Friday, March 20, 2009
Belated Chinese New Year Dinner Post
Growing up, my grandma's menu for Chinese New Year has always been lontong/ rice rolls and its fixings. Oh, the memory I have. My grandma with her huge pot - she and her tiny frame of 5'1" could easily fit in the pot!! A week worth of cooking. She is about 80 now and still fixing up this dish for the New Year. So I thought, okay..let's do lontong this year!
Note: I sent her a photo of finish product and she giggled, chuckled and I think...sorta proud. Or so I hope.
It was lontong, lodeh (mixed vegetables in mild coconut milk gravy), tauco (sliced up chillies cooked in salted soy beans sauce), rendang (beef in spicy coconut milk), sambal kering kentang and a must of such dish, shrimp crackers to top it up. The trio lodeh, tauco and rendang will have their own designated posts soon.
And guess what was the hardest part of all? Frying up the sambal kering kentang! The fried potato stick thing. Three attempts!! I was so flabbergasted. I couldn't even bring myself up to ask my mom what I did wrong. She'd laughed her head off. Seriously. The spices was a cinch. My mistake was not frying up enough oil for the spices (I have a tendency to cut back oil to minimal)..and they all turned up clumpy.
Recipe for Sambal Kering Kentang:
- 1 kg potatoes, cut up like matchsticks, soak in water and drained thoroughly. Deep fry and set aside once crispy.
- 1 tsp vinegar
- 3 tbsp fried onion
Grind to paste:
- 8 small shallots
- 2 garlic
- 10 candlenuts
- 1 tbsp dried shrimp
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 10-15 red peppers (though I only throw in about 4, half of our guests can't stand much heat)
- Heat about 4 tbsp oil and stir in spice paste, add vinegar and keep stirring until paste is somewhat dry up. Toss in fried potato sticks and fried onion. Stir and mix well with spices. Quickly turn off heat.
- Let cool before storing in a jar.
Mini chicken pies and curry puff as starters:
And it's only complete to serve some pineapple tarts with it:
I had to thank Lidia of 'Bianca's and Jordan's Mom' on her tips about whipping up pineapple jam/filling using canned pineapple!!! Oh what a time saving tip and less expensive too.
I have always wondered about using canned pineapple for these tarts but never tried it out, so when I heard she successfully did it. Why on earth would I spend time grating pineapple?? :D
- 700 gr flour
- 100 gr sugar
- 500 gr butter
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 canned crushed pinapple
- sugar to add to pineapple jam
(My mom recipe calls for old way of measuring : 1 rice bowl of fresh grated pinapple + 1 rice bowl of sugar) *sigh* And that's what I did all the time before using this quicker simpler method of canned pinapple!!
- Making the jam: Drained most of the juice from canned pineapple, leaving maybe just few tablespoons of it. Dump crushed pineapple to soup pot with medium heat on.
- Add sugar a little bit at the time. I forgot to measure how much I actually put in it. Hmm. But I am sure everyone has their preference in sweetness. I have always liked my jam/jelly on the tart side. I use hand blender to crush it some more. Then keep cooking until it reaches consistency of thick jam. Set aside and let cool.
- Making the tart dough: Beat sugar and butter until pale and creamy. Add in egg yolk, one at a time.
- Using hand/spatula, mix in flour and knead until it leaves the side of bowl.
- Take about 1 tablespoon of dough and roll to ball, make indentation in the center (like mini cup) and fill with pineapple jam. Gather back dough over jam and shape it back to round ball shape. Glaze with egg wash.
- I top mine with cloves - that is maybe the oldest method of making pineapple tart. Easy and sorta cute, no?
- Bake in 375 oven for about 30 minutes or until golden.
To end the night, some light fluffy cream puffs.