Tag Archives: Southeast Asian Food

Fragrant Indonesian Beef, Braised in Coconut Milk (Rendang Daging Sapi)

Beef_Rendang1Yesterday (Sunday) was so relaxing and leisurely. I was in the mood to make something a bit more involved and delicious, so I decided to make one of my favorite Indonesian dishes, Beef Rendang, or Rendang Daging Sapi. I know, the ingredients list is a mile long, and the process takes all afternoon (did I mention “leisurely”). But this dish is worth the effort, and your family will be drawn in by the fragrant, intoxicating and spicy Indonesian smells coming from the kitchen! Definitely a Sunday recipe. I hope you’ll try this dish when you have the time!

1 whole nutmeg, cracked into coarse pieces with a meat pounder
5 whole cloves
6 shallots, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
6 large red Thai bird chilies, stemmed and finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 1/2 tsp Laos powder
2 inches ginger, peeled and very thinly sliced cross-wise
5 candlenuts
2 1/2 lbs beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 14-oz cans coconut milk (not “lite”)
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 1/4 tsp salt
3 stalks lemongrass, each with 1/2 inch removed from each end, outer leaves remove, lightly pounded and tied into a knot
1 4-inch cinnamon stick
7 whole kaffir lime leaves
1 Tbsp kecap manis

Make a past be first processing the nutmeg and cloves into a powder in a food processor. Add the shallots, garlic, chilies, turmeric, Laos powder, ginger and candlenuts. process until you have a smooth paste.

In a large bowl, combine the beef and spice paste.

In a large Dutch oven, combine the beef mixture, coconut milk, brown sugar and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low, add the lemongrass knots, cinnamon stick and kaffir lime leaves. Stir gently until ingredients are combined. Simmer gently, uncovered, until just about all the liquid is evaporated, the oil from the meat and coconut milk is visible and the meat is very dark and tender. This process can take up to 3 hours, so you’ll need to be sure to stir about every half hour (mine goes the full 3 hours). Remove from heat, stir in the kecap manis and season with additional salt if desired. Serve with steamed jasmine rice and your favorite Indonesian sambals.

Serves 4 — 6.

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Grilled Indonesian Pork Satay with a Spicy Peanut Sauce

Indonesian_Pork_Satay (1 of 1)I’m about to get a brand-new pellet grill — can’t wait to show you how it does! In the mean time, I fired up the Weber grill and made these fantastic satays. This variety comes from the island of Bali (I believe it’s the cinnamon and nutmeg that make them Balinese). I love the combination of spices in these – wonderful with the peanut dipping sauce! This dish is a bit involved, but very well worth the effort. I hope you’ll give this one a try this weekend!

1 tsp + 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp sambal ulek, divided
1/2 tsp + 2 Tbsp brown sugar
3 shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp Laos powder
1 stalk lemongrass, outer leaves removed, lower six inches finely chopped
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 green cardamom pods
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
1 Tbsp tamarind water or lime juice
1 tsp salt
1 lb lean ground pork

1 small onion
3 Tbsp peanutbutter
4 tsp kecap manis
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 stalk lemongrass, crushed
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 cup coconut milk

Soak about 18 bamboo skewers in water.

Combine 1 tsp vegetable oil, 1 tsp sambal ulek, 1/2 tsp brown sugar and the next 13 ingredients (shallots through ground pork) in a food processor. Process well until you have a smooth paste. In a large bowl combine paste and ground pork. Use hand to ensure ingredients are well-incorporated. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, prepare peanut sauce by heating 1 Tbsp vegetable oil in a small sauce pan over low heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in1 tsp sambal ulek, 2 Tbsp brown sugar and the next 6 ingredients (through lemon juice). Slowly heat, gradually adding the coconut milk, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.

Get grill going.

Mold about 2 Tbsp of the pork mixture onto each skewer (as in the picture above). Place satays on grill and cook, turning occasionally until done, about 7 minutes. Serve satays with the peanut sauce and steamed jasmine rice.

Serves 4.

Spicy Indonesian Coconut Beef (Dendeng Santan)

Coconut_Beef (1 of 1)It’s been a while since I’ve posted a nice, Southeast Asian dish — the spring weather we’ve been waiting so long for finally arrived over the weekend, so I was in the mood for something spicy (“hot,” “piquant,” etc.). I ended up making one of my favorite Indonesian beef, Dendeng Santan (which translates roughly to dried beef in coconut juice, I think). Indonesians typically cook with lean (tough) cuts of beef, such as top round — the beef is cooked for a long time to the point that it is extremely tender and delicious. I didn’t have that much time, so I made this dish with a lightly marbled, boneless beef sirloin steak. The end result was a tender, delicious Indonesian beef dish in a fraction of the time. This dish is delightfully spicy and flavorful — I hope you’ll try it tonight!

1 lb boneless sirloin steak, put in the freezer 30 minutes (to aid in thin slicing), then thinly sliced across the grain into 2-inch long pieces.
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and very finely grated or minced
2 candlenuts, grated
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp tamarind water
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground galangal (Laos) powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup coconut milk, divided
1/2 tsp terasi
2 tsp sambal ulek
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 red Thai chilies, thinly sliced on the diagonal, for garnish

In a large bowl, combine beef slices, garlic, candlenuts, coriander, tamarind water, brown sugar, galangal powder and salt. Mix well, set aside and let stand 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine terasi and 1/4 cup of the coconut milk and the sambal olek in a small bowl.

Heat oil in a large wok or Dutch oven over high heat. Add beef mixture and cook 2 minutes. Add coconut mixture and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Remove lid. Add the remaining 1/4 cup coconut milk. Bring to a boil over high heat. reduce heat to low, and cook 15 minutes, or until liquid is considerably reduced. Serve with steamed jasmine rice and a spicy Indonesian relish, such as sambal petai. Garnish with Thai chilies.

Serves 4.

Chicken Simmered with Green Onions and Sweet Soy Sauce (Ayam O)

Ayam_O (1 of 1) Hi. Back from Germany. Turns out that I was too busy to cook for the blog while there. I did have tons of great food there, which I’ll try to recreate in future blogs. Great game tonight between Germany and Brazil (though, I feel bad for Brazil). Anyway, tonight’s dish is a very simple, delicious Indonesian chicken dish. There is no heat in this dish, but you can add some if you like. Browning the chicken first (which I don’t think is very Indonesian) helps to keep the chick very moist. Yum — hope you’ll try it tonight!

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut up into large chunks
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and finely grated or minced
1 inch ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 tsp brown or palm sugar
1/2 tsp granulated terasi
2 spring onions, chopped (reserve some for garnish)
3 Tbsp kecap manis
2 Tbsp water

Combine chicken chunks with salt and pepper in a large bowl. Set aside (let stand 10 minutes).

Heat oil in a wok or large frying pan over high heat. Add chicken and brown 3 minutes. Add garlic and stir-fry another 1 minute.

Add ginger, brown sugar and stir. Add terasi and stir-fry for 2 minutes.

Stir in spring onions, soy sauce and water. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer 25 minutes. Remove lid and cook another 5 minutes, or until sauce is very thick. Serve with steamed coconut rice and peeled, quartered hard-boiled eggs.

Serves 4.

Vietnamese Caramalized Pork Patties

Vietnamese_Caramalized_Pork_Balls1 (1 of 1)These pork patties are spectacular as far as I’m concerned! So full of flavor! Aside from the caramalization and other great ingredients, the sauce has a ton of ground black pepper — this is typical of many Vietnamese sauces, and I think it’s what makes this dish (must be from the French influence in Vietnam). If you like Southeast Asia’s obligatory sweet, hot, sour, salty flavor combo, I think you’ll really like this dish!

3 Tbsp tamarind purée
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 cups finely chopped shallots (about 5 very large Euro-style)
3 red Thai bird chilies, minced
1 Tbsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 large cloves garlic, very finely shredded or minced
1 1/2 lbs lean ground pork
1/3 (slightly rounded) cup sugar
3 scallions, sliced

In a small bowl, mix together 2 Tbsp fish sauce with 1/2 cup water. Set aside.

In another small bowl, mix together 2/3 cup chopped shallots with half the minced chilies and 1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper. Set aside

Heat 1 Tbsp vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in remaining 1 1/3 cups chopped shallots. Cook for about 2 minutes, until softened. Add remaining minced chilies and garlic. Stir-fry an additional 40 seconds. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine pork, remaining 2 Tbsp fish sauce, remaining 1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper and the cooked shallots. Make 18 small patties (a little less than 1/4 pork mixture, at about 2 1/2 inches each in diameter).

In a skilled large enough to easily fit all patties in a single layer, heat remaining 1 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add patties and brown on each side (about 3 1/2 minutes per side). Turn heat off and remove patties from pan — wipe out pan with a paper towel.

Add 1/3 water and 1/3 sugar to pan over medium heat and swirl gently until sugar is dissolvedVietnamese_Caramalized_Pork_Balls2 (1 of 1) and mixture begins to caramelize (about 12 minutes — you should end up with a nice, copper-colored sugar-water. Remove from heat. Slowly add fish sauce/water mixture to sugar-water. Return to a medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Stir in the uncooked shallot/chili mixture. Cook about 1 1/2 minutes, until shallots have softened. Stir in 3 Tbsp tamarind purée. Add back the pork patties and stir to ensure patties are well covered in the sauce. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes (turning patties after first 10 minutes). Remove lid. Remove patties and set aside. Simmer sauce another couple of minutes until slightly reduced. Remove from heat. Serve patties over steamed jasmine rice, topped with sauce and sliced scallions.

Serves 6.

 

 

 

 

Khmer-Style Chicken Curry

Khmer_Chicken_Curry3 (1 of 1)This very flavorful curry dish is served in Cambodia, where it is called samlá. I believe the original version would use a ton of fresh galangal — ginger works fine, as well. I added a touch of galangal (Laos) powder (which I keep in the pantry) to add that woody delicious aroma of galangal. I prefer this curry rather fiery, but if you like it milder, you can cut down on the Thai chilies. If you like curry, you must try this dish and let me know what you think!

4 inches fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced cross-wise
3 stalks lemongrass, outer leaves removed, bottom 6 inches finely chopped
2 – 4 dried Thai chilies, soaked in hot water 20 minutes, then finely chopped
1/2 tsp Thai shrimp paste
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp grated lime rind
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Laos powder (dried, ground galangal)
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
5 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 shallots or 1 medium onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
1 14.5 oz can coconut milk
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp fresh lime juice

Combine first 11 ingredients (through shallots) in a food processor. Process into a smooth paste.

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven. Add ginger mixture and stir-fry 1 minute. Add Khmer_Chicken_Curry2 (1 of 1)chicken and brown on all sides, about 4 minutes. Add coconut milk and sugar. Deglaze pan while bringing mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 25 minutes. Remove lid and let simmer an additional 5 minutes, until sauce is slightly thickened. Stir in lime juice and season with additional salt and/or sugar if desired. Serve over steamed jasmine rice.

Serves 4.

 

Flavorful Indonesian Minced Meat Parcels (Bebotok Sapi)

Bebotok_Daging1 (1 of 1)There are a few varieties of bebotok in Indonesia. They are made with minced fish, lamb or beef, and maybe even chicken, I’m not sure. In this recipe, I use beef (sapi). These yummy meat parcels are typically steamed in pandan or banana leaves — I had neither on hand last night, so I used foil. I’m sure the fresh leaves add to the aroma, but I think mine turned out just fine. These are delicious, and I hope you’ll give them a try tonight!

1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
2 medium onions, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, very finely grated or minced
1 1/2  tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 inch ginger, peeled and grated (about 1 tsp)
3 Thai bird chilies, minced
4 candlenuts, grated
1 stalk lemongrass, outer leaves removed, lower white portion very finely minced (or 1/2 tsp lemongrass powder)
1 14-oz can coconut milk
2 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
1 Tbsp tamarind water
3 eggs, 2 of them hard-boiled, the 3rd beaten in a small bowl)

In a medium bowl, mix together beef, onions, garlic, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat wok over high heat. Add coriander, cumin, ginger, chilies, candlenuts and lemongrass; Bebotok_Daging3 (1 of 1)stir-fry for 1 minute. Add beef mixture, and brown for 5 minutes — stir constantly to break meat up. Add the coconut milk, lime leaves and tamarind water, stirring well. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until mixture is just about dry, about 20 minutes. Remove meat mixture from heat. Transfer to a bowl and let cool, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice the hard-boiled eggs.

Cut sheet of aluminum foil into 14 7″X7″ squares. Place 1 egg slice in the middle of each square. Stir beaten egg into meat mixture. Spoon 2 heaping Tbsp of the meat over each egg slice. Fold opposite sides of the foil in over the meat and egg, sealing the parcels into squares.

Prepare a steamer — I used a large, shallow sauce pan, placed a cooling rack in it and filled the bottom with water, just below the rack.

Place the meat parcels evenly into the steamer. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove meat parcels from steamer. Serve with steamed rice, sliced cucumber and an assortment of your favorite Indonesian sambals.

Serves 6.