Tag Archives: Southeast Asian Food

Thai Stir-Fry of Mushrooms and Tofu

Mushrooms_and_Tofu1 (1 of 1)I’ve been posting a lot of meat dishes lately, writing about meat, even declaring my love of meat in my last post. That said, I’m taking a break from meat. This is simple and delicious vegetarian dish (if you use vegetable stock), and served with steamed rice, is a meal in and of itself. It’s not too spicy (depending on the chili garnish you use), give it a try tonight!

14 oz extra firm tofu
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp plus 2 Tbsp soy sauce, divided
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp peeled and finely grated or chopped ginger
5 Tbsp vegetable or chicken stock
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and very finely grated or chopped
8 oz oyster mushrooms, tough bases removed, cut into 1-inch chunks
8 oz shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, sliced into 1-inch chunks
2 spring onions, sliced diagonally
1 hot red pepper (about 3 inches long), seeded and cut into very fine julienne slices

Drain tofu block and cut into 1-inch cubes. Place cubes in between paper towels and let drain further for about 15 minutes.

Place tofu in a shallow dish. Whisk together sesame oil, 2 tsp soy sauce, ground black pepper and ginger in a small bowl. Add to tofu and toss until tofu is well-coated. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate for 30 minutes.

Whisk together stock, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, cornstarch and sugar in a small bowl.

Heat oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry for 4 minutes. Add the cornstarch mixture and tofu, and gently mix for 1 to 2 minutes. Season with a couple  additional sprinkles of soy sauce, if desired. Remove from heat and place on a serving platter. Garnish with the sliced green onions and red pepper (add more red pepper, if desired). Serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Serves 2 as a main dish, or 4 as part of a Thai meal with other dishes.

Sweet Indonesian Beef in a Flavorful “Dry” Sauce (Dendeng Sapi Manis)

Dendeng_Sapi_Manis1 (1 of 1)Like many Indonesian beef dishes, this calls for a lean, relatively less tender cut of meat. It is braised for quite a while until tender, and the cooking liquid has just about evaporated. In fact, the name of this recipe, Dendeng Sapi Manis translates into English as “Sweet Beef Jerky.” However, this dish is nothing like dried-out American beef jerky;  on the contrary, it’s tender and delicious. I hope you’ll try this dish!

1 lb top round beef, thinly sliced into 2-inch pieces
1 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp Laos powder
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely grated or minced
1/2 tsp terasi
1 tsp tamarind water
1 1/2 cups water
2 red Thai chilies, sliced on the diagonal

Combine meat with coriander, cumin, Laos powder, nutmeg, brown sugar and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

Heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add meat mixture and brown on all sides for 4 minutes.

Add onion and garlic, and cook for another 1 minute. Add the terasi, tamarind water and water. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil.  Cover. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours. Remove lid and increase heat to high. Cook until most of the sauce has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Garnish with the red Thai chilies, and serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Serves 4.

Makassar-Style Chicken (Ayam Makassar)

Makassar_Chicken1 (1 of 1)This simple chicken dish hails from Makassar, which is the provincial capital of South Sulawesi, Indonesia. It is unique in that the chicken simmers in a spicy coconut milk until the liquid has just about evaporated. The chicken ends up sauceless, but tender and very flavorful! I like to serve it with a spicy condiment, such as sambal ulek or sambal petai. I hope you’ll try this dish!

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced crosswise
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3 Tbsp shredded (unsweetened) coconut
1 lemon grass stalk, outer leaves removed (white part only/bottom 6 inches), very finely chopped
1 cup coconut milk
3 kaffir lime leaves, loosely torn
1 tsp salt

Heat oil in a wok or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the coriander, cumin, black pepper, shredded coconut and lemon grass. Saute until the coconut is lightly toasted, about 3 minutes.

Add the chicken to the spice mixture and stir-fry for 5 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink. Add the coconut milk, lime leaves and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, until liquid has just about evaporated, about 15 minutes. Remove lime leaves and serve with steamed rice.

Serves 4.

Malaysian Braised Beef Sirloin (Semur)

Semur1 (1 of 1)This dish is a Malaysian spin on an Indonesian recipe from Dutch colonial times. The cooking technique is a different style of braising, where you cook a relatively tender cut of beef (such as sirloin) for not a very long period of time — the beef turns out wonderfully, and to me, the cloves, lime juice and fennel seeds are what make the delicious sauce! I hope you’ll give this dish a try!

2 beef sirloin steaks (about 1 1/4 lbs total), trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 Tbsp kecap manis (sweet Indonesian soy sauce)
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground fennel
3 candlenuts (or macademia nuts)
2 tsp black pepper corns
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 large onion, diced
2 Tbsp tamarind concentrate
2 1/2 cups water
5 whole cloves
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 green onion, finely sliced

In a medium glass bowl, whisk together the kecap manis and lime juice. Add the sliced beef and mix well. Set aside and let stand for half an hour.

Combine the ground coriander, cumin, fennel, candlenuts and black peppercorns. Grind to a Semur2 (1 of 1)paste with a mortar and pestle or small food processor, adding a couple teaspoons of water.

Heat oil in a wok or Dutch oven over high heat. Add the onion and saute for 2 minutes. Add the spice paste to the pan and saute for another 2 minutes. Add the beef with its marinade, the tamarind, water, cloves, salt and sugar. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 40 minutes. Remove lid and continue to simmer for a few more minutes, reducing the sauce until thick. Garnish with the green onion and serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Serves 4.

Garlic Chicken Simmered with Pearl Onions in a Tamarind Broth (Ayam Bawang)

Ayam_Bawang1 (1 of 1)This Indonesian chicken dish is quite different from many of my others, in that its flavors are much more subtle, and the sauce, which is typically very thick, is much more of a broth. For this, I really enjoy this recipe for a change. The tamarind broth is simple and delicious! I hope you’ll try this dish!

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 large), cut into bite-size pieces
3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp canola oil
3 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely grated or minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 tsp Laos powder
1 red Thai chili, chopped
2 Tbsp tamarind water
1 Tbsp kecap manis
1 cup water
10 pearl onions, peeled

Combine chicken with salt and black pepper in a bowl.

Heat oil in a wok over high heat. Add chicken and cook for 4 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and Laos powder, and stir fry for an additional minute. Add chili, tamarind water, kecap manis, water and the pearl onions. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Serves 4.

Chicken Simmered in a Sweet Indonesian Soy Sauce (Ayam Kecap)

Ayam_Kecap2 (1 of 1)Here’s anther Indonesian chicken dish for you to try tonight. There’s no heat in the dish, but I encourage you to serve it with a spicy Indonesian sambal on the side (here I served it with sambal petai, which I purchased at a local Asian food market). What make this dish stand out are the kecap manis (sweet Indonesian soy sauce) and the nutmeg. I think this dish is so interesting — I hope you’ll try it!

1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 medium onion, peeled and finely diced
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
3 Tbsp kecap manis
1/2 tsp tamarind concentrate
1 cup water

Rub chicken pieces with the salt.

Heat oil in a heavy skillet or Dutch oven (with tight-fitting lid) over high heat. Add the chicken pieces and brown evenly for 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add the onions and stir-fry for another 3 minutes.

Add the nutmeg, kecap manis and tamarind concentrate to the chicken mixture;  stir well, reduce heat to low, and simmer about 20 minutes, until almost dry (but not burnt!).

Add the water. Increase heat to high, stirring while bringing mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer gently for another 20 minutes. Remove lid. Increase heat to high. Cook an additional 3 minutes, stirring constantly for an additions 3 minutes, until the sauce has thickened substantially. Serve over steamed coconut jasmine rice, with an Indonesian sambal (sauce) on the side.

Serves 4.

Thai Caramelized Pork Stir-Fry (Muu Waan)

Thai_Caramelized_Pork_Stir-Fry1 (1 of 1)Here’s another simple, quick and delicious stir-fry dish. The garlic, liquids and sugar cook down into a wonderful, sweet and sticky sauce that nicely compliments the pork tenderloin. Those who enjoy Thai cuisine, but don’t like too much spice will like this recipe, as it does not have the usual red peppers in it. I hope you’ll try this dish tonight!

1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp fish sauce
4 Tbsp palm sugar (or light brown sugar), packed
1 Tbsp canola or other vegetable oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled and finely grated or minced
1 1.25-lb pork tenderloin, sliced lengthwise down the middle, then thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 tsp white ground pepper
3 green onions, diagonally sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
1 additional green onion, diagonally sliced into 1/4-inch pieces for garnish
1 Tbsp fried red onions for garnish (store-bought, found in Asian markets in the Thai condiment section)

Whisk together oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce and palm sugar in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat oil in a wok over high heat. Add the garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the pork and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add the sauce mixture and stir-fry for 5 minutes, or until very thick. Add the 3 sliced green onions and white ground pepper, and stir-fry for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and serve immediately with steamed jasmine rice. Garnish with sliced green onions and fried red onions.

Serves 4.