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Cooking with "Cradle of Flavor"

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#361 RichardGustave

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 11:50 PM

I'm a new registrant. There seems no better place to start than with a thread that introduced me to one of my favorite cookbooks. This was also the cookbook that made me consider getting more serious about home cooking. As others have mentioned, making the flavoring pastes and watching dishes (90% were unknown to me prior to purchasing the book) develop is an addictive experience. That being said, in the 8 months or so that I've owned the book, I've only made a few of the recipes- but they have all become staples (or at least things I would repeat if time permitted).

Here are a few pictures-

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Sambal Bajak prior to transformation

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Served with shrimp over the lemongrass/coconut milk rice

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Nyonya Curry Shrimp


Last, but certainly not least, various stages of the beef rendang. Although I have only made it once so far, it is high in the running for "favorite thing I've cooked"!

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#362 afauthentic

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 01:16 AM

Beef Rendang was what I made last nite for my friend's birthday party.
The recipe said it would take 2 to 3 hours.
It was NOT tender yet after 3 hours, though most of the liquid has evaporated.
So I cooked it 2 hours more!
It takes the longest time to cook!
But it ends up with the color of coffee beans.

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I also made Acehese Goat Curry. I used lamb shanks, instead of goat.
I used the maximum number of chiles.
It turned up very very hot&spicy!
Too hot for some guests.
So next time I'll not maximize the chiles.
This dish is great with rice.

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I made braised cabbage with dried shrimp. Excellent aroma!

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and this is stir-fried veggies with garlic & chiles. I used only 1 type of veggies, i.e. yu choy sum.
And no chiles, coz the Acehese lamb curry (the other side dish) was hot & spicy enough.

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I made nyonya braised duck soup with salted mustard greens, using chicken instead of duck. Turned out delicious. But couldn't find the asam gelugor at 99 Ranch in Seattle. Does anyone living in Seattle know where to buy the asam gelugor? I'd appreciate some info. Thanks.

#363 Pan

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 01:49 PM

Your rendang looks great! You've found the secret to rendang, which is to slow-cook it for a LONG time.

I wonder if there's a Thai store in Vancouver that sells asam gelugor. It's the Malaysian kind of "tamarind," which is not a bean but a fruit that grows on a tree. Does anyone know the Thai word for it? This is the most relevant result I found in a Google search for "asam gelugor thai":

http://www.bigcookin...am-gelugor.html

#364 johung

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 06:48 PM

Hi all, I already have a number of popular cookbooks on these countries' cuisines and produced straight from Singapore or Malaysia. Is Oseland's book going to fill in any gaps of knowledge or probably just covering the same ground?

#365 djyee100

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 03:17 PM

Hi all, I already have a number of popular cookbooks on these countries' cuisines and produced straight from Singapore or Malaysia.  Is Oseland's book going to fill in any gaps of knowledge or probably just covering the same ground?

View Post


If you go to Post #340 on this thread, the post lists all the recipes in the book, and you can judge if anything sounds new or different to you.

All the recipes in the book have been cooked on this thread, with comments and photos, so you can check any recipe also.

#366 johung

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 04:30 PM

Hi all, I already have a number of popular cookbooks on these countries' cuisines and produced straight from Singapore or Malaysia.  Is Oseland's book going to fill in any gaps of knowledge or probably just covering the same ground?

View Post


If you go to Post #340 on this thread, the post lists all the recipes in the book, and you can judge if anything sounds new or different to you.

All the recipes in the book have been cooked on this thread, with comments and photos, so you can check any recipe also.

View Post



Thanks for the reminder, my apologies that I didn't go through the whole thread in the first place.

After glancing through the recipe list, I don't think there is any recipe that is missing from the books I already own. Still, I think Oseland's book is good one with the contexts and introducing the cuisine to American audience.

Edited by johung, 06 February 2009 - 04:50 PM.


#367 Gary Otter

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 05:41 PM

Your rendang looks great! You've found the secret to rendang, which is to slow-cook it for a LONG time.

I wonder if there's a Thai store in Vancouver that sells asam gelugor. It's the Malaysian kind of "tamarind," which is not a bean but a fruit that grows on a tree. Does anyone know the Thai word for it? This is the most relevant result I found in a Google search for "asam gelugor thai":

http://www.bigcookin...am-gelugor.html

View Post


Hi Pan,
Here are a few names I found on the net, I don't know how accurate they are.
I hope these are of use.
Asam gelugor - Garcinia atroviridis
Som Khaek,Som-kaeg, sommawon, A Sa Ka Lu Ko (Malay), Cha Muang, Cha Muang Chang, Ma Kham Khaek
Cheers Gary

#368 v. gautam

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 02:05 AM

Hi Johung,

You mention Singapore & Malaysia as the origins of your cookbooks. Oseland uses recipes specific to certain individuals or micro-locales in the MALESIAN region, where the similar names can signify vastly different spice combinations from island to island or locale to locale. Take RENDANG for example. Oseland uses a specific Sumatran woman's version as his entry into the world of rendang. That preparation has fierce partisans of style and taste [that differ markedly from Oseland's version] elsewhere within Indonesia and the entire MALESIAN region!

(You will be familiar with what I am repeating below, but it is relevant here, I think..)

In Malaysia, rendang means quite another flavor profile with considerable amounts of kerisik (sauteed/browned grated coconut) incorporated into the paste, and added later as a garnish. For some Malaysians/Singaporeans, kerisik is inseparable from the rendang experience, but is never (?) found in most Indonesian rendangs. Singapore, with its Nyonya cuisine, likewise has preparations that possess names, ingredients and cooking styles SIMILAR to the MALESIAN REGIONAL CUISINES but are NOT EQUIVALENT to Oseland's recipes [which again do not exhaust, nor claim to, Indonesia's 100s of island and local cuisines].

While your cookbooks are undoubtedly authentic & excellent, I think you may be missing a few new things if you believe that Oseland's book quite duplicates their contents. You may INDEED discover eventually that it DOES. OTOH, there is no guarantee that it will. I am just nitpicking here on the logic, so please pardon me. Not that I am a fan of Oseland [quite the contrary!!], or trying to sell his book!

#369 johung

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 05:23 PM

Hi Johung,

You mention Singapore & Malaysia as the origins of your cookbooks. Oseland uses recipes specific to certain individuals or micro-locales in the MALESIAN region, where the similar names can signify vastly different spice combinations from island to island or locale to locale. Take RENDANG for example. Oseland uses a specific Sumatran woman's version as his entry into the world of rendang. That preparation has fierce partisans of style and taste [that differ markedly from Oseland's version] elsewhere within Indonesia and the entire MALESIAN region!

(You will be familiar with what I am repeating below, but it is relevant  here, I think..)

In Malaysia, rendang means quite another flavor profile with considerable amounts of kerisik (sauteed/browned grated coconut) incorporated into the paste, and added later as a garnish. For some Malaysians/Singaporeans, kerisik is inseparable from the  rendang experience, but is never (?) found in most Indonesian rendangs. Singapore, with its Nyonya cuisine, likewise has preparations  that possess names, ingredients and cooking styles SIMILAR to the MALESIAN REGIONAL CUISINES but are NOT EQUIVALENT to Oseland's recipes [which again do not exhaust, nor claim to, Indonesia's 100s of island and local cuisines].

While your cookbooks are undoubtedly authentic  & excellent, I think you may be missing a few new things if you believe that Oseland's book quite duplicates their contents. You may INDEED discover eventually that it DOES. OTOH, there is no guarantee that it will. I am just nitpicking here on the logic, so please pardon me. Not that I am a fan of Oseland [quite the contrary!!], or trying to sell his book!

View Post



Hi v. gautham,

No offence taken :biggrin: . I have no doubt Oseland's work is a very fine book on its own, but I already own Sri Owen's and Yasa Boga's books on Indonesian cuisine (there are two books on Indonesian cuisine, one focusing on main dishes, soups, salads, and noodle and rice, and the other on snacks sweet or savoury, written by 4 Indonesian ladies active in local [Indonesian] publishing circles, and they call the grouping Yasa Boga. The two titles are published by Singapore's Marshall Cavendish Ltd) that have the truly Sumatran preparation of rendang and Javanese interpretations, and I do have Christopher and Terry Tan's Shiok, and Mrs Leong Yee Soo's series on Singaporean cuisine and Mrs Lee Chin Koon's Mrs Lee's cookbook that have the Singaporean/Nonyan preparation, and am receiving Betty Saw's book which should be the Malay version.

Oseland's book will probably offer not much new materials for my case. I have no doubt he will have many good tales and kitchen tips, but to me it doesn't justify spending US$35 for me, unfortunately.

#370 thelawnet

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 03:40 PM

Hi Johung,

You mention Singapore & Malaysia as the origins of your cookbooks. Oseland uses recipes specific to certain individuals or micro-locales in the MALESIAN region, where the similar names can signify vastly different spice combinations from island to island or locale to locale. Take RENDANG for example. Oseland uses a specific Sumatran woman's version as his entry into the world of rendang. That preparation has fierce partisans of style and taste [that differ markedly from Oseland's version] elsewhere within Indonesia and the entire MALESIAN region!

(You will be familiar with what I am repeating below, but it is relevant  here, I think..)

In Malaysia, rendang means quite another flavor profile with considerable amounts of kerisik (sauteed/browned grated coconut) incorporated into the paste, and added later as a garnish. For some Malaysians/Singaporeans, kerisik is inseparable from the  rendang experience, but is never (?) found in most Indonesian rendangs. Singapore, with its Nyonya cuisine, likewise has preparations  that possess names, ingredients and cooking styles SIMILAR to the MALESIAN REGIONAL CUISINES but are NOT EQUIVALENT to Oseland's recipes [which again do not exhaust, nor claim to, Indonesia's 100s of island and local cuisines].

While your cookbooks are undoubtedly authentic  & excellent, I think you may be missing a few new things if you believe that Oseland's book quite duplicates their contents. You may INDEED discover eventually that it DOES. OTOH, there is no guarantee that it will. I am just nitpicking here on the logic, so please pardon me. Not that I am a fan of Oseland [quite the contrary!!], or trying to sell his book!

View Post



Hi v. gautham,

No offence taken :biggrin: . I have no doubt Oseland's work is a very fine book on its own, but I already own Sri Owen's and Yasa Boga's books on Indonesian cuisine (there are two books on Indonesian cuisine, one focusing on main dishes, soups, salads, and noodle and rice, and the other on snacks sweet or savoury, written by 4 Indonesian ladies active in local [Indonesian] publishing circles, and they call the grouping Yasa Boga. The two titles are published by Singapore's Marshall Cavendish Ltd) that have the truly Sumatran preparation of rendang and Javanese interpretations, and I do have Christopher and Terry Tan's Shiok, and Mrs Leong Yee Soo's series on Singaporean cuisine and Mrs Lee Chin Koon's Mrs Lee's cookbook that have the Singaporean/Nonyan preparation, and am receiving Betty Saw's book which should be the Malay version.

Oseland's book will probably offer not much new materials for my case. I have no doubt he will have many good tales and kitchen tips, but to me it doesn't justify spending US$35 for me, unfortunately.

View Post


I have two of Sri Owen's books as well as a dozen or so locally published ones. Oseland's book is much the best. Owen's recipes lack spicing, Oseland's are much tastier.

#371 skipper10

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 12:17 PM

On Tuesday we had Indonesian meal from Cradle of Flavor prepared by James Oseland and what he called a "Salvadoran brigade." Although I've spent a big chunk of my life in Asia I've never had Indonesian meal before, and had it not been for Chris Amirault's response to my recent post, probably, would have never have had one. Thank you Chris, and, thanks for your help with picture posting.

The food was amazingly good and so different from anything I've ever tasted before. The aromas were so unfamiliar and so intoxicating. I don't have enough words to describe the interplay of different unfamiliar tastes, the complexities they create and how unexpectedly a tad of something rounds up the entire sensation.

This was one meal that I would have eaten and not asked for wine, but, this was a "Wine" dinner. JO diplomatically refused to discuss the wine part, he was very funny and after the "rice crisis," that apparently was taking place in the kitchen was resolved, easy going throughout the evening. :biggrin:

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Because there was some issue with rice he made all of us "pray" for rice while we were drinking Singapoure Slings and Mai Tais and eating appetizers. The appetizers were good, but the dip sauces were incredible, each one was more interesting than the other:
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http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1240950800/gallery_50902_6642_110705.jpg

[IMG]http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1240950800/gallery_50902_6642_100280.jpg

[img]http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1240950800/gallery_50902_6642_54059.jpg[/img]

[img]http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1240950800/gallery_50902_6642_96184.jpg[/img]


The Shrimp was fresh water from Florida.
The first course - Crispy Hicama and Pineapple Salad, Rojak (p.159) blew my socks off. I could have eaten the whole bowl. Not a drop of oil in the dressing that was very stingily drizzled over the fruit and vegetables, but it was so good. Dry shrimp paste was another revelation. I can still taste it. (Salad was served with Rose de Syrahh, "Syrose". Guffens Aux Tourettes, France, 2008)
[img]http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1240950800/gallery_50902_6642_89345.jpg[/img]


[img]http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1240950800/gallery_50902_6642_124767.jpg[/img]

JO said that the Spice Braised Tuna, (Ikan Bumbu Rujak, p242) is a breakfast dish in Spice Islands. In the book he warns "not to overcook tuna," mine, unfortunately, was seriously overcooked. I suppose his brigade did not read his book :rolleyes: but braised tomatoes in that sauce were divine. Tuna was served with wine from Argentina;Torrontes Reserva, Nieto, Mendoza, 2008

Javanese Chicken Curry with Sauteed Bok Choi ( Opor Ayam p.275 & Acar Timun p. 132) Chicken did not look very appetizing, but it was sooo good with pickled eggplant. Again, the sauce and spices made the dish. (We were served Cotes-Du Rhone Blanc with this)
[img]http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1240950800/gallery_50902_6642_45979.jpg[/img]

Chicken was followed by Sambal Undang p 262, Stir Fried (perfectly I should say) Sweet Water Shrimp with rice and Italian red wine Aglianico, Mastroberrardino, Campania.

[img]http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1240950800/gallery_50902_6642_77233.jpg[/img]

[img]http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1240950800/gallery_50902_6642_149603.jpg[/img]

Last main course was Beef Rendang with Javanese Cucumber & (Really good) Carrot pickles Rendang Daging Sapi, p304v& Nasi Kuning, p178 with Auastralian Shiraz-Viognier

[img]http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1240950800/gallery_50902_6642_31437.jpg[/img]

and my plate is clean because since tuna, I was putting most of my food into a doggie bag.
[img]http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1240950800/gallery_50902_6642_1111.jpg[/img]


Yes, there was a dessert, but I have no idea of its origin, it tasted like a ginger bread / cake. It was not on the menu and I was too full to ask.

[img]http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1240950800/gallery_50902_6642_99766.jpg[/img]

My head is now buried in Cradle of Flavor. Where to start? Must get dried shrimp paste! James Oseland gave all of us Fresh Kaffir Lime Leaves urging us to incorporate them into our cooking. We also got copies of (May) Saveur, and he said that the next SAVEUR issue is all about Texas.
[img]http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1240950800/gallery_50902_6642_108268.jpg[/img]
James Oseland with our designated driver.

#372 Pan

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 06:33 PM

James Oseland was wearing batik Jawa like a shirt I like to wear. The motif on it is a common classic motif in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Thanks for all the photos! Indonesian cuisine is one kind that I really don't think of having with wine. Most Indonesians are Muslims, and among Christians and Hindus, beer is drunk much more than wine (and after all, grapes don't grow so well in equatorial climates).

By the way, the Opor Ayam does look very good to me, but where's the Acar Timun (pickled cucumber)? Are you sure you were served pickled eggplant?

#373 skipper10

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 06:43 AM

...but where's the Acar Timun (pickled cucumber)? Are you sure you were served pickled eggplant?

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You may be on to something, I will have to check my notes and the menu, but I think I did have a tiny bit of pickled eggplant. My only disappointment, if I can call it that, was that all those amazing pickles and other veggies were served very sparingly, while chef was very generous with protein; look at all those appetizers, chicken, beef and tuna. Is this how Indonesians eat?

Unfortunately I have to run, (picking up friends from Dulles in VA and then on to a Swiss feast for lunch in MD) so I can't think about Flavors until much later today. Meanwhile, I would really appreciate some info about Indonesian rice. James Oseland was so concerned about his, and at one point he said that if our prayers don't work we would have to eat rice from (Chinese?) carry out. Salvadorans eat a lot of rice, granted there were language issues, but why would they screw up rice?

What kind of rice do Indonesians normally eat? Does it in any way resemble Uncle Ben's? Thanks.

#374 Pan

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 10:10 PM

Yes, those appetizers look typical to me. Two of them are chicken and beef sate (aka satay), though seemingly not served with the usual peanut sauce.

Uncle Ben's? Perish the thought! I have to say, though, that I didn't think much about what kind of rice I was eating when I visited Indonesia. Thai rice is popular in Malaysia, and I thought I remembered it being medium-grain, but a Google search seems to indicate it's actually long-grain. Glutinous/sticky rice is also used a fair amount, to excellent effect. There are also more unusual rices - black rice and red rice.

My feeling is that any kind of good white rice would be acceptable as a vehicle for Indonesian food that calls for white rice. At any rate, I wouldn't think that a difference in white rice variety would come close to ruining the taste or texture. That said, I've found that good basmati rice does notably improve the experience, by comparison with inexpensive short-grain American rice. It has a nice nuttiness and stands up to sauce better.

#375 nakji

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 03:53 AM

I've been to Malaysia twice this year and bought "Cradle of Flavor" to help recreate some of the really excellent food I had while there. Very happy memories of some of the food courts in KL with pan after pan of vegetable dishes, curries, salads, and rice. I don't have regular access to a lot of the ingredients like kaffir lime leaves, galangal, etc. in this book, but there are a few recipes that will survive minor substitutions intact.

Two of which I made this evening to hold in the fridge for Monday's dinner - I love a curry the second day.

Green beans with Coconut Milk, p. 216: This is the second time I've made this dish. The combination of green beans and tomato is a classic, and the subtle seasoning - just the shallots, garlic and chili without the galangal and leaves - doesn't compete if you serve it with a curry.

2010 09 05 004.JPG

Asiah's Eggplant Curry, p. 229 : I'm not happy if a day goes by and I don't get a bit of eggplant. This is one of the nicest preparations I've tried it in lately, although I think I went overboard on the tamarind this go round of making it - Oseland calls for a tablespoon of the thick kind of tamarind pulp thinned in 4 tablespoons of hot water, but I have the liquidy kind. I split the difference and put in three tablespoons of what I had, thinking I could always add more - but the three tablespoons seemed to make it more tart than I recall when I tried this dish earlier in the year. Note to self: always start real low. It's still quite enjoyable, though, and I look forward to heating these up tomorrow night.

2010 09 05 002.JPG

#376 nakji

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Posted 20 November 2010 - 07:20 AM

Another Cradle of Flavor meal tonight: every once in a while, various things orbit into my life, through some sort of culinary serendipity. Last Saturday, the western supermarket that I frequent for unsweetened yogurt and BSCB (they don't carry thighs) happened to be stocking fresh kaffir lime leaves. Surprised, I bought their whole supply, in the hopes that it will encourage them to order more, but with the suspicion it was a one-off stocking. Then, later this week, a trip to the Canadian Consulate in Shanghai found me at the City Market in the same building, where they had fresh galangal roots in the produce section - the first I'd seen it fresh since...longer than I care to admit. I had a bit of a conversation with a Chinese lady who wanted to know how to choose a fresh root and what to cook it with, to which I replied with a quick tutorial on the previous posts' green bean and tomato dish. We had good fun wandering over the store trying to find a can of coconut milk, as I didn't know what it was called in mandarin. Of course I bought some for myself, not knowing what I'd use it for, but figuring it was the sort of culinary ambergris that you don't just walk by on the beach of life.

I had the vague idea of perhaps making a fresh Thai curry paste this weekend, when two more separate events happened. A friend happened to have some fresh, pasture-fed Chinese beef rib that he sold me - I so rarely have fresh beef that I snapped it up without even thinking. Then, later the same night, back in the Western supermarket to pick up some wine, I noticed they had fresh lemongrass stalks. (And: no kaffir lime leaves) Huh. I threw them into the basket along with a voignier.


Then, then, over at another friend's house for dinner, he mentioned he'd ordered a half-kilo of Thai basil by mistake, thinking he was getting the sweet kind, and did I want it?

Now, Jiangsu province has a vast array of produce available for purchase at any given time, but Southeast Asian ingredients like this are not thick on the ground. It was clear the Kitchen God was trying to send me a message and that message was

RENDANG

and possibly some other dish to use up the basil.

This is the first time I've made a rendang, and Mr. Oseland's excellent instructions mentioned I'd want to have lots of time to get it right, so I had it on the stove at 12.30 pm. I cooked it until about 5.30 pm.

Flavour paste, pre-blend:
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The mise:
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About an hour into cooking:
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The final plate:
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I thought of going out to our garden and pulling a banana leaf off our banana plant for presentation, but decided I'd freak the neighbours out too much. Lettuce sufficed.

Yeah, it was excellent. My coconut milk never gave up much oil, though, confirming my suspicions that the Chinese coconut milk I'm using is not as rich as the Vietnamese stuff I used to get.

The basil leaves presented more of a challenge. I decided to fry them, as Jaymes suggested, and use them to top Rohati's Crisp fried Potatoes with Chili Sambal, p. 221:

Posted Image

Basically, the potatoes are fried like "chips", then the oil is drained and a chili-shallot sambal (in my case, red onions - no shallot love came my way this week) is sauteed and then used to coat the fried potatoes. I topped the dish with the crisp-fried thai basil, which I'd fried as I was doing the potatoes.

I'd like to say there are leftovers, but there are not.

#377 Dejah

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Posted 20 November 2010 - 07:42 AM

Great post and pictures, Erin!

I made a Thai green curry with pork and eggplant this week and really enjoyed the eggplant in that dish. Seeing your Asiah's eggplant curry will have me pulling out my Cradle book (which has been on the bookshelf wayyyy too long a period) this weekend.
eGullet always inspires me to change up my meals regularly. :wub:
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#378 nakji

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Posted 20 November 2010 - 05:51 PM

I'm never short for ideas around here wither. I couldn't believe it when all those ingredients came my way this week, though - I knew it had to be Cradle of Flavor! Which reminds me, I really should get some of his cucumber carrot pickle going with my last bit of lemongrass.

#379 thelawnet

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 06:23 PM

One problem with Cradle of Flavor is the recipes are for some reason made using Western shallots, rather than the Indonesian 'bawang merah'. The numerical quantities given are too low for the correct shallots (which are readily available in the west, at least as readily available as some of the other ingredients used at any rate - and much more aromatic and better flavoured than shallots), while the weight quantities are far too high. I suspect substituting three bawang merah for one 'shallot' in the given recipes is about right.

#380 markemorse

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 04:29 AM

Hi y'all, long time no see...

Just wanted to mention something for newcomers to the thread: i believe there's a typo in the "Tofu & Summer Vegetables in Coconut Milk" recipe...not a big deal, but it did confuse me and affected the final dish: the ingredients list a piece of peeled galangal, bruised, etc. But then the cooking directions never tell you what to do with it as far as I can tell. It seems like you should add it with the coconut milk and water, yes? But I was almost at the end of the recipe when I noticed my poor naked piece of galangal still sitting there waiting for action. In the last step of the directions you're advised to remove it.

So there you go...

bye!





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