Saturday, February 27, 2010

Indonesian Street Food

Here are some examples of Indonesian street food that I've had while in Indonesia. Our parents did not allow us to buy street foods when we were kids so it's definitely an exciting experience for me to have them now. Sometimes I wished that I was not such a picky eater growing up because I could have enjoyed all of these delicious food more often then especially since they are so cheap at US $ 1 for 10 of them. Oh well, I guess it's better late than never!

Bolang Baling in Semarang. I used to eat these donut-like fried dough about once every month or so growing up and, like the Western version, they're best when they just come out of the fryer. This one is located on Kampung Utri Road, near Dr.Cipto Road.

Kue Leker in Semarang. These are dry and crunchy crepes filled with either chocolate, caramel, banana, peanuts (for the sweet ones) or eggs, cheese, green onion, mini sausages (for the savory ones). Leker is loosely translated to 'delicious' and, boy..., they are indeed delicious! I love the sweet ones because eating them is just like eating light desserts. Kue Leker Pak Paimo is located in front of the Loyola high school on Karanganyar Road.

Putu Bumbung and Klepon in Jakarta. This gentleman pushes his cart passing through my sister's house in Permata Hijau almost every day. We can hear the cart's distinct steaming kettle-like sound from inside the house about 50 yards away so can rush outside to flag him and order these delicious Putu Bumbung (freshly made rice-flour with aren (palm) sugar and fresh coconut steamed inside 2-inch bamboo sections placed on top of a make-shift steamer - 3rd picture below) and Klepon (boiled sticky rice flour balls with aren sugar inside with fresh coconut shaving outside - foreground, 4th picture).

Friday, February 26, 2010

Fried Banana

If you enjoy Fried Banana at Thai or Indonesian restaurants, here is a simple recipe for you to try. I apologize for not knowing the exact measurement for this recipe because I only watched my Mom making them. Enjoy!

  • ripe but still firm bananas
  • wheat flour
  • rice flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • warm water
  • peanut or canola oil for frying
  • Since the bananas that we used were already too ripe, we sliced it to smaller pieces so they cook better.
  • Mix the 3 part of wheat flour to 1 part of rice flour with a pinch of salt and add the warm water a little bit at a time so that the mixture is not too thin.
  • Put the banana slices in the flour mixture and mix slowly to make sure that each of them is coated with the flour mixture.
  • Heat up oil in a frying pan or wok over low medium heat until hot.
  • Fry a ladle of the banana and flour mixture a few at a time so not to crowd the pan for 4 to 5 minutes each sides until golden brown.
  • Put the fried bananas over paper towel to soak the excess frying oil.

Tahu Campur - Tofu with Bean Sprouts and Peanut Sauce

In addition to making Mie Jawa, this morning my Mom and I also made Tahu Campur (Tofu with Bean Sprouts and Peanut Sauce). Although I love the simplicity of this tasty dish, I don't think I will be making it often back in San Francisco because I rarely deep-fry things there - maybe some day when I have a bigger kitchen with better ventilation. I'm glad that I was able to make this in Indonesia.

If you feel ambitious, you can also add hard-boiled eggs, cucumber, tomatoes, boiled vegetables (cabbage, green bean and potatoes) and shrimp crackers to make a full meal like Gado-gado.

Grinding the fried peanuts and garlic.

Putting everything together.

1 packed of firm tofu
2 cup of fresh (soy) bean sprouts
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1.5 cup raw peanut
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup fried shallots
1 green chili (optional)
1 cup sweet soy sauce
1/4 cup of water
peanut or canola oil for frying

  • Put the tofu between two plates and put a heavy frying pan on top for 30 minutes or so to drain the liquid in the tofu.
  • Cut the tofu to 8 equal slices.
  • Heat up the frying oil in a wok over medium heat.
  • Deep fry the tofu slices in the oil until golden.
  • Drain the fried tofu and sprinkle with a little bit of salt.
  • Blanch the bean sprouts in boiling water for a minute or so, drain and pour on top of the chopped parsley leaves.
For the peanut sauce:
  • Deep fry the peanuts until golden in a wok over low medium heat for 10 minutes or so.
  • Grind the fried peanuts, garlic, sugar and fried shallots in a food processor until roughly chopped. I used mortar and pestle to do this (see picture).
  • In a medium bowl, mix the green chili (optional), soy sauce and water together with the peanut mixture.
  • The sauce should be quite watery and peanut mixture chunks.
  • Serve the tofu with a side of the bean sprouts with a drizzle of the peanut sauce.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mie Jawa - Javanese Noodle

It's interesting that I have not been in the mood to blog although I have been eating really well in the past week since I'm on vacation back in Indonesia. I took food pictures left and right but somehow I just couldn't force myself to sit down and start writing about them. I felt like I needed to cook something to get motivated to blog. So this morning, I helped my Mom make Mie Jawa (Javanese-style stir fry noodle) and Tahu Campur (Tofu with Bean Sprouts and Peanut Sauce) - both are easy to made traditional Indonesian vegetarian dishes.

2 tablespoon unsalted butter (or margarine)
10 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon white peppercorn, freshly ground
1/2 cabbage, cut into strips
3 green onions, roughly chopped
1 cup chopped parsley leaves
3 tablespoons sweet soy sauce
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 eggs
1 lb fresh egg noodle
1.5 cup fried shallots

  • Heat up the butter in a wok over medium heat.
  • Stir fry the garlic, salt and pepper for 1-2 minutes until fragrant and the garlic cloves turn golden.
  • Add the cabbage, green onion, parsley, sweet soy sauce and oyster sauce into the wok and cover for approximately 2 minutes until the vegetables begin to cook.
  • In the mean time, blanch the fresh noodle for a couple of minutes in a separate pan. If you use dry noodles, cook them according to the package minus 3 minutes or so.
  • Create a well in the center of the wok and add in the eggs, breaking the yolks in the process.
  • Let the eggs cook for a minute or so until they begin to harden and then stir them to make some kind of scramble eggs.
  • Add in the noodle and a cup of the fried shallots, continue cooking for 3 more minutes while mixing everything together.
  • Serve the noodle with the rest of the fried shallots. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pissaladiere - Provencal Pizza

Instead of having 'a ridiculously expensive dinner for mediocre food' at restaurants to celebrate Valentine's day, Porgy and I decided to take it easy and have a mellow dinner just for the two of us at home. So on Sunday morning, I grabbed the always-reliable Ina's Barefoot in Paris cookbook and started flipping through the pages.

I noticed this Pissaladiere recipe and thought that it's definitely doable without much preparations since I already have most of the ingredients. To make it even easier, I decided to use puff pastry sheets instead of the dough.

1/4 cup olive oil
3 large onions, sliced into 1/4 inch thick
3 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of dried thyme (or 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 sheet of Pepperidge Farm puff pastry
1 egg
15 good quality pitted French black olives
1/4 cup of crumbled feta cheese

  • Thaw up the frozen puff pastry sheet according to the direction (either 40 minutes on the room temperature or overnight in the fridge)
  • Heat up the olive oil in a heavy bottom large pan.
  • Cook the onion slices and garlic cloves along with the thyme, salt and pepper over a low heat for 30 minutes stirring occasionally.
  • After 30 minutes, take out the garlic cloves, chop them finely and put them back into the pan to cook for another 15 minutes.
  • Heat up the oven to 400F.
  • Dust the counter top with a little of flour and roll out the puff pastry sheet on top with a rolling pin.
  • In a small bowl, beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of water.
  • Brush the top of the pastry sheet with the egg wash.
  • Sprinkle the onion evenly on top of the pastry sheet, leaving about an inch of border.
  • Arrange the olives on top of the onion in a criss-cross pattern and finally sprinkle the feta cheese between the olives.
  • Bake the 'pizza' in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the puff pastry are golden all around.
  • Enjoy it with a simple salad on the side.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Broccoli Rabe with Mushroom and Sausage

When I was a kid, I was such a picky eater and I would not eat any vegetables at all. My parents had a very difficult time making me eat them and, at one point, they sent me to sleep outside the house as a punishment because I was so stubborn and would not finish the small vegetable (broccoli tempura) portion on my plate. In case you're wondering, it was not fun sleeping outside in a tropical country without any blanket or pillow because of the mosquito and bugs. Now, I love my vegetables and I have my parents to thank for.

One of my favorite vegetable dishes is a stir-fry Broccoli Rabe (or Rapini) and yesterday I decided to stir fry it with some quartered brown mushroom and leftover breakfast sausages. You can add whatever you like and, as long as you don't overcook it, it will be delicious.

2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon of dried red pepper flakes
2 bunches of Broccoli Rabe (or Rapini), cut into 2-3"
1/2 lb brown mushroom, quartered
2 sausages, sliced
1/4 cup dry white wine
salt & pepper

  • In a large saute pan, saute the minced shallot, sliced garlic and dried red pepper flakes over medium heat for 3 minutes. Stirring occasionally so not to burn the garlic.
  • Add in the sausage and cook for another 3 minutes until the sausage crisp up a little bit.
  • Add in the quartered mushroom, the stem part of the Broccoli Rabe, and half of the wine. Scrape the bottom of the pan to let the sausage bits that got stuck loose, cover and cook for 3 minutes or so.
  • Add in the leaves part of the Broccoli Rabe and the rest of the wine, stir, cover and cook for 2 minutes or so until the leaves are just cooked.
  • Season with salt and pepper accordingly.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup

Today, I made another dish based on a recipe in Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris cookbook using left over ingredients. I had fun cooking this Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup because this was actually my first time making pureed soup - it's super easy and tasted fantastic!

2 tablespoons of ghee
1 teaspoon cumin
1 big yellow onion, chopped
1 butternut squash, cubed
3 carrots, cubed
3 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt & pepper

  • Heat the ghee in a heavy-bottomed stockpot, add the onions, cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes until translucent.
  • Add the cumin, butternut squash, carrot cubes and cook for another minute or two.
  • Add the chicken (or vegetable) stock and a little bit of salt and maybe 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Add more stock or water if needed enough to cover the squash and carrot cubes.
  • Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes, until both the squash and carrot are very tender.
  • Let cool for 10 minutes or so and process the mixture in a food processor (or blender) in batches.
  • Return to the pot, add the heavy cream, adjust seasoning and heat slowly.
  • To make croutons: cube a couple slices of bread, put them in one layer in a preheated 350F oven and bake for 10 minutes or so until crunchy. It's more simple than sauteing them in a pan.
  • Serve soup with a couple cracks of ground pepper and croutons.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Roast Pork Shoulder with Flageolet Beans

I am so happy because I keep finding interesting and delicious recipes in Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris cookbook. Today, I made a variation of her Roast Lamb with White Beans dish. Since my butcher did not have any boneless leg of lamb in stock, I used a slab of boneless pork shoulder instead and pair that with Flageolet beans from Rancho Gordo. I also decided to use ghee instead of olive oil because I think it made the beans taste richer. Since I usually find her recipe a bit saltier than my liking, I put less salt than what she specified in her recipe.

1 lb of Flageolet beans, soaked overnight in the refrigerator
1 quart of chicken stock (or water)
4.5 lbs boneless pork shoulder
2.5 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)
3 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, plus more for brushing
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
2 tablespoons ghee
2 cups chopped yellow onion (2 onions)
1 cup diced carrots (2 carrots)
1 cup diced celery (2 stalks) - i didn't have any so i skipped this
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
salt & pepper

  • Drain the beans, place in a large saucepan with chicken stock (or water) and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer the beans in the stock for 30 minutes, until tender but not mushy. Add 1 tablespoon of salt for the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  • While the beans cook, butterfly the pork shoulder to open it up flat. Combine 1.5 tablespoons of garlic, 1.5 tablespoons of the rosemary, 2 teaspoons of the thyme, the mustard, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper in a small bowl. Smear the mixture evenly over the exposed surface of the pork, roll it up and tie the roast neatly with kitchen string.
  • Place the pork seam side down on a roasting pan. Brush the outside lightly with mustard, then sprinkle evenly with 1/2 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Add the carrot chunks to the pan and roast for about 40 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 145F at the thickest part of the roast. Take out the roasting pan out of the oven, cover tightly with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, heat the ghee then add the onions, diced carrots and celery (if you use it), and cook over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until tender. Add parsley, the remaining garlic, 2 tablespoons of thyme, 1.5 tablespoons of rosemary, and cook for a couple more minutes. Add the beans and 2 cups of the cooking stock and cook for 15 minutes until the stock makes a little sauce and becomes somewhat thicker. Adjust taste with salt and pepper.
  • Remove the string and slice the pork. Serve it resting on the Flageolet beans and roasted carrots.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Moroccan Couscous

I made this carbohydrate/vegetable side dish to accompany my previous entry, Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic, and, like the chicken recipe, it's also from Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris cookbook. Although there are quite a bit of prepping to do (all those cube-ing of the vegetables), it is actually very easy to make and, of course like her other recipes, it's really delicious too.

1 medium-sized butternut squash, 3/4-inch diced
2 yellow onions, chopped
4 carrots, 3/4-inch diced
2 medium-sized zucchini, 3/4-inch diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper
1.5 cups low sodium chicken stock (vegetable stock)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1.5 cups couscous (~10 ounces)
2 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Place the butternut squash, onions, carrots, and zucchini on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, turned with spatula and then roast for another 15 minutes until all vegetables are cooked. If you want the vegetables to crisp up more, you can crank up the oven to a 400F and cut back the cooking time by 5 minutes or so.
  • While the vegetables are baking, bring the chicken stock to a boil in a small saucepan and turn off the heat. Add in the butter, 1 teaspoon salt (optional), 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, cumin and saffron threads. Cover with a lid and allow to steep for at least 15 minutes.
  • After the vegetables are cooked, bring the chicken stock back to a boil.
  • Place the couscous and cooked vegetables in a large bowl and pour the hot chicken stock over them. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  • Add the scallions and parsley, toss the couscous and vegetables with a fork.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.