Monthly Archives: August 2015

A light lunch before Golf !

A reprise of an earlier meal, but better each time, and the pictures speak for themselves !!

Grilled Salmon

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Mango & Kiwi Salad

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Herbed Mozarella with Beef tomatoes and Basil

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Mango Sorbet

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Photographs by A Thomas except pix of mango sorbet, borrowed from http://www.babble.com

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A Celebratory Lunch with Friends & Family

They say a happy cook is the secret to a great meal …

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And what came out of that kitchen ?

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SONY DSCStarting with champagne and not necessarily in this order …

  • Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup
  • A chili relish to spice it up
  • Indonesian Balado
  • Indonesian fried chicken, tempe and tahu
  • Lots and lots of basil and mint
  • White rice
  • Krupuk Udang (prawn crackers)
  • Dessert : Candil
  • Fruit : Mangosteens

The Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup

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  • 3 or 4 star anise
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 2 pods garlic
  • 2 medium sized onions
  • 1 kg sliced beef
  • 2 litres water
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 packet meat balls (optional)
  • a slice of ginger

Boil all of the above, together, simmer on a medium flame. This is the base for the soup, none of the ingredients need to be removed.

If using glass noodles, immerse in boiling water and leave be for about a half hour. Drain before serving with the soup.

Serve separately as topping and garnish :

  • mint sprigs
  • Thai basil
  • coriander sprigs
  • strips of red capsicum
  • bean sprouts
  • spring onion, chopped

The chili relish

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  • Garlic, chopped fine
  • Chili padi (green and red), sliced (these are the local ‘fire’ chilies)
  • Fish sauce
  • Lemon juice

Proportions to taste – to suit your palate.

The Balado, with Brinjal

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A popular sambal or relish in Indonesia, the word balado means ‘with chilies’. This version is made with brinjals.

  •  2 long eggplants, sliced into 3 cm thick pieces

Soak these in salted water for about 10 minutes, half cook/fry in a little oil and keep aside.

For the milder ‘spice’ version, blend together the following (you can make it as spicy as you wish by increasing the quantity of the ingredients, especially the chilies) :

  • 2 chilies (mix the bird’s eye and the red chilies)
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 6 shallots

 Fry the blended mixture and add to it

  • pounded lemon grass
  • 2 small tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt

Fry till most of the liquid has evaporated. Serve ladled on top of the brinjal and garnish with basil.

The Herbs

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The Chicken (Ayam Penyet), Tempe and Tahu

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1 kg chicken legs

Blend together the following :

  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 whole garlic pod
  • 8 shallots
  • 2″ fresh turmeric (kunyit)
  • 4 candlenuts (kemiri)

Mix this blended paste with

  • 3 bay leaves (daun salam)
  • 3 stalks lemon grass, pounded
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 slice ginger
  • the chicken legs
  • 500 ml water
  • Salt

Mix well, rubbing into the chicken, then cook, bringing to a boil and simmering for a half hour. Cool and refrigerate overnight.

For a medium-hot chili sambal, fry

  • 5 green chili padi
  • 2 big green chilis
  • 5 big red chilis
  • 5 pods garlic
  • 5 shallots
  • 1 big tomato
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste (belachan), optional

Roughly pound this mixture, add salt, keep aside.

Before serving, take out the chicken pieces and deep fry. Add cubes of tempe and tahu to the marinade and fry them.

Serve together with the chicken, chili sambal, cucumber and lettuce.

Prawn Crackers

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And the Dessert : Candil

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A kind of a porridge with glutinuous rice flour dumplings (candil) in a sauce of coconut milk and gula melaka or palm sugar.

For the Candil

  • 250 g white glutinous rice flour (tepung ketan)
  • 175 ml warm to hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix the rice flour, salt and water, knead to a dough. Form little balls, keep aside.

For the Porridge

  • 900 ml water
  • 300 to 400 gms gula melaka or palm sugar
  • 4 pandan leaves

Mix all these in a pan, bring to a boil. Add the candil balls and cook till they float on the surface of the liquid. Remove from the heat, keep aside.

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For the Coconut Milk Sauce

  • 200 g rice flour
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • 200 ml water
  • 2 pandan leaves

 Mix the rice flour, water and coconut milk and cook on a slow flame to a thick sauce, ensuring no lumps form. Then bring to a boil with the pandan leaves added, cook to a nice consistency and remove from the heat, keep aside.

To serve, ladle the coconut milk sauce into the dish, top with the candils and garnish with coconut milk.

Mangosteens

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As always, thank you Veron !

Photographs : Anita Thomas

Phil’s Seafood BBQ

Fresh from start to finish : from wet market to grill !

It was a very early a.m. wake up, to get to the wet market as the stalls were opening and the fish unloaded … Tekka, stirring to gleaming scales and slippery heaps on the one side, vegetables being unpacked in another, eggs heaped, chicken/s diced, curry pastes in packets, meat prepared as chops, mince, cubes or for a stir-fry; the commerce and energy of food and food preparation on a Wednesday morning.

So as Phil inspected sea bass, king prawns, crab, salmon and more, moving from stall to stall, I got fresh salad leaves, some tempe and tahu from the busy, no-time-to-talk mother of two (the old grandmother packed them up for me, hands trembling, but careful and punctilious in her work), and then a couple of dozen organic, low cholesterol eggs, fragrant basil and a pomegranate.

Watching the vendor weigh and clean the fish was watching performance art of precision and detail : scaling and gutting the fish, the careful removal of fins, the drying and the packing, even as he beautifully sliced salmon for another customer and laid them in a perfect fan-shaped wedge on the scales.

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The wine was poured and the coals flared and settled to a heat.

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The fish was wrapped in a banana leaf, the prawns de-veined, the squid cleaned and skewered, and left-over grilled salmon was converted into a fried rice with toasted seaweed and sesame seeds.

And a salad was assembled : arugula, oak leaf lettuce and sliced fennel, pomegranate arils, crumbled feta, sliced mushroom and sunflower seeds, tossed with raspberry vinaigrette. And salt. And pepper. And a dash of freshly pressed avocado oil.

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Photographs : Anita Thomas

Poached Eggs for Breakfast

So Syl arrived with these silicon containers to poach the eggs.

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And vinegar was added to the water and a pot set a-boil, and the darn things lowered gently in. Gently.

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And into a plate, with slices of smoked salmon and some herbs. Toast. A grind of salt and pepper.

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Divine.

Rainy Days & Mondays

‘Adda’ – steamed (banana leaf) rice pancakes with coconut and jaggery : in memory of school days, rainy days and Mondays …

Coming home from school on a Mumbai rainy day, having sloshed through all the puddles in our Duckback raincoats and gumboots, you entered the house hoping to get the aroma of something delicious Mum might have prepared to ‘warm us up’.

Mum wasn’t an extravagant cook (I have no idea how she managed the budget to clothe, feed and school all six of us) but she was a heart and soul cook. I say ‘was’ – she doesn’t cook anymore at 93.

As you entered the house to the usual tirade … take off your wet clothes, I’ve told you time and time again not to walk through puddles, you’ll get sick, and besides it’s dangerous, didn’t you read about the child you fell into a manhole and drowned, I don’t know when you will learn … you would sniff the air enquiringly : was it bhajjias ? Fluffy onion and carrot were my favourite.

Was it sheera ? Mum’s version was not as sticky and ghee laden, but more like a sweet upma – not my favourite, but a staple nonetheless. Was it bread wada (excitement mounting) ? The deep fried old bread foldovers with potato stuffing that our neighbour Aunty Nair introduced us to, and were to die for.

Hopes are pinned on the delectable Mallu concoction Avval Vallaicha : beaten rice flakes, roasted to a light crisp, along with grated coconut, jaggery and a hint of cardamom … but more likely it will be sukhiyan – boiled moong with a grated coconut and jaggery mixture deep fried with a batter coating (probably more nutritious but more boring).

Whatever it was it was gobbled up with delight along with a cup of milky tea and the hope of seconds, usually thwarted by the standard instruction leave some for the others.

Damn!

‘Adda’ – steamed (banana leaves) brown rice pancakes with a coconut and jaggery filling

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  • 1 cup brown rice flour {puttu podi)
  • Boiling water to mix
  • Banana leaves washed and prepared by running them over a hot flame, and cut into 8″ lengths without the rib.
  • 1/2 a grated coconut
  • 1 cup grated or powdered jaggery
  • a pinch of cardamom powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of cinnamon powder (optional)
  1. Mix the grated coconut and the jaggery and keep aside.
  2. Place the rice flour in a mixing bowl. Add boiling water to the powder a bit at a time to make a pliable dough. Its important that the water is very hot – you can use a wooden spoon to mix, but traditionally it is done by hand.
  3. Once the dough is ready, place a large lemon-sized ball directly onto the banana leaf and tap the dough, with your fingers, to spread it into a slightly elongated circle. A small bowl of water to dip your fingers into is handy to help spread  the dough  evenly on the leaf.
  4. Place a generous spoonful of the jaggery and grated coconut mixture into the centre of the flattened dough, staying away from the edges as they will have to be sealed.

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5. Fold the leaf over and use your fingers to pat the edges of the dough, gently sealing each parcel.

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6. You will now have a your banana leaf parcel ready for steaming. Prepare the remainder of the dough and mixture similarly.

7. In a large steamer, line the parcels upright with open edge facing the top (to avoid water seeping into the parcel). Close steamer and steam for about 10 minutes.

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8. Allow to cool slightly before removing the parcels onto a plate to serve. The leaf peels away easily to leave the brown rice pancake or adda ready to eat.

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Elizabeth’s & David’s Biryani in a Rice Cooker

Elizabeth kindly shared her biryani recipe – most interesting as the rice was cooked in coconut milk instead of water. It was utterly delish and needed no accompaniment other than a raita … perhaps not even that !

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  • 2 cups basmati rice, cleaned
  • 2 ½ cups coconut milk ( use the ‘first’ milk and add water to dilute, or 1 to 1 1/2 cups of concentrate diluted to the specified amount)
  • 1 kg chicken, in pieces, skinned, cleaned
  • 3 to 4 tbsp ghee
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder / haldi
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 stick cinnamon, broken into pieces
  • 3 star anise
  • 5 cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 green chilies, seeded, slit
  • 4 big onions, sliced thin, separated
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped fine
  • 4 tbsp ginger garlic paste (from a 3” piece of ginger & 10 cloves garlic)
  • Handful mint leaves, chopped
  • Handful coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
  • pinch of saffron (optional) in 1 tbsp water, kept aside
  • big onions, sliced thin and fried crisp                    )
  • chopped coriander                                                        )      for garnish
  • hard boiled eggs                                                             )
  1. Place rice in the rice cooker, add the coconut milk and set it aside to soak for 20 minutes.
  2. Heat ghee, add cinnamon, star anise, cloves and bay leaves, sauté for a minute.
  3. Add onions, green chili and a dash of salt, sauté till half cooked.
  4. Add ginger garlic paste, sauté 2 minutes, then add the tomatoes, mint, coriander and sauté all till soft.
  5. Add turmeric and chili powders, salt, continue sautéing for 2 minutes.
  6. Add the chicken, sauté for 3 minutes, then add half a cup of water and cook the chicken till half done, gravy thick.
  7. Add this mixture to rice, mix well, taste for salt. Cook till done.
  8. Sprinkle the saffron mixture and lime juice, fluff up the rice.
  9. Garnish and serve.

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All images borrowed from the net.

Elizabeth, David, thank you for this !