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Cooking with "Cradle of Flavor"


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I haven't cooked anything out of this book for a while, but I've been following the thread. I have a brisket that I bought for some reason, but now I don't know what to do with it. Do you think that brisket would work for beef rendang? I've made rendang before from another recipe which was very disappointing, so I don't want to mess it up this time.

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I haven't cooked anything out of this book for a while, but I've been following the thread. I have a brisket that I bought for some reason, but now I don't know what to do with it. Do you think that brisket would work for beef rendang? I've made rendang before from another recipe which was very disappointing, so I don't want to mess it up this time.

Sure, brisket should be fine, especially, if you cook it the low temp long time method. In what way was the other recipe disappointing?

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

Thanks, djyee100. I cut the bottoms of the brussel sprouts, cut crosses and blanched it first. My kids love 'em.

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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Javanese Chicken Curry. This is a mild but opulent coconut milk curry (only one Fresno chile) with coriander, ginger, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and cinnamon. Delicious and straightforward to cook, but you do have to make a flavoring paste. For me the toughest step was to brown the chicken in the flavoring paste. I turned the heat up too high, scorched the paste, and had to start over. (New Year's Resolution: Be more patient. :biggrin: )

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I served the curry with Tempeh Sambal with Basil. This dish is basically a Javanese sambal (my favorite sambal) with Garlic-Marinated Tempeh and fresh basil leaves mixed in just before serving. The recipe is a little lengthy, since you're making two recipes, the sambal and the subrecipe for Garlic-Marinated Tempeh. But I think it's worth it. The tempeh sambal is delicious--fiery and crunchy with accents of basil--and the colors are dramatic. The curry and the tempeh sambal also paired off well together. I know I'll be making this combination again.

I cut the tempeh into 1/4" strips (as in the Caramelized Tempeh with Chiles recipe) rather than in 2" squares as the Garlic-Marinated Tempeh recipe calls for. I prefer thin little crispy pieces of tempeh.

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Christmas Dinner at our house this year was straight out of Cradle of Flavor:

Beef Rendang - Rendang Daging Sapi

Celebration Rice - Nasi Kuning

Stir-Fried Asian Greens - Tumis Sayur

Javenese Carrot & Cucumber Pickle - Acar Timun

For desert, the DH made Cardamom Ice Cream, which while not a CoF recipe, was a great complement. I also made the Nutmeg Tea Cookies, which didn't really work out for me, but as I believe I have mentioned, baking is not my strong point.

The DH also took quite a few good photos. All the photos of ingredients and preparation are mine, but all the shots of the cooked ( I won't go so far as to say "plated") food are by the DH.

So, the pictoral evidence follows, with a few explanatory captions. I won't go into detail as these dishes are already well documented on this thread. I will say, that the Beef Rendang did take longer than I expected, but I expected that. And that the plate full of food was fantastic as a meal. I think it is obvious here that the credit should go to Mr. Oseland and all the people with whom he learned about cooking in this region. I am not downplaying my significant cooking efforts, but I feel like I mostly deserve credit for (1) choosing a good cookbook, (2) shopping well, (3) selecting good recipes from said cookbook, and (4) diligently following instructions. That is why when I say the food was fantastic, I don't feel like I am bragging, but instead praising my sources.

Nutmeg and Cloves in the Mini-Food Processor:

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The next batch of ingredients in the seasoning paste (shallots, garlic, ginger, tumeric, galangal, Fresno chiles, candlenuts):

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Seasoning Paste:

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The beginning of beef rendang, in the dutch oven:

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A few hours later, in the skillet:

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A few hours after that, in the same skillet:

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Beef Rendang, on the table:

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Rendang, with friendly Celebration Rice:

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Javanese Pickle:

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Stir-Fried Greens with Chile & Garlic:

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Dinner:

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We didn't take a photo of the Cardamom Ice Cream, but I have to tell you it was a perfect match - sweet but not too sweet, and just enough cardamom so that it is really right in the middle of subtlely and strongly flavored.

Robin Tyler McWaters

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djyee and CT, your meals look so delicious! The cardamom ice-cream idea is genius!

We'll be inviting some 50 odd people (usually turns out to be more) over to our home this Sunday for afternoon tea malaysian style, and, guess what, there's also going to be beef rendang. :raz: Then, I'll be making nasi kerabu (herb rice), vietnamese noodle salad, sayur lodeh and sambal tempeh. My mother will be making/bringing curry chicken and tofu flower for dessert. I also ordered some spice chicken wings just in case. I wish I had time to make the javanese pickle, but, I won't be in the whole of tomorrow and I'll be busy making the sweets too...mixed nuts biscotti (done this morning), mince tarts, gingerbreadmen (done last night), Dorie G's world peace cookies (done yesterday), coconut squares (Pichet Ong's), a pseudo croquembouche, and a chocolate 'tree' cake to celebrate my littlest's birthday on the same day. Wish me luck. :rolleyes:

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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Penang Style Stir-Fried Kuey Teow Noodles - Char Kuey Teow

Stir-Fried Asian Greens with Garlic & Chiles - Tumis Sayur

This is the first CoF recipe I've made that involved the dreaded shrimp. I dread shrimp (or shrimps as I always called them as a child). I will eat them as an ingredient, but if you put a shrimp cocktail in front of me, you are going to watch me sneer at it. My parents used to have cocktails parties when I was a child, and guess who got to peel, clean and devein pound after pound of shrimp ? Yes, twas me and now you know why I don't like the shrimp.

However, turns out shrimp get good while prepared in Char Kuey Teow. Go figure. Smoky, spicy and sweet - the dish is a total weeknight winner. I might like it better with chicken, or tofu, but I would make it again with the shrimp.

Is it crazy that I think Char Kuey Teow tastes quite a bit like Pad See Euw (or however one might spell that)?

Char Kuey Teow:

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CKT (oh, good abbreviation) with Stir-Fried Greens (CoF suggests CKT should be eaten on its own, but I still had a pound or two of what I think is Baby Baby Bok Choy ? Or does it get a name of its own at this size?)

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Robin Tyler McWaters

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Robin, your food looks gorgeous, so appetizing. Isn't holiday cooking fun?

Tepee, thanks for the compliment, and good luck with your party. Your menu sounds wonderful.

...the plate full of food was fantastic as a meal. I think it is obvious here that the credit  should go to Mr. Oseland and all the people with whom he learned about cooking in this region...

Second! And I'll add that the Menu Suggestions in this book are so helpful, and a great feature in this cookbook. I find myself cooking more out of this book because I know what to serve as sides to the entrees.

The Menu Suggestions for each recipe are included in the Index, so you can find all the matches in the book for a particular recipe, not just the suggestions listed after that particular recipe. I wish more cookbooks were so well-organized and helpful for menu planning.

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Javanese Spiced Stew with Beef Shortribs. A humble beef stew dressed up for company. The stew is flavored with ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, then garnished with fried shallots and garlic, chopped celery leaves and scallions. Like the Malaccan Beef and Veg Stew, the veg and potatoes are cooked separately and folded in before serving. You'll do yourself a favor if you cook the meat the day ahead. Even with the meat finished, there's still a fair amount of prep to do for the garnishes.

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The recipe calls for oxtails, and mentions shortribs as an alternative. Since my nearest market doesn't carry oxtails (and I wasn't about to drive farther in holiday traffic), I made this stew with shortribs. The recipe says to substitute 1 1/2 lbs of shortribs for the 1 1/2 lbs of oxtails. At the market that didn't look like much meat to me. So I added another shortrib, and the weight of the meat came to about 2 1/2 lbs. I didn't scale up the rest of the recipe to account for the extra meat, and the recipe turned out OK anyway.

Also I forgot to cover the pot during cooking, per the recipe instructions, so I ended up with a very concentrated broth. About half the liquid evaporated. But I prefer the concentrated broth.

The recipe doesn't have you brown the meat, and after the meat was simmered and cooked, it was a pale, grayish-brown color. (The boiled beef look.) I thought that was unattractive. So I poured off most of the broth from the pot into a bowl, and stuck the meat (still in the pot) into a 450 degree oven, and let it brown for about 10 mins. (If you do this, pls check the meat regularly so it doesn't burn.) Meanwhile, I used a fine sieve to strain the gunk and spices out of the broth.

The browned meat after it came out of the oven.

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The recipe says to cut the scallions into 1" lengths, but that's too much raw scallion for me (or anybody else I know). I sliced the scallions into 1/8" rounds. I also sprinkled on some chopped cilantro, in addition to the other herbs, because I like it.

Served with a condiment of Javanese Sambal and steamed rice.

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Very tasty, and a showstopper at the table.. This is one of my favorite recipes from C of F so far. :smile:

Edited by djyee100 (log)
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A couple recipes from the Indian side of Indonesian cooking, Indian-Style Fish Stew with Okra, and Sauteed Cabbage with Ginger and Crispy Indian Yellow Lentils. Like many Indian recipes, the toughest part may be assembling all the ingredients. I had to make a special trip to the Indian grocery store.

Some unusual ingredients in these recipes: fresh coconut (dried coconut in the recipe is also OK); black or dark brown mustard seeds, I can't tell which they're supposed to be; thuvar dal, called toor dal at my market, which are like yellow split lentils; fenugreek seeds; and curry leaves.

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The ingredients for these recipes only cost a few dollars, but while at the store I saw so many other tempting supplies and ingredients. My total at checkout was over $34. So there were hidden costs to making these recipes, folks.

The Indian-Style Fish Stew with Okra is mildly spicy with a tart-sweet fruitiness to it. The fruitiness is from the tamarind, which is a dominant flavor in this dish. Other spices are coriander, fennel, cumin, black peppercorn, dried red chiles, mustard seed and fenugreek. The spiciness in both the stew and the cabbage dish is not so much fiery (like Thai cooking) but the deep slow burn of Indian food. Overspending at the grocery store notwithstanding, it's worth it to make this dish if you like Indian food (I sure do).

The fish stew smells great while it's cooking. Tastes good, too! (Note to okraphobes:The okra pods stay whole, so the okra is not gooey when it's cooked.)

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The Sauteed Cabbage with Ginger and Crispy Indian Yellow Lentils is very spicy from turmeric, ginger, and dried red chiles. I've tasted other Indian braised and spiced cabbage dishes, and this is one of the good ones. But I didn't like the thuvar dal. The dal added a bitter note to the spice mix, which I liked, but it cooked up hard and crunchy and unpleasant to eat. The next time I make this recipe, I will omit it.

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Served with steamed rice.

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Ho-hum. Another tasty, beautiful, aromatic plate of food from C of F. :wink:

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So, I tried making the beef rendang, and while the flavor was excellent, the texture of the meat was just too tough.

I'm used to regular braising (with a parchment lid and a real lid keeping the steam in), and am not sure how dry braising is supposed to work to tenderize the meat.

Any advice?

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So, I tried making the beef rendang, and while the flavor was excellent, the texture of the meat was just too tough.

I'm used to regular braising (with a parchment lid and a real lid keeping the steam in), and am not sure how dry braising is supposed to work to tenderize the meat.

Any advice?

How long did you cook the beef for, and what cut of meat was it?

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So, I tried making the beef rendang, and while the flavor was excellent, the texture of the meat was just too tough.

I'm used to regular braising (with a parchment lid and a real lid keeping the steam in), and am not sure how dry braising is supposed to work to tenderize the meat.

Any advice?

How long did you cook the beef for, and what cut of meat was it?

I've tried twice, actually - once with chuck, cooked for about 3 hours, and then with top round, cut into smaller pieces, cooked for less time, not sure exactly how long.

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I wouldn't use top round for this dish. It's too lean a cut of meat. But the beef chuck for 3 hrs should do the trick. So I'm a little flummoxed by your problem.

Here are some thoughts:

- Did you use a fatty cut of beef chuck? I realize that sounds like a strange question. But some stores, like my local Whole Foods, emphasize lean meats and mercilessly trim the fat off their meats. (That's why I buy my meat at a less enlightened store.) The fat helps keep the meat moist as it cooks.

- The cooking temperature too high or too low? Too high, and the meat may toughen. Too low, and you're not dissolving the tough tissues in the meat that make it tender. More discussion about pot roast cuts and temperatures: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/344485

- Out of curiosity, what brand of coconut milk are you using? I assume you are adding the 20 oz called for in the recipe.

"Dry braising" may be something of a misnomer. You're not frying, except at the very end when the meat (and sauce) is cooking in its own fat. I think of the cooking process as "less wet" braising. You're still simmering the meat in a small amount of liquid, as with conventional braising, but you're letting the liquid simmer down very slowly until it totally evaporates. It takes as long as it takes. When I made beef rendang I kept the temperature at a slow simmer. It looks like the fish bubbles in a fish tank. The meat will tell you when it's done because it will start to sizzle in its fat and brown. That's when the braising turns into frying. Make sense?

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A treat of Sweet Rice Dumplings with Palm Sugar and Coconut (Onde-Onde). The dumplings are flavored with pandanus and vanilla, stuffed with palm sugar and rolled in fresh coconut. They're sweet and chewy and you can't beat the taste of fresh coconut. To my surprise, I liked this recipe and found it fun to make. I thought it would be fuss fuss fuss. There are some tedious steps to it, mostly dealing with fresh coconut, but the recipe came together more easily than I anticipated.

Below is my least favorite step, cracking a fresh coconut, draining it, and then prying the meat off the shell.

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On the left side are coconut pieces still on the shell, on the right side is the unshelled coconut meat. I used to go after fresh coconuts with brute force, but I've finally learned some finesse. If you can slip your knife blade between the meat and the shell, as far as it can go, you can give the knife a twist and the coconut meat will pop off the shell in a big piece. The book suggests a paring knife, but an ordinary dinner table knife (preferably one you're not too fond of) will do fine and IMO, it's safer for your fingers.

The bowl contains pandanus-infused water, one of the optional ingredients. I was so proud of myself for bothering to make it, I had to show it to you.

The coconut meat has a tan backing on it that is edible. People who feel motivated can scrape it off. (I never feel that motivated.) After the meat is off the shell, I like to grate it with a microplane. You can store any extra pieces of coconut meat in the freezer for later use.

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The little balls of palm sugar for stuffing the dumplings, and the dough. This was only a half-recipe that made over 20 dumplings. These dumplings are kinda heavy and people will eat maybe 1 or 2 at most when there are other foods around. I used a gelato scoop (1 3/4 tsp--I think) to apportion out the dough.

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The dough needed more water than the recipe stated. I kneaded in more water bit by bit until I had a soft moldable dough, slightly moist and tacky (like scotch tape). The dough was an attractive light green color from the pandanus water. It was easy to handle, moist but firm, not sticky or gooey at all.

Poaching the dumplings.

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The dumplings rose to the surface of the water in 3 mins, but the sugar inside didn't begin to melt until after 4 mins of cooking. Even after 5 mins of cooking, the centers were still mostly hard. The next time I make this recipe, I will have to play more with cooking times.

I used up all the little palm sugar balls, and I still had some dough left. So I stuck a couple chocolate chips in each of the remaining dumplings. The chocolate-coconut combination tasted great, but I'm less sure there's any future in chocolate and sticky rice dough. Also, the chocolate overwhelmed the pandanus flavor. Still, chocolate is chocolate. :raz:

The dumplings were rolled in fresh coconut, and served as a snack with hot tea. The dough is tinted light green from the pandanus.

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Happy New Year!

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Acehnese Curry with Lamb. A very rich curry with sweet and hot spices (cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, and star anise) plus coconut milk and fresh coconut. There's quite a burn from the fresh ginger and chiles, too. I often don't like lamb because it tastes too gamy, but I like this dish. The complex sauce balances the strong taste of lamb. It's memorably good. No wonder they serve this curry at weddings and holiday feasts.

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I served the curry with Malaysian Spiced Pineapple Pickle, another delightful colorful pickle from C of F. The acidity of the pineapple helps cut the richness of the curry, and makes a good accompaniment.

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I often don't like lamb because it tastes too gamy, but I like this dish. The complex sauce balances the strong taste of lamb.

Not completely related to CoF, but....next time you might try to find some halal lamb and see if it makes any difference in the gameyness department...I never have any problems with strong lamb, but my mother-in-law has been averse for awhile. However, she tasted a halal leg of lamb over the holidays and said the difference was remarkable....she even liked it a little.

Edited by markemorse (log)
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After reading through this entire thread, I knew that I had to have the book. Now I'll be haunting the window watching for the UPS truck.

A few days reading and absorbing, a grocery list, a trip to the Asian market in the next town, and hopefully before long, I'll be cooking some of those gorgeous meals instead of just drooling over the pictures.

I really have come a ways from the young bride who thought a curry was yesterday's leftovers in a white sauce with a little grocery store curry powder mixed in. Now I'm even ready to brave the dreaded shrimp paste! :smile:

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Well! I wanted something from Cradle of Flavor tonight, but by the time I got to cooking I was hungry enough to eat my elbow--so no patience for flavoring pastes and whatnot. Chile Omelet and Stir-Fried Greens with Chile and Garlic it was. I foresee a whole lot of chile omelet in my future. This was my first encounter with sweet soy as a condiment (i.e., not as an ingredient mixed in with other stuff) and I really loved it on the spicy omelet. Pretty addictive. I'm excited to make this for my husband when he gets back.

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The Lime-Cordial Syrup is easy to make. You cook up a simple sugar syrup and add lime juice. Syrup mixed with water and ice makes a quick and easy limeade. A cup of hot water with some syrup in it is a pleasant and warming citrus drink. Both taste good with cookies (no surprise there). :raz:

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I wouldn't use top round for this dish. It's too lean a cut of meat. But the beef chuck for 3 hrs should do the trick. So I'm a little flummoxed by your problem.

Here are some thoughts:

- Did you use a fatty cut of beef chuck? I realize that sounds like a strange question. But some stores, like my local Whole Foods, emphasize lean meats and mercilessly trim the fat off their meats. (That's why I buy my meat at a less enlightened store.) The fat helps keep the meat moist as it cooks.

- Out of curiosity, what brand of coconut milk are you using? I assume you are adding the 20 oz called for in the recipe.

I had that experience with top round too from Costco. It was much too tough. Also, when I made it, the liquid seemed to thicken much too quickly using Chaokoh brand coconut milk and I had to add oil. Also, mine looked nothing like the pictures above because it was yellow from the fresh turmeric, which I'm convinced just stains things and doesn't add any additional flavor.

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Also, mine looked nothing like the pictures above because it was yellow from the fresh turmeric, which I'm convinced just stains things and doesn't add any additional flavor.

Can't say I agree about this...in fact, I find that the dried stuff seems more likely to "add" a not-so-pleasant flavor, whereas the fresh version seems more likely to get down with the ginger for some rhizome synergy action...does your fresh turmeric smell good after you've peeled it?

And...it also sounds like your rendang might've needed some more time on the heat....mine was yellow for hours, until it turned brown.

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Made the Achanese Curry with lamb and Ching Lee's Braised Lemongrass Long Beans as a side. (With pomelos also in season, I also made the pomelo salad from Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet.) Winners, all. I particularly liked this preparation for long beans, which are slim and tender right now in our Asian grocery stores.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Also, mine looked nothing like the pictures above because it was yellow from the fresh turmeric, which I'm convinced just stains things and doesn't add any additional flavor.

Can't say I agree about this...in fact, I find that the dried stuff seems more likely to "add" a not-so-pleasant flavor, whereas the fresh version seems more likely to get down with the ginger for some rhizome synergy action...does your fresh turmeric smell good after you've peeled it?

And...it also sounds like your rendang might've needed some more time on the heat....mine was yellow for hours, until it turned brown.

Very true. Fresh turmeric is one of those flavors that you will miss it if you do not use it. A while back, before I could find the rhizome, I made my Thai curries without it and subbed the dried stuff. They were always missing something, and earthy background flavor that I was used too when I eat Thai curries in restaurants. Sure enough, even the smell of the pastes were more 'correct' when I started using fresh turmeric.

As for the Beef Rendang recipe, I had no problem with it either. Use Fresh Chuck or lightly trimmed brisket.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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