When I just moved to Surabaya for college, I didn't know that food in that province is much different than food in my city (Central Java). I knew that Indonesia is rich in culture and every area has its unique food. However, East Java and Middle Java seemed to have a lot of similarity. We speak Javanese language, unlike West Java that uses Sundanese as its traditional language. It turn out that I was wrong about the Javanese language. Although Central Javanese and East Javanese speak the same language, there are a lot of vocabularies that are different. People could guess that I am from Semarang, Central Java. Some of people there even could tell the difference between people from Semarang and people from Solo or Yogya.
The food between those province is different also. First days I came to that city, I was introduced to "weird" food or food I knew with weird name such as krengsengan, penyetan, gudir, plecing, ote-ote, pentol, kupang, bantal, nasi mawut, and soto with koya. Although some of it are came from outside East Java, those are food that are very common at campus' cafeteria in Surabaya. Now I miss those food. The food that I ate with friends at Petra building when we were on lunch break, or after church service on Saturday and Sunday, or on lunch time to have a break from office work and from a fearful boss. Those are great memories in my life.
Last weekend I went to project site for three days for my summer job. I promised to cook rendang, but I felt like cooking krengsengan. So, I cooked almost all beef I had so at least hubby didn't have to cook for three days. I knew that hubby would prefer not to eat vegetables than washing and chopping them, so I prepared washed and cut vegetables ready to eat.
Ingredients: 1 kg lean beef, cubed
1 red onion, sliced
3 garlic, sliced
10 bird eye chilli peppers, sliced
5 Tbs sweet soy sauce
2 Tbs shrimp paste
2 big tomato, cubed
Oil for stir-fying
1/2 cup water
Heat oil in a wok, add add onion and garlic, saute until fragrant. Add water and beef, cover the skillet with lid and cook in low heat until the meats are half tender. Add chilli, sweet soy sauce, shrimp paste, tomato, salt, and pepper. Simmer until the meat are tender (about 1 hour).
I've tried several Japanese soft cheesecake recipes but I don't think I've found the best one for me. I am still trying to figure out what is the best temperature to bake soft cheesecake so the cake stays dome-y in the middle when cooled just like pictures on some people's websites. Hubby and I liked the taste of whatever recipes I used, but the cake different looking than picture on recipes I used really bothered me.
This recipe is a twist of a mix of several recipes. I was experimenting, trying to omit heavy cream and wanting to use mango puree I had. The cake was very fragile but tasted great. The taste and texture is in the middle of New York cheesecake and Japanese soft cake. I baked this cake at 290'F for 30 minutes then 250'F for another 30 minutes, but a skewer that I inserted indicated that the cake was still far from being done. I ended up baked this twice as long as what the recipe said
...and the search for the best recipe continues... Do you have one?
Mango Soft Cheesecake
Recipe from here 1 1/2 cups crushed Oreo cookies (or use 15 sandwich cookies)
2 1/2 tablespoons melted butter
In a bowl mix together crushed cookie crumbs with melted butter until combined. Press into the bottom of a 9" inch springform pan.
Cake: 160 gr cream cheese (I used not fat one)
60 gr butter
110 ml mango puree
90 gr sugar
30 gr corn starch
4 egg yolks
4 egg whites
1 tsp cream of tar-tar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch cake tin with cooking oil spray. Wrap the bottom of springform pan in aluminum foil.
Mix cream cheese and butter then microwave until butter melts. After the mixture reaches room temperature, add mango puree, half of the sugar, egg yolks, and cornstarch. Beat until smooth.
Using separate bowl, beat egg whites, 45 gr sugar and cream of tar-tar until soft peaks form. Fold beaten egg whites gradually into the cream cheese mixture, stirring gently. Pour into cake pan and smooth the surface.
Place cake pan in a larger pan with water in it, just halfway up the outside of the springform pan.
Bake 35-40 minutes, until a pick inserted in the middle of the center comes out clean. 325º F. Turn off oven and leave the cheesecake inside the turned off oven for another hour.
Want to make pepes but don't have banana leaf? It's not a problem!
I had four uncooked salted eggs in the refrigerator that were originally set aside for my friends. We talked about set up a meeting several times but it never happened. I don't think we will meet at any time soon, so I cooked the eggs. I had some frozen banana leaves, but I was too lazy to thaw, wash, then wipe those leaves one by one. I used small bowls instead. That time, I was thinking about gadon, mom's favorite. So I this steamed salted egg was a mix of gadon and bothok telur asin.
Steamed Salted Egg
Ingredients: 4 uncooked salted eggs
2 stalks lemon grass, cut to 8
4 small bay leaves
4 bird's eye chili pepper, chopped
1/4 cabbage, shredded
Thin coconut milk
Oil for greasing
Grease 4 small bowls. Divide cabbage evenly, arrange at the bottom of the bowls. Crack the eggs, put on every bowl. Add chili pepper, lemon grass, and bay leaves. Pour coconut milk until the the eggs is almost covered.
Steam for 20 minutes counting when water is boiling.
I'd been craving for crab, so we went to Asian grocery store and went directly to seafood section. We'd never bought crab before, because it was pricey, I didn't know how to cook it, and we weren't sure crabs they had were fresh. But I really wanted one and it is hard to find fresh crab in this city anyway. Several restaurants have crab on their menu, but only the leg part. I don't know what they do with the best part, the body.
Hubby doesn't care about crab unless someone wants to take out the flesh for him. For me, taking out the flesh from its segmented body is an art that makes the flesh tastes great. For me, the eating is more enjoyable that way than if I eat boneless crab. I was fine with hubby's indifference toward crab. That means I could put as many chili as I wanted. Since it is pricey and not-so fresh anyway, we bought one only just to satisfy my desire. We paid $6.99 for one dungeness crab. Quite pricey, eh?
Got home, I sent message to sist, asked her to ask crab recipe to mom. My grandma's little sister had faithful helpers since she was young until the end of her life. One of them, we call her mbak Marsi can cook crab really well. Her cooking is unbeatable. Until know mom often asks mbak Marsi to cook crab for our family, then reimburse the expense. My sister responded so quickly. Mbak Marsi's recipe was applied to my one and only crab. Although the taste was not as good as hers, I was pretty satisfied.
Here is the recipe. Mom only told me the ingredients without measurement. Play with it, you can't go wrong with this recipe.
Asem-asem Kepiting (Crab with Tamarind Sauce)
From mbak Marsi
Chili (I put 18 for one crab)
Candlenut (I put 3)
Tamarind (I used paste tamarind)
Thin coconut milk
Oil for stir frying
Boil chili in a pot of water. Grind boiled chili, palm sugar, salt, and candlenut. In a pot, stir fry chili mixture. Put tamarind in 1/4 cup water. Squeeze to take out the water.
Add tamarind water & coconut milk to the chili mixture until boiling. Up to this point the mixture will look like thick sauce. Add in crab. Cover and simmer until crab is cooked and coated well with the sauce.
Best to eat the crab with hot jasmine rice using bare hands. Out of my excitement about eating crab, I have to admit that this cooking was a bit disappointing. First, we asked the seafood guy to divide the crab into two because we don't have strong knife to do that job. He did his job, but tossed the upper shell (carapace). That part contains great stuff I don't want to miss. Second, when everything was being cooked in a pot, I found out that the candlenuts I used smelled weird. Apparently I used old candlenuts although a bag of the new ones were available:(
...and this is soup for the bread. Super easy hearty soup that can be eaten for several days Good for anytime, but best for winter.
Ingredients: 8 0z. pinto/kidney bean
Soak bean overnight, Cover and cook for 1 1/2 hour. Reserve the liquid. 1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 cup liquid (reserved bean liquid plus chicken broth)
4 carrot, cubed
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped (I used 1 can tomato puree)
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen sweet peas
2 zucchini, thinly sliced
1/4 cabbage, thinly shredded
1/2 cup carrot greens, chopped well
1/2 cup elbow macaroni
In a large pan, sautee onion and garlic until soft, add carrot, celery, corn, tomatoes, sweet peas, salt, and pepper. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer for 1 hour. Add cabbage, zucchini, carrot greens, and macaroni. Simmer for another 15 minutes. Serve hot.
As part of our CSA vegetable, we were given choice of herbs and we needed to pick one. The choices were cilantro, parsley or dill. Since I never had nor knew dill before, I told Meg with confident that I wanted dill. I promise that I saw a lot of recipes that used dill when I looked for other recipes. But, as most you may have experienced, I couldn't find recipe that used dill when I needed it. Our dill stayed for a week in the fridge.
The Saturday after that, I was still asleep enjoying my Saturday. Hubby picked up the vegetable box by himself. Got home, hubby told me that he didn't know what to answer when Meg asked him what herb he wanted, randomly he chose DILL! Haha...I forgot to tell him that I needed cilantro. One more bunch of dill in the fridge.
Yesterday after gotten another veggie box, I felt that I needed to use that dill, so I searched recipe from Mennonite Cookbook my friend Ruth gave me on our wedding day. I found a recipe that looked easy, dill bread. It asked for dill seed, but I was sure no one complained if I put fresh dill instead
Ingredients: 1 pack yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup low fat cottage cheese
2 Tbs chopped dill
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 Tbs minced onion
2 Tbs sugar
2 1/4 - 2 1/2 flour
Dissolve yeast in warm water. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the rest of ingredients except flour.
Add flour, stir well to combine. Let rise until double in size. Punch down, put in well-greased pan. Let rise again aout 45 minutes. Bake at 350'F about 30 minutes. Brush with melted margarine.
On my first day at my Nutrition class, my professor told us that most N. Americans eat 1.5 - 2 times the needed amount of protein. He asked his students if they were given a Tupperware that's divided to half then one half was divided to half, what would we fill the biggest part with. Almost all answered MEAT! Hmm...my voice that said RICE! was too low, didn't catch any attention This meat over-consuming seems not to be a problem in my country. The cause could be price of meat that is higher than that of vegetable. Dad told me one day, that his dietitian suggested him to eat more meat. Haha...
Grew up consuming little meat a day or sometimes without meat when there's seafood, hubby and I are still not used to eat a lot of meat. One portion of steak is way too much for me. Although hubby seems fine eating ribs, steak, or big part of chicken, he can only has it once in a while. What I mean is it's fine it the meat is small portion, cut and cook with vegetables. Not massive meat. For that reason and its cooking time that is longer cooking time that cooking chicken or shrimp, we barely buy beef nor pork. Last week, when we stopped by at Earthfare, hubby requested rendang, so we bought 2 pounds of beef which still sits in the fridge. We also get a pound more, since I thought we might not go there at anytime soon.
I didn't have plan for that one pound of beef when I wanted it, but days ago, orange beef seemed to be a great choice for our dinner. I was right, the combination of beef and orange flavor was so perfect. The usual orange beef requires the beef to be deep-fried. I am not a big fan of frying since the oil smell will stay in the kitchen for a long time, so I just stir fried it together with the other ingredients.
Ingredients: 3/4 pound beef (about 0.4 kg)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbs sweet soy sauce
Other ingredients: 2 teaspoons cornstarch
5 cloves garlic,minced
2 tablespoons water
1 cm ginger, grated
Orange peel from 1 orange
Orange juice from 1 orange
Vegetables, chopped (usually broccoli, but I used zucchini & sugar snap) Oil for stir-frying
Green onion, chopped to garnish
Cut the beef into thin strips. Marinate the beef with marinade sauce in the refrigerator for 1 hour. If necessary, add more sauce until the meat is coated well.
After an hour coat beef with 2 teaspoons cornstarch. Heat the wok over medium-high heat. Add the minced garlic and ginger. Stir-fry briefly until aromatic. Add the rest of the ingredients. Turn down the heat into low, add beef one by one. Simmer until meat is tender. Add chopped vegetable. Garnish with green onion. Eat with thinly cut bird eye chili pepper
...finishing vegetables still left in refrigerator!
Since we get our veggie box every Saturday, I try to finish every veggie we get a week before. It'd happened a lot in the past that I pilled old veggies with the new and forgot about the old ones until I eventually found them rotten. By finishing all veggie on Friday, I also force us to eat more vegetable. There also times that I am too excited and cook too much vegetables. That's not good either. So, my task is to keep our vegetable supply enough for a week. Today I still had a bunch of beet greens, 2 carrots, half bag of sugar snaps, a bunch of kale, a sheet of collard, an egg, and carrot greens. Hubby better not to know that I used the carrot greens. I'd been craving fried noodle since two days ago. Those assorted veggies were perfect for the noodle.
I was almost jumping in excitement when I found this noodle at Asian grocery store. Mie Atoom Bulan (yes, double "O"), is noodle brand that mom used to buy when I was little. It brought back memories about when mom used to order grocery by phone then the store sent box of ordered stuffs to our home. My friend's parent owned that family-owned store, so we often get extras, like toys or sample products. It also brought memories when my sisters & I had Hong Kong-stars fever. We just got shared parabolic antennas that enabled us to get channel from Malaysia and other Southeast Asia countries. 5.00 o'clock PM was when TV3, Malaysian television aired its an-hour-Hong-Kong TV series. I can't believe we almost always had noodle while watching those series then still had dinner after that... and we didn't get fat
Ingredients: 2 pack of noodle
15 medium size shrimps
10 clove of garlic, chopped (I used more, the more the better)
3 Tbs soy sauce
3 Tbs oyster sauce
Sweet soy sauce as desired
Cook noodle in boiling water until 3/4 cooked. Toss the water, mix with 2 Tbs vegetable oil to prevent sticking. Coat lightly with sweet soy sauce. I found this is very helpful to ease the final mixing.
Heat oil in wok add garlic, eggs and shrimps. Stir fry until shrimps are cooked and the eggs are lightly set. Add vegetables, add hard vegetables first (if any) then the soft ones. Add soy sauces, oyster sauce, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper. Stir-fry until vegetables are lightly soft. Add noodle gradually while mixing. Combined well. Do this last step as fast as possible because you don't want the veggies to get soggy. Garnish with pickled cucumber (acar) and fried shallots. Eat it with chili paste (sambal) if desired.
My little aunt liked to bring this snack to our family parties when I went home, and I couldn't have enough of it. I am not sure if it is traditional Indonesian tidbit, because I don't remember I had it when I was little. Since mom is a traditional-food lover, I pretty much was exposed to every kind of traditional food, especially Javanese food.
I found out that this snack is famous in Thailand. Indonesians call it kue talam, while Malaysian call it tako kuih. I couldn't find the meaning of tako nor talam. Anyone knows? The ones my aunt used to bring had corn for the bottom layer, so that what I used for this talam. Apparently there are a lot of choices for it, such as apple, water chestnut, and jicama.
Whole Wheat Pocket Pita
Ingredient: 15 broad pandan leaves
One leave can be used to make 2 or 3 cases. Please see the pictures for the case making steps. No stapler nor toothpick needed.
Lower layer: 30 gr hunkwe flour
15 gr corn starch
3 fresh pandan leaves
450 ml water
Dash of salt
1/2 cup corn kernels
In a pan using medium heat, boil 250 ml water, pandan leaves, sugar, and dash of salt until pandan aroma fills your kitchen In the mean time, mix hunkwe flour, corn starch, and water. Take out pandan from the pan Gradually add flour mixture to the pan while stirring. Turn off the heat when the mixture is bubbly. Add corn kernels. Using teaspoon, scoop the mixture to the pandan cases until half full.
Upper layer: 25 gr hunkwe flour
25 gr rice flour
200 ml thick coconut milk
425 ml water
50g sugar (or more if you like it sweeter)
Dash of salt
Boil the whole ingredients with medium heat. Stir constantly. Turn off when the mixture is bubbly. Fill the pandan cases with coconut mixture until full.
Chill or leave them on the table until set.
Folding the case is easy, yet takes time. However, the pandan case creates elegance to this traditional snack that makes is a great choice for semi formal friends gathering.
Don't get surprised when this snack is gone in a blink. People can finish one in one gulp. Also, don't get hurt when people trash the pandan case in a bin. Trust me, it is better than if they return those cases to you.
Seeing a zip-lock bag of leftover falafel in the fridge I baked for Sunday potluck, I had no better idea than making pocket pitas. I'd made that years ago, but didn't turn out well, so I needed another pita-baking chance. It was too bad that my dough hooks are broken. Using my mixer for making bread isn't possible right now. But, I am stubborn. It is possible as long as my hands function well, am I right? The falafel recipe can be seen from here.
Whole Wheat Pocket Pita
Adapted from Recipezaar
Ingredients: 1 1/4 cup warm water
1 tsp dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp molasses or honey
1 tsp salt
3 cup whole wheat flour
Sprinkle yeast over warm water, stir and let rest for 5 minutes. Mix in honey. In a mixing bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Gradually pour yeast mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix then knead well. Add water if the dough is too dry, and add flour if the dough is too wet. Cover the mixing bowl with kitchen towel, put it at warm place, and let rise for minimum an hour. since I was in a hurry, I put the bowl in the cold oven and put a bowl of boil water inside. This will make the dough rise faster. This is also a great way to rise dough in winter.
Preheat oven to 450'F. Divide the dough and make 10 balls. Let rest for another an hour. Roll the dough to 3mm thick, and about 12 cm diameter. Arrange the flattened dough on a lightly greased baking tray. Let rest for another 10 minutes. Bake for 5 minutes or until all the breads are puff and slightly brown.
Cut the pocket pita into half. For me, it is easier to use clean kitchen scissors. For the filling, I put falafel, chopped cabbage, chopped red onion, lettuce, yellow squash, and yogurt sauce.
For dinner, I added sliced hard-boiled egg and tofu. Since my pita was too small, it could only handle one falafel and one egg slice. But double portion of that pita on the picture was sufficient for my dinner.