Posted in Recipes

Pork Rendang

Pork Rendang 1


A while ago, my blogging friend Stefan over at Stefan’s Gourmet Blog featured a very complex and interesting recipe for a Beef Rendang that is well worth a look. For those unfamiliar with the basic dish, it is essentially a dry curry made chiefly with beef (and occasionally with chicken), in which the meat is cooked with a spice paste and coconut milk very slowly until almost all the liquid is absorbed and the oil from the milk begins to separate out. It is originally an Indonesian dish but it is popular throughout South-east Asia, particularly in Malaysia and, now, in Thailand.


Today, my version will use a Commercial Tom Yum Soup Paste I featured some time ago for my spice component. It is a Thai product, heavily redolent with Lemon Grass and Galanga, and I will also use a little Sambal Oelek for some added heat. Rather than beef, I am going to use pork, which is definitely non-traditional, given that Indonesia has a Muslim majority. I am going to be slow-cooking using coconut milk, however, so the dish will be a Rendang of sorts, but, given the spices and use of pork, something of a Thai variety…  Continue reading “Pork Rendang”

Posted in Foodstuffs

Foodstuff: Mangosteen

Mangosteen 1

This curious object, which looks for all the world like a little wooden apple, is yet another of those obscure culinary items that occasionally turn up in our local Co-op from time to time. They were identified as ‘Sharron Fruit’ on a hand lettered sign (a name which meant nothing to me), but each of the little fruit had a tiny sticky label on them bearing the name ‘Mangosteen’ (which was at least familiar). The appellation ‘Sharron Fruit’, it turned out, was actually the name of the Company from which the fruit had been purchased so it was obvious that the store employee stocking the shelves was not too familiar with the item either. In any event, whatever the name, I had never seen these before and naturally had to investigate… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Mangosteen”

Posted in Spicery

Spice Blend: Sambal Belacan

In a previous post featuring an Indonesian spice blend called Sambal Terasi I noted that one of the ingredients, a dried shrimp paste called Terasi, is also known on Malaysia as ‘Belacan’. Not unnaturally,  Malaysia has a preparation similar to Sambal Terasi called Sambal Belacan, and, as with the Indonesian variety, there is a great deal of diversity in the constituent ingredients and the methods of preparation.

My Sambal Terasi interpretation was a simple, raw (and fiery) preparation that cleaved to the basics, but today, I want to try something a little more complex. Last year, my wife brought home from Singapore a jar of a commercial paste called ‘Sambal Belecan’ and I enjoyed it so immensely that it was used up in no time at all. I am hoping, with this experiment, to try and reproduce the taste… Continue reading “Spice Blend: Sambal Belacan”

Posted in Spicery

Spice Blend: Galingale Curry Paste

When I introduced the Indonesian rhizome known as ‘Galanga’ in a recent ‘Spicery’ post, I promised to put together a spice blend that captured the basic character of the typical sorts of curry pastes used in South-east Asia, while show-casing the particular qualities of this exotic and spicy item. The other ingredients I decided upon for this particular experiment would be at home in both Thai, Malaysian and Indonesian curry recipes so, as the result favors neither one over the other and, since galanga plays such a central role, I have chosen to simply just call it ‘Galingale Curry Paste’ (thus reflecting another fairly common name for the spice)… Continue reading “Spice Blend: Galingale Curry Paste”

Posted in Spicery

Spice: Galanga

At first glance, one might take the rather root-like item in the above picture to be a section of fresh ginger, but, while this particular rhizome is a member of the ginger family, it is, in fact, an Indonesian native known most commonly as ‘Galanga’. Few North Americans are likely to be very familiar with it (it doesn’t appear in most grocery stores, generally), but anybody who has eaten in a Thai restaurant will probably recognize the unique taste, as it is common addition to many curry pastes and soups. It is, of course, widely used in Indonesian cuisine (where it is known as ‘lengkuas’), as well as in Malaysia and Vietnam. Other names for the spice are ‘Blue Ginger’, ‘Galangal’ and the much prettier ‘Galingale’, and in China, where it is occasionally used, it is known as ‘Sand Ginger’… Continue reading “Spice: Galanga”