Thursday, June 03, 2010

Rohani Jelani... Lady Extraordinaire

I cannot think of a more appropriate title. This lady, is my new found idol!

Thanks to Li Hsian, who had kindly put together this little cooking soiree, on a lazy Saturday morning. The chosen ones were Me, of course, A lil fat monkey, Awhiffoflemongrass, (thereinafter referred to as Thamby), Pure Glutton, Babe in the City KL, Audrey of Audrey Cooks, and Alice Yong, foodwriter and blogger.

We were greeted by Wati, Rohani's able assistant, and proceeded to shoot everything in sight, because it was just screaming out to be shot. (by a camera, I mean).


The lovely Bayan Indah in Sg Penchala. It used to be Rohani's home, which is now converted to a Kampung Homestay Bed & Breakfast, and also venue for her Culinary Classes. Sprawled over an acre, it has herb and vegetable gardens that Rapunzel's mother would have sold her soul for. Almost every conceivable herb in spawned in this veritable Eden.

Despite her credentials, Rohani is so very down to earth, hilarious, witty, and puts us all at ease with her natural warmth and hospitality. Her animated repartee keeps us awestruck while listening about how she started it all....our group of floggers, all familiar to one another, of course had a gala time chipping into the conversation, no holds barred.


We are divided into groups of 2, and it's a Hands On Class. I felt like a student in Hogwarts, all those herbs in herbology, and rival houses. For the sake of ease of reference, I'll call us Gryffindor, the team of Thamby and Babe are Slytherin, of course, since they are EVIL, (or rather, just Thamby was), Pure Glutton, Audrey and Alice are Hufflepuff.

Rohani's recipes are easy to follow, and in a matter of minutes of us donning on our aprons, the kitchen (incidentally, my DREAM KITCHEN...spacious, airy, bright, lots of work surfaces, well equipped...sigh..dreamy look) was filled with splendid aromas of various herbs frying away.

She demonstrates to us some basics, like how to de-vein a prawn with grace and dignity, how to shred the cornucopia of herbs that go into the nasi kerabu, finely, ...not the size of selimuts (blankets)...and valuable cooking tips like how to slice dried chillies minimize the de-seeding process. Will I share those secrets here? Nahhhh.....

She demonstrates how to chop up a Jantung Pisang (banana flower) with the dexterity of a Cardio Surgeon.

Somewhere in the cooking process, we suspect the Slytherin team had sabotaged us, because our gravy for the Ayam Percik seemed pale, compared to their gorgeously crimson red. Thamby must've nicked a chilli or two from our bowl. However, in the end, after some help of evaporation, ours turned out JUST AS NICE.

Looks delish dont it!

Almost effortlessly and flawlessly, we put together our Udang Masak Lemak with Nenas (Prawns in Coconut Milk with Pineapple), thanks to Monkey's speedy deveining of the prawns, and deftness at following the recipe.

The Cekur Manis dish, (Cekur is a stalk vegetable, from the same stalk as Sabah Shee Chai Choy, and has no known english name, but probably has some latin genus name like Cekura Phallacia something something) easy to put together and so gloriously beautiful. One just feels HAPPY LOOKING AT THIS DISH. Our version was with pumpkin, while the Slytherins was with sweet potato.

Monkey tasting the fruits of his labour.

Now, while we had finished all OUR 3 recipes, Thamby and Babe were still struggling with the slicing of their kerabu herbs. Put it this way la, if Thamby were to open a cafe selling nasi kerabu, she'll be bankrupt before Malaysia in 2019, if we dont remove our subsidies. Heck, she'll be bankrupt by the end of the week. Slicing the herbs at the speed of snails spawning... not very time efficient. We kindly offered to take over, so that they could get along with making their green balls with gula melaka filling. (Ondeh ondeh). More tips from the guru as to how to puree pandan, to get the maximum amount of juice. The scent of screwpine is dizzying... it just so comforting.

Rohani demonstrates how to roll and make the balls.

After laborious slicing of herbs to micro millimeter thin strips, the nasi kerabu is ready to be tossed. Doing it by hand is the best way.

Nothing like a good toss with the hands. This is the other team tossing their nasi kerabu. Isn't it just gorgeous? The kaleidescope of colours, completely embellishing a combination of basmati and beras wangi, (fragrant rice), to create such a beautiful dish. And most importantly, its healthy as well!!!

And FINALLY, lunch is served!!!!

The final product, Kerabu Jantung Pisang. Splendid. The older outer layers of the banana flower make for a wonderful serving receptacle.


Ayam Percik. Grilled under a hot grill, to give it that final charred flavour, soaking in a spicy herbaceous gravy that goes together with the nasi kerabu like a match made in heaven.

Udang Masak Lemak... Who would've thought that this tasty dish is so easy to put together?!!

Cekur Manis with Pumpkin and Prawns. The sweetness of the sweet potato, the leafiness of the cekur, the succulence of the freshwater prawns, divine.

Nasi Kerabu in a rustic salad bowl. Isn't this simply beyond description?!

And to finish, ondeh ondeh for dessert. Lovely green balls nestled in a banana leaf wrap, and lengkuas leaf (galangal leaf) wrap. The delightful flavour of palm sugar popping in your mouth with the slightly savoury coconut, and that pandanus filled dough, simply fabulous.

This was MY lunch plate. And trust me, one helping was NOT enough.

Now, if you were to attend just ONE cooking class in your whole life, it HAS to be at Bayan Indah. The complete experience, Rohani herself, the gorgeous surrounds, the fabulous recipes, the dream kitchen, honestly, this is THE place!

Check out the website HERE. Priced at around RM220 per class, it is darn good value, because it usually comprises a few recipes, it's hands on, you get to have a fabulous meal after. I highly recommend it. Oh, and in case I haven't said it enough, ROHANI JELANI RAWKS!!! She is my new idol for 2010!!!

Thanks soooo much for having us, Rohani, and special thanks to Li Hsian for hooking us up. I owe you big time.

In addition to the 4 bedrooms which are available for rental, in that quaint village surroundings, there is also a seminar room, which has THIS as a view. Pretty as a picture ain't it.


So far, only Pure Glutton has posted about it. HERE.


Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Eh, no picture of you looking like the domestic goddess that you are, tangechi? Surely you can't deprive your readers of your splendid matronly looking self?

vialentino said...

wowow....nice nice cooking...i also like this kind of kitchen...nice food too....

Pretty Friggin' Jeles Gfad said...

Cis! Those would've been the dishes I would have liked to learn!! :P

Isn't BI just a dream? My dream house lar, not just kitchen. The rooms, the bathrooms, the lovely fresh air... Can cook indoors, outdoors.. *looks wistfully*

Eh, so when will you offer baking lessons in your humble abode ar?

And why out of soooode many fairytale characters, you choose Rapunzel ar?

Babe_KL said...

CIS... we Slytherin??!!?!

Ekskew me, the onde-onde is some sort of our 4th dish and u guys dun even need to roll and slice the herbs into hair like strands! kekeke

Oh yeah the cekur manis pic u took is of sweet potatoes not pumpkin. The pumpkin one is in the oval dish :p

Ciki said...

wow ahpa!! the last few shots are so good they belong in a mag!

Looks delish dont it - is TOTALLY WRONGLY spelt (where is the apostrophe) plus grammatically incorrect.. wot's wrong with you.. have u forgotten your g'ma who's turning in her grave.. HAVE YA?!! :P hahaha (ur dor-ther is watching.. please improve your standards ok!)

Thamby can never be evil.. thamby is precise that's why thamby is slow.. but yar, i will never invest in a restaurant wiv her as chef.. agreed (yawn) :P hahahahaha

J said...

waaaah. Good stuff.
What a spread! - worth every carbalicious calorie! :D

Sidney Kan said...

wow! my favourite malay food! :)

Kenny Mah said...

Such a beautiful garden, such a beautiful kitchen... I'm in love! :D

Pureglutton said...

Yo! Those are MY hands tossing the Nasi Kerabu - must quickly claim whatever fame I can la, LOL!
And why Hufflepuff? We didn't puff at all! In fact, we got quite sleepy waiting for u all to finish, hehe!

HairyBerry said...

Cekura Phallacia???? guffawwwwwwww!!!!

oh, so they do provide accommodation! looks like this might just be an alternative to sekeping serendah, eh? with food!

lurve the onde2 pic lah.

fatboybakes said...

hairy berry, yeah, but no pool though. ah, sekeping serendah..faraway look, when life was simpler

pure glutton, why hufflepuff? hahah, you can be ravenclaw oso can. twas random. important one is SLYTHERIN!

fatboybakes said...

LFB, they say the danube's blue when you're in love. so, is the klang river blue?

sidney, luv malay food too. its actually quite complex hor, with all the various herbs and spices.

fatboybakes said...

J, what calories? its healthy, doncha see. nasi kerabu, with lots of ulams, pineapple, pumpkin, cekura phallacia, ... its a salad fest virtually.

ahmei ah, guffaw, roll eyes, doncha go teaching the old man about gramma! he's eaten more rice than you have salt. hmm...obviously....

fatboybakes said...

babekl, hahah, sorry, my bad. have corrected the sweet potato thingie. yalar, yall slytherin ma. i am SURE thamby sabotaged our makcik. oops, i mean percik.

PFJGFAD, why Rapunzel? aiyo, go brush up on your fairy tales. its her mother's craving for vegetables from the neighbour's garden that spawned the whole fiasco ma. ask her husband to go and steal lagi.
WEHLL, looks like we're all going again thanks to you!

fatboybakes said...

vialentino, yalar, my dream kitchen. i guess no harm dreaming hor. as for the food, i cant wait to try to make it.

thamby, well, if someone had been kind nuff to take a picture of me in my nigella-esque pose, instead of selfishly slicing herbacious leaves, PERHAPS i could've not deprived my multitude of "fans". Chis bedebah.

Banshee Creative said...

hi FBB, we met at MamaMin Studio (also follow u on twitter), friend of LiHsian and Kats too :D

Rohani's amazing (although I've not met her yet).. the place looks lovely, so jeles :( It looks like a foodie's dream and a great place for kids too, space.. I wanna!!! :D

lovely pix!!

iamthewitch said...

I see Hogwarts! Were you inspired by my 'witchcraft'? *perasan* :P
The food looked lovely! To be able to eat something made from your very own hands, really gives is that much kick eh? Also, I loved the pic of yours of the onde-onde! Gorgeous!
PS: Linked u in my blogroll!

fatboybakes said...

harlow iamthewitch, heh heh, well, i did think of herbology la, when i was surrounded by the myriad herbs. thanks for the link, will do likewise.

cuddly i coulda sworn i replied your comment, but strangely, it has disappeared. cors i remember you, from min's studio opening. well, you simply HAVE to rectify the fact that you have not met rohani. hey, a group of us are trying to organise a private class with her, for a friend who's back from aboo dubby, on 31st july. its 220 per head. would you be interested to join us?

Banshee Creative said...

I know, LiHsian been asking me to go for years. You talking abt Kat is it? :D if I have sitters, then I'd love to try :D lemme know if u do.. holla at me on twitter (call me Lia btw) if its set up! I really wanna try but I shy shy.. y'all so "advanced".. I prob b chopping herbs when y'all are done :D

gfad said...

*looks puzzled* Rapunzel is not of "Rapunzel Rapunzel let down your hair" fame meh? I don't remember reading abt her parents.
Regarding fairytales, don't you think they are a subliminal form of brainwashing (don't stop and smell the flowers, your grandmother might die),utter disregard for personal property (housebreaking and eating things that don't belong to you), submissiveness (single young female keeping house while staying with 7 little men), so on and so forth..

fbb said...

aiyo how you think she ended up in d tower! She was bartered for a salad. Poor girl. Probably needed therapy her whole life. We are digressing from my idol

gfad said...

I think your idol looks lovely in short hair. Like thamby. I wanna cut my hair like them!!

qwazymonkey said...

We make a good team dont we? It was an honour to cook witcha. 10 points for Gryffindor!