Monday, June 30, 2008

Sweet Sour Spicy Squid

- 400 gram squid, cleaned and scored
- 1 medium size tomato, cut to quarters
- 1 clove garlic, chopped finely
- 1 cm ginger, chopped finely
- 2 bird eyes red chilies, chopped finely
- 1 jalapenos, chopped roughly
- 1/2 small green peppers, cut to squares
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 kafir lime leaves, cut it to thin strip, confetti
- 1/2 teaspoon tomato paste
- 2 cup of water
- dash of rice vinegar
- salt and pepper
- scallions, chopped to 4 cm pieces

- Heat 2 tablespoon of olive oil/canola oil in the wok.
- Add garlic, ginger, red chilies, jalapenos and tomatoes. Fry until tomatoes get soft and mushy.
- Add in tomato paste and lime leaves. Stir. Add a dash of rice vinegar. Add sugar. Salt and pepper.
- Pour in the water. Let it boil. Taste, and add extra sugar, salt, pepper, if need be.
- Toss in squid. Cook no longer than THREE minutes (I let it cook only for 2 minutes), or it will get rubbery.
- Toss in the scallions. Stir.
- Serve, with quick squeeze of lemon juice on it.

This recipe started as a simple sweet sour version. But Vik tends to add some kind of sambal/ hot sauce onto anything. Hence, the chilies. The addition of lime leaves is an extra touch; I love the smell of lime leaves. It also gives a certain tang and freshness to the dish.

To accompany this dish tonight, I make a quick stir fry of tofu and beansprouts; toss with some salted fish. ;)

Quick Note:
It's important to cook squid no longer than three minutes. There is this 3/20 minutes rule when it comes to squid cooking. Either cook it (stew) longer than 20 minutes, or not more than 3 minutes, on high heat. Basically, squid is mostly muscle, so cooking it less than 3 minutes, provides enough heat to let it cook through, but not long enough for the muscle to get all stiff and chewy. However, stewing longer than 20 minutes lets the muscle to break down to silkier, softer texture.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Spiced Fried Chicken

I have some random cuts of chicken in the freezer - from 2 thighs and breast halves. I cut the chicken to smaller pieces, though the most common way of fixing this dish (or, in general, most of grilled/fried chicken Indonesian dishes - come to think of it, similar to any chicken dishes here) would consist of typical 8 serving pieces - 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, 2 wings, 2 breast halves.

- chicken
- 1 bay leaf
Grind together:
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 shallots
- 1 stalk lemon grass, chopped finely
- 1 candlenuts
- pinch of turmeric
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- pinch of salt

- Coat chicken with spice paste, let it marinade for a while. If using bigger pieces, it can be marinated up to 6 hours in the fridge.
- Put chicken in a pot and fill it with water, just enough to cover the chicken. Toss in the bayleaf.
- Let it simmer and cook in low-medium heat until half cooked. Broth should be somewhat evaporates by then.
- When removing chicken from its hot broth, use strainer and thong (or chopstick) and gently shake the excess liquid/water, so that the hot oil won't splutter too much when it comes to contact with chicken.
- Heat oil in frying pain. Fry the half-cooked chicken, until golden brown and crispy.

If there is some coconut juice/water (not coconut milk) lying around (either fresh or canned), use it as the liquid to boil the chicken. It adds the extra 'oomphh' factor to the dish - a hint of the unique smell of coconut and its sweetness.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Chicken in Black Bean Sauce

- chicken, cubed
- dried shitake mushroom, soaked in warm water, once soften, sliced
- dried red peppers, soaked in warm water, it will get a little plumped up and soft.
- zucchini
- garlic, chopped finely
- ginger, chopped finely
- sesame oil
- canola oil
- black bean paste
- oyster sauce

- Heat 1/2 tablespoon of canola oil in the wok. Once hot, toss in garlic and ginger.
- Add in the red peppers. Stir until fragrant.
- Add in black bean paste and oyster sauce. Stir. Add chicken.
- When chicken is almost cooked through (just couple minutes), add in mushroom.
- Add zucchini last.
- Right before removing it from the heat, drizzle some sesame oil to it.
- Serve.

I made this from leftover things in the fridge. Half of chicken breast, half zucchini, and about 4 ears of mushroom. Easy and quick lunch.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Aloo Paratha

Making the potatoes:
- Cut and boil 2 medium size potatoes. Add some salt to the boiling water.
- When it is fork tender (poke with ends of knife/ fork and see if it goes through easy), mash it with masher or fork. It's easier to mash them when they are still hot.
- Add coriander powder, cumin seeds, garam masala, cilantro, jalapenos, onion to mashed potatoes. Stir and mix thoroughly. Taste if it's enough salt and such.
- Let it cool while making the paratha dough. I personally like to make balls out of the mashed potatoes, less messy when rolling the paratha. But time to time, I just let it as is, and just spoon it in as filling, while rolling the paratha.

Making the dough:
- Mix the atta flour and salt in mixing bowl.
- Add some water to the flour, just a little bit at the time. Knead the dough, until it holds together and on stiffer side. Keep kneading until the dough becomes smooth.

In my experience, it takes some get used to it, in knowing when the dough is at its 'right' consistency. It shouldn't be too doughy, neither too hard. I just watched my mother in law and keep poking the dough as she kneads it to get the feel of the dough. It takes around 10 minutes of kneading. Then, leave it covered with damp towel for about an hour. But er..there are times that I just use it right away. :)

Pinch some of the dough, to make a ball size of a golf ball.

Flatten it to disk, roll it with rolling pin. Center the potato balls to the disk. Wrap the dough around potato balls, pinch where the dough gather to seal it. Then gently roll it again with rolling pin.

Heat pan with some ghee on it, slide one paratha to the hot pan. Flip paratha to other side and cook until golden brown.

Vik likes it with yogurt and chili sauce. Some like it with just dollop of butter or more ghee. Or even ketchup!

Quick note:
Most people add some ghee while kneading the dough. Or, add it while rolling the dough: spread thin ghee to flatten disk, fold the disk, roll, spread another layer of ghee, roll; before stuffing it with potatoes. This is to make the paratha flakier and 'better' tasting. But, Vik doesn't like much of ghee/butter/oil on anything, so either I use it very sparingly, or not at all. Or, just very thin spread when rolling the disk.

It sounds a bit complicated, yes? But it's really not. I believe that it's one of those things we need to watch to learn in person than reading the 'how-to' in words. As far as rolling perfect round circle, heh, mine rarely come out to perfect circle.

In good days when I can swing it to perfect circle each and every one of them, they still won't come out all in same sizes when I stack them together.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Chicken Manchurian

When we were dating, Vik mentioned about this 'Chinese' chicken dish that he used to have, growing up in India. After all the explanation of what and how, I remember thinking that he made it up. Just as much as him thinking, how could it be possible that she doesn't know of such known Chinese dish?!'

We shamely fell into this whirlwind of 'assuming and stereotyping' - I had this deep frown on me when he looked strangely at 'martabak.' He never came across 'martabak' until he met me.

See, of course, I assume he knew; urgh...martabak is Indian dish, isnt it? So, hm..? But nope, he has no clue what martabak is. There I went for deep research on martabak. ;) Long story.

Chicken Manchurian, is a Indian-Chinese dish. Kind of Chinese dish with Indian twist. After googling and such, I came to 'two' versions of it - one is with deep fried chicken chunks (seem to be the most known one) and the other is in the shape of chicken meatballs. Vik insisted that it has to be the meatballs kind.

That all was oh..five years ago.

- 500 gram ground chicken
- 1 carrots, finely chopped
- handful of bamboo shoots, finely chopped (or cabbage, if you prefer or have it in fridge instead bamboo shoots)
- pinch of ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon corn flour, mix to 1 tablespoon water.
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- small piece of ginger, grated
- 2 green chillies
- 2 green onions
- soy sauce (according to taste)
- chicken broth
- sambal / hot sauce (not tobasco)

- Make the chicken meatballs by combining ground chicken, carrots, bamboo shoots, ground coriander, dash of soy sauce and some of the chopped garlic and ginger. Shape into balls.
- Instead of deep fry, I pan fry it by heating up couple tablespoon of oil on nonstick pan. Add the meatballs, turn after couple minutes. Put on the side (on paper towel) while making the sauce/ gravy.
- Put 2 teaspoon oil in a wok, fry ginger, garlic, green chilies until fragrance.
- Add the chicken broth, soy sauce, sambal to the garlic mixture. Stir and let the broth heat up until it bubbles a little.
- Add meatballs and stir.
- Pour a little bit of corn flour mixture to the pot. Stir. It will thicken up the gravy. If it is not thick enough, gently pour a little bit more of the corn flour mixture.
- Add green onions just right before removing the wok from heat.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Beef in Red Wine Sauce

- beef (I use beef top sirloin) cut to bite size
- button mushroom
- onion, chopped finely
- red wine
- squirt of tomato paste
- garlic, chopped finely
- caraway
- dried parsley
- dried thyme
- salt and pepper

- Heat olive oil or butter in the pan, add garlic, onion and caraway seeds.
- Stir in beef and let it cook half through, then add mushrooms. Toss in parsley and thyme. Salt and pepper.
- Add tomato paste, stir and mix thoroughly. Add red wine. Scrape the bottom of the pan gently, to get all those caramelized bits of spices and beef.
- Once the wine is a little bit reduced, add a splash of heavy cream (half and half is fine too), to thicken up the gravy.

This dish can be served with pasta, or mashed potatoes, or roasted fingerling potatoes. But I have an opened half box of rice pilaf, so, that's what I paired it with. And steamed asparagus, toss with olive oil and lemon juice. And simple salad on the side.

Egg Tofu (Tahu Telor)

- 1 small slab of tofu (about 5x4x1) cut to small pieces
- 5 eggs, beaten
- 1 cucumber
- beansprouts
- 4 shallots
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 small tomatoes, chopped roughly
- dark soy sauce
- 2 red chillies
- shrimp paste
- tamarind juice (or soak some tamarind to warm water)

- Mix tofu to beaten eggs, season with few dash of pepper and soy sauce.
- Make couple of omelette out of the mixture. Set aside.
- Make the sauce; fry shallots, garlic, chillies, tomatoes, and shrimp paste until fragrant.
- Add sweet soy sauce and tamarind juice. Stir.
- Place omelette onto the plate, cucumber on top of it, then bean sprouts. Pour some of the sauce on top of it. I like to keep the sauce separately on the side, and just laddle it to the dish as we eat. It is just matter of preference, pouring it all at once right before serving is fine too.

Sometimes, I add roughly chopped peanuts to the sauce. Or, 1 teaspoon of natural peanut butter to the sauce and mix through it.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Fried Noodle (Mie Goreng)

- 350 gr noodles (I use fresh kind from Asian grocery store. If you buy those dry kind ones, read the package on how to boil/cook it - some only need soaking in boiling water, some require cooking it in boiling water)
- 3 red chilies
- 3 medium size shallots
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon coriander (ketumbar)
- 1/2 block of maggi chicken bullion (only if you have it, it's okay if you don't), mix with tiny bit of warm water.
- 1/2 onions, sliced
- 1 medium size tomatoes, sliced.
- carrots
- bell peppers
- cabbage
- chives (or green onions, whichever you prefer), cut to 4 cm length.
- bok choy
- shrimp, deveined and shelled.
- cooked chicken
- soy sauce
- sweet soy sauce

The vegetables and meat can be adjusted according to taste, or what it's in the fridge. :)

- Grind shallots, garlic, coriander, maggi block, and chilies to paste. This is my preference. But to it's completely fine just to chop them up very finely and mix it with coriander and maggi block.
- Add oil to wok, when it is hot, toss spice paste to it. Fry until fragrance.
- Add onions and tomatoes. Stir until it's soft. Then goes into it, carrots, bellpepper, cabbaga. Stir for couple minutes.
- Add noodles. Stir. Add both kind of soy sauce, to taste. Stir.
- Add shrimp and chicken. Mix them thoroughly.
- Last, add chives and bok choy.

- If you have fried shallots, sprinkle some of them on top of it. Yum! Or, shredded omelette.

Yellow Spiced Grilled Chicken (Ayam Panggang Bumbu Kuning)

This is one of my favorite chicken dishes. Not extremely hard to make, just a little bit time consuming. It's delicious with yellow rice. Normally (traditonally, at home) this dish is made with whole chicken, cut to about 6-8 pieces. Though I honestly can't say that I have ever made it that way here. Err..the size of chicken here, if cut to 8 pieces, yield way too much for serving size portion. So, I usually use whatever cuts I have at home, cut it to smaller portion.

- any cuts of chicken: thighs, wings, drumstick, breast.
- coconut milk
- stalk of lemongrass, bruised.
- lime leaves (daun jeruk purut)
- some bits of tamarind (asam gelugur)
- cloves (cengkih)
- white cardamom (kapulaga), bruised

Grind to paste:
- caraway (adas manis)
- coriander (ketumbar)
- cumin (jintan)
- nutmeg (pala)
- ginger
- turmeric (kunyit)
- galangal (lengkuas)
- candlenuts (kemiri)
- garlic
- shallots
- black pepper and salt

- Heat oil and fry spice paste and the rest of spices (lemongrass, lime leaves, tamarind, cloves, and cardamom) until fragrant.
- Add chicken pieces and coconut milk.
- Cook under medium low heat until gravy thicken.
- Grill chicken and basting it with the gravy.
- Squeeze some lemon juice on it before serving.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Blackened Cajun Fish with Couscous

- 2 fillet of fish (tilapia, catfish, red snaper)
- 1/2 tsp of paprika
- 1/4 tsp of hot chili powder/ cayenne
- 1/4 tsp of garlic powder
- 1/4 tspof onion powder
- 1/4 tsp of dried parsley
- 1/4 tso of dried thyme
- pinch of salt and pepper
- butter

- Mix all the dry spices (except butter)
- Pat fish dry with paper towel.
- Coat fish generously with spices mix.
- Heat butter on pan, make sure it is hot enough before you put the fish on, but not so hot that it browns the butter.
- Slide fish carefully to the pan. Depending on the thickness of the fillet, it will not take but only couple minutes at one side. Then carefully lift and flip to the other side.
- Once cooked and 'blackened', remove fish and put on top of platter.
- Add extra olive oil or butter to the pan, and scrape the bits of it. I like to add a touch of milk or cream to make little sauce to pour on top of the fish.

There are many different 'Creole/Cajun' seasonings available in grocery store and it's okay just to use that instead of the spice mix above. I don't use enough of 'Creole/Cajun' mix that instead of buying the mix, I just toss everything together when I need 'em.

I like to serve fish with couscous or rice pilaf. Usually I just buy plain couscous and make it according to the box, and using broth instead of water. Then as extra, as in this case, I fry up some shallots, mushroom and jalapenos, then mix it with cooked couscous. I also add some grated lemon peel and finely chopped parsley.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Gudeg (Young Jackfruit Stew), normally I am not big fans of gudeg. It's too sweet of vegetable dish, I think. Though maybe because I grew up accustomed to Sumatran dishes - savory and spicy. Come to think of it, I don't even like jackfruit.

Anyhoo, a pregnant friend of mine was telling me how she has this weird craving for jackfruit. Hmmmm..So, all jackfruit talk and all, to the point we both imagining eating steamy hot rice, with sambal krecek and gudeg. And I don't even like gudeg, but oh well..I guess the way she described it just sound so yummy! So I thought, I'd pair it up with Vik's Birthday's Menu.

- 1 canned young jackfruit (if you can get fresh ones, pleaes do by all means use those instead)
- 1 stalk of lemongrass (sereh/serai), bruised the ends of it.
- 1 bay leaf (daun salam)
- 1/2 can of coconut milk (santan)
- 1 tsp coriander
- 4 shallots
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 inches of galangal (lengkuas)
- 1/2 tsp shrimp paste (terasi)
- black pepper
- 'gula Jawa/gula merah' (it is not palm sugar, but if need be, can be substitute with palm sugar, will have another post about this :)

- If you buy canned version of young jackfruit, drain it and though you can use it right away, I still like to boil it for a bit. I use coconut juice/water to boil it, but it is not at all necessary. Drain.
- Grind all the spices (coriander, shallots, garlic, galangal, shrimp paste, black pepper, gula Jawa) to make a paste.
- Heat oil , add the spice paste, bay leaf, and stalk of lemongrass.
- Add young jackfruit to spice mixture and pour coconut milk. Stir. Let it simmer on lower heat. Stir on and off, until the gravy thicken and the jackfruit turns to very soft.

However, I like certain bite to it, so I didn't let it cook until too mushy. Plus, none of our guests have had gudeg before and I don't want to bank on them liking too soft/mushy 'unknown' vegetable dish. ;)

Mushroom Chicken in Puff Pastry

- chopped shiitake mushroom (or any mushroom)
- small cubed chicken (I use 1 chicken breast)
- minced onion
- soy sauce
- oyster sauce
- sesame oil
- five spice powder
- puff pastry

- Heat oil, fry onion until translucent. Add chicken. When it's halfway cooked, add mushroom.
- Add soy sauce, oyster sauce, pinch of chinese five spice powder. Drizzle of sesame oil.
- Let it cook and simmer few minutes. Make sure there is not too much liquid, or the pastry will get soggy. Let mushroom-chicken filling mixture to cool before using.
- Roll out puff pastry while it's still bit cold (but the dough is workable/pliable). Cut to rectangular shape (or cut to round using cookie cutter). Put the filling. Fold the dough, dab some water around the edges. Crimp with ends of fork.
- Brush with egg wash. Bake in 350F oven for 15 minutes or until golden color.

I use made from scratch puff pastry in this recipe, but store-bought one just work as well. Will post puff pastry recipe whenever I make them next time. I usually make at least two batches of them and keep one in freezer. Do I ever buy those from freezer section? Of course!! I just happen to have some from a while ago, when I made some beef pasties for a good friend of ours. He deserves the made from scratch stuff. ;)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Roasted Red Pepper Goat Cheese Pastry

- 6 sheets of phyllo dough
- 2 fire roasted red-pepper (store bought)
- herbed goat cheese
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 egg beaten

- Thawed phyllo dough as directed on the box. Make sure always have it covered with damp cloth.
- Take one layer of phyllo and laid it on cutting board or countertop covered by parchment paper. Short side towards you. Brush with melted butter.
- Top with another layer of phyllo. Brush again with melted butter. Cut into four strips. Spoon a teaspoonful of red pepper and nice chunk of goat cheese. Fold it to triangle.
- Repeat with the rest of the phyllo sheets.
- Wash with egg wash and bake for about 15 minutes.

Beside its fragility, phyllo dough is one among those versatile basic thing to work with, I believe. It just never hurt to have a box of it in the freezer. It can be done in many varieties. Sweet or savory. I ruined half of the box the first time I used it. Well..I guess I kinda treated it like eggrolls wrap. :) Pull, slap, stuffed, roll.

Working with phyllo requires some patience and can be bit tedious. But, after a while it isn't that bad at all. I have never attempted to make the dough from scratch though. I watched taught, I guess, in pastry class. In my mind 'I am so glad that I am not to become pastry chef.'

Birthday dinner for my super special man.

So it is Vik's birthday tomorrow. It becomes somewhat of tradition to have close friends over for dinner. And a made from scratch birthday cake. See, I don't bake as much as I cook.

Even when I bake, I rarely attempt on cake baking - too time consuming and just way too much work. Except on special occasion and 'picky' eater. Vik does not like cake except uh..mine. Heehee. Nawh, he doesn't eat most cakes because they are too sweet, so I have to do a home-made one, and adjust the sugar measurement.

Menu for Eight.

chicken mushroom wrapped in puff pastry
roasted red pepper goat cheese triangle


jasmine rice
fried noodle
grilled yellow spiced chicken (ayam panggang bumbu kuning)
young jackfruit stew (gudeg)
sambal krecek
egg-tofu (tahu telur)
pickled cucumber and carrots (acar)

black forest cake

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bluberry Scones

On weekdays, usually our breakfast ranges from variety of eggs with toast, mixed berry cereal, oatmeal, french toast, or pancake. Things that take less than seven minutes to make. So, most weekends, I try to make something nicer for breakfast. We kinda like to sit outside our balcony, cup of coffee, in our pjs.

I grabbed a pint of blueberries from farmer's market across the street the day before, thinking I'd use it for the scones, see. But Vik managed to eat them, and only left small handful of it. Little things he does all the time, half eaten cookie left in the jar. Two grapes in the bowl. So, I got to mix in some of frozen blueberries.

- 2 cup of flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, diced
- 3/4 cup cold heavy cream
- 1 egg
- 1 pint fresh or frozen bluberries

- Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into large bowl.
- Using pastry blender or 2 forks, cut in diced butter. The mixture should resemble coarse crumbs.
- Mix cream and eggs together, then add to flour mixture. Mix until everything just blended. Do not overmix or overwork the dough. Fold in bluberries. Dough will be sticky.
- Drop dough by spoon to parchment lined cooking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the bottom of scones are golden brown, in preheated oven.
- Serve with preserve or whipped butter.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Piri Piri Chicken with Chipotle on Ciabatta

Another quick lunch sandwhich.

- 1 ciabatta
- 1 teaspoon of honey mustard
- 2 slice of Piri Piri Chicken Deli Meat
- 1 slice of Smoked Ham
- handful of coarsely chopped romaine lettuce
- 1/2 chipotle coarsely chopped
- green peppers, thinly sliced
- jalapenos, thinly sliced

Monday, June 16, 2008

Spaghettini with Truffle Oil

So, I have some leftover fire roasted pepper that I bought from this Italian Deli nearby. Vik wants something with shrimp.

- spaghettini, boiled to al dente.
- olive Oil.
- few handful of spinach, rinsed well.
- leftover fire roasted pepper.
- red onion, sliced.
- garlic, either chopped finely or sliced very thinly.
- shrimp, deveined and shelled.
- salt and pepper.
- grated parmesan cheese.

1. Heat pan, add olive oil, then add red onion and garlic.
2. Toss in pepper and spinach. When spinach is about to wilt, put in shrimp.
3. Add spaghettini and splash of the cooking water. Stir it well.
4. Right before you remove it from pan, toss in some grated parmesan cheese.
5. Drizzle truffle oil on top of spaghettini when serving.

Quick Omelette Sandwhich

Vik usually prefer sandwhich for his lunch, nothing messy or drippy. Most of the time, I just whip whatever sandwhich I feel like, but today, he asked for omelette with mushroom for his early lunch.

- 2 eggs
- 5 jumbo button mushroom, sliced
- 1/2 fire roasted pepper
- shallots
- couple dash of tobasco sauce
- salt and pepper

1. Bit of butter to the pan, toss in mushroom and shallots.
2. When mushroom and shallots are all fragrant and tender, toss in pepper.
3. Beat eggs, with dash of tobasco, salt and pepper. Add few drops of water.
4. Add the beaten eggs to mushroom and shallots.
5. Put two piece of bread to toaster. Spread very thin butter or olive oil on it.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Gujarati Dhal

- 1 cup red gram dhal
- 1 medium size ripe tomatoes; I like to quarter it to nice thick chunks.
- 1 green chillies
- little cut of ginger, chopped to small pieces or grate it.
- jaggery
- turmeric powder
- chili powder
- pinch of asafoetida
- cumin seeds
- mustard seeds
- small piece of cinammon stick
- curry leaves
- coriander leaves; unfortunately, I don't have any when I am making this, so I leave this out :)
- lime

1. Soak the red gram for a while. Boil and cook it with pinch of salt. Once cooked, I use hand blender to mush it.
2. Put in green chillies, tomatoes, ginger, salt and jaggery.
3. While dhal is cooking, heat one teaspoon of oil, add cumin seeds, mustard seeds. Once it splutters, add cinnamon stick and curry leaves. Add on turmeric powder, red chili powder, asafoetida.
4. Carefully pour the hot oil and spices mixture to dhal mixture. Let it simmer for a while.
5. Right before serving, squeeze in some lime juice. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Vik's aunt like to add some shelled peanuts to it, which I find it quiet good! Vik likes to add a dollop of plain yogurt in his.

Instead of using pressure cooker to cook this dhal, I use regular medium sized pot. The traditional 'correct' way of making this dhal is actually using pressure cooker (less time consuming and no need of mushing it with hand blender), which I did for few years, until we moved across the country. And somehow, along with many other cooking tools, we didn't pack it with us. Sure I could have buy a new one. But, honestly I don't use it much and the less things my tiny kitchen has, the better. And it seems to work just fine, with the pot and hand blender. :)

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Apron

I grew up watching everybody in my family cooking; mom, dad (doesn't cook, but has excellent knowledge of herbs and meat cuts), grandmas, grandpa, aunts, uncle, but rarely involved in it myself: too many cooks in a kitchen can be chaotic, often dangerous. My style is a little bit different from theirs; my grandma has this deep frown on her forehead when I try to convince to her the word 'artistic,' 'rustic' and 'free-form' in replicating her beautifully pleated dumplings.

It is from them that I learn how to gut fish (don't like doing it though), to tend the 8 hours steaming of Indonesian rice rolls in banana leaves, to wrap and tie the cone shape of Chinese Sticky Rice in lotus-leaf and and ah.. two cleavers chopping at once (imagine 4 people in kitchen!). Still not very fond to be in same kitchen with them, but sentimentally, half of this blog - is theirs.

All and all, different person, style, what not, cooking should be fun! And, entertaining, as much as therapeutic.