the Petai Pegaga Masak Lemak, the combination was unusual.

“It is a very simple and nutritious dish but some may not like the distinct taste of petai so we added pegaga to subdue the taste,” he said.

The Ramadan buffet is priced at RM199nett per person and RM99.50 for children aged between five and 11 years old.

Each guest also gets a complimentary Rendang Minang paste to recreate the dish at home.

This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.

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