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Posts posted by thelawnet

  1. 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.

  2. Reads like a disaster film.

    First with no experience in preping rabbit or foie gras, you simply cannot expect results to be palatable if you make the dish

    "The final dish needs to be refined, with fussy presentation, this is not country cooking...."

    I've prepped rabbit before, and there was actually no foie gras in the dish. Rabbit is cheap and experimentation was the name of the game.

    First, what was the source of your rabbit? If using a cut up rabbit previously frozen from China, that's a starting point to your problems. I use only fresh rabbit I get from a Live Poultry Shop or wild rabbit I shoot and process my self.

    Does China export rabbits?

    Here in England they are cheap and plentiful running around the fields.

    Second, caul fat is an essential ingredient in many preps where things both need to be held together and fat added. I know of no substitute. Search it out.

    Sure. But it was lacking for this effort.

    Three, do not get your rabbit cut up. Purchase it whole, then decide what to do with it.

    It's not the end of the world, that the legs had already been removed. But no, not ideal, as I said in my post. Sometimes you just take what's available, altough the butcher I used is a good one and they sell game bought directly from hunters.

    The most elegant prep I know of is a boneless saddle of rabbit. Depending on the size of you rabbit, it does take good knife skills and sharp cutlery. I do this on both commercial and wild rabbits. Essentially the tenderloin is stuffed along with a forcemeat made from the rabbit legs into a wrap made from boning out the backbone of the animal from the saddle, the bones used to make a stock and then sauce and fat of some kind added to the forcemeat. There is a specific cooking process that needs to be followed to assure that the tenderloin is not overdone, tedious but an elegant preparation.

    We have good sharp knives, and there was no trouble taking off the tenderloin. The stuffing was nice too, double cream and pork belly contributing the necessary fat to the leg meat. The instructions given for cooking seemed rather implausible, certainly in retrospect, perhaps the caul fat would have made all the difference, but I think it was a problem beyond that. The preparation you describe is roughly the one I read.

    My suggestion is to find a source for USA commercial rabbit whole and simply cook the rabbit and sear the foie gras and serve together until you can test your methods.-Dick

    I've purchased farmed rabbit once before, I think it tends to come from France here, I didn't see the point particularly, given the much lower cost of wild rabbit, but maybe it's worth another go.

    OTOH, I'm not particularly keen to do so, I did pigeons yesterday and mallard today, and both were very tasty and seem a more fruitful starting point - I have no particular inclination to cook something I don't enjoy eating....

    Anyway, foie gras may now be partnered with poulet de bresse, but I haven't quite decided....

  3. Well the rabbit was decidedly off-putting. Having taken off the tenderloin, everything else was braised and then put in a food-processor with some sauteed shallots, chanterelles and double cream, and roughly chopped.

    The recipe called for the loins to be stuffed with rabbit confit (no time for that, so the braised rabbit was used instead), wrapped in caul fat, and poached, wrapped in cling film.

    Unfortunately we didn't have any caul fat and didn't substitte anything for it, but basically the rabbit fillets were slightly tough (not too bad), but completely bland and flavourless. The problem I think is lack of fat - the braised rabbit was nice because of the double cream, bacon and pork belly, but the rabbit fillet had nothing. And essentially boiling it (well, poaching) a fatless meat just didn't work. Maybe the caul fat was supposed to melt into it? I have never used it.

    Anyway, it was so bland and flavourless that any thought of trying to repeat the recipe seem unlikely. Basically when you make a point of serving someone the best part of the animal, it's supposed to be tender and flavoursome, but this was tasteless and slightly tough, even if the rest of the dish was ok.

    I'm not sure if it could be tender and flavoursome if cooked better, but I don't really have much motivation to try again... I'm sure a farmed rabbit would be more tender, but they are comparatively expensive.

  4. The reason McDonalds can offer oatmeal all day long is that the oatmeal machine is not used for any other purpose. OTOH, they will not cook McMuffins at the same time as burgers as they share the griddle.... So no, no breakfast products beyond this.

  5. I am experimenting with rabbits, basically the idea is to have a sort of mix of peasant and luxury, this is for a cooking course, and is being cooked to a budget (albeit a somewhat generous one).

    The advantage of the rabbit is that it is somewhat technical (for assessment purposes) to bone the rabbit, remove the tenderloin, and so on.

    I have seen a number of recipes for stuffed rabbit tenderloin, basically the rabbit tenderloin is stuffed with something, wrapped in caul fat, and then poached and possibly seared as well.

    Gordon Ramsay has a recipe involving french trimming a couple of the rabbits ribs and serving these alongside the stuffed tenderloin, the rabbit I purchased were already cut up and this did not seem practical given their rather battered condition, but perhaps I will try this again when I get some more rabbits, this time hopefully whole....

    Anyway, I currently have four rabbit tenderloin fillets and the rest of the rabbit is braising in the oven with some white wine (cider might be better here), pork belly, and vegetables. I am going to figure out somehow to assemble this when the rabbit is done....

    I have a foie gras lobe arriving on Wednesday, for which I am going to acquire some more rabbits to cook with it, I wonder if anyone has any suggestions for how to integrate them? Simply searing the foie gras is one option, but rather uninspired.... Haven't handled foie gras before, so this is a new one. Due to the cost of the foie gras, it will not be possible to serve any more than 2 ounces of foie gras per person.

    Also I wonder if any one has any good sauce recommendations to go with it? I bought some nice blood oranges, I suspect they would overpower the dish though.... Otherwise, some kind of apple, or possibly a madeira sauce? The final dish needs to be refined, with fussy presentation, this is not country cooking....

  6. As per the title, I have a Gordon Ramsay recipe for red wine sauce, to go with loin of venisons; the sauce specifies veal stock, which he makes of veal bones, Madeira and port.

    I have two options here, not having veal bones on hand nor in my local butcher.

    First is I bought some oxtail, and can make oxtail stock instead.

    Second option is to just use a commercial beef stock (long-life vacuum pack).


  7. 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!

    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.

    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.

  8. It's the same dish.....

    It's like the guy who says he went to French restaurant and didn't eat frogs, he ate grenouilles.

    "mie tiau goreng" means fried flat noodles, and so does char kway teow.

    Same meaning, same dish, different executions in different places.  :hmmm:

    I think there's some confusion here. The literal meaning of CKT is indeed fried rice noodles.

    But in Malaysia and Singapore at least, CKT has a more precise definition. It specifies a set of ingredients and a method of preparation that are unique and instantly recognized. The room for variation is limited. If the recipe is altered beyond a certain point, it can no longer claim to be CKT.

    Would you make the argument that mie tiao goreng is the same dish as pad thai?

    They are very similar in flavour. Pad thai really doesn't taste anything like either of them. I think it's the same dish

  9. But now several of you have got me intrigued about using fresh turmeric.  How is it used?  It’s peeled, I suppose, but then is it grated, chopped, or what?  Need I worry that it will stain my hands?  Is it added to hot oil as fresh ginger would be? Does it burn easily? How much would substitute for, say, a teaspoon of powdered turmeric?

    It is near identical to fresh ginger in usage and handling. Remove the thin skin, and mash it up into a paste. I guess 10g peeled is probably about the same as a teaspoon, although much nicer.

  10. In North Sumatra it is known as 'mie tiau goreng' (where mie is noodle and goreng is fried).....

    Never cockles or anything weird like that.....

    That's why what you described is known as "mie tiau goreng" and not "char kway teow" which is the topic of this thread .... :hmmm:

    It's the same dish.....

    It's like the guy who says he went to French restaurant and didn't eat frogs, he ate grenouilles.

    "mie tiau goreng" means fried flat noodles, and so does char kway teow.

    Same meaning, same dish, different executions in different places. :hmmm:

  11. the problem in Indonesian cake making is the low-grade ingredients.

    There is no tradition of dairy/butter, so cakes are made with margarine and oil. You can forget the idea of finding beautiful patisserie made with cream and liquers, even if they look nice the ingredients are still low grade and there are just not the trained pastry chefs who understand how to make rich western cakes.

    In addition, a lot of traditional cakes are steamed, as there's not necessarily ovens in people's homes.

    Indonesian cakes are an acquired taste.

  12. In North Sumatra it is known as 'mie tiau goreng' (where mie is noodle and goreng is fried). The fresh mie tieau (which are the flat rice noodles, and ALWAYS fresh, never dried) are covered in sweet soy sauce (not swimming, but just adhering to the surface, given the stickiness of sweet sauce this happens easily) and then fried in a paste of fresh shallot, garlic, ginger and chili (the ginger is the key taste (along with the sweet soy sauce), the only spice beyond the obligatory chili/garlic/shallot triad).

    It is served with kerupuk (prawn crackers) and sliced cucumber.

    It often contains either chicken, egg, or prawns.

    Never cockles or anything weird like that.....

  13. Thanks, Helen. It sounds like the different fresh turmeric root I've seen are different varieties, not ages.

    And just to pile on: turmeric does indeed a flavor, and not one that is unnice or too strong. Like most intensely flavored spices, roots, and the like, it requires a careful hand and thoughtful blending. If it ruins a dish, don't blame the ugly little root: too much clove, garlic, salt, or just about anything can ruin a dish.

    While that's true, powdered turmeric (along I guess with salt) is the one ingredient with which it is easiest to ruin a dish. Adding an extra teaspoon of coriander, cumin or whatever is much less likely to make a dish taste unpleasant than turmeric.

    Most commercial 'curry powder' is turmeric-based, leading to a flavour that tastes cheap and unrefined.

    That is why you are always much better off with more complex spice blends (either commercial or self-made) that depend on spices that aren't quite so brash, cardamom, cumin, mustard seeds, etc. Anyone who is not familiar with turmeric is advised to use great caution and restraint (e.g., half a teaspoon) until they are familiar with its use. And I definitely recommend the fresh stuff.

  14. Turmeric is used for the color it imparts to a dish rather than its virtually non-existent taste.  It's simply overpowered by other ingredients used in Indian cooking, no matter the region. So, let your eyes and color sense be your guide.

    Its tasteless coloring properties are why turmeric is frequently used as an ingredient in prepared mustard, yogurt and other commerical foods.

    Tasteless? You must be kidding. Any more than about a teaspoon of powdered turmeric destroys most dishes. It's a strong flavour that is not all that nice.

    I prefer to always use fresh tumeric root which does not have the harsh flavour of powder.

  15. This seems to be used in dishes from Malaysia and Thailand also, where it is "bunga kantan" and "kaalaa" respectively.

    It is the BUD that is used in those countries, and is reasonably well documented outline.

    Picture of the bud at left here - which is somewhat prevelant in Oriental shops in the West


    I am more interested in the seed pod, which as far as I can see is not documented in any source at all, despite being part of the cuisine of at least a million people, and the seeds being very tasty, it seems odd to me that all these people in Malaysia and Thailand do n ot use it.

    I guess it has perhaps not occurred to them, but it seems a slightly trivial piece of experimentation of throwing the fruit in the pot - compared with my recent trip to Grenada, where the lovely smell of the fleshy nutmeg carapace makes it unsurprising that it is used to make jam, but equally unsurprising that has only been done relatively recently, given the greater effort required to make jam from shells as against adding seeds to cooking

  16. I just cooked my first recipe from this book.

    The ayam panggang sulawesi was delicious, and not a technique (pre-cooking) I've come across in Indonesia. The bumbu was delicious authentic-tasting - Indonesian chicken bumbu is always turmeric-based.

    We had no lemon grass so substituted grated kaffir lime and dried (largely tasteless) galangal. I was a bit surprised about tying lemongrass in knots. I couldn't particularly see the point of this, although I guess it is artistic. Just a good bruising with the side of a cleaver and splitting into two would seem more effective at eliciting the citral.

    We also lacked fresh turmeric so used dried - somewhat sacrilegious in Indonesia, where I recall taking my mother-in-law to an Indian restaurant where she was not impressed with the taste, telling me that 'Indians make their curry from powder'.

    Just a comment on chilis, the chilis used were 'cabe merah', as per


    I think the Indonesian variety are a little longer than the Thai ones that we seem to get in the UK, although certainly the same shape. My mother-in-law did insist that the chilis weren't as tasty when she visited as the ones back home.

    These are the most important chili used for nearly all foods.

    The second chili used is 'cabe hijau' (green chili), which is the same size and shape as cabe merah but green in colour

    They are used for dishes requiring the less fruity taste sweet characteristic of this red chili. They can be used in huge quantities to bring out the distinctive green chili flavour - requiring an Indonesian stomach for chili.

    The final chili required is 'cabe rawit' (birds eye chili). THese are tiny, not used for cooking, just for sambal and should be chewed on while eating to add extra spice. Strictly for the experts.

  17. I wonder if anyone has any experience of torch ginger.

    The buds are widely used in Malaysian cuisine, but in Indonesia they also use the seed pods to make sayur asam.

    Here is a picture of the seed pods


    (bottom left, 'Red Torch seed pod')

    Those pictured are rotten, except for maybe the ones at the bottom. When sold in the markets of North Sumatra they would be firm and fresh.

    They are bruised and split and the seeds use to impart a delicious sour flavour to fish and chicken dishes.

    I can found no record of the seed pods being used anywhere else other than North Sumatra, and wonder if anyone can comment.

    I would also quite like to grow the plant, but I guess indoor cultivation would not be practical to achieve any viable yield.

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