Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Chef Fats Palma goes herbal at the JMK

Source: Malaya Business Insight

THE regulars that flocked to the Julius Maggi were in for a surprise.

The Julius Maggi Kitchen new format is styled ala live TV demo and talk show, complete with audience participation. Experimenting with hands-on engagement, this new JMK production breaks the ice, sort of, between an all-knowing Chef, and a wanna-be cook.

The most enduring relationship between two entities is necessity. Like the air we breathe, and the sun for warmth, humans need food. Now, a little variety and flavor would not hurt, either. That’s the spice of life, after all. In this instance, however, it’s all about herbs.

As a teacher of Culinary Arts and Commercial Cooking, Chef Fats Palma is not a stranger to addressing a class. The Chef however, could also put on a good show! Chef Fats dispensed information on herbs and cooking tips in seamless fashion.

It was Herbs 101 to introduce Cooking with Herbs starting with, Cucumber Raita. "Herbs are from small shoots or plants. That’s how they differ from spices that come from big trees. Herbs started as medicinal. Beyond stimulating gastric juices with flavor, most herbs have a purpose in the balance of health, doing positive things to our bodies," says Chef Fats. Cucumber Raita is a side dish and best prepared in advance.

Dispensing more herbs tips, Chef Fats tackled Grilled Chicken Breast with Rosemary. "Rosemary and oregano can be boiled and drank as tea, same as mint. Rosemary on the other hand, has a tendency to overpower the recipe and must be taken in small doses," she adds.

For Herb Noodle Soup, the Chef advises that it is important to sauté the ginger because it takes longer to extract its flavor. And for Tokwa’t Baboy Guisado, it is healthier to fry the pork in its own fat to lessen the cholesterol.

Much preferred to use fresh, herbs lose flavor the longer they stay in the pot, so to speak. In fact, most herbs, if cooked long, turn bitter. And herbs like parsley and cilantro lose flavor when dry, for example. However, rosemary, oregano and thyme increase flavor when dry.

Chef Fats says it is best to add the herbs in the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking.

Chicken and Herbs Quesadillas


2 pieces flour tortillas
1 tbsp cooking oil
¼ cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 white onion, cut into strips
¼ cup tomatoes, cut into strips
1 red or green bell pepper, cut into strips
1 grilled chicken breast, sliced thinly
7 pieces cilantro leaves
NESTLÉ Creamy Yogurt as needed


1. Brush flour tortilla with oil on one side
2. Arrange on top cheddar cheese, onion, tomatoes, bell pepper and grilled chicken slices. Sprinkle with a dash of MAGGI MAGIC SARAP.
3. Cover with another flour tortilla
4. Grill until cheese is melted and until the tortilla is golden brown in color
5. Cut into triangles. Arrange on a serving plate
6. Serve with NESTLÉ Creamy Yogurt and salsa.

Grilled Chicken Breast with Rosemary


1 piece chicken breast fillet
½ tsp rosemary (dried)
1 tbsp cooking oil


1. Flatten chicken fillet breast with a mallet
2. Sprinkle with dried rosemary and MAGGI MAGIC SARAP
3. Brush with oil and leave to marinate for at least 5 minutes
4. Grill until cooked and golden brown. Do not over-cook. Baste with oil to keep from frying.
5. Serve sliced with tortillas.

 Herb Fried Rice


3 tbsp cooking oil
1 piece onion, chopped
¼ cup chopped carrots
¼ cup chopped bell peppers
2 eggs, beaten
3 cups cooked rice
1 tsp each of parsley, basil and cilantro


1. Heat up oil and sauté onions
2. Add chopped carrots and bell peppers. Stir in eggs
3. Add cooked rice. Mix until fully incorporated
4. Sprinkle with MAGGI MAGIC SARAP
5. Add chopped parsley, basic and cilantro.

Herb Noodle Soup


2 tbsp cooking oil
1 tbsp chopped ginger
1/8 cup chopped onions and garlic
1 stem leeks cut diagonally
1 ½ cup water
7 leaves of Chinese parsley
1 11g MAGGI Magic Sabaw, Chicken
2 tbsp MAGGI Savor Classic
100g egg noodles (blanched)
10 leaves cilantro


1. Heat up cooking oil and sauté ginger, onions and garlic until limp
2. Add leeks and continue to sauté. Pour in water and bring to a boil
3. Add parsley and season with MAGGI Magic Sabaw and MAGGI Savor to taste
4. Bring to a simmer. Pour over the soup in soup bowl with blanched noodles.
5. Top noodle soup with cilantro and serve immediately.


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  2. chef fats is my fave and respected instructor in sti...