The Food Psychologist Reviews Kipos Gourmet

In our earlier interview with Kipos, we heard from the dynamic duo, Stanley and Brian, about how they developed Kipos and their plans for bringing it forward in 2019. Before we review the food from Kipos, let’s start off with a little culinary tidbit by exploring two cooking techniques featured on their menu: sous vide and onsen. We also explain poaching as well, to provide a contrast to the other two.

The Cooking Techniques

Cooking TechniquesWhat is it?Best Foods to cook with this methodRecipe to try
Poaching
  • Involves cooking food in hot water or liquids such as stock, broth or wine
  • The temperature of the liquid is maintained at 60 to 80°C
  • Gentle, gradual cooking. Ideal for delicate food items
  • Shallow poaching involves using a minimum amount of liquid; deep poaching requires the liquid to cover the food completely
  • Eggs
  • Fish (such as trout and sole)
  • Fruits (both fresh and dried)
  • Chicken
  • Starchy foods such as gnocchi
Easy Poached Cod

Ingredients:

  • 450g fresh or frozen cod fillets
  • 1-2 fresh tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 cups of seafood or vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsps of unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp of fresh chives or parsley, chopped
  • Lemon
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Place cod fillets in a pan and add the stock till it almost covers the fillets then top them with tomato slices.
  2. Bring the stock to a gentle boil, cover, then turn the heat and simmer for 3-6 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, melt the butter in the pan. Ensure it does not burn. Add up to a tablespoon of lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  4. Check that the fish is done (texture should be tender, not tough). Gently lift the filet out of the stock.
  5. Top with some of the butter and lemon juice mixture.
  6. Garnish with the chopped parsley or chives. Serve hot with roasted potatoes or rice.
Sous Vide
  • Pronounced as sue-veed, meaning “under vacuum” in French
  • Involves food to be vacuum-sealed in a bag then cooked in a water bath at a precise, consistent temperature
  • Food cooks in its own juices, resulting in it being tender and juicy
  • You do not need to worry about overcooking as your food is usually cooked in a precision cooking device that maintains the water bath at the exact temperature needed
  • Meats that overcoook easily, especially tough cuts such as the shoulder and neck
  • Steak
  • Lamb
  • Pork Chops
  • Turkey, duck and chicken breasts
  • Salmon
  • Eggs
  • Vegetables such as carrots and asparagus
Sous Vide Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 450g assorted mushrooms cleaned, rinsed and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar, or balsamic vinegar for some sweetness
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp kosher salt or more to taste

Method:

  1. Preheat your sous vide water bath to 80°C.
  2. Mix the mushrooms with the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat evenly.
  3. Put the mushroom mixture in the bag and seal it using a vacuum sealer if necessary.
  4. Lower the sealed mushrooms into the water bath and cook for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the bag from the water bath and serve the mushrooms immediately. Serve with fresh bread or quinoa.
Onsen
  • Means “hot spring” in Japanese
  • These hot springs maintain a consistent temperature, meaning that they retain the perfect level of heat for making soft-cooked eggs
  • Eggs could be left unattended for hours and eventually produce the perfect soft-boiled egg with silky and custardy yolk
  • Since most of us don’t have access to a hot spring, modern methods use an immersion calculator (much like the sous vide machine) that sustains specific temperatures (usually around 63°C for onsen eggs) for as long as needed
Mainly eggsOnsen Tamago With Soy Broth

Ingredients:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • ½ cup light soy sauce
  • ¾ cup dashi
  • Sliced scallions for garnish

Method:

  1. Using an immersion calculator, preheat the water bath to 75°C.
  2. When the water is ready, add the eggs (with shells) in and cook for 13 minutes
  3. Transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking.
  4. Bring the mirin to a simmer over medium heat.
  5. Add sugar and stir slowly to dissolve.
  6. Add soy sauce and bring to a simmer.
  7. Remove the mixture from the heat and let cool.
  8. Slowly crack eggs and peel off enough of the shell to slide the egg out into a small mixing bowl. Using a spoon, carefully separate soft-cooked egg from any loose whites. Slide each egg into a serving bowl.
  9. Mix ¼ of this soy-mirin mixture with the dashi and pour it over the egg.
  10. Garnish with scallions and serve.

The Food Review

The Food Psychologist decided to try two different bowls – one that is on their regular menu and the other is customisable!

Build Your Own Bowl – BYOBQuinoa Nasi Lemak

My bowl that was chockful of protein and greens

My first option was the Build Your Own Bowl. I stared at the order form and felt confusion set in at the sheer number of options, but in a good way because I liked what I saw.

As my base, I chose the Buckwheat Soba Noodles. If you like your soba soft with right amount of chewiness, then you’d love this one. It was well cooked and you could tell that it was of high quality. The second step, the greens, I was allowed up to five: spinach, radish, beetroot, edamame and broccoli. Props to them keeping them fresh and retaining their crunchiness. Even after being mixed with the sauce, they did not get too soggy.

Next up, the proteins. You get to choose three, but some have additional charges. There is also an option to add “Aburi Mentaiko” to any protein. For those who don’t know, Mentaiko is made from the roe of a type of cod, which are cured and marinated in various seasonings and spices. It is commonly mixed with mayonnaise to create a condiment for sushi and sashimi. My three proteins were tofu, sous vide chicken breast and aburi salmon mentaiko.

Look at the torched mentaiko sauce on my salmon!

 

  • Tofu: Regular firm tofu, pity it wasn’t marinated, but then again I had enough going on in my bowl without it needing much flavour.
  • Sous vide chicken breast: can hardly tell that it’s breast meat because it’s so tender! And just like Stanley mentioned, it indeed did have the texture of firm tofu.
  • Aburi salmon mentaiko: I found it so hard to believe that no extra salt went in this. It was all from the roe. I could taste the mayo but it was light and the roe bursts upon biting, releasing a little squirt of umami in your mouth. It was aburi-ed well, not over or undercooked. The salmon was cooked perfectly too; flaky and broke easily at the touch of my fork.

In the fourth step, I had to choose a sauce. The options all sounded so good so I got two:

  • Truffle Shoyu: This was my favourite. The essence of truffle is infused throughout the entire soba, and not at all overpowering. It was actually a tad bit, but in a rather pleasant way.
  • Wasabi Ponzu: I really enjoyed this one as well, but I requested to keep it separate. My bowl did not need it in the end, but I did taste it. You could see bits of toasted mustard seeds in it, giving it a hint of sharp spiciness. It was smooth and sweet from the ponzu and wasabi; the word velvety comes to mind. The heat of the wasabi (100% wasabi at that!) hits the back of your throat only after.

Step five, I got to “Luxe it Up” with one additional topping. I saw the onsen egg, how could I resist? The egg was perfectly poached. The white was soft and silky, yolk firm yet bright, yellow and creamy. Stir it into the soba to give your bowl a rich, creamy taste.

Lastly, there’s the crunch, up to three: almonds, crispy seaweed and sesame seeds were pretty standard. Personally, I think the almonds were unnecessary in my selection, but the flakes on their own were very good.

The best way to eat this bowl? The Food Psych’s tip: mix everything thoroughly to get the perfect play of textures and tastes. Lovely.

Who doesn’t like a good bowl of nasi lemak? Honestly, it’s not likely that anything could replace a solid plate of nasi lemak with a fried egg, peanuts, ikan bilis and runny-nose inducing sambal. If only it would taste as awesome minus the fats and calories. Kipos attempted to come up with a rather clever alternative: a quinoa nasi lemak, one of their most popular bowls on the menu. Let me break it down for you:

  • Coconut Simmered Organic Quinoa: The rich coconut flavour actually came through the quinoa much to my surprise! Of course, it was not as strong as you would expect in regular nasi lemak. But having quinoa instead of rice just made me feel “healthier”.
  • Curry & Turmeric Char Grilled Chicken: This replaced the chicken wing or fried fish in the traditional nasi lemak. The chicken is marinated in a curry-based spice that includes the use of coconut and turmeric. I found it strong and flavourful. I love that they did not stinge on the turmeric flavour, which was sealed in by the baking, though might be a little overpowering for some people. The sprinkling of coconut on the chicken added another dimension to the dish. Although it was baked, the chicken was not dry but it was certainly not as soft as the sous vide chicken.
  • The peanuts and anchovies were not oily or too salty as they were baked. The process of baking did make the anchovies a little soft, but together with the peanuts, it did add a wonderful creaminess to the dish. If that wasn’t enough, the broccoli gave the bowl a much-needed freshness, but not quite the same as cucumber, which I reckon they ran out of cucumbers.
  • Authentic Sambal Chilli: You can imagine my wariness when I saw the word “authentic” attached added to this. I must say though, this one would give the real nasi lemak sambal a run for its money! The blend of chillies, garlic and shallots… perfect combination of sweet and spicy, it was so tasty that it left me wanting more. In fact, I reckon there should be more for us chilli-lovers.

 

This bowl left me feeling light, unlike the sleep-inducing heaviness nasi lemak usually brings with it. For the health nut in me, this is officially my go-to nasi lemak when the craving strikes (if I can resist the real thing).

 

Making my aburi mentaiko salmon

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed both bowls. The BYOB option made me feel in control of my meal while allowing me to play around with different flavours and textures. On days when I’m in a state of tired indecision, it’s good to know that the ready-made bowls are tasty enough to satisfy me.

With all this in mind, here are my ratings for Kipos’ food bowls:

Quality and types of ingredients – 9/10A diverse variety of high-quality ingredients widely sourced to ensure customers get a healthy range to choose from.
Taste – 8/10There were not many misses really. My taste-buds were generally delighted.
Cooking Methods – 9/10So much healthy innovation with their cooking. Hoping for more on this front!
Overall Wholesome Factor – 26/10From the generous portion of meat and ingredients to the feeling of lightness following each meal, Kipos is soon to become one of my favourite lunch places in the CBD. Looking forward to more exciting this from this little joint!

 

If you liked this article, please support our book project “Building Body Confidence” by pledging an amount here. Every dollar goes into the publishing and distribution of the book and you will get a copy of it once it does get published!


Photo Credits: Natasha Mitter and Kipos Gourmet

EAMART

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