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Cooking with "Cradle of Flavor"


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Beautiful crabdjyee, though i'm glad it's not just me who thought this dish was spicy. I haven't been brave enough to try this recipe again as i can still recall the pepper burning the back of my throat!!

Now if anyone has a recipe for Chilli Crab... i would love to try this Singaporean speciality next.

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Now if anyone has a recipe for Chilli Crab... i would love to try this Singaporean speciality next.

Same here. I made a Singapore crab years ago with red chilis, ketchup, and eggs in it. I wasn't wild about the specific recipe I tried (not spicy enough, not enough depth of flavor), but I definitely liked the type of dish it was.

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Got the book yesterday and made Inche Kabin (My family is Nyonya but have never made this because they don't really like fried chicken) for dinner today. Tasty but lots of work. I don't have a food processor so I did everything by hand (using a tiny mortar and pestle) . I bought free range chicken today but will probably just buy supermarket chicken next time as the price difference is huge (today's chicken cost me over 14 euro, a whole chicken is only 4+ euro at the supermarket) .

The Inche Kabin was served with the Nyonya dipping sauce and what I think is baby pak choy (label said Chin Sang P.K. ) stirfried with garlic.

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You cooked the fried chicken the day after you received the book! That's motivation. Are you planning to buy a food processor? The recipes in this book are heavily dependent on making spice pastes for flavoring. People say the small food processor is very handy for making the pastes. I own only a regular size food processor myself (since I refuse to buy one more appliance in an already crammed kitchen), and that has worked out fine for me. Sometimes if the paste is not fine enough, I finish it off in a mortar and pestle.

Edited by djyee100 (log)
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I would definitely consider a food processor and will also buy a normal size mortar and pestle. I'm going back to Malaysia later this month and if it's not too heavy, I also want to bring back another kind of grinder (large rectangular block of granite and a large cushion-size sausage shaped piece of granite). Nyonyas are anal about using food processors (which James Oseland also mentioned) so I know my mother will scoff at me and say "that's not Nyonya food bah" but I don't have 5 hours a day to spare simply for cooking!

The house still stinks from the fried chicken and because we have an open kitchen, I'm terrified the couch has absorbed the smell:/

Edited by yunnermeier (log)
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  • 3 weeks later...

I am making the Fern Curry tonight for dinner, and my ferns look very very different than Tepee's.

And I have a whole lot less of them because fiddlehead ferns are a spendy little item. Although, perhaps I just didn't shop smartly.

They were $13.99/lb at the Asian grocery (Uwajimaya) and $14.99/lb at Pike Place Market.

Anybody know anything about fern prices?

edited to say: Don't expect my photos to be this gorgeous.

<snip>

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.

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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.

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Sorry for the rather lengthy post.

Edited for clarity.

Edited by crouching tyler (log)

Robin Tyler McWaters

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So, by my reckoning, we only have one recipe left in this amazing group cook-through of Cradle of Flavor - the Singapore Sling.

Djyee100 had what I thought was an excellent suggestion - a virtual BYOB party to celebrate the group finishing all the recipes in the book. I am planning on making Singapore Slings sometime this week when the weather cooperates (not freezing), and I have a cocktail-friendly evening free.

Why don't you join us - make up a few Singapore Slings, or share your favorite drink to accompany Indonesian food. Do you like a drink which can help quench a fiery sambal? Do you head for something to relax with after turning the kitchen into a minor disaster zone (or is that just me?)?

Robin Tyler McWaters

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Fiddlehead Ferns:

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Spot Prawn:

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Fern Curry with Shrimp ~ Gulai Paku

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Cradle of Flavor calls for shrimp with shell and head. Shrimp heads are just a bit much for me. And the seafood guys had already cut the heads off these lovely local spot prawns. Local beats headless any day of the week, right?

Good stuff. I am not convince that fiddleheads are worth it, but then again, I only used about half the amount called for in the recipe. I justified that decision by the knowledge that I was only making enough for two.

Edited by crouching tyler (log)

Robin Tyler McWaters

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I think fiddleheads are always comparatively expensive. Your best bet for cheap ones is to make friends with some Vietnamese or Cambodian folks who know where to get them (and forage for them themselves). My mother used to be gifted with fiddleheads every spring by some Vietnamese and Cambodian clients (and the Filipinos would give her chicken skins from the processing plant :smile:).

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I had leftover curry from the above mentioned Fern Curry, and leftover rice. Lucky me. I took the rice and curry (which no longer had any ferns or shrimp in it) and topped it with Fried Eggs with Garlic, Shallots, Chiles & Ginger, aka ~ Telur Mata Sapi Bumbu.

It wasn't as good as last night's dinner, but it made a pretty fantastic lunch. It was definitely not photogenic, though. I haven't quite mastered the art of egg yolk porn, yet. And I already feel silly enough snapping pictures of my dinner. I can't quite bring myself to have my lunch sit for a portrait, too.

Robin Tyler McWaters

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After reading Robin's post last night, I decided to look for fiddlehead ferns when I went grocery shopping today. And there they were--at $8.50 per lb. So these ferns are definitely a pricey item. But I bought a small portion to try 'em out.

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I ate sauteed fiddleheads as an appetizer at a restaurant a couple wks ago, and while I liked them, they were very bitter (like lacinato kale). So I blanched these fiddleheads to lessen any bitterness. Then I stirfried them in a little oil as Tepee suggested upthread, and served them with Chile Omelet and steamed rice for a quickie dinner. Everything tasted good. The ferns had a very "green" flavor (a nice touch on Earth Day). They were slightly bitter, and reminded me a little of crunchy green beans.

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In hindsight, I should have checked the Farmers Mkt today. For fresh, less costly fiddleheads that would have been the place to go. But did I think of that when I was running around to finish my errands and shopping? Nope. Maybe next week. :smile:

Edited by djyee100 (log)
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Nothing too fancy, but I loved this dish that I made recently to use up a few very ripe plantains. I love coconut milk, I love sweet plantains..so this one was a no-brainer for me. Plantains in coconut milk:

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E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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Singapore Sling ingredients, minus the Benedictine (which is somewhat difficult to locate on short notice in Seattle). There are some bitters floating around just out of frame.

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Singapore Slings in the sun:

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Profile shot on our new dining room table, which turns out to be a nice backdrop.

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We had an impromptu happy hour Friday afternoon, since the sun was out. I made batch after batch of Singapore Slings and a good time was had by all. It would have been great to have some satay to go with our drinks, but it just didn't happen.

Robin Tyler McWaters

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Cradle of Flavor

Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore

by James Oseland

It's done!!

Recipe Index:

(numbers refer to post #s on this thread)

CONDIMENTS: SAMBALS, DIPPING SAUCES, DRESSINGS & PICKLES

Javanese Sambal - 156, 285

Nyonya Sambal - 10, 169, 245, 249

Lemongrass & Shallot Sambal - 51

Green Mango Sambal - 185

Sweet Soy Sauce & Lime Dipping Sauce - 40, 74, 116, 188, 301

Nyonya Dipping Sauce - 136, 142, 329

Soy Sauce, Chile & Lime Dipping Sauce - 202

Sweet & Sour Chile Dipping Sauce - 207

Javanese Peanut Sauce - 124, 198, 301

Sweet & Sour Cucumber & Carrot Pickle w/Turmeric - 17, 40, 51, 112, 236

Javanese Cucumber & Carrot Pickle - 74, 97, 142, 158, 198, 199, 235, 281

South Indian-Style Eggplant Pickle - 157

Malaysian Spiced Pineapple Pickle - 100, 292

STREET FOODS

Beef Satay - 10, 40, 45, 59, 112, 188, 301

Chicken Satay - 74, 177, 198, 301

Shrimp Satay - 259

Gado Gado - 124

Chopped Veg. Salad w/Coconut & Lime Leaf Dressing - 116

Crisp Jicama & Pineapple Salad - 45

Fried Sweet Plantains - 160

Bean Sprout & Potato Fritters - 207

RICE & NOODLES

Steamed Rice - 74, 142, 199, 202

Lemongrass Scented Coconut Rice - 10, 40, 51, 97, 188, 259, 301, 307

Celebration Yellow Rice - 83, 112, 144, 240, 281

Spiced Nyonya Rice - 235

Javanese Fried Rice - 10, 116, 302

Herbal Rice Salad - 318

Stir Fried Chinese Egg Noodle w/ Shrimp & Asian Greens - 210, 249

Penang-Style Stir-Fried Kuey Teow Noodles - 154, 283

Chicken Curry Noodle Soup, Kuala Lumpur Style - 67

VEGETABLES

Stir Fried Asian Greens w/ Garlic & Chiles- 74, 134, 153, 217, 281, 283, 295, 301

Stir Fried Bean Sprouts w/ Chinese Chives or Scallions - 123, 157, 166, 249

Sauteed Cabbage w/Ginger & Crispy Indian Lentils - 286

Braised Cabbage w/ Dried Shrimp - 149, 164

Stir Fried Water Spinach, Nyonya Style - 17, 129, 183, 229, 245

Green Beans with Coconut Milk - 112, 144, 149, 156

Ching Lee's Braised Lemongrass Long Beans - 100, 119, 299

Rohati's Crisp-Fried Potatoes w/Chile & Shallot Sambal - 10, 150

Potato Rendang - 32, 173, 249

Fern Curry with Shrimp - 267, 334

Asiah's Eggplant Curry - 36, 202

FISH & SHELLFISH

Fragrant Fish Stew w/Lime & Lemon Basil - 229, 261

Spice Braised Tuna - 10

Padang Fish Curry - 10

Hot & Sour Fish Stew w/Bamboo Shoots - 260

Indian-Style Fish Stew w/Okra - 286

Pan-Seared Mackerel w/Chiles & Garlic - 10, 134

Pan-Seared Tamarind Tuna - 51

Stir-fried Tamarind Shrimp - 130

Grilled Whole Fish w/Lemon Basil & Chiles - 318

Nyonya Shrimp Curry w/Fresh Pineapple & Tomatoes - 217

Stir-Fried Shrimp Sambal - 10, 173, 273

Black Pepper Crab - 252, 322

POULTRY

The Soto King's Chicken Soup - 113

Javanese Chicken Curry - 120, 185, 280

West Sumatran Chicken Curry - 106, 307

Chicken Rendang w/Cinnamon & Star Anise - 10

Nyonya Chicken & Potato Stew - 110

Mien's Garlic Fried Chicken - 156

Nyonya-Style Spiced Fried Chicken - 136, 142, 329

Kevin's Spiced Roast Chicken w/Potatoes, Penang Style - 112

Javanese Grilled Chicken - 83, 97, 112, 144

Grilled Coconut Chicken w/Lemon Basil - 17, 166, 183, 187, 304

Nyonya Duck Soup w/Salted Mustard Greens - 169

BEEF, GOAT & PORK (FOODS OF CELEBRATION)

Beef Rendang - 32, 90, 125, 158, 193, 198, 199, 234, 251, 281

Spiced Braised Nyonya Pork - 10, 100, 105, 157, 158

Malaccan Beef & Vegetable Stew - 236, 245, 251

Javanese Spiced Oxtail Stew - 285

Achenese Goat/Lamb Curry - 176, 182, 292, 299

TEMPEH, TOFU & EGGS

Garlic-Marinated Tempeh - 201, 202, 272

Tempeh Sambal w/Lemon Basil - 280

Carmelized Tempeh w/Chiles - 240

Tofu & Summer Vegetables in Coconut Milk - 274, 307

Twice-Cooked Tofu w/Coriander - 224

Fried Eggs w/Garlic, Shallots, Chiles & Ginger - 16, 123, 336

Kopi Tiam Soft-Boiled Eggs - 164

Chile Omelet - 153, 295, 337

SWEETS & BEVERAGES

Indonesian Spice Cake - 152

Nutmeg Tea Cookies - 163, 165

Purple Rice Pudding w/Coconut Milk - 323

Sweet Spiced Mung Bean Porridge - 164

Plantains w/Coconut Milk & Palm Sugar - 236, 338

Sweet Rice Dumplings w/Palm Sugar & Coconut - 291

Cinnamon Tea - 134

Hawker's Tea - 220

Warm Spiced Limeade - 162

Lime-Cordial Syrup - 296

Singapore Slings - 339

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I'm here with a lemonade made from Lemon Cordial Syrup, a variation of the Lime Cordial Syrup recipe in the book.

Congrats to everyone who cooked for this thread, and especially to Robin, who started it all.

Cheers!

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  • 2 months later...

Asiah's eggplant curry. This stuff is addictivly good and luscious. As posted on my blog, I ate this for three days along with the Javanese Cucumber and Carrot pickle.

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E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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  • 1 month later...

Hey all, just a quick question...

A friend who just took an Indonesian cooking class wants to cook some things together this weekend. He's making some sort of squid thing (that's all I can get out of him). To those of you who have cooked out of this book, care to offer up your vote for your favorite knockout dish? I'm not saying it's a competitive situation this weekend, but...well it is a little.

My first thought was rendang, but I wanted to hear the opinions here first....

thanks!

mark

+++

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Hey all, just a quick question...

My first thought was rendang, but I wanted to hear the opinions here first....

thanks!

mark

+++

Beef Rendang would get first from me everytime. The Javanese cucumber and carrot salad goes well with everything. :smile:

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Remember Robin (Crouching Tyler)'s Christmas dinner of rendang, celebration rice, stir-fried greens and pickle? (post #281) Her dessert was cardamom ice cream. I thought that menu was a knock-out--gorgeous to look at & delicious.

For an opener you could make that shrimp sambal, too.

Another festive dish is the Achenese Lamb Curry, if your friend eats lamb. That dish is impressively tasty. Also showy and delicious--the South Indian-Style Eggplant Pickle, Nyonya Shrimp Curry with Pineapple & Tomatoes, and Caramelized Tempeh with Chiles.

have fun, good luck!

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  • 1 month later...

Love the book and the thread, but I thought that I might try to sort out the identification of Daun Salam.

There seems to be a lot of confusion about this item on the interweb and elsewhere. "Cradle" shows images of the correct item and gives the scientific name as Syzygium polyantha (it is also known as Eugenia polyantha) and describes it accurately.

The description then describes it as a member of the cassia family and mentions that it is sometimes known as "Indian Bay Leaves". OK, there is a problem here as Salam leaf is not a member of the cassia family (is actually part of the myrtle family), and while it is often described as "Indian Bay Leaf", this is inaccurate (nothing to do with India as far as I know of) and there is another plant which is often called "Indian Bay Leave" which is actually part of the Cassia family and popular in some forms of Indian cooking.

This Indian Bay leave is Cinnamomum tamala, (which was popular in Roman cooking where it was known as "Malabathrum").

The reason I mention this is not to be a pedant, but that in my local SE-Asian grocer, both leaves are sold side by side and both as simply described as "Bay Leaf". They taste quite different as you can imagine and would completely change the nature of the dish if you interchanged them.

Some more information:

Daun Salam

Indian Bay Leave

Edited by Adam Balic (log)
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  • 3 months later...

Hi, James. I am Indonesian, living in Seattle, and love your Cradle of Flavor.

I know some of the recipes, like beef rendang takes hours to cook, just like we do back home in Indonesia.

I was wondering if there are any of the recipes from the book that can be cooked using a PRESSURE COOKER to save time?

Besides using pressure cooker, will cooking rendang in a crock pot works, too? Thanks.

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Hi, James. I am Indonesian, living in Seattle, and love your Cradle of Flavor.

I know some of the recipes, like beef rendang takes hours to cook, just like we do back home in Indonesia. 

I was wondering if there are any of the recipes from the book that can be cooked using a PRESSURE COOKER to save time?

Besides using pressure cooker, will cooking rendang in a crock pot works, too? Thanks.

I am certainly not Mr. Oseland, but I would not make rendang in a crock pot or pressure cooker because those items of cookware are sealed to retain moisture. Rendang tastes so flavorful because the slow, open simmering evaporates all of the water from coconut milk, allowing the meat to brown in a rich mixture of coconut oil, coconut milk solids, and curry paste.

A pressure cooker or crock pot might work for stews or curries where evaporation is not needed to concentrate flavors.

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I second what Bruce said about using a pressure cooker or crock pot in making dishes like rendang.

In using the pressure cooker, you'd miss all the different aromas from different stages of cooking the rendang stove top, which is one of the most enjoyable things about cooking from Cradle of Flavour.

With the crock pot, the liquid cannot be cooked off in order to brown the meat in the oil left behind which is an essential step in making rendang.

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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I second what Bruce said about using a pressure cooker or crock pot in making dishes like rendang.

In using the pressure cooker, you'd miss all the different aromas from different stages of cooking the rendang stove top, which is one of the most enjoyable things about cooking from Cradle of Flavour.

With the crock pot, the liquid cannot be cooked off in order to brown the meat in the oil left behind which is an essential step in making rendang.

Thanks, Bruce & Dejah for insights about using pressure cooker or crockpot.

It makes sense not to use them for rendang.

But how about other Indonesian dishes?

Are there any Indonesian dishes you know that's good cooked with a pressure cooker or crockpot?

How about stews like Semur Daging stew, oxtail soup, goat meat curry, Javanese chicken curry, etc? Thanks.

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