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Cooking with "Cradle of Flavor"


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I had guests last night for dinner -- and they don't do hot spicy, so I also made the Malaccan Beef and Vegetable Stew. Made myself happy with sambal on the side. I used venison for this dish -- a very worthy choice and a great variation on a traditional stew.

I'm wondering if my vension is well enough marbeled for rendang.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Here's one to cross off the list, Black Pepper Crab:

gallery_52657_4505_162058.jpg

This was far too spicy for my poor wife who took one bite and almost exploded! I have to admit that i didn't enjoy it as much as i thought i would. To my mind a little one dimensional. Still plenty more dishes to try though, fancy the Chicken Rendang next.

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I found the black pepper to be unrelentingly spicy, quite different to the complex fruity heat of chillis that most of us on this thread crave :wink: Maybe it was the fairly fresh tellicherry pepper i was using but then i did compensate by only using 3 heaped tablespoons of it. It still overwhelmed the sweet crab though. As for adjusting the recipe i could cut down on the pepper even more but then it wouldn't be black pepper crab! Maybe somebody should try this recipe and give a second opinion. Having never had this dish before i can't really compare it with anything.

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Well, I purchased CoF today, and I'm thinking about getting in on this...

Any suggestions as to what I should cook first?

(Bearing in mind that I live in New Orleans, and some hard-to-find Asian ingredients are harder-to-find Asian ingredients here.)

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I found the black pepper to be unrelentingly spicy, quite different to the complex fruity heat of chillis that most of us on this thread crave  :wink:  Maybe it was the fairly fresh tellicherry pepper i was using but then i did compensate by only using 3 heaped tablespoons of it.  It still overwhelmed the sweet crab though.  As for adjusting the recipe i could cut down on the pepper even more but then it wouldn't be black pepper crab!  Maybe somebody should try this recipe and give a second opinion.  Having never had this dish before i can't really compare it with anything.

this sounds similar to a singaporean dish i love, try sauteing the black pepper longer as this will tame it down a lot.

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Well, I purchased CoF today, and I'm thinking about getting in on this...

Any suggestions as to what I should cook first? 

(Bearing in mind that I live in New Orleans, and some hard-to-find Asian ingredients are harder-to-find Asian ingredients here.)

Welcome, Mike! If you look at the recipes list (post #241), you can tell by the number of entries which dishes so far have been favorites. But some recipes have been cooked only once or twice, and they are great too. Have fun with your new book.

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Well, I purchased CoF today, and I'm thinking about getting in on this...

Any suggestions as to what I should cook first? 

(Bearing in mind that I live in New Orleans, and some hard-to-find Asian ingredients are harder-to-find Asian ingredients here.)

Welcome, Mike! If you look at the recipes list (post #241), you can tell by the number of entries which dishes so far have been favorites. But some recipes have been cooked only once or twice, and they are great too. Have fun with your new book.

On the other hand, if you're trying to cross off recipes that need crossing off, I'm making Shrimp Satay (p. 150) at the moment, so there's one less to worry about...

Edited by markemorse (log)
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And here it is, Shrimp Satay:

gallery_47138_5366_16264.jpg

gallery_47138_5366_552.jpg

Pictures are kinda sucky because we were so hungry our hands were too shaky to take non-flash pictures. So these are the non-blurry photos.

There's not really any char cause I had to use the broiler, but this was still very good, I used 2 biggish Holland chiles (1-4 recommended) and it was just about the right spice level. I didn't really make that many shrimp, so (against Mr. Oseland's advice) I cooked the remaining marinade along with a little more coconut milk and used that as an optional saucy element. The rice is the Lemongrass-Scented Rice recipe but using bulgur instead (for nutritional reasons), and it worked perfectly (you don't simmer it after the boil, just cover and let steam).

So, yeah. We really enjoyed this satay though it definitely wasn't what we're used to when we think "satay" (chicken or lamb with peanut sauce): the strong kaffir lime and coconut notes reminded more of Thai cooking than Indonesian, and it's hard to imagine what a perfectly complementary dipping sauce would've been. I'd be interested in seeing what ideas others have in this regard....

gallery_47138_5366_11794.jpg

Edited by markemorse (log)
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Tried another one today, Hot & Sour Fish Stew w/Bamboo Shoots, using cod.

gallery_47138_5366_11067.jpg

May have to try this one again...it really needed quite a bit more roundness somewhere, it tasted very thin and high-frequency, kind of unfinished-seeming.

The problem could be my bamboo shoots, it was a brand I've never used before, which I bought because the photo on the can looked like the skinny young shoots, but it turns out they were just thinly sliced. And if they're supposed to be sweetening the pot a little, it wasn't happening.

There some suggestions in the intro for variations: more candlenuts, which i would try; tiny eggplants, which i would also try, and fresh marijuana stems, which i will try on a day when i don't have anything important planned. :wink:

Right now I'm going to add a little coconut milk to this so i can get someone else in the house to eat some....maybe some more basil as well.

+++

ETA: half a can of coconut milk improved things dramatically.

+++

Edited by markemorse (log)
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Tried another one today, Hot & Sour Fish Stew w/Bamboo Shoots, using cod.

May have to try this one again...it really needed quite a bit more roundness somewhere, it tasted very thin and high-frequency, kind of unfinished-seeming.

I made the Fragrant Fish Stew with Lime and Basil yesterday (for the second time), and ran into a similar problem. Sometimes complex mixtures need more salt to bring out the flavors and balance them. Once you've added as much salt as you think the dish needs, and it still doesn't taste quite right, you can add a little sugar or butter to round off and harmonize flavors. Yesterday I added about twice as much salt as the recipe required, and then a few pinches of sugar. Then the stew tasted good.

If you have visions of adding too much salt to the pot and ruining the dish, you can put a small portion in a bowl, salt that portion as much as you want (even oversalt it) until you find the taste you like best. Then you can salt the remainder in the pot and bring it to that point.

That Hot & Sour Fish Stew looks beautiful, despite your problems with it. So did the Shrimp Satay. Thanks for the photos.

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The Pacific NW Magazine (the sunday magazine in the Seattle Times/Post Intelligencer has a story on sambal today, including a recipe (Dec. 9, 2007)... Link.

I wonder if Indonesian cooking is going to be the next craze... Will sambal replace salsa as the most-sold condiment ?

Robin Tyler McWaters

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Tried another one today, Hot & Sour Fish Stew w/Bamboo Shoots, using cod.

May have to try this one again...it really needed quite a bit more roundness somewhere, it tasted very thin and high-frequency, kind of unfinished-seeming.

I made the Fragrant Fish Stew with Lime and Basil yesterday (for the second time), and ran into a similar problem. Sometimes complex mixtures need more salt to bring out the flavors and balance them. Once you've added as much salt as you think the dish needs, and it still doesn't taste quite right, you can add a little sugar or butter to round off and harmonize flavors. Yesterday I added about twice as much salt as the recipe required, and then a few pinches of sugar. Then the stew tasted good.

If you have visions of adding too much salt to the pot and ruining the dish, you can put a small portion in a bowl, salt that portion as much as you want (even oversalt it) until you find the taste you like best. Then you can salt the remainder in the pot and bring it to that point.

That Hot & Sour Fish Stew looks beautiful, despite your problems with it. So did the Shrimp Satay. Thanks for the photos.

Hey djyee100, thanks for the suggestions....

I am a pretty careful salter, in that I'm careful not to undersalt....and in this case i'm pretty sure that was not the problem. Pretty sure the bamboo shoots played some role in the incomplete flavor picture here...there were a lot of them in the dish, and they weren't that pleasant-tasting out of the can.

i do like your idea of salting a tiny portion to taste test, though....will definitely try that from now on.

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Pretty sure the bamboo shoots played some role in the incomplete flavor picture here...there were a lot of them in the dish, and they weren't that pleasant-tasting out of the can.

A couple wks ago I considered cooking the Hot and Sour Fish Stew myself, because the recipe sounded like it would taste good, but I don't like canned bamboo shoots. I thought about cooking the stew with eggplant, which I like, but then I couldn't decide whether you throw in the raw eggplant, or saute it first before adding it to the stew. What do you think? Would this stew taste good with eggplant?

Anyway, I guess you took one for the team on this recipe.

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Pretty sure the bamboo shoots played some role in the incomplete flavor picture here...there were a lot of them in the dish, and they weren't that pleasant-tasting out of the can.

A couple wks ago I considered cooking the Hot and Sour Fish Stew myself, because the recipe sounded like it would taste good, but I don't like canned bamboo shoots. I thought about cooking the stew with eggplant, which I like, but then I couldn't decide whether you throw in the raw eggplant, or saute it first before adding it to the stew. What do you think? Would this stew taste good with eggplant?

Anyway, I guess you took one for the team on this recipe.

No problem taking one for the team...it was really a snap to make...

Yes I would definitely try it with eggplant instead. I like the suggestion in the intro to use the tiny marble-sized eggplants, don't know if you can get those or not. If you could, I'd just throw them in there raw when the fish goes in. For larger eggplants, I'd probably follow something like the directions for the eggplant dish made earlier upthread...you know?

mem

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My copy of CoF arrived last Wednesday. First of all, I'm not quite as good a Msian cook as Sue-On makes me out to be. I grew up with 80% chinese food, 20% msian food at home. Now, I cook 45% chinese, 45% western and 10% msian. For Msian, we normally pack home as the children have not yet developed the tolerance for heat and it seems too little to cook. However, my eldest is showing signs of interest in spicy food, which is a good thing; I'd love to start cooking them myself. I'm here to join you guys on this journey...as a student.

James Oseland has done an amazing job with his book, with much research, and the recipes are as authentic as they can get. His love for our region's food shines through. Thank you, James. Looking forward to a sequel. However, I think the book will sell better outside our region (good for you, folks! sad for us) as the majority go for books with a picture/a recipe, and the simpler the instructions the better, at the expense of clarity. Besides, this book (although worth every single sen) costs more than 5 times the price of the 'usual' cookbooks people here go for, or, can afford.

Hubby came home from Kuching, East Malaysia, with 3 bunches of pucuk paku...it's not as easy to find them in Peninsula M'sia where we live. I confess I've only cooked with ferns once a long time ago and didn't quite know how to handle them....couldn't figure out James' instructions of preparing the ferns. I sort of heard my husband telling me to snip off a lot...I ended up snipping not enough. So, when he came home, we fished the cooked bunch out and did another bunch, and, because the 2nd time around, the ferns weren't cooked as long as the 1st bunch, it was still bright green and was really tender and delicious. Most of the time, I prefer my veg still having some life.

Right...you can put Fern Curry as 'done' on the list, lol.

gallery_12248_5495_31714.jpg

Picture of the 1st attempt. Didn't take pix of the 2nd. Some changes I made, include, putting minimal chillies and using dried shrimps (soaked, washed, and fried to fragrant)...I didn't have fresh shrimps. It's different from using fresh shrimps, but I think I like it this way. Has a deeper flavour. I think the next time I do this, I'll add both.

gallery_12248_5495_41883.jpg

Sorry for the rather lengthy post.

Edited for clarity.

Edited by Tepee (log)

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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Absolutely gorgeous.

My copy of CoF arrived last Wednesday. First of all, I'm not quite as good a Msian cook as Sue-On makes me out to be. I grew up with 80% chinese food, 20% msian food at home. Now, I cook 45% chinese, 45% western and 10% msian. For Msian, we normally pack home as the children have not yet developed the tolerance for heat and it seems too little to cook. However, my eldest is showing signs of interest in spicy food, which is a good thing; I'd love to start cooking them myself. I'm here to join you guys on this journey...as a student.

James Oseland has done an amazing job with his book, with much research, and the recipes are as authentic as they can get. His love for our region's food shines through. Thank you, James. Looking forward to a sequel. However, I think the book will sell better outside our region (good for you, folks! sad for us) as the majority go for books with a picture/a recipe, and the simpler the instructions the better, at the expense of clarity. Besides, this book (although worth every single sen) costs more than 5 times the price of the 'usual' cookbooks people here go for, or, can afford.

Hubby came home from Kuching, East Malaysia, with 3 bunches of pucuk paku...it's not as easy to find them in Peninsula M'sia where we live. I confess I've only cooked with ferns once a long time ago and didn't quite know how to handle them....couldn't figure out James' instructions of preparing the ferns. I sort of heard my husband telling me to snip off a lot...I ended up snipping not enough. So, when he came home, we fished the cooked bunch out and did another bunch, and, because the 2nd time around, the ferns weren't cooked as long as the 1st bunch, it was still bright green and was really tender and delicious. Most of the time, I prefer my veg still having some life.

Right...you can put Fern Curry as 'done' on the list, lol.

gallery_12248_5495_31714.jpg

Picture of the 1st attempt. Didn't take pix of the 2nd. Some changes I made, include, putting minimal chillies and using dried shrimps (soaked, washed, and fried to fragrant)...I didn't have fresh shrimps. It's different from using fresh shrimps, but I think I like it this way. Has a deeper flavour. I think the next time I do this, I'll add both.

gallery_12248_5495_41883.jpg

Sorry for the rather lengthy post.

Edited for clarity.

Robin Tyler McWaters

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Tepee: My copy of CoF arrived last Wednesday. First of all, I'm not quite as good a Msian cook as Sue-On makes me out to be.

Yeah, yeah...don't believe a word of the above. :rolleyes: Like Robin said, gorgeous!

I've never seen ferns like in your picture, TP. Are they just more fully grown fiddle heads? I love those but haven't been able to find any in our markets the last couple of years.

Dejah aka Sue-On

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Wow, Tepee, that Fern Curry looks fantastic. Now I want to make it. But fresh ferns are rarely available here. Sometimes I see them in the market for a couple weeks in May, but that's it. I've never cooked with ferns because I didn't know what to do with them. Now I do. This coming spring I'll have to make a special effort to go to the farmer's market to look for them.

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Thanks, all. When you do find ferns in your neck of the woods, you MUST make this, or, at least cook with it. I don't see it much over here too, I've a feeling they are all snapped up by restaurants. I always order a plate of stir-fried ferns when I see it on the menu....lovely. Sue-On, these are very young ferns, the stems are thin; the tender parts are just 2 inches plus. I've seen bigger plants with larger heads, must be another species.

Bought some tempeh. Sigh...won't be able to cook the chilli recipes...hubby has a bad throat. Think I'll just do the garlic one.

Cook on!

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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Here's the banana leaf wrapped tempe...

gallery_12248_5495_92473.jpg

and here's the garlic tempe which I shallow-fried (delicious! I can just imagine it with the sweet sambal) with sticky ribs, and, of all things, brussel sprouts. :biggrin:

gallery_12248_5495_83657.jpg

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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I need to make those shrimps!

Made sayur lodeh today with some additions, i.e. tempeh, pressed rice (I confess, it's the instant type) and bean threads. Comfort food, indeed.

gallery_12248_5495_16890.jpg

I should take my tripod out. :wink:

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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All the food here sure looks good.

Yes, I will have to make the Shrimp Sambal, too. I've been eyeing that recipe for awhile, but I haven't cooked it yet.

Tepee, I like that brussels sprouts and pork ribs combination. I also like your addition of bean threads to sayur lodeh.

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