Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Chicken & Beef Sate & Lontong with Peanut Sauce/ Bumbu Kacang

It takes me a while to post this entry, it has been many weeks since I made them. Just too long of entry/recipe, ya know? Thinking about breaking it down to 3 posts, sate, sauce and lontong/rice rolls. But if I were to do that, I'd never get around to it. The dish itself is not extremely hard, but a complete time consuming. Especially lontong. I was explaining to our friends what lontong is. They thought it was just a version of lemper (without the chicken), but it's not. It's just basically regular rice (not sticky rice), half cooked, packed into cylinder shape pouch/ package made from banana leaves (traditionally) and submerge into pot of water for 2nd stage cooking - where the rice grain expand and become compressed. However, foil and heat-proof plastic are widely used or last I heard, there is special mold made for this very purpose.

Absolutely not rocket science but it does take some practice or experience to get it right. My 'perfect' lontong has always been ones made by my grandma. My mom couldn't even quite master it yet (shhh) It has to have some bite to it without being too hard. But foremost, not gummy nor mushy soft. Ergh. And when being cut, there should be no cooked rice grain crumbling out from it. Though it easily falls into rice category, it's not quite a substitute for plain rice as daily staple. We eat/use it with sate and some other gravy/saucey items. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

One thing I love about lontong is its character (now I make it sound as if it's a person or somethin). From street push carts or nicer dining place. Bare to the bone fixing, simple vegetable gravy poured on top of it, or as complement for sate, to fancier complete lontong dinner of lodeh, rendang, and all other fixings. 50 cents/plate or $10/plate. Either way, it is 'just' a basic delicious compressed rice dish (I would even eat it with sweet soy and crispy shallots!!). Doesn't matter how gourmet the end result of a dish, lontong is lontong, homey and nothing pretentious. It's almost impossible to believe how a simple dish like this can be so addicting!

Lontong/ Ricerolls
- 2 cups rice, rinse very well
- 4 cups water
- dash of salt
- pandan leaves, make into a knot (optional)
- 5 (12x12") foil/ banana leaves (if using banana leaves, make sure to wipe leaves with damp cloth and there is no tear anywhere)

- Cook rice and water in a pot. Toss in pandan leaves. Let water come to a boil.
- Turn the heat down to medium low, cover with lid and cook until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
- Remove pot from heat and just let stand for another 15 minutes, still covered.
- Take a piece of foil, put about 1 1/2 cup of rice onto center of foil. Roll it up tight like a cylinder. Twist both ends securely. Repeat with the rest of rice.
- Put rolled up bundles into a big pot. Fill with water. Water has to cover all rolls. Let cook in medium heat for 2 hours. Hm..yeah. Check once in a while to make sure the water level is still above rolls. Add hot water if need be.
- Test the readiness of it by poking with blunt end tools (I use the handle of wooden spoon) and it should feel solid.
- Lift with tongs, as it will be super ultra hot. Once lifted, let rolls stand upright on a big bowl/basin to drain any water that may have seep through bundles.

Traditional style of using banana leaves will leave a faint green color on the exterior of lontong and it lends a wonderful smell of banana leaves. I was torn between using it for this or for plating. Obviously, I opted it for plating!! If using banana leaves, make the mold ahead of time - by rolling it to a tube shape and secure one end with toothpick. Hence, it's ready to filled with rice and just secure the other end before putting it into pot.

- chicken (cut to 3/4 x 3/4" - I like to mix white and dark meat)
- beef (cut to 3/4 x 3/4")
grind to paste:
- 2 stalk lemongrass (white part only)
- 6 shallots
- 4 cloves of garlic
- piece of galangal
- 1 inch of ginger
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 4 tbsp coriander
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tsp palm sugar
- pinch of cinammon
- salt and pepper

- Fry paste in a little bit of oil for few minutes. Let cool.
- Slather paste to meat and marinate for at least 6 hours. Preferably overnight but not longer than 24 hours.
- Skewer meat to sticks and grill away! :D Squeeze some lime juice on top just before serving. And drizzle some sweet soy!! Yum!!

Peanut Sauce
- 500 gr peanuts (ground - I use mortar and pestle so I can control the texture. It should be still somewhat coarse, \yet fine enough to give a nice texture to sauce)
- 250 gr chilies (ground to smooth paste, or I guess some bottled sambal oelek is fine)
- 5 shallots
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 stalk lemon grass, whacked
- 1 piece of galangal (optional)
- 5 candlenuts, panseared very quickly to release the oil
- 200 gr palm sugar (to taste)
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 cups coconut milk (I diluted the canned coconut milk, 1 1/2 cup milk with 1 1/2 cup water)
- 2 tbsp coconut oil (optional, any oil is fine)

- Grind shallots, garlic, galangal, candlenuts to coarse paste.
- Heat coconut oil in pot. Toss in spice paste, lemon grass, bay leaf. Fry for few minutes.
- Add in chili paste. Stir. Toss in ground nuts and sugar. Mix throughly.
- Pour in coconut milk. Keep stirring until it thickens. About 20-30 minutes.
- If I have basil leaves on hand (one of the herbs I am trying to grow right now. Yihaa!), I like to add it to the sauce to give it some zing.

There. Sate, lontong & bumbu kacang. Pfuih! Pardon the poor lighting of the picture. It was taken very quickly - so the platter could get into dining table for our hungry guests. Earlier in the afternoon on that day, Vik gently let in his concern.Me, I don't mind waiting while you take all these food photos, and my stomach is growling (well..what would he eats if he doesn't wait, huh?) But let's don't do this to our friends, yeah?


Kevin said...

Satay with peanut sauce is one of my favorites and this looks so good!

Prudy said...

The flavors and textures of this meal sound positively phenomenal. I've got to make your peanut sauce and I'd love to try that rice.

CECIL said...

kevin: they are just such a comfort food isnt it?

prudy: oh please do try the rice! i have always thought of it as 'basic simple' addition to dish, but all of our friends (who never had it before) just love it, 2nd and 3rd helpings. even without the sate, it's perfect with just peanut sauce.