Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Spicy stir-fried bitter gourd and eggplant

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Beef Rendang (Malaysia - Indonesia style)

I was visiting the Indonesian Embassy website when I read the news about World's 50 most delicious food (Reader's Pick) by CNNgo  and was very proud to find out that Indonesian Beef Rendang was picked as the no. 1 World's most delicious food... :-)

I love beef Rendang so much! The Indonesian beef rendang is originated from West Sumatera. This beef rendang is also very famous in Indonesia because it's full of spice and very delicious indeed. You eat it with plain rice or rice cubes. I enjoy this beef rendang better with Indonesian yellow rice.

It's easy to find beef rendang in Indonesia, especially in my hometown, Jakarta. But, since I've been away from Indonesia for nearly 20 years, I've been learning to cook this delicious dish by myself so that I can always enjoy this dish where ever I am in the world.
Lucky for me as I am married to a Malaysian. Beef rendang is also famous in Malaysia because of the similar culture and heritage with West Sumatera. So, my passion in beef rendang is shared with my Malaysian husband...;-)

After many times eating and cooking beef rendang from both countries (Indonesia & Malaysia), I'm finally able to come up with my own recipe that combine the good of both sides to make my own beef rendang even more irresistible. 

I'm happy to share my secret recipe with you all so that you can also taste this delicious dish even if you are not in Indonesia or Malaysia. I modify my recipe for my friends in Philippines. Have fun cooking!

Beef Rendang (Malaysia - Indonesia style) 

Preparation time: 30 Minutes
Cooking time: 2-3 hours
Serves: 4-6 people

Ingredients: (Not pounded)
1kg lean beef (cleaned and cut into a 2 by 4 cm rectangular size or a 2.5cm-cube)
Salt and pepper to taste and to marinate the meat
900 ml thick coconut milk
2 tbsp ground pan-toasted coconut (kerasik) 
2 stalk lemon grass (tanglad/serai) - cleaned and crushed
2 kaffir lime leaves (you can buy Dried Kaffir Lime in a bottle by Thai Heritage from South Supermarket)
1 turmeric leaf (shredded) – but I can’t fine turmeric leaf here in Philippines so I don’t use this ingredient

Ingredients: (Pounded/crushed)
2-3 chilies (depending on how spicy you can handle). The original Indonesian/Malaysian recipe will use about 12-15 chilies
5 cloves garlic
15-20 shallots (Thai onion) or you can also use 4-5 big red onions
2.5 cm galangal (langkawas) – peeled and grated
2.5 cm ginger – peeled and grated
1.3 cm turmeric (yellow ginger) – peeled and grated or you can also use 2 tsp turmeric powder. The original Indonesian beef rendang recipe does not use this ingredient, but the Malaysian one uses it. 
2 tsp salt (or depending on your taste)

Direction to cook:
  1. Season meat with salt and pepper. Leave aside for 20-30 minutes or boil the meat until the meat a little bit tender. Use a fork and poke the meat to test the tenderness.
  2. In a big pan, mix together the thick coconut milk and ground ingredients. Place over medium heat and keep on stirring slowly to boil (this is important to keep the coconut milk consistency)
  3. Add meat and continue to stir to boil for about 10-15 minutes. 
  4. Put in tanglad, kaffir lime leaves, and season with salt to taste. Continue to stir slowly.
  5. Reduce the heat to low, simmer until the meat is tender
  6. When the color changes to dark brown, add 2 tbsp kerisik (ground pan-toasted grated coconut) and mix again.
  7. Simmer again until the gravy becomes oily.
  8. Remove from the stove.
  9. Serve with plain rice or yellow rice.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

My Dragon New Year Fondant Cake

Every Chinese New Year, I remember my mother-in-law always telling me that there should be a sweet dish as our dessert on the table so that the new year will bring the sweetness in our life and she always makes sweet snow white fungus dessert (see recipe here: http://coffeeliqueurrecipes.blogspot.com/2007/01/sweet-snow-fungus-dessert-with.html?showComment=1230676020000#comment-c4327047256211051078). I love the dessert so much, but unfortunately, it's not easy to find the ingredients here in Philippines.
So, to welcome the new water Dragon Year, I decided to make my own dessert: Dragon New Year Fondant Cake.

I used 4 ready-made mini round sponge cakes with 3 different tastes (melon, yam, and pandan) to be decorated. The decorations are all made of marshmallow fondant that I made by myself. I like to use the marshmallow fondant better than the commercial fondant I bought from the store because marshmallow fondant tastes better.

A day before I started to decorate the cakes, I made the toppers first. I made 2 dragon faces, 2 mandarin oranges, 2 golds, and 2 Chinese character for Fu (Good luck symbol), but I only took photo of 1 Fu. I hand-shaped everything by myself, except for the Dragon mane. I used a star-shape cookie cutter.

On the day I decorated my cakes, I started at around 8 o'clock in the morning by creating the Dragon cake. For the Dragon cake, I used 2 sponge cakes; 1 cake is for the head and the other one I divided into 3 pieces to make up the long body of the Dragon. For the tail, I used marshmallow fondant that I hand-shaped.
The main color of the Dragon is red. But since I made my own red fondant, the redness is not too bright like the commercial red fondant. The secondary color for the Dragon is yellow. I hand-shaped the body after I covered the sponge cake with fondant. Before the sponge cake was covered with fondant, I spread the pineapple jam that I made to 'glue' the fondant to the cake. I prefer to use the jam instead of icing cause the jam will enhance the taste of the cake. If I use icing, the original taste of the cake would be gone.

The Dragon cake was the hardest to make for me. But once it's done, the other 2 cakes were really a piece of cake! :-D

The second one I made was the Fu cake. I used pandan sponge cake that I spread with pineapple jam all over it. I covered the cake with red fondant, made the top smooth, then I cut the extra fondant cover on the side of the cake. I put the Fu topper that I 'glued' with water. Then I started to roll a long yellow fondant, cut into same portions and shaped it into small balls. I put the small balls around the cake.

And then, the last cake was the New year table cake. I used melon-taste sponge cake. Just like the other cakes, the first layer was the pineapple jam, then the next layer was the red fondant. This time, instead of cutting all extra fondant on the side of the cake, I shaped the extra fondant to make it look like a table cloth. Then I put 2 mandarin orange toppers on top of the cake and a Fu topper. I also put 2 golds on the side of the 'table', and it's done! The next thing to do was to take good pictures of my creation... :-)

I completed my work at around 4 o'clock in the afternoon with 2 times stop in between to cook breakfast and lunch.
When my 3 year old daughter saw the completed Dragon cake, she was so excited she wanted to eat the cake right away. I told her to wait for 1 day until the New Year came. So, on the new year day, she woke up so early and got all excited to eat the Dragon cake. She took out the cake, put it on the table, and enjoyed it. She was more interested in eating the decorations instead of the cake. She gave the cake to her daddy, and  she ate the decorations.

Now the cakes are all gone. This was my 3rd time using marshmallow fondant to decorate a cake.
I will post more stories about my fondant cake creations when I have more time, especially for my 2nd fondant cake, which was my son's 7th birthday cake. In the meantime, you can read the story about this birthday cake here: http://coffeeliqueur.blogspot.com/2011/12/my-sons-angry-bird-7th-birthday-party.html