Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Beef Rendang

In the picture above, the beef (covered in spice paste) has been added to the wok along with the coconut, coconut milk, lemon grass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves. This is before the slow cooking and "tempering" process.

This is a very beautiful beef recipe from the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

1 kg (2 lbs) beef topside
4 tablespoons grated fresh coconut or steamed dessicated coconut, roasted in a dry pan until golden brown, then ground finely
3 cups coconut milk (2 cups thick mixed with 1 cup thin)
2 stalks lemon grass, cut into several pieces and bruised
3 cm piece galangal, bruised (optional)
2 kaffir lime leaves (optional)
salt to taste

Paste spices
1 tsp coriander seed, roasted in dry pan and ground finely
2-3 tsp of chilli flakes (more if you like it very hot)
3 cm piece green ginger, finely chopped
3 cm piece fresh turmeric, finely chopped or 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
10 shallots, sliced

Grind all the paste ingredients together, adding a little water if the mixture is dry.  Cut the meat into 5 cm cubes, mix with spice paste and leave aside.

Combine the spiced beef and the coconut with the coconut milk in a wok.  Add lemon grass, galangal if using it,lime leaves and salt.  Bring to the boil, stirring all the time.  Cook without a lid until the gravy is almost dry.

Turn the heat down low and cook until the oil comes out of what is left of the gravy.  Stirring constantly, let the meat and its spices fry in the oil until the dish is really dry and the meat has turned dark brown but is not burnt.  This last "tempering" process is the crucial one for beef rendang - the whole dish depends on the care with which this is done.

This recipe has been adapted from the recipe for Beef Rendang in South East Asian Food by Rosemary Brissenden.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Green Fish Curry

Serves 4 or more as part of a feast.

For the green curry paste

2 shallots or one small brown onion, peeled and quartered
2 lemongrass stalks, trimmed and chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
2 cm piece of fresh ginger
6 long green chillies, chopped
1 bunch of fresh coriander, including roots, chopped
1 tablesp fish sauce
1 tsp cumin

For the curry

1 tablesp oil
270 ml coconut cream
1 cup fish stock
2 tablesp brown sugar
4 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
1 tablesp fish sauce
1 tablesp lime juice
800g firm fleshed fish, cubed

Place shallots, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, chillie, coriander, fish sauce and cumin in a food processor.  Process until finely chopped.  With motor running, gradually add oil in a slow, steady stream until a smooth paste forms.  Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to one week.

Heat oil in a pan on high heat.  Add 1/2 curry paste and fry for a few minutes.

Stir in coconut cream, stock, sugar, leaves, sauce and juice.  Bring to the boil.
Reduce heat to low and add fish.
Simmer, stirring, for about 5 minutes, or until fish flakes when tested with a fork.

Serve with rice, coriander leaves and lime wedges.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Beef Curry

1 large brown onion, chopped finely
1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cm fresh ginger, minced
3 tbsp fresh coriander or parsely, minced
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 to 3 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp black pepper or chilli powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
500g beef, cut into cubes
3/4 cup water or beef stock
 medium tomatoes, cubed

Heat oil on medium heat.  Add onion, garlic, ginger and fresh coriander.  Stir and fry 5 to 10 minutes until soft and transparent but not brown.

Add turmeric, garam masala and black pepper or chilli.  Mix well.  Cook 1 minute.

Add meat to onion and spices.  Stir and fry 3 to 5 minutes until lightly browned.

Add water or stock to meat.  Mix well.  Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium low.  Simmer 30 minutes.

Add tomatoes.  Mix well.  Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes until meat is tender.  Remove cover.  Cook until most of liquid is absorbed. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Hard Sauce

90g (3 oz) unsalted butter
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon brandy, or more to taste

Beat butter until creamy.
Add sugar a little at a time, beating until
white and fluffy.
Add liquor gradually, beating constantly.
Pile sauce into a bowl and chill.
Makes about half a cup.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sago Plum Pudding

3 tablespoons sago
1 cup milk
2 cups raisins and sultanas
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon bi carb soda
pinch of nutmeg, if desired

Soak sago in milk overnight.
Dissolve the soda in the melted butter.
Add the sago/milk mixture to all the other ingredients, mix well.
Place in a 1 to 1 1/2 pint greased basin, cover securely with foil.
Steam for 3 to 4 hours.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Grilled Vegetables Marinated with Oil and Vinegar

These vegetables can be prepared a day or more ahead, but they should be brought to room temperature before being served. 

Makes 8 servings as a first course, 10 servings as part of a meze.

2 eggplants (aubergines), preferably the plum-shaped Italian ones, about 500 g (1 pound)
2 red capsicums (bell peppers)
2 yellow capsicums (bell peppers)
3 long, slender zucchini, about 700 g (1 1/2 pounds)
a little olive oil for brushing

The marinade:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red or white wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 oil-packed anchovy fillets, minced, or salt to taste
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint, thyme or oregano

Cut the eggplant into lengthwise slices about 2 cm (1/4 inch) thick.  Place in a bowl and cover with water, measuring the amount used.  Add 1/4 cup of salt for every 1 quart (2 pints).  Set a plate in the bowl with a weight on top (a can of tomatoes is ideal) to hold the slices underwater and leave them to soak for 1 to 2 hours.

Meanwhile, rinse the capsicums (peppers) and cut them in half lengthwise.  Remove the seeds and white membrane.  Cut the zucchini on the diagonal into slices about 2 cm (half an inch) thick.
Preheat the grill.  Remove the eggplant slices from the brine and pat dry with paper towels.  Brush the eggplant and zucchini slices lightly with olive oil, using a pastry brush, and grill them on each side for 10 to 18 minutes.  When the slices are toasted dark brown on both sides, remove from the grill and arrange on a deep platter.

Place the capsicum halves skin side down on the grill.  Cook until the peppers are slightly blackened and the skin is starting to lift off and blister, about 5 to 8 minutes.  (Capsicums need not be cooked on both sides).  Add to the platter.

Mix the marinade ingredients together and pour the marinade over the vegetables.  Cover with aluminium foil and set aside at room temperate to marinate for several hours or overnight.  Serve at room temperature.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Stuffed Capsicums

Try to choose red capsicums with flat bottoms, so they stand up in the baking dish.

Serves four to six.

One half red capsicum for each person
100 grams of ricotta for each person
A small bunch of fresh basil
Two eggs

Cut the capsicums in half, wash them and remove seeds.
Wash and dry the basil, then gently strip the leaves into three or four parts.
Separate egg yolks from egg whites.  Place egg whites in a bowl and gently whip.
Place ricotta in a large bowl and drain fluid.  Place the gently whipped egg whites in the same bowl
   and blend with the ricotta.
Blend the basil leaves with the ricotta and egg whites.
Place the blended ricotta into the capsicum halves, filling to the brim.
Place the filled capsicum halves into a baking dish and put in the oven at 140 Celsius degrees. Bake for 30 35 minutes.  Keep an eye on the process.  When the ricotta browns a little the cooking is complete.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sambal Terasi

There a lot of chillies in this dish, but don't be put off.  Those large red chillies you buy in the supermarket or at the grocer's are fairly mild.  You don't even need to deseed them, and the lime juice will soften the heat anyway. Blachan and shrimp paste can be purchased from an Asian supermarket or grocery store.

12 large red and green chillies
2.5 x 2.5 cm slice blachan or 1 teaspoon of shrimp paste or more if desired, roasted in foil and then crumbled
pinch of sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice

In a food processor grind everything to a paste.  Moisten with lime juice. Place on a small serving dish with a spoon to serve and put on the table with rice and main dishes.

Chilli Ginger Sambal

This is an Indonesian sambal, delicious with most South East Asian dishes. There are a lot of chillies in this recipe, but don't be put off.  Those fat red chillies you buy in the supermarket or at the grocer's (or grow in your garden like I do), are mild.  You don't even need to deseed them. And the vinegar (or lime juice) dampens the heat further anyway.

3 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
10 fresh large red chillies, or to taste
a good dash of white vinegar or lime juice
chicken stock to moisten

In a mortar or a food processor, grind the ginger and chillies into a rough paste.  Add a little lime juice or vinegar and salt to taste, and moisten with chicken stock.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

How to Cook Sweet Potato

This is a simple but beautiful way to cook sweet potato.

Use a large non stick frying pan with a lid.  Wash one or two large sweet potatoes, and leave them unpeeled. Slice each sweet potato into thick pieces. Use only a little olive oil or vegetable oil, about one or two tablespoons.  Heat the oil on a medium high heat, then place the pieces of potato into the pan.  After about a minute, turn each piece over.  Place the lid on and cook the potato pieces, on a medium low heat, until they are soft, about 30 to 40 minutes.  Turn the pieces over every 20 minutes.  Turn out onto a platter.