Thursday, April 28, 2011

Little Lotus Restaurant

Chef Michael Asalie's Black cod

All the folks who made Little Lotus Restaurant's opening successful!

I absolutely loved getting to know this group of folks at Little Lotus Restaurant Miami! It's an Asian and Japanese Tapas Restaurant, we totally need this here! How they pulled it together in 3 weeks is a miracle, so enterprising and a delightful 'hidden treasure' in downtown Miami. The two chefs are both well known in their own right: Sushi Chef Michael Asalie used to be with Morimoto, New York and Indonesian Chef Nyoman Atmaja was and still is part time with Yakkosan.

The brains behind getting this all up and running is Sari Maharani, a paralegal by day and restauranteur, shop owner and as well as a foodie by night! With another restaurant, Banana and Leaf in the works as well, opening June. I'm not sure when she sleeps but I love her energy and 'nothing is impossible' attitude. Better hang with her a lot more.

Chef Michael has a baby face but don't let that fool you, he's very talented and creative. All the dishes he made for us last night were not on the menu. Each one was like a piece of sculptured art work like the chive through a raspberry! The flavor of the fish was so delicate and perfectly paired with a light sauce. Not the usual generic sushi served around town with wasabi and soy sauce! They were ALL outstanding but the one that stood out most was the Hamachi sashimi which he topped with fried shallots and then Jalapeno peppers and capers! Wow, did that pop in your mouth. I love how he fused Indonesian ingredients with Japanese.

Tuna Sashimi, beautiful presentation

Chef Nyoman Atmaja's Crispy Baby Bok Choy
with garlic soy dressing

We didn't get a chance to sample too much of Chef Nyoman's dishes except for his Green curry shrimp and Crispy Baby Bok Choy. I'm so looking forward to trying more of his other Indonesian dishes, many very familiar to me as I grew up eating them like Nasi Rendang.

Over the top dessert with unusual addition of Cruller with coconut ice cream, coconut sorbet in a coconut shell and fresh mango.
I like this simple decor, focus on the food!

Well, Miami, I highly recommend this little 'hidden treasure' and do go and try their introductory lunch menu for $4.99! How can you beat that? By the way, I always think of more stuff to add, so I hope you'll subscribe to my feed for the latest updates. Little Lotus Restaurant doesn't have a website yet but visit their Facebook to get the latest scoop. Just realized they don't have address on their page! 22 NE 1st Street, #107, Miami, FL 33132, it's in an odd location, International Jewelry Center, opposite Macy's downtown, use this entrance, the other is harder to find at night. Oh, tell them Wok Star sent you, gotta get my brownie points up, ha.

Sari and I already discussed having a HOH WOK CLUB gathering there sooon, so if you're interested to join us, email me: wokstar at eleanorhoh dot com

Little Lotus on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Stir Fry Gas Stove: Tips & Techniques

If you purchased my Wok Star Kit with round bottom cast iron wok and using with the Stir Fry Gas Stove set up, here are handy tips to get you started. If you have an electric stove and wished you have gas, this little Stir Fry Stove is the answer! It's cheap and portable, I explain all the reasons why this is the perfect solution for wok cooking!

If you're having "problems", I've got a few things for you to try below. I put them in quotes because they were not a problem, just folks aren't used to using it when it's new.


Left is ON & OFF lever. Right is IGNITION, FLAME adjuster.
1. Take the red cap off the cartridge. Open the flap on the right of stove. Align cartridge with BIG ARROW and notch to a flat steel sticking out on the stove. Push left lever down to ON. You'll see the cartridge move forward into the rod.
2. Turn round switch firmly to the left all the way down hard till you hear a CLICK sound. This ignites and starts the flame. Close the flap when cooking.

3. Start heating your wok on high heat but you can adjust flame height with this switch. When done cooking, flip left lever to OFF to release the cartridge.

1. If you don't hear your food sizzling in your wok, it means your gas is LOW.
Always buy a batch of refills so you're never out in your Wok Star moment, ha!

2. Remove your portable gas stove if you set it on top of your electric stove when you use your broiler or oven to prevent the heat from ruining the bottom of your portable stove.

3. I noticed some of you set your stove on your counter which is fine, just make sure you don't have it too close to any overhead cabinets or curtains!

4. I prefer setting my portable stove on my electric stove because the overhead vent will still work right above your wok. Remember, leave your wok and stove setup OUT at all times so it's convenient. If you keep putting away, it becomes an obstacle to cook.


Please be patient. I've had someone tell me 3 handy guys couldn't get the stove to work but I took one look and could see the cartridge was not aligned. It came on like a charm. It's a matter of practice and using it.

1. If your stove is not igniting when you turn the dial:
Are you turning the dial all the way down hard to the left till you hear a CLICK? If you don't use it often, you may not remember how to turn it on, it happens.

2. Is there "gas" in your cartridge?
Shake it, if you cannot hear any swishing in the can, you may be low, so there's not enough pressure to start the burner. Buy new cartridge and get a few so you have some backup.
3. Is your cartridge aligned with the steel rod sticking out? See above.
If it's not aligned properly and you flip the lever down, it won't turn on because it's a safety catch.

4. If you've done all the above and still doesn't work? See above.
Simply press the 'reset' red button just ONCE on the LEFT side of the cartridge looking at it front on. Viola!

Please try these before you call me, not because I don't want to talk to you but so you don't feel pressure.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Clear on Calories!

I was recently in a TV commercial produced for the Amercian Beverage Association. Their goal was to promote healthier drinks in kids's schools, yay. Happy to be part of this. I was surprised folks who've never met me recognized me since it was only a few seconds!

From the American Beverage Association Vimeo site:

Check out “Journey,” the latest TV ad from the beverage industry, showing how America’s leading beverage companies have come together to place new calorie labels on the front of every can, bottle and pack we produce. With Clear on Calories, labels are showing up on beverages across America – with more to come over the next few months. Enjoy!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Tasty Wok Dinner Using What's In Fridge

I had all the ingredients to make a dinner: broccoli, penne, grape tomatoes, cured salted pork I used to experiment with seasoning a new cast iron wok! Lime to give broccoli some zest & Yuzu Pao chili sauce to spice it all up.


I fried these slices of pork till slightly crispy and all the fat was rendered. This pork is so similar to bacon except it's meatier which I prefer (definitely use this again.) Then used fat to fry the broccoli with garlic & ginger.


Fried grape tomatoes with scallions using Tea Seed Oil.


Combined the broccoli, chopped pork, grape tomatoes, scallions and penne, added Yuzu Pao chili sauce.


Dinner ready with side of my Easy Kimchi!

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Borscht7 Film Festival, Malay Beef with Peanut Sauce


(Excuse all the dark photos!) Nice way to kick into Easter weekend by attending a free Borscht7 Film Festival showcasing local filmmakers.  The lines were snaking round the Adrienne Arscht Center for over an hour when out of nowhere, a lovely couple offered us tickets to get ahead of the lines!  We were the lucky ones, yay.  We had no idea what to expect, some were pretty 'off the wall', no names mentioned. The best were the mouth synched short 1 minute pieces with filmmakers Alfred Hitchcock and Werner Herzog.

We were starving after a 2 hour delay (I have low sugar problems), so we took off soon after intermission and headed for the After Party at Villa221. Disappointed we missed La Pageant Diva because my friend, Miryam was the Production Designer!  They keep the best for the last, wondering if they'll post on their site so we can see it. Lesson learned? It's important to be on schedule. 


To see whether you had any artistic ability after a few slugs of Fuze, there was a crazy spin art box!  You squirt paint inside a box that's spinning a piece of paper at high speed.  The psychedellic art piece by moi (see photo above) was the result of a sugar rush (delicious combos but sugar content was 42 grams a bottle, whew!)


Glad we were among first at the After Party because there were no lines at the Alphabite food truck (part of the Miami Dade Culinary Institute, I recently attended their open day and hope to give my classes there). Surprised there was only one food truck to feed hundreds of people. Hope they had enough food cause the only other alternative was a doughy pizza offering!


I told Chef Alan my mother is Malaysian, so the pressure was on. I ordered Malay Beef with peanut sauce. It was ground beef with a crispy exterior, tender and juicy interior and the flavors were right on!  Beautifully presented on a banana leaf with a sprinkle of cilantro, I noticed my husband swept that aside, not his favorite especially when served raw. Well, they told me the truck is going to be serving during lunchtimes at their downtown campus and then they'll join the food truck circuit.  I wanted more but not cheap, $8 a pop and not such big servings. I did go over and let Chef Alan know I liked it.  It's good to pat chefs on the back because they spend a lot of time in a hot kitchen creating dishes to feed us and never know whether it's a hit or not.


This shot was before the hundreds descended!  All the sponsors were flaunting their drinks and products. There was a DJ and then flipped into live music, the first was by Afrobeta who was in one of the films! He worked the graphics on the wall while the vocalist in her sultry voice invited the crowd to move closer to the stage!


As we left just as the crowds were heating up at 12:30am but very late for us, we noticed they had put up this robot looking sculpture at the entrance to the mansion. Very cute.  We did enjoy doing something different in Miami.


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