Tag Archives: Southeast Asian Food

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.

Thai Chicken Stir-Fry with Cashews

Cashew_Chicken1 (1 of 1)Here’s another stir-fry dish that’s delicious and quick to prepare. You can substitute the raw cashews with unsalted, ready-roasted cashews, but I prefer the wonderfully sweet and nutty flavors they take on when dry-roasting yourself (you can also deep-fry raw cashews in a bit of canola or peanut oil, which is what they do in Thailand). You can also substitute the dried Thai chilies with fresh ones, but I believe this dish is traditionally prepared with dried chilies. I really like this dish, and I hope you’ll try it too!

1/2 cup raw whole cashews
3 – 5 dried Thai chilies, slit lengthwise on one side with a sharp knife, seeds removed and chilies cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
1 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp oyster sauce
3 Tbsp chicken stock
1 1/4 tsp sugar
3 Tbsp canola oil
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely grated or minced
1 1/4 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts, thinly sliced, then cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1/2 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced diagonally
1 small onion, peeled and cut into 6 wedges
2 scallions, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces (both pale and dark green parts)
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1/4 cup cilantro leaves

Heat a small cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cashews and dry-roast until lightly browned, but not burnt. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Whisk together the fish sauce, oyster sauce, stock and sugar in a small bowl, then set aside.Cashew_Chicken2 (1 of 1)

Heat the oil in a wok over high heat. Add the chilies and stir-fry for one minute. Remove chilies with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium-high. Add the garlic and stir-fry for about 30 seconds. Turn heat back up to high and add the chicken, stir-frying for 4 minutes.

Add the red bell pepper, carrot, onion and sauce mixture to the chicken. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cashews, chilies, scallions and white ground pepper. Season to taste with a bit more fish sauce and sugar, if necessary. Serve with steamed jasmine rice, and garnish with cilantro leaves.

Serves 4.

Malaysian Lamb Curry with Cilantro and Mint

Malaysian_Lamb_Curry2 (1 of 1)I’m on a bit of a lamb kick at the moment, so I tried this very interesting Malaysian lamb dish last night. Malaysian cuisine is influenced by cuisines from around the world, but it is particularly influenced by its Malay, Chinese and Indian ethnic groups. This dish is a delicious Malaysian spin on Indian Lamb Korma. The unique balance of spices and herbs, and the use of ghee are what make this dish! I hope you’ll try it!

2 inches (1 oz) fresh ginger, peeled and grated
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 – 3 red Thai chilies, seeded and minced
2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 1/2 lbs boneless lamb leg, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 Tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
2 medium onions, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced
1/2 tsp sugar
6 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 cinnamon stick
1 14-oz can coconut milk
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp roasted peanuts, chopped
Handful fresh cilantro, chopped
Handful fresh mint leaves, chopped

In a small food processor (or mortar and pestle), grind ginger, garlic and chilies to a fine paste. Stir in the garam masala, ground coriander, cumin and turmeric.

In a medium bowl, combine the lamb cubes and the garlic mixture well, ensuring that every Malaysian_Lamb_Curry1 (1 of 1)cube is coated. Cover and let stand in the refrigerator for one hour.

Heat ghee in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sugar, and cook until caramelized, about 20 minutes.

Stir in the cardamom pods, cinnamon stick and lamb with its marinade. Brown the lamb, stirring for 4 minutes.

Stir in the coconut milk and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer gently until meat is tender, about 1 hour. Season to taste with additional salt and black pepper. Serve over steamed jasmine rice. Garnish each serving with the chopped peanuts, cilantro and mint.

Serves 4.

Chiang Mai Chicken Noodles (Khao Soi Gai)

Chiang_Mai_Noodles1 (1 of 1)Chiang Mai noodles is one of my all-time favorite Thai dishes (no kidding!). It is the signature dish of Chiang Mai, Thailand, and that is where I tasted it (experienced it!) for the first time. It is said to be of Burmese origin, but it now calls Chiang Mai home. It is served soup-style in a bowl with lots of broth over noodles, together with a bit of meat, such as pork or chicken. The broth is a fantastic blend of spices, coconut milk and chicken stock, and it is on the hot side. It is typically garnished with green onions, shallots, peppers and a deep-fried nest of noodles (optional). I hope you’ll try it!

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast (about two breasts), cut into 1-inch cubes
2 1/2 cups coconut milk
2 Tbsp red Thai curry paste
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
4 Tbsp fish sauceChiang_Mai_Noodles2 (1 of 1)
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce (don’t substitute with regular/light soy sauce; do substitute with kecap manis, if necessary)
Juice of 1/2 fresh lime
1/8 tsp ground white or black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 lb fresh Asian-style egg noodles, cooked 2 minutes in boiling water, then drained and set aside

For garnish
3 spring onions, diagonally sliced
4 (or so) red Thai bird chilies, seeded and thinly sliced
4 chopped shallots
Some cilantro (coriander leaves)
4 fried noodle nests (optional)*

Heat about 1/3 of coconut milk in a wok or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. As soon as it comes to a boil, add the Thai curry paste and turmeric. Stir constantly for about 1 or 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add chicken and stir fry for another 2 minutes.

Add the rest of the coconut milk, chicken stock, fish sauce, dark soy sauce, lime juice, ground pepper and salt to the chicken mixture. Bring back to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently, uncovered, for about 7 minutes. Serve in bowls, over portions of the egg noodles. Garnish each serving with spring onions, chopped bird chilies, chopped shallots, cilantro leaves and fried noodle nests (if using).

Serves 4.

*To make fried noodle nests, divide 6 oz rice vermicelli into 4 “nests.” Heat about an inch of canola oil in a wok over high heat. Test oil when it is hot by dipping one of the noodles into it; oil is ready when noodle puffs up on contact. With tongs, drop one nest into the oil. It will just take a second to fry — remove from the oil as it has puffed up. Place on paper towels to drain. Repeat with the rest of the nests.

Indonesian Shrimp Curry (Udang Kari)

Indonesian_Shrimp_Curry1 (1 of 1)I’m very fond of just about any dish that has lemongrass in it. The original recipe called for ground lemongrass, but I prefer the brightness of fresh lemongrass for this recipe. This Indonesian curry can be served as a main dish with steamed rice, or as one dish of a few for an Indonesian-style meal. This is an easy dish for a mid-week dinner, and it’s good so I hope you’ll try it!

1 Tbsp canola oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 garlic coves, peeled and finely grated or minced
1 stalk lemongrass, outer leaves removed and the lower 6 inches very finely minced
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp sambal ulek
1/2 tsp terasi
1 tsp salt
1 cup coconut milk
1 lb peeled shrimp (uncooked, frozen or fresh)
1 Tbsp kecap manis
Heat oil in a wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, lemongrass, turmeric, cumin and sambal ulek. Saute gently for 3 minutes.

Add the terasi, salt and coconut milk to the onion mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, add shrimp and simmer for 20 minutes, or until sauce is quite thick. Stir in kecap manis and serve with seamed jasmine rice.

Serves 4.

Indonesian Roasted Pork Tenderloin with a Sweet Ginger Sauce (Babi Panggang)

Babi_Pangang4 (1 of 1)Here’s another one of my favorite Indonesian pork recipes (I have several favorites in this category!). This one is a roasted pork tenderloin that has been marinated in a ginger/garlic/sweet soy sauce. It is served over a bed of crisp, shredded white cabbage, with a drizzle of a unique (delicious!) ginger sauce. I hope you’ll try it!

2 tsp peeled, finely grated fresh ginger
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp Laos powder
2 Tbsp kecap manis
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 lb (or so) pork tenderloin

1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tsp kecap manis
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 Tbsp tomato paste
3 tsp corn flour (cornstarch)
1 inch peeled fresh ginger, cut lengthwise into very fine julienne strips (about 1/2 Tbsp)
1 tsp sambal ulek
1 small onion, diced
1 Tbsp canola oil

1/2 head white cabbage, very thinly sliced

Babi_Pangang6 (1 of 1)Prepare the marinade by combining the first 6 ingredients (through ground black pepper) in a small bowl. Place the pork in a shallow dish and cover evenly with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour (or longer).

Meanwhile, prepare the ginger sauce by whisking together the next 7 ingredients (through sambal ulek) in a medium bowl. Heat oil in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onions and saute for 3 minutes. Add the sauce mixture. Stirring constantly, slow bring to a boil. Reduce to low and continue to cook until the sauce thickens (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat, cover and set aside.

Heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking dish that will accommodate the pork with aluminum foil and place the pork in the dish. Cook the pork until it registers 155 degrees Fahrenheit when inserted with a thermometer in the thickest portion (about 20 minutes) — cooking the pork any longer will dry it out. Remove the pork from the oven and place on a cutting board. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest 10 minutes.

Slice the pork into half-inch pieces. Spread the sliced cabbage on a serving platter and place the pork slices on top. Pour sauce over the pork. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Serves 4.

Thai Beef Stir-Fry in an Oyster Sauce

Thai_Beef_Stir-Fry_in_an_Oyster_Sauce3 (1 of 1)I enjoy stir-fry dishes because they call for the freshest of ingredients, and they are generally quick to prepare (and they can be very healthy, as well!). This is a typical Southeast Asian-style stir-fry that combines fresh, spicy, sweet, sour and salty flavors into an harmoniously delicious dish. I hope you’ll try it!

 

1 lb flank steak, cut against the grain into very thin slices that are 2 inches in length
1 Tbsp dry sherry
1 Tbsp cornstarch (cornflour)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

3 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp lemon juice (about half a lemon)

2 Tbsp canola oil
3 garlic cloves, minced or finely grated
2 tsp finely peeled, grated fresh ginger

4 fresh Thai bird chilies, seeded and cut lengthwise into very fine julienne strips
3 scallions (green onions), cut into 1-inch pieces, then cut lengthwise into very fine julienne strips

8 lettuce leaves

Whisk together sherry, cornstarch and black pepper in medium bowl. Combine well with beef and set aside to marinate for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce by whisking together oyster sauce, soy sauce, honey and lemon juice in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok over high heat. Add the garlic and ginger, and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the beef mixture, sir-frying until the meat is no longer pink (about 3 minutes). Add the sauce and continue to stir-fry for an additional 2 minutes, until the sauce has thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the chilies and scallions. Serve over individual lettuce leaves, together with steamed jasmine rice.

Serves 4.