They say a happy cook is the secret to a great meal …
And what came out of that kitchen ?
Starting 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
- 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
- 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
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
Fry till most of the liquid has evaporated. Serve ladled on top of the brinjal and garnish with basil.
The Chicken (Ayam Penyet), Tempe and Tahu
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
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.
And the Dessert : Candil
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.
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.
As always, thank you Veron !
Photographs : Anita Thomas