Steven and Frena’s twist on the traditional backfires 

Steven and Frena’s twist on the traditional backfires 

Tonight on MKR, South Australian lovebirds Steven (31) and Frena (25) found themselves on the wrong end of the leader board, after making last-minute changes to their traditional Malaysian recipes. 

The couple presented their entrée of Deep-Fried Squid and Onion with Special Sauce to judges Manu Feildel and Nigella Lawson, nervous about their addition of onion to the dish. 

Manu liked the dish’s elements but questioned why they deviated from tradition by adding the fried onion. He praised the team for their sambal but encouraged the pair to cook what they know and love rather than over complicating a dish. 

Nigella agreed, believing Steven and Frena had made the dish harder for themselves. “To do deep-fried squid rings for this many people in a domestic kitchen is hard, and you’ve doubled that by having onions. So you’ve hindered yourself.”

Back in the kitchen, Steven and Frena tried to shake off the disappointment of their entrée and focus on their main of Black Beef with Golden Yellow Rice and Acar. Although happy with the flavours of the main, Frena was worried about its presentation, fearing the plated dish looked “ugly”.

While several teams deemed the beef’s texture too dry, Janelle quickly pointed out that it’s normal to eat meat on a dryer side in some cultures. 

“It was perhaps a little bit drier than I’m used to, but I don’t actually think that mattered because the flavour was there, and I loved it,” said Nigella, whose only criticism was that the acar was too powdery. 

Manu was pleased to see the team had cooked from their heart. “I wasn’t 100% happy with your entrée because you looked outside the box. Now you’ve done something pretty traditional, and it’s done good. That’s the type of food you need to keep doing.” 

Steven and Frena emerged from the kitchen to serve their dessert, a Corn Pudding with Strawberries and Chocolate Sauce. The look on their faces said it all: their prized pudding hadn’t set.

The teams did their best to enjoy the team’s imperfect dessert, but some found it inedible. “I didn’t love this. I didn’t eat much of it because I didn’t like the corn flavour. It had like a gritty taste to it that I didn’t like. Wasn’t a vibe,” said Janelle. 

Manu criticised the team for adding fruit, saying its moisture will always split the custard. Nigella was also disappointed the team had strayed from the traditional recipe. 

“I’ve had Malaysian corn pudding and you’ve changed it. And I find that heartbreaking. Of course, everyone may cook it differently, but you wanted to bring us your flavours and you’ve taken them away,” said Nigella.

Steven and Frena scored 53/110, placing them at the bottom of the leader board and saving Victoria’s dad and daughter team Alice (56) and Peter (31) from elimination.


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