Friday, September 18, 2009

Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops and Fennel Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

I finally ate fennel for the first time! Fennel is a plant that has many culinary uses in its different forms (seeds, foliage, and bulb). They're aromatic and taste mildly sweet, peppery, and has a crunchy, celery-like texture. Although I've seen this vegetable used in so many food network shows, I just never got around to trying it myself. Browsing for meal ideas, I found that fennel is often paired with citrus fruits in a salad so I thought making a fennel salad with orange vinaigrette dressing is a good place to start. And I seared some beautiful, meaty jumbo sea scallops to complete the dish. It is the perfect light meal. We actually ate this for dinner and were completely satisfied.

Makes 4 servings


12 jumbo sea scallops
salt and pepper, to taste
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 T. butter
2 fennel bulbs (sliced)
2 oranges (cut into segments)

Orange Vinaigrette
1 C. orange juice (about 5-6 oranges)
1/4 C. champagne vinegar
2 shallots (minced)
2 T. honey
2 T. sugar
1 T. fresh thyme leaves
salt and black pepper, to taste
1 C. extra virgin olive oil

Cooking instruction:

1. Dry scallops with paper towel then season both sides with salt and pepper.

2. Heat oil and butter in a medium skillet on medium high heat. Once hot, place 3-4 scallops and sear for about 2 minutes on each side. Don't overcook the scallops because it'll get tough and chewy. You want them to still be a little opaque in the center. Continue to sear the rest of the scallops. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, mix orange juice, vinegar, shallots, honey, sugar, salt, and pepper. Then slowly whisk in the oil.

4. Toss fennel in the vinaigrette dressing and place a mound on a salad plate. Place 3-4 orange segments around the fennel and top with 3 seared scallops. Drizzle more vinaigrette dressing over the scallops.

Chicken Satay with Homemade Peanut Sauce

I love Chicken Satay and can't see myself ever get tired of eating them. The taste and aroma bring back childhood memories of watching the "Abang Sate" (satay man) grill them next to their cart on the side of the road and me drooling, ready to devour every single piece.

Being in the US, eating satay has become somewhat of a luxury. People make them for special celebrations like birthdays or sell them at an Indonesian food bazaar -- at a pretty hefty price! If you're like me and can't wait for another party or bazaar to eat them...why not make them at home?

Makes about 20 skewers


1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts (cut into chunky strips)
1/4 C. sweet soy sauce
4 shallots (minced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
Bamboo skewers

Peanut Sauce
1 C. creamy peanut butter
1/2 C. water
5 shallots (minced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1/4 C. sugar
2 T. sweet soy sauce
Salt to taste
Fried shallots (for garnish)

Cooking instruction:

1. Mix sweet soy sauce, shallots, and garlic. Add chicken pieces and marinade for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.

2. Thread chicken pieces until they cover a little more than 1/2 of the skewer. Continue until all chicken is used.

3. Grill chicken skewers on a charcoal grill, turning them until they're completely cooked.

4. To make peanut sauce, mix all ingredients (except fried shallots) in a sauce pan on medium heat. Add a little more water if sauce seem too thick.

5. Place chicken skewers on a serving plate. Pour warm peanut sauce over and top with fried shallots. Serve hot.

Chicken Satay makes great bite-size appetizers, too.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pandan Bread Pudding Topped with Bananas and Butter-Rum Sauce

They say when life gives you lemon, make lemonade. So, when a recent BBQ left me with a couple of dozens extra hot dog buns, I made bread pudding. Ideally, bread pudding is made from day-old french bread or brioche. But there was no way I could eat 24 buns in time before they start to mold.

Instead of making the typical "American" bread pudding, I adapted an "Indonesian" version that my oldest sister learned from her mother-in-law by using Pandan essence and coconut milk. My sister usually mixed banana slices into the bread pudding but I decided to use them as toppings with a Butter-Rum sauce. The result: Heavenly!

Makes (1) 9"x13" baking dish


8 large eggs
3 C. coconut milk
1 T. pandan essence
1/2 C. sugar
1 t. salt
15 hot dog buns (1 loaf cubed french bread/brioche)

Bananas with Butter-Rum Sauce

4 medium bananas (sliced 1/2" thick)
1/2 C. (1 stick) butter
1 egg
1/2 C. sugar
1/4 C. Rum

Cooking instruction:

1. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, coconut milk, pandan essence, sugar, and salt.

2. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Add cubed bread into the mixture and let them soak through for at least 10 minutes.

3. Butter the inside of a 9"x13" baking dish. Transfer the bread pudding mixture into the dish and spread evenly. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stick a wooden skewer in the middle of the pan and if it comes out clean, it's done.

4. Whisk butter, sugar, and egg in a saucepan under medium heat until bubbly and sauce thickens. Add banana slices and Rum and cook for about 1 minute.

5. Place a slice of bread pudding on a small plate and spoon banana slices and Rum sauce on top. Serve warm.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Japanese Gyoza

Gyoza dumplings actually originated in China but became popular in Japan. The most common filling for gyoza is ground pork with cabbage and chives. You can also add ground shrimp (ebi-gyoza) or make it vegetarian. They can be boiled, steamed, deep fried, or pan-fried. My favorite is pan-fried because it gives a nice combination of the crispy and soft texture of the skin.

Makes about 50 pieces

1 lb. ground pork
1 C. shredded cabbage
2 t. minced ginger
1 t. minced garlic
2 T. sliced chives or scallions
1 t. sugar
1 T. soy sauce
1 T. sesame oil
Salt, to taste
1 pkg. gyoza wrappers

Dipping Sauce
1/2 C. low sodium soy sauce
1 T. rice vinegar
1 t. chili oil
1 T. sliced scallions

Cooking Instruction:

1. In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients except for wrappers.

2. Fill each wrapper with 1 teaspoon of the pork mixture. Dip your finger in water then dab along the edges of the wrapper. Seal by folding them in half and pressing along the edges.

3. To pan fry the gyozas, heat 2 T. oil in a large frying pan on medium high. Once oil is hot, line up approximately 12 gyozas inside the pan. Leave for about 2 minutes to brown the skin. Then turn the gyozas over (I find that using a chopstick is the easiest and fastest way to do it).

4. Pour 1/4 C. of water into the pan and quickly close with a lid (or you'll get oil splattered all over). Let they gyozas steam for a couple of minutes until most of the water evaporates. Transfer gyozas onto a paper towel to absord the excess oil.

5. Wipe pan and repeat Steps 3 and 4 to pan fry the rest of the gyozas.

6. In a small bowl, mix soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili oil, and scallions. Serve gyozas with dipping sauce.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Pan Fried Sole Fish with Corn and Bell Peppers in Coconut Reduction Sauce

I wasn't quite sure how this dish was going to turn out. I've been craving fish so I bought some sole fillets and wanted to do some kind of sauce for it. Years ago, I learned how to make grilled corn by marinating it in a mixture of coconut milk, sambal oelek, salt, and sugar. It's sweet, savory, and spicy! Since I had leftover corn on a cob I figured using the same basic ingredients as the grilled corn would turn this into a delicious sauce. I added some diced red bell peppers to add a nice contrasting color to the dish. I also decided to use steamed spinach for the veggies. I'm pleased to say that it came out DELICIOUS!!

Makes 4 servings


(4) 3 or 4 oz. sole fillets
3/4 C. panko bread crumbs
1 T. corn starch
1 T. flour
2 t. garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil for pan frying
2 C. corn kernels
1 medium red bell pepper (diced)
3 shallots (finely chopped)
2 T. butter
(1) 12 oz. can of coconut milk
1 T. sambal oelek
1 T. sugar
Salt, to taste
1 bunch spinach (steamed)
cilantro for garnish (optional)

Cooking instruction:

1. In a flat and wide container, combine panko, flour, corn starch, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Dredge both sides of the fillets generously with the dry mixture.

2. Heat 2 T. oil in a large frying pan on medium high. Once oil is hot, pan fry each fillet for about 3 minutes on each side. Sole fish can easily break so be extra gentle when turning them over.

3. In the same pan, melt butter over medium high heat. Add shallots and cook until it turns opaque and slightly brown. Add corn and bell peppers.

4. Stir in coconut milk and sambal oelek. Add salt to taste. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens and coconut milk is reduced by half.

5. Place a fish fillet on top of a bed of steamed spinach and spoon the corn mixture and sauce on top. Garnish with cilantro and serve with steamed rice.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Perkedel Jagung Udang (Corn Fritters with Shrimp)

I've been slacking with cooking all week so I decided to stop by the market to get some inspiration. With summer coming to a close I saw some sweet white corn on the cob on sale. Then I stopped by the seafood counter and saw the raw shrimp was also on sale. I couldn't pass them up so I decided to make corn fritters with shrimp. This is one of my favorite snacks growing up and it's so easy to make. The longest part is frying the fritters.

Makes about 20-24 fritters

5 sweet white corn (cut kernels off the cob)
1 lb. 21-30 raw shrimp (cut into large chunks)
1 stalk green onion (sliced)
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
3/4-1 C. flour
1 T. corn starch
1/2 t. baking powder
1 T. sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
1-2 T. cold water
Vegetable oil for frying

Cooking instruction:

1. Place corn kernels, shrimp, green onions, and garlic in a large bowl.

2. In a small bowl, mix flour, corn starch, baking powder, sugar, salt, and pepper.

3. Stir in the dry ingredients to the corn/shrimp mixture. The moisture from the corn will create a nice thick batter. Add 1-2 tablespoon of cold water if the mixture seem too dry. But you still want to keep a nice thick consistency.

4. Heat oil in a large frying pan on medium-high. Once oil is hot, place a spoonful of the batter into the pan. This is a good time to see if your batter has the right consistency. If the corn is falling apart, then your batter is too dry so add a little water. Once you know the batter is ok, place large spoonfuls of batter around the pan. Fry for about 4 minutes on each side or until they turn golden brown and shrimp is cooked through. Continue until all batter is used up. Serve hot.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Mie Ayam Jamur (Chicken and Mushroom with Egg Noodles)

Makes 4-6 servings


1 lb. boneless/skinless chicken thighs (cut into small pieces)
1 can broken straw mushrooms
1 T. vegetable oil
1 T. minced garlic
2 T. oyster sauce
3 T. sweet soy sauce
pepper, to taste
1 pkg. egg noodles (thin or thick-style)
Fish sauce
Sesame oil
1 bunch choy sum (cut into 2" pieces)
Fried shallots
Sliced green onions
Chicken broth

Cooking instruction:

1. Heat vegetable oil in a large pan. Once oil is hot, add garlic and chicken. Cook for 4-5 minutes until chicken loses its pink color.

2. Add mushrooms, oyster sauce, sweet soy sauce, and pepper. Mix well and simmer for a few minutes until chicken is cooked through.

3. Blanch choy sum by immersing them in boiling water for a few minutes. Remove from the hot water and place them in ice water. This process sets the nice green color and prevents them from getting overcooked.

4. Place egg noodles in boiling water for 3-4 minutes until soft. Strain the noodles and run cold water through them until cool so they won't clump up. Drain well.

5. Add a splash of sesame oil, fish sauce, and pepper to flavor the noodles.

6. Place noodles in a bowl. Add chicken and mushroom mixture and choy sum. Top with fried shallots and sliced green onions. Serve with chicken broth on the side.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Nasi Bakmoy (Minced Meat and Tofu over Rice)

Nasi Bakmoy is one of those recipes I learned by observation and taste. I was a teenager and saw a lady at church cook this dish. Everyone was raving about how good it was so I looked at the main ingredients and started making my own version. I've made this dish countless times since then. Although my version may not be as accurate as the original, I'm happy to say that so far, it's been a hit with family and friends. It's a really simple dish and it makes a great topping for porridge, too.


1 lb. ground pork or chicken
1 pkg. tofu (cut into small cubes)
1/4 C. dried shrimp (coarsely chopped)
1 T. minced garlic
1 T. oyster sauce
2 T. fish sauce
1/4 C. sweet soy sauce
1 t. pepper
1 T. vegetable oil
2 T. sesame oil


Fried shallots
Sliced green onions


Chicken stock
Sliced green onions
Minced garlic
Chopped celery
Salt and pepper

Cooking instruction:

1. Heat vegetable and sesame oil in a large pan. Add garlic. Once the garlic start to turn light brown, add the ground meat and dried shrimp and cook until almost done.

2. Add the cubed tofu into the mixture.

3. Stir in oyster sauce, fish sauce, sweet soy sauce, and pepper.

4. Let the mixture simmer for a few minutes to let all the flavors seep in.
5. Serve over white rice and top with sliced green onions and fried shallots. You can pour the broth over the dish or serve it on the side. Enjoy!
Related Posts with Thumbnails