Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Random Recipes: Bebek Bacem Masak Andaliman

Sorry blog and dear readers for I have abandoned you. I want to let you know that I think of all of you all the time... Truth is I don't have internet connection at home and I can't hang out at the mall or Starbucks all the time using their free wi-fi.

I am very much enjoying this long holiday period and I am using my time effectively. Very soon I am going to start working at JW Marriott hotel as a trainee chef. I am so looking forward to this hands-on kitchen experience. This is just temporary for a few weeks until I return to the UK, but still... it will be awesome, I know.

I have not been cooking, surprise surprise. I have been enjoying eating out and spoiled with mom's delicious cooking. But I did make time yesterday to cook my entry for this month's Random Recipe challenge.

All my cookbooks are currently in a box at a store room few thousand miles away. So, I am using my mom's  collection. The randomly chosen book is Lauk Bumbu Bacem by Indonesian cokery writer, Aan Roswaty. And the randomly chosen recipe is the delicious bebek bacem masak andaliman. Now, let me explain the lingo.

Bacem is a slow-cooking technique where the food is submerged in bumbu, a paste made of spices, and some liquid until it's completely dry or you are left with a thick sauce. Bacem cooking is very popular for tofu and tempeh. But it is also often used for poultry, meat and offal. For this dish, bebek or duck is the star ingredient. And andaliman is Indonesian for Szechuan peppercorns.

This takes hardly any effort to make as you can read below. I suggest you stay in the kitchen during the cooking process. The aroma is just amazing... and because the duck is cooked long and slow, it became very tender and the thick spicy sauce is finger-licking good.

I gotta go now... cappuccino is running low...  

Bebek Bacem Masak Andaliman
Recipe by Aan Roswaty 

1 duck, cleaned and cut into portions
2 asam gelugur, don't have this so I used a couple tsps of tamarind paste instead.
2 lemongrass, bruised
4 lime leaves
1 litre coconut milk
1 teaspoon caster sugar
vegetable oil

for the bumbu
8 red chillies de-seed if you want it milder
1/4 teaspoon andaliman
4 candle nuts
2 cm piece of ginger
2 cm piece of galangal
7 shallots
4 cloves of garlic
salt, to taste

Start by making the paste my mixing all the ingredients in a food processor to a thick paste. Rub this all over the duck. Add the duck and the rest of the ingredients to a pan and cook over medium-heat until the duck is cooked and most of the liquid has evaporated. Add a little bit of oil and cook further.... taste and season accordingly.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Indonesia so far... part 3, seafood

Hello dear readers! I hope you are all well. I am back in Indonesia, in Jakarta to be exact. It's day four and I almost beat this damn jetlag. Though it's not so bad this time because the Olympics is on all day and I have something to watch late at night. Come on team GB (and team Indonesia)!

It's been so lovely being reunited with family. I am gonna be here for several weeks and whilst I am figuring out what I am gonna do next, I hope you'll enjoy reading my travelog series. At the moment, I am staying in a hotel, but when I am at home in Medan, I'll be sure to start cooking again. One of the things that I've done is signed up for a gym, because I intend to eat a lot :)

When visiting the biggest archipelago in the world, you must try some of the fabulous and sumptuous seafood. Here are some of my favourite seafood dishes:

Grilled stingray with sweet soy and limes has been a favourite of mine since I was little. It is sweet and fresh and my favourite part is nibbling on the soft bones. Source of protein and calcium at the same time? :) Sometimes you'll find a variation of grilled stingray that is topped with sambal which is also delicious, but that depends if you can stand the heat or not.

I am not normally into anything poached, except for for poached eggs, but even that I don't have it very often... primarily because I am hopeless at poaching eggs. But anyway, these poached shrimps are also an exception. They are surprisingly delicious. They are poached in some sort of magical flavourful fish broth until just firm which allowed the sweetness of the shrimps to come through. They are topped with fresh coriander. 

Salted egg yolk prawns and squids are next on the list. Both are coated in salted egg yolk batter before deep fried and served with more salted egg yolks, spring onions and slices of red chilli. A quick note, the squids are often served in rings. However, the prawns are often served whole.. heads, tails and all. I actually really liked the heads as the pack lots of flavour, but it's probably too much for some. If you had a chance, you must also try salted egg yolk on crab... yum.

Please do not be alarmed by the picture below... I admit the fish does look scary, but it is so delicious. This is Chinese style steamed fish. The fish is called ikan jurung which I honestly don't know what it's called in English. But obviously this is not the only fish that are often used for steaming... other fishes like, snapper, tilapia or bream are quite popular as well. The fish here is steamed in Shaoxing rice wine, soy sauce, shallots, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, Chinese oyster mushrooms and topped with sliced spring onions at the end. 

Saving the best for last is kepiting saus Padang (crab in Padang's chilli sauce). This is without a doubt is my new favourite Indonesian seafood dish of all time. This is so delicious, just the thought of it makes me drool. The crab meat is sweet and the sauce... oh, the sauce is out of this world. It's a tomato and red chilli based sauce that's flavoured with lots of garlic, ginger, shallots and spring onions. I really look forward and cannot wait to eating this crab dish again when I am back in Medan.

The eating continues...

Please click on the link if you missed part 1 and part 2.