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Cooking with "Cradle of Flavor"

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#31 snowangel

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 08:07 AM

Chris Amirault: Great pictorial – Ayam Panggang Sulawesi  was already on my list, but it just moved up a few notches. How long did it take, start to finish?

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Thanks. It took about two hours, start to finish, which included all of the other dishes and prepping the grill.

I should note that we had about three cups of extra sauce left over to boot, which we're eating with rice and pickles as a quick lunch this week.

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I would also think that there'd be no reason not to braise the thighs the day before and grill day of eating.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#32 C. sapidus

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 09:50 AM

It took about two hours, start to finish, which included all of the other dishes and prepping the grill.

Thanks for the time estimate, and good luck finding candlenuts.

I would also think that there'd be no reason not to braise the thighs the day before and grill day of eating.

Good point!

I found two more Cradle of Flavor dishes from the archives. I encourage everyone to make any of the rendangs in the book – they take a while but are so worth it.

Potato rendang in progress:
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Potato rendang leftovers:
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Indonesian beef rendang in progress:
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Lousy picture of the only bite of beef rendang that survived a dinner party:
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#33 djyee100

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 03:43 PM

I'm confused by the references to curry leaves here. People seem to be equating curry leaves with daun salam, or have I totally misunderstood what people are saying?
Daun salam is Eugenia polyantha, curry leaves is Murraya koenigii.


We're talking about the real curry leaves, murraya koenigii. On the handwritten list (post #19), curry leaves are listed after cardamom. Duan salam is listed separately on the facing page.

#34 crouching tyler

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 04:06 PM

I found candlenuts!

And I also found curry leaves, and duan salam - all at my friendly hometown Uwajimaya. Too bad I had to sit through baseball game traffic to get there. Anyway, found all sorts of good stuff and bought a fair share of it. Got to run for now, but hopefully by tomorrow there will be non-awful photos of meal #1 in my version of the Cradle of Flavor project.
Robin Tyler McWaters

#35 James Oseland

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 06:42 PM

I look forward to seeing the next results--the ayam panggang looks spot on.

There aren't many online sources for candlenuts, but here's one:

http://www.indomerch.../kemcannut.html

#36 C. sapidus

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 08:06 PM

Tonight we made Asiah’ eggplant curry (kari terung), from Malaysia. I used five Thai chiles, which gave the curry a good kick, nicely moderated by the coconut milk. This was absolutely delicious - sweet, spicy, fragrant vegetable candy. When the curry was finished I did as Mr. Oseland described in the book, “ate it without benefit of rice, devouring the eggplant like it was candy” (minus the rattan mat). :wink:

Ingredients:
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Prepped and ready to go:
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Frying the shallots, garlic, chiles, and spices:
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Finished curry:
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#37 Pan

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 10:41 PM

Bruce, that kari terung (they'd call it "gulai terung" on the East Coast of Malaysia where I used to live) looks Malaysian, but eating the lauk (side dish) without your nasi (cooked rice)? Jahat (~somewhere between "wicked" and "naughty")! :angry: :raz:

#38 C. sapidus

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 04:20 AM

Bruce, that kari terung (they'd call it "gulai terung" on the East Coast of Malaysia where I used to live) looks Malaysian . . .

Thanks, I appreciate your perspective as always.

. . . but eating the lauk (side dish) without your nasi (cooked rice)? Jahat (~somewhere between "wicked" and "naughty")! :angry:  :raz:

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Guilty as charged, perhaps with the additional malfeasance of eating a side dish without a main dish. I did eat rice while finishing the leftovers this morning - does that atone? :unsure: :wink:

#39 Dejah

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 09:58 AM

I caved after reading and looking through this thread. :laugh:
My copy is on its way.
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#40 crouching tyler

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 10:46 AM

Sometimes, grocery shopping can be so much fun.

A portion of my groceries from yesterday's expedition. Ingredients for last night's dinner, and some staples:

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Here's a close of up of the package of dried daun salam.

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Last night's menu:

Beef Satay - Sate Sapi
Lemongrass- Scented Coconut Rice - Nasi Uduk
Javanese Cucumber & Carrot Pickle - Acar Timun
Sweet Soy Sauce & Lime Dipping Sauce - Sos Kecap Rawit

Ususally when we make Satay it is chicken satay, and it comes with this super tasty peanut sauce based on a Tom Douglas recipe. But Mr. Oseland suggested trying Beef Satay with a dipping sauce, so as to not overwhelm the taste of the beef. Smart man. This was beef candy with a sweet, bright sauce. Zero leftovers.

So, it looked a little underwhelming on the table after my two hours of puttering in the kitchen. (hey, I was making 4 new recipes at the same time - I did quite a bit of recipe reading while cooking). Some rice, some satay and a pair of condiments? But each element had so much flavor, that once we got down to to eating, it felt like nothing was missing - except maybe a couple more skewers of satay. In the future, I would probably add a vegetable side just to keep things balanced nutritionally.

And I think my rice curse has been broken. I think everyone is entitled to one food they just can't get right - no matter how simple it may be. In my case, that is rice. Sometimes, it doesn't even matter if I use a rice cooker. But, the lemongrass coconut rice, which requires a bit more attention than the usual rice recipe came out perfect. And we do actually have leftover rice, and I am looking forward to having more tonight, perhaps with some fish.

I had planned to fry up some shallots to top the rice with, but ran out of time, and frankly frying is not my favorite task. It would help if (1) we had some sort of exhaust fan in the kitchen and (2) if I wasn't a wimp about frying.

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Satay attacks:
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I also learned that my food processor will spray a fine dust of coriander out both sides while grinding coriander seeds. And, that as I suspected, Ting goes great with Indonesian.


As for the food photography, clearly I have a long way to go. First, I think Larry and I are going to have to learn to stop squabbling over the camera. Larry, by the way, is also the dishwasher, so I might have to let him take the pictures if I am going to keep him happy (given the amount of dishes this little project is going to generate).
Robin Tyler McWaters

#41 crouching tyler

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 10:52 AM

All the above food photos (okay, most of the above food photos)

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Hey!

Just for that, I have a suggestion for you: why don't you make (and occasionally post an updated version of) a list of all the recipes in the book, so you can mark off who has made what and what's left to be made?

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Soon come.
Robin Tyler McWaters

#42 C. sapidus

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 07:22 PM

Last night's menu:

Beef Satay - Sate Sapi
Lemongrass- Scented Coconut Rice - Nasi Uduk
Javanese Cucumber & Carrot Pickle - Acar Timun
Sweet Soy Sauce & Lime Dipping Sauce - Sos Kecap Rawit

So, it looked a little underwhelming on the table after my two hours of puttering in the kitchen.

Looks like a delicious dinner to me, and things always go slower the first time. The satay looks particularly tasty - it looks like you got a nice crust without overcooking the insides.

In the future, I would probably add a vegetable side just to keep things balanced nutritionally.

Raw veggies are great for this. If you want to stick with the book, try stir-fried Asian greens with garlic and chiles (tumis sayur) - quick, delicious, and adaptable to whatever greens look good at the store.

I had planned to fry up some shallots to top the rice with, but ran out of time, and frankly frying is not my favorite task.

Asian markets often have fried shallots in big plastic jars. We usually keep some on hand. So, what's next?

#43 Pan

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 12:04 AM

Bruce, that kari terung (they'd call it "gulai terung" on the East Coast of Malaysia where I used to live) looks Malaysian . . .

Thanks, I appreciate your perspective as always.

. . . but eating the lauk (side dish) without your nasi (cooked rice)? Jahat (~somewhere between "wicked" and "naughty")! :angry:  :raz:

View Post

Guilty as charged, perhaps with the additional malfeasance of eating a side dish without a main dish. I did eat rice while finishing the leftovers this morning - does that atone? :unsure: :wink:

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Sort of, but you didn't quite get my meaning. In Malaysian food, _everything_ but the rice (or noodles) is a side dish! :biggrin: "Lauk" means "the stuff that gets put on the rice"!

#44 C. sapidus

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 04:12 AM

Sort of, but you didn't quite get my meaning. In Malaysian food, _everything_ but the rice (or noodles) is a side dish! :biggrin: "Lauk" means "the stuff that gets put on the rice"!

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Ah, I get it now. I have read that rice is central to many Asian countries, but the concept just doesn't seem to stick in my brain. I guess we all have our biases.

How's this: The other morning, I finished the kari terung with my leftover rice. :wink:

#45 C. sapidus

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Posted 09 June 2007 - 06:41 PM

Tonight we made beef satay (sate sapi) with crisp jicama and pineapple salad (rojak). The satay is a family favorite, but this was our first time making rojak. The boys weren’t crazy about the sauce, so Mrs. C and I finished most of it. Rojak has a fascinating combination of flavors and textures: pineapple, jicama, Granny Smith apple (sub for guava), cukes, mango, and papaya in the salad; roasted shrimp paste, tamarind, chiles, shallots, garlic, palm sugar, and kecap manis in the sauce.

We substituted ripe-ish mango and papaya for green mango and papaya, so our rojak lacked some of the tart counterpoint for the spicy-sweet-salty sauce. I forgot to add the peanut topping until most of the rojak was gone – oops. :sad: We have a few Thai and Chinese dinners planned, so I will sit back and enjoy what everyone makes from CoF this week.

Sate sapi
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Rojak
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#46 Pan

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Posted 09 June 2007 - 07:02 PM

Looks like you got a lot of char on your satay. That rojak looks really Malaysian. I wish I could get rojak like that in Malaysian restaurants here.

#47 Dejah

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Posted 09 June 2007 - 07:37 PM

Bruce: You said:

Tonight we made beef satay (sate sapi) with crisp jicama and pineapple salad (rojak). roasted shrimp paste, tamarind, chiles, shallots, garlic, palm sugar, and kecap manis in the sauce


I want to know if you roasted/toasted/whatever the shrimp paste IN the HOUSE!

I did that once in the house, and I don't think I will attempt it again. I have a side burner on the BBQ, so THAT'S where I'll be roasting the shrimp paste. better wait until the weekend when the neighbors go to their cabin. :wink: :laugh:
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#48 C. sapidus

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Posted 09 June 2007 - 08:50 PM

Looks like you got a lot of char on your satay. That rojak looks really Malaysian. I wish I could get rojak like that in Malaysian restaurants here.

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Michael: Thank you! I have never even seen rojak before, so credit to Mr. Oseland if it looks plausibly Malaysian.

I want to know if you roasted/toasted/whatever the shrimp paste IN the HOUSE!

I did that once in the house, and I don't think I will attempt it again. I have a side burner on the BBQ, so THAT'S where I'll be roasting the shrimp paste. better wait until the weekend when the neighbors go to their cabin. :wink:  :laugh:

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Dejah: Aw, shrimp paste isn’t so bad. :biggrin: Yup, we whatevered the shrimp paste in the house, on the middle back burner with the hood fan on high (after warning the family, of course). I had the grill out tonight, so I should have experimented with outdoor whatevering. :wink: :smile:

#49 snowangel

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Posted 10 June 2007 - 11:39 AM

Bruce, what kind of rig did you use for grilling the sate? I'm trying to figure out how to get the first in the Trusty Old Kettle high enough (coal wise; the grate is not height-adjustable) to get the wonderful char.

BTW, last year, during the grilling and smoking blog during which it did nothing but rain, we broiled chicken sate, with less than stellar results.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#50 snowangel

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Posted 10 June 2007 - 02:36 PM

So, I went shopping today, and got just about everything essential. The things I didn't get were because my list wasn't detailed enough. I was just flat sure that the ddaun salam was in a the freezer case; but it's dried. I was convinced that the asam was in a jar, but no, it's in a plastic pouch.

But, other than candlenuts and shrimp chips (again, I hadn't done enough remembering to know just what should be in them or the recommended brands to make an informed decision).

But, I was pleased that my Asian market had just about everything, and pleased that I could find it. I'd have asked for help, but the place was mobbed. Gives me a good reason to return next week, and pick up a bahn mi (they were mobbed enough that the deli was depeleted).
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#51 crouching tyler

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Posted 10 June 2007 - 03:59 PM

Several days ago, Bruce asked "What's next?".....

I meant to reply but got sucked into the Tres Leches cake project vortex. I have since come down from the sugar high, having learned a good bit, and having successfully made cajeta (goat milk caramel). I must say, I am happy to return the realm of the savory, where I am much more comfortable. I do love sweet things, but baking is not my strong suit.

So, since I had leftover Lemongrass Scented Coconut Rice, I thought I would make some fish to go with it for a quick dinner on Thursday evening. Initially, I wasn't planning on making something from CoF but, after a quick browse I realized the Pan-Seared Tamarind Tuna (Tuna Goreng) was something I could make with the ingredients I already had on hand, plus some Tuna.

Tuna isn't my favorite fish - It is probably not even in my top 5 (which off the top of my head is probably: grouper, halibut, sea bass*, snapper, salmon ? ). I really like tuna in sushi, but cooked - 's okay. So, I haven't ever cooked tuna. And even though my trusty fish guy warned me not to overcook it, I did. I did a little better with the second batch in the pan, but it was still overdone.

Tamarind Tuna - Tuna Goreng
Lemongrass Coconut Rice - Nasi Uduik
Lemongrass & Shallot Sambal - Sambal Serai
Javanese Cucumber & Carrot Pickle - Acar Timun

Posted Image

But, here's the thing - I could tell, that if the tuna hadn't been overcooked, it would have been quite tasty. So, I think I have my first candidate for the list of dishes that I will have to cook a second time ( and get it right) before I can actually check it off the list.

My other revelation concerns the effect of lime juice on shallots. My embarrassing admission for the day is that I really despise raw onions. I just can't help it. I am not being overly dramatic when I say that raw onion makes me gag. I am not a picky eater and have quite a resilient digestive system, but raw onions are my kryptonite. However, the shallots in both the pickle and the sambal were no problem at all - after their 10 minute bath in lime juice or vinegar. In fact, I am getting very accustomed to having a little bit of the cucumber and carrot pickle with whatever else I am eating (i.e., turkey sandwich). This is a condiment that might become part of the regular rotation, I think.

It reminds me of the shallot and scotch bonnet pickle that was a constant feature of my parents' dinners. My mother had a jar of that pickle that was constantly being topped off until it reached some critical point when it had be to restarted ( I am not sure whether it lost its kick, or got too hot). Of course, being the stubborn child that I was, I wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole then. Now, I am starting to think it would be a fabulous compliment to roasted chicken.

* I love sea bass - but I don't buy it anymore, because of the over-fishing issue. Okay, maybe once a year. But, that is it. I promise.

edit to fix an error, or two.

Edited by crouching tyler, 10 June 2007 - 04:03 PM.

Robin Tyler McWaters

#52 crouching tyler

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Posted 10 June 2007 - 04:19 PM

Last night's menu:

Beef Satay - Sate Sapi
Lemongrass- Scented Coconut Rice - Nasi Uduk
Javanese Cucumber & Carrot Pickle - Acar Timun
Sweet Soy Sauce & Lime Dipping Sauce - Sos Kecap Rawit

So, it looked a little underwhelming on the table after my two hours of puttering in the kitchen.

Looks like a delicious dinner to me, and things always go slower the first time. The satay looks particularly tasty - it looks like you got a nice crust without overcooking the insides.

In the future, I would probably add a vegetable side just to keep things balanced nutritionally.

Raw veggies are great for this. If you want to stick with the book, try stir-fried Asian greens with garlic and chiles (tumis sayur) - quick, delicious, and adaptable to whatever greens look good at the store.

I had planned to fry up some shallots to top the rice with, but ran out of time, and frankly frying is not my favorite task.

Asian markets often have fried shallots in big plastic jars. We usually keep some on hand. So, what's next?

View Post


I found the fried shallots at Uwajimaya - Thanks for the tip. I found two plastic jars of them - one labeled Fried Red Onion, and one labeled Fried Shallot. The contents looked identical. Do you think Red Onion is just another way of saying Shallot in this case?
Robin Tyler McWaters

#53 crouching tyler

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Posted 10 June 2007 - 04:20 PM

Bruce: You said:

Tonight we made beef satay (sate sapi) with crisp jicama and pineapple salad (rojak). roasted shrimp paste, tamarind, chiles, shallots, garlic, palm sugar, and kecap manis in the sauce


I want to know if you roasted/toasted/whatever the shrimp paste IN the HOUSE!

I did that once in the house, and I don't think I will attempt it again. I have a side burner on the BBQ, so THAT'S where I'll be roasting the shrimp paste. better wait until the weekend when the neighbors go to their cabin. :wink: :laugh:

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Hmmm. This makes me worry a bit. We have a small house and no exhaust fan in our kitchen (and no plans to put one in any time soon). I may have to expand my outdoor cooking options, or limit my shrimp paste exploits to when I plan on using the grill.
Robin Tyler McWaters

#54 C. sapidus

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 08:42 AM

But, here's the thing - I could tell, that if the tuna hadn't been overcooked, it would have been quite tasty.

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Robin: Your meal looks delicious, and tuna is tricky – it continues to cook after you remove the heat. I overcooked my first batch of tuna goreng, too.

I found two plastic jars of them - one labeled Fried Red Onion, and one labeled Fried Shallot. The contents looked identical. Do you think Red Onion is just another way of saying Shallot in this case?

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I think that “red onion” and shallot is the same thing, but I can’t remember where I got that information.

Bruce, what kind of rig did you use for grilling the sate?

Susan: We have a Weber gas grill with heavy stainless steel grates, and usually preheat on high for 20 minutes or so. If possible, I try to flip the sate onto an unused part of the grill to get a good char on both sides. Looking forward to seeing what you make!

#55 Chris Amirault

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 09:12 AM

My other revelation concerns the effect of lime juice on shallots. My embarrassing admission for the day is that I really despise raw onions.  I just can't help it. I am not being overly dramatic when I say that raw onion makes me gag. I am not a picky eater and have quite a resilient digestive system, but raw onions are my kryptonite. However, the shallots in both the pickle and the sambal were no problem at all - after their 10 minute bath in lime juice or vinegar. In fact, I am getting very accustomed to having a little bit of the cucumber and carrot pickle with whatever else I am eating (i.e., turkey sandwich). This is a condiment that might become part of the regular rotation, I think.

View Post

I agree: the transformation of the shallots is wonderful, and this is a great recipe for these very simple but excellent pickles.
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#56 Pan

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 12:12 PM

I found two plastic jars of them - one labeled Fried Red Onion, and one labeled Fried Shallot. The contents looked identical. Do you think Red Onion is just another way of saying Shallot in this case?

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I think that “red onion” and shallot is the same thing, but I can’t remember where I got that information.[...]

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Shallots are called "bawang merah" in Malay, which translates literally as "red onion." Garlic is "bawang putih" ("white onion"), and onions are "bawang besar" ("big onion").

#57 James Oseland

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 07:56 PM

Again, what terrific-looking food.

I sense some dried-shrimp-paste anxiety out there. Let me see if I can dispel some of it.

Though it's often vilified (especially in the West, but even sometimes in Southeast Asia), dried shrimp paste (belacan or trassi) is a harmless--and utterly essential--ingredient. A little dab of the substance rounds out dishes in the most wonderful way, giving them a subtle body and depth that they wouldn't otherwise have. Countless Indonesian/Malaysian/Singaporean foods just aren't the same without it--especially in its toasted state, which gives it a sophistication that it doesn't have when raw.

Happily, a little goes a very long way--and it keeps seemingly forever. I find that a sole block of dried shrimp paste will last me a good eight months to a year. I store it wrapped in Saran Wrap, inside a Tupperware container, toward the back of the fridge (where it's colder).

When I want to use it--the book says all this but I feel it bears repeating--I slice off the required portion (usually no more than a teaspoon or two), wrap it in foil, smash it down with the palm of my hand (to increase its surface area), then place it over a high flame. Depending on a bunch of environmental conditions, the packet will start to relief a whiff of smoke after about 30 seconds to a minute (sometimes longer). Flip the packet (I use two forks, or sometimes just one fork, but tongs will do, too), and repeat with the other side. Allow it to cool for a few seconds before unwrapping it and using it in the dish. (A market that I shop at regularly in Queens sells small pre-toasted packets of dried shrimp paste, eliminating the need for toasting it!)

The amount of smoke (and smell) released into the room by this process is minimal at best--and whatever smell is released will likely soon be overwhelmed by the other fragrances coming from your cooking (the lemongrass, the lime leaves, the cinnamon, etc.). I live in a small Brooklyn apartment, and tested all the recipes in "Cradle of Flavor" innumerable times in its humble kitchen, and never had and complaints from guests or neighbors about dried shrimp paste--nor was there ever any lingering smell (even in the dead of winter).

Fear not! Dried shrimp paste is a great ingredient! It just takes a little getting used to.

#58 Pan

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 12:01 AM

I agree that belacan is an excellent ingredient, but it is possible to overuse it, and like any other strong ingredient, it tastes awful when overused. My landlady, who cooked for my family when I was living in Terengganu in the mid 70s, veritably flooded stuff in belacan. Don't do that. :biggrin:

#59 Emily_R

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Posted 13 June 2007 - 04:40 PM

Hi all --

Just finished off my first attempt at sate sapi for dinner tonight... I didn't get quite enough char on it... It was cooked just right for me in the middle -- still a little pink -- but I think next time since it cooks so quickly I will leave it on the same side for almost the whole grilling, just flipping it for 30 seconds at the end. That way it will get a really good char on one side but not overcook...

I must say, it was good, but to me, somehow just didn't really quite pop... I think more char would help, and perhaps using kecap manis would give it that sweetness that I think was missing -- I only had regular soy for the soy / lime / chile dipping sauce...

I did have it with one of my favorite sides though -- broken rice. Jasmine rice that has been broken into little pieces -- feels sooo good in the mouth!

Emily

#60 Dejah

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Posted 13 June 2007 - 04:57 PM

Mr. Oseland:

Thnaks for your suggestion of toasting belacan in foil. I will definitely try that.

I love Chinese shrimp paste ( ham ha) and salted fish (ham yu) steamed with pork, so I am quite used to strong aromas. It's the neighbors. :wink:
Dejah
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