Monday, May 31, 2010

Biji Salak

I'm so glad whatever attacked me earlier this week is finally out of my system. So I was ready for another cooking adventure. This time, I made "biji salak", an Indonesian dessert.

"Biji salak" consist of sweet potato balls swimming in an infusion of sweet palm sugar syrup and rich coconut milk. The name "biji salak" literally means the "seed" of the salak fruit. It is because the shape of the sweet potato balls resembles it.

This was my first time making biji salak. The tricky part was rolling the sweet potatoes because it was a bit sticky but after rolling 10 or so I got the hang of it. Overall I think they turned out pretty good.


3-4 medium size sweet potatoes
1/2 C. tapioca starch, plus more for dusting
1/2 C. palm sugar
4 C. water
2 C. coconut milk
1 t. salt

Cooking instruction:

1. Peel sweet potatoes and steam until soft.

2. In a large bowl, mash the sweet potatoes while they're still hot and let cool. Then mix in tapioca starch.

3. In a large pot, bring water to a boil.

4. Dust your hands with some tapioca starch then roll the sweet potato dough into small balls then shape like "biji salak." Drop them into the boiling water. When they float to the top, take them out and set aside.

5. Melt palm sugar with 4 cups of water. Add in the "biji salak."

6. In a separate pot, heat coconut milk and 1 t. salt.

7. Serve warm "biji salak" with a few tablespoons of coconut milk.

Singkong Goreng (Fried Cassava)

Wouldn't you know it!! Just a few days before this Memorial weekend, I was hit pretty bad by some kind of virus. Starting Wednesday afternoon, I had chills, body ache, fever, headache, and nausea. There's nothing worse than spending the long weekend being sick. And although my ultimate goal is to rest this weekend, my heart just couldn't bear it if a whole long weekend went by without cooking. I felt better on Sunday so I happily made my way into the kitchen...yeay! :)

I went to the store earlier this week and saw cassava roots and had a sudden craving for deep fried cassava. Cassava is plentiful in Indonesia and versatile in its uses. It is common to find cassava used in a variety of Indonesian snacks and desserts.


2 cassava roots
1.5 T. salt, or to taste
3 cloves garlic (minced) or 2 T. garlic powder
1 T. ground coriander
oil for frying

Cooking instruction:

1. Peel the cassava skin and divide the length of the cassava root into 4 (approx 2-2.5"). If the root is thick, cut the round in half.

2. Place the pieces into a stock pot and add salt, garlic, and coriander. Cover with water.

3. Boil the cassava until tender. Drain and let the cassava cool down a bit and dry out (so you can avoid splatters when frying).

4. Heat 2" oil in a frying pan. Deep fry cassava until golden brown. Serve while still hot and crispy. Yummmm!!

*Note: You can let the cassava soak in the seasoned water for a couple of hours or even overnight before boiling, depending on how much time you have.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Nasi Uduk Komplit (Coconut Rice with all the Fixins)

I have two very special moms...but busy moms! So we celebrated Mother's Day one week late this year. I decided to make a traditional Indonesian meal called Nasi Uduk, which means mixed rice. The rice is cooked in coconut milk and served with a variety of side dishes. For this meal, I made ayam goreng kuning (yellow fried chicken), tahu goreng (fried tofu), perkedel (potato fritters), rendang daging (beef rendang), teri kacang (spicy anchovies and peanuts), and telor dadar (omelet). Since this was a special occasion, I created a "tumpeng" - a decorated platter where the rice is molded (typically into a cone shape) and the side dishes are arranged around it. My sweet friend, Anne, who's like a sister to me, helped with the set-up and decoration and we had a blast!

Here are the lovely moms with the tumpeng - they were quite happy! :)

Nasi Uduk

6 C. uncooked jasmine rice
6 C. coconut milk
2 t. salt
3 stalks lemongrass
4 bay leaves
1 t. ground coriander

Cooking instruction:

1. Combine all ingredients inside the rice cooker. Stir a little then cook in the rice cooker until done. Once done, open the rice cooker and mix the rice.

Ayam Goreng Kuning & Tahu Goreng (Yellow Fried Chicken & Fried Tofu)

2 cornish game hen (cut into quarters)
1 pkg. firm tofu (cut into triangles)
6 shallots
3 cloves garlic
4 candle nuts
1 inch fresh ginger root
1 T. turmeric powder
1/2 T. ground cumin
1/2 T. ground coriander

Salt and Pepper, to taste
4-5 C. water
Oil for frying

Cooking instruction:

1. Place the chicken pieces inside a large stock pot.

2. Blend all seasonings in a food processor then pour into the pot to coat all the chicken pieces.

3. Pour enough water to cover the top of the chicken. Bring to a boil then continue to simmer
until the chicken are cooked all the way through. Carefully remove chicken pieces. Drop the tofu in the leftover chicken marinade and boil for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.

4. Heat oil in a large frying pan. Deep fry chicken pieces and tofu until golden brown.

Perkedel (potato fritters)
8-10 small red potatoes (cut into cubes)
1 can corned beef
3 T. fried shallots
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 t. ground nutmeg
1/4 C. chopped celery leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg yolk
1 egg white

Oil for frying

Cooking instruction:

1. Fry the potato cubes until light brown. Drain on paper towel then transfer into a large bowl and mash.

2. Add corned beef, egg yolk, garlic, shallots, nutmeg, salt, and pepper and mix well.

3. Take a spoonful of potatoes, roll into a ball, then press to flatten them. Continue until all potatoes are used up.

4. Heat oil in a frying pan. Place the egg white in a small bowl. Roll each potato fritter in the egg white then fry a couple of minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Short-Cut Dishes

I was pressed for time so I took a short cut on a couple of dishes by using ready-made seasonings. I'm blessed to have a good friend who owns an Indonesian online grocery, IndoKiosk. You can find all kinds of Indonesian cooking spices, snacks, and desserts. Just place your order online and she'll ship all the items to you (within U.S. only). Although nothing can beat making a dish from scratch, I find that the taste come pretty close. I used Bumbu Munik brand to make the Teri Kacang and Beef Rendang.

Teri Kacang (Spicy Anchovies and Peanuts)
1 pkg. teri kacang seasoning (Bumbu Munik brand)
1 pkg. raw peanuts
1 pkg. anchovies
1/2 can shoestring potatoes (I used Pik-Nik brand)

Cooking instruction:

1. Heat oil and fry peanuts and anchovies. Drain on paper towel.

2. Spread shoestring potatoes, peanuts, and anchovies in a 9 x 13 baking dish.

3. I first tried to follow the instruction on the seasoning package but it didn't quite work
because the paste was too thick. So I removed the seasoning from the package, place it in a small bowl, added about 2 T. water, and heated it in the microwave for 1 minute. Mix well then pour onto the peanut, anchovies, and potatoes. Use a large spoon to mix well and make sure they're evenly coated.

Beef Rendang
2 lbs. beef shank (cut into large chunks)
1 pkg. beef rendang seasoning (Bumbu Munik brand)
Water, as needed

Cooking instruction:

1. Place beef chunks and beef rendang seasoning into a stock pot and cover with water.

2. Bring to a boil then simmer until water is reduced to a thick sauce. If beef is not tender, add more water and repeat the process. Since I used beef shank, it took about 3 hours to tenderize the meat. Do not add more salt even if you have to add more water since the water will eventually evaporate but the salt will remain.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Roasted Lamb with Couscous and Feta Cheese

I still had leftover herb roasted rack of lamb and potatoes from dinner the other night and wanted to change it up a bit for lunch today.

I have a box of couscous in the pantry and some feta cheese so they were going to be the perfect combination. I basically followed the cooking instruction from the box but I tweaked the seasoning a bit. Boil 1-1/4 C. water with 1/4 cube of chicken bouillon. Then add 1 C. couscous and 2 T. butter and cook for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and let stand for 5-8 minutes. Fluff with fork before serving.

I removed the ribs from the lamb and thinly sliced the meat and drizzle with the
port-wine sauce. Serve with the roasted potatoes and couscous topped with the feta cheese crumbles. Ta-dah...lunch is served!

Herb Roasted Rack of Lamb with Port-Red Wine Reduction Sauce

OK, I admit it...I'm officially a slacker! :( I can't believe I didn't post any recipes for the whole month of April.

In an attempt to make it up to myself and some friends who've been asking about new posts, I decided to try something I've never made before - roasting a whole rack of lamb. I personally am not a big fan of lamb. Although I did remember tasting the roasted rack of lamb (that hubby ordered) from Ulysses Voyage at The Grove's Farmers Market in Los Angeles and it was delicious. The meat was cooked perfectly (I prefer medium-rare) and it didn't have a strong gamey taste, which is what I dislike about lamb.

My hubby, on the other hand, loves lamb. Since he's been feeling under the weather for the last few days I decided to surprise him with a dinner date in our back patio on Saturday (yes, I'm
the romantic one in the relationship).

I was a bit intimidated with the idea of roasting a rack of lamb so I browsed the internet for recipe ideas. Surprisingly, I found out that it's not as complicated as I had imagined. But, since this was my first time, I decided to use a simple herb seasoning. I'm proud to say it came out tasty, tender, and juicy...and the best part of all, hubby's tummy's happy!


8-bone Rack of Lamb
Sea salt
Black pepper
Granulated garlic powder
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 sprig Rosemary (crushed)
1 T. Thyme

Cooking instruction:

1. Place rack of lamb in a roasting pan. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic powder on both sides of lamb. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle Rosemary and Thyme. Rub all over lamb to make sure it's all coated well. Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

2. When you're ready to roast the lamb, preheat oven to 400 F.

3. Heat 2 T. olive oil in a large skillet until very hot. Sear the rack of lamb until brown, about 2-3 minutes on each side.

4. Transfer lamb back into roasting pan, bone side down. Cover with aluminum foil and roast in the oven for about 12-18 minutes, depending on how you like the meat cooked. With a meat thermometer, take a reading of the center of the meat about 10-12 minutes into cooking.

Note: Allow internal temperature to be 5 to 10 degrees less than you like because the meat will continue to cook while it sits. Bloody rare: 115 to 125 F; Rare: 125 to 130 F; Medium rare: 130 to 140 F; Medium: 140 to 150 F.

5. Let meat rest for 5-10 minutes before carving between the ribs. Serve with your favorite side dish - I made roasted potatoes and carrots because that's what I had. Mashed potatoes and/or asparagus would make great sides also.

Port-Red Wine Reduction Sauce

1 C. red wine
3/4 C. port wine
1 sprig Rosemary
2 T. chilled butter
Sea salt
Black pepper

Cooking instruction:

1. Place Rosemary sprig, red wine, and port wine in a hot sauce pan. Bring to a boil and simmer until liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 30 minutes.

2. Remove from heat. Add chilled butter and stir until melted.

3. Add salt and pepper before serving.

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