Posted in Recipes

Pan-fried Beef Satay

Pan-fried Beef Satay 1

Satays, or skewers of seasoned meat or fish, are Indonesian in origin but have been adopted by the cuisines of many nations and there countless varieties and permutations in the flavorings and modes of service. Traditionally, these are grilled treats, being an especially popular ‘street food’, but if grilling is not an option you can do a passably decent job in your frying pan at home… Continue reading “Pan-fried Beef Satay”

Posted in Spicery

Spice Blend: Homemade Sambal Oelek (Simple Chili Paste)

Sambal Oelek 1

Chili pastes of one stripe or another are common in many cuisines. Some are fairly straightforward, containing little more than chili peppers, while others are considerably more complex and include a variety of other ingredients, such as garlic, ginger, or other spices. Not that many years ago, the Indonesian variety of simple chili paste known as Sambal Oelek (or Sambal Ulek) was relatively unknown in the west but this has changed in the last decade or so and one brand or another can be found in most supermarkets nowadays, with the Cock Brand, by Huy Fong Foods (makers of the popular Sriracha Sauce), being one of the most common.

Sambal Oelek is a very versatile paste that keeps well and is very easy to make. Strictly speaking, the basic version is nothing more than ground fresh chilies, but salt is also generally added, [particularly if the resultant paste is not to be used immediately). If you scan for recipes on the Internet, you will find many that include other ingredients as well but, since there are a myriad of Indonesian Sambals, all with different names, those that contain additional spices are not, in my opinion, true Sambal Oeleks. Vinegar (or even lime juice) is often included, particularly in commercial preparations, but, while this does enhance the shelf life somewhat, it also changes the finished product considerably. It also, to my mind, detracts from and diminishes the fresh chili taste, which, with just a little salt to act as a preservative, keeps surprisingly well in the fridge. For the version I will be sharing with you here, we will be using nothing more than fresh red chilies, salt, a little sugar to round out the tastes as the  pastes ages, and some oil for grinding and preservation… Continue reading “Spice Blend: Homemade Sambal Oelek (Simple Chili Paste)”

Posted in Experiments, Recipes

Prawn Sambal

Sambal Prawn 1

In previous posts, I have dealt with sambals in their primary sense, which is as a spicy, chili-based condiment, especially popular in Indonesia and Malaya. With the addition of other ingredients, however, the term can also refer to a variety of side-dishes that would typically be served, in fairly small amounts, to add a more substantial accompaniment to rice based meals.

My wife was making her celebrated dal once again, and she suggested that I put together something to go along with it. I first thought of a coconut milk based prawn curry but, as her dal is of the fairly soupy variety, I figured that another ‘wet’ dish would be too much. A dry prawn curry seemed like a good idea but then I decided to depart from the purely Indian and do a sambal type preparation using Yeo Brand Minced Prawns with Spices as a flavor base. Since this condiment, as I mentioned in an earlier post, often seems to lose something when eaten hot, I settled on making a side dish that could be served at room temperature along with my wife’s dal, some Indian flatbread, and some sort of pickle or raita. Here’s what I came up with… Continue reading “Prawn Sambal”

Posted in Spicery

Spice Blend: Sambal Terasi

Not long ago, I published a foodstuffs post about a Dried Shrimp Paste widely used in the cuisines of Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines. In Indonesia, the dried paste is known as ‘Terasi’ and it is commonly included in a variety of chili based culinary blends known as Sambals. These preparations are widely used as condiments but are also incorporated into curries and other dishes.

The very basic Sambal Terasi is just a raw paste consisting of fresh red chilies ground to a paste with salt and dried shrimp paste. However, there are many variations on the basic theme and some preparations are cooked. Additional ingredients can include garlic, shallots, onions, sugar, tomatoes and a variety of nuts such as Candlenuts or Macadamias and, in cooked versions, the ingredients can be fried after being ground to a paste, or else cooked individually beforehand and then ground together. For this experiment I am going to cleave fairly close to the original in terms of ingredients and leave it raw… Continue reading “Spice Blend: Sambal Terasi”

Posted in Experiments, Recipes

Experiment: Galingale Curry Pork Ribs

I am doing this experiment to test out the Galingale Curry Paste I prepared for a post a few days back. In South-east Asia, particularly Thailand, curries are almost always made with a pre-made spice paste and then coconut milk is generally used to form a sauce. Water, or stock, can also be employed and the sauce can vary from being ‘soupy’, very thick, or, in the case of ‘dry curries’, not much more than a thin glaze on the main ingredients. This experiment will be a dry curry… Continue reading “Experiment: Galingale Curry Pork Ribs”

Posted in Experiments

Experiment: Spicy Roasted Cassava (Yuca Root)

In my ‘Foodstuffs’ post featuring Cassava, I noted that, not only is the vegetable widely used in Latin America (where it originates), it is also very popular in Indonesia. I looked at quite a few recipes when I was trying to decide how to prepare the root I purchased and I finally decided to do a dish that incorporated the cooking methods and seasonings of both regions.

In Indonesia, the vegetable is often boiled with spices and then deep-fried afterwards. I, however, thought it might be nice to boil it first and then roast it, South American fashion, using spices from the Indonesian flavor palette… Continue reading “Experiment: Spicy Roasted Cassava (Yuca Root)”