Indonesian Munching

Nasi Goreng

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If you’ve ever been to Indonesia, then you’ll probably have eaten some Nasi Goreng at some point, whether it be at breakfast, lunch or dinner (or all three in my case)

There’s something about this modest rice and egg dish that just blew me away during my travels – and for no reason at all other than it’s so simple.

It’s basically like your standard Chinese Special Fried Rice we all love and know so well on those hangover Sundays, but it’s deconstructed and somehow much more beautiful. And the best part about it, is you can practically make it however you wish….as long as you master the basics, you can add, amend, strip back and make your own.

clove of garlic // 2 big shallots // 2 large tomatoes // Pinch of white pepper // 1-2 red chillies // 1 tbsp of oyster sauce // 1 tbsp  of sweet soya sauce //1  onion // 1 carrot // Pinch of salt // // 1/4 cup peanuts // 100 grams of white cabbage or chinese cabbage // coconut oil // 2 cups of rice (brown works really well) // cooked meat of your choice // egg // tomatoes, peanuts and corriander for garnish if you wish

Get your ingredients out and in front of you before doing anything else. Once you’ve got everything in front of you, start to cook your rice; Pop into a sauce pan and cover with cold water until it’s about a cm above the rice line. Pop onto the stove and bring to the boil, adding a little pinch of salt for flavour. Bring down to a very gentle simmer putting the lid on and time for 10 minutes.

You could also be cheeky and cheat with the ol’ microwave rice -no one will know 😉

Now in a food processor, simply add the peanuts, white pepper, garlic, shallots, tomatoes and red chilli. Blend until all the ingredients are combined. Pour in the oyster and soya sauce and blend once again for about 30 seconds, or until a smooth paste is formed.

Leave your paste to one side, and prep your other veg. Thinly slice the cabbage, red onion and roughly chop the tomato. You ideally want this veg to be bite-sized, so keep that in mind when chopping. For the carrots, if you’re not a fan of chopping, grab your potato peeler and thinly slice your carrot until it nearly disappears.

Now slowly melt the coconut oil in a frying pan and while you await for it to all melt, your rice should be ready to taste, drain and keep to one side. Rice tends to cook in it’s own steam for 2-5 minutes longer so leave on the side with the lid still on while you cook your paste. In the pan, add your paste to the melted oil and stir, keeping the heat to medium-low.

You don’t want to burn anything here, so keep stirring and wait for the flavours to combine.

Add the rice into the paste and stir until each grain is well coated with the paste. Season to taste. Now add your small prawns and bring the heat up to high for 2-3 minutes. You want to here the ingredients sizzle and create some crispy bits of rice and veg, but you must keep stirring. Turn the heat off, pop the lid on and leave to one side.

Fry your eggs gently, and to how ever you like. I prefer my eggs poached, so I tend to do this method instead, but it’s entirely up to you. Once the egg’s are ready, serve your rice onto each plate, place the egg on top and garnish however you like.

I like slicing a tomato into quarters, sprinkling some coriander and crushed peanuts on top, and then cracking the egg yolk so it drizzles into the rice……..mmmmmm.

Where to buy?

Many of the ingredients here are those in which you either have in the cupboard pushed right to the back, or products you never buy! It’s definately worht researching your closest cash n carry, mine being Wing Yip, Purley Way. If you don’t have one close buy then most supermarkets will sell ‘Around the world’ produce, just makesure you hunt around the shelves as brands such as Sharwoods charge a fortune! Brands to look out for are Sun Tropic and Grace.

Sweet, Beef Rendang

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My time spent in Indonesia was pretty much made up of eating, walking, drinking, eating, sitting, drinking and well a little more eating just to top it all off. I’ve always thought I’m a Thai trapped in an English body, so for me, the cuisine was undoubtedly right up my street.

One dish that blew my mind, was the ever so simple, ever so modest yet ever so god damn delicious, Beef Rendang. Cooked to perfection, this curry combines all those Thai flavours I love such as coconut and lemongrass, with a nutty, sweet twist that will blow your mind.

So my first weekend back in London, was of course, spent cooking my own version of Beef Rendang, and my version is hot and very, very sweet.

2 lemongrass stalks chopped // 3 medium-sized red onions, quartered // 6 garlic cloves, peeled // Thumb-sized fresh root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped // Thumb-sized chunk galangal, peeled and roughly chopped // 3 plump red chillies, roughly chopped without deseeding // 3 tbsp coconut oil // 2 tsp ground cumin // fresh coriander // 1 tsp ground turmeric // 1.5kg/3lb 5oz beef chuck steak (or any good braising beef), trimmed and cut into 3cm/1¼in cubes // 400ml/14fl oz can coconut milk // 4 fresh kaffir lime leaves // sprinkle of cinnamon // 1 tbsp palm sugar // 1 tsp tamarind paste // freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime // 2 tbsp dark soy sauce // 2 tsp flaked sea salt, plus extra to season // ground black pepper // garnished with coconut flakes

In a food processor combine the lemongrass, onions, garlic, ginger, galangal and chillies. Blend to a fine paste.

Heat the coconut oil in a large flame-proof casserole and fry the paste gently for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the cumin, coriander and turmeric and cook for two minutes.

Add the beef to the pan and stir to coat in the paste and spices. Cook for five minutes, stirring constantly until the meat is very lightly coloured all over. Pour the coconut milk and 400ml/14fl oz cold water into the casserole. Add the lime leaves, cinnamon, sugar, tamarind paste, lime juice, soy sauce and salt and bring to a simmer.

Reduce the heat and leave to gently simmer uncovered for about 2 hours, or until the meat is meltingly tender and the sauce is very thick, glossy and rich. Stir the beef occasionally towards the beginning of the cooking time then more often as the coconut milk reduces. You don’t want the sauce to stick. Season to taste with more salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Spoon the curry into warm serving dishes, and sprinkle with coconut flakes to finish.

Where to buy?

Many of the ingredients here are those in which you either have in the cupboard pushed right to the back, or products you never buy! It’s definately worht researching your closest cash n carry, mine being Wing Yip, Purley Way. If you don’t have one close buy then most supermarkets will sell ‘Around the world’ produce, just makesure you hunt around the shelves as brands such as Sharwoods charge a fortune! Brands to look out for are Sun Tropic and Grace.

Fi, Fy, Pho Soup…


So, this week after emailing my uni mates and moaning about work, they finally gave me a kick up the arse to get blogging again, which can be challenging when your kitchen is half way through a makeover. However despite the tins of paint, gloss and wood stain that are chilling out on my kitchen floor, I made the effort this week to get cooking again.

I am a sucker for Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai cuisine, so i thought I’d hazard a go at the traditional Pho Soup. One of my favourite places to grab lunch during the week is Cay Tre, as they make one of the best Pho Soup’s I have ever eaten; The Saigon Pho Soup. I searched high and low – in other words Google searched many recipe’s and I simply couldn’t find Saigon Sate Pho. But, with a little imagination and some pot luck I managed to create something very similar.

Three cloves of garlic, crushed // 2 tsp tomato puree // 1 scotch bonnet red or yellow chilli – finely chopped // 1 stick of lemongrass, cracked with the side of a knife // 2cm piece of ginger, squashed slightly // 4 spring onions, trimmed and sliced diagonally // 4 tomatoes quartered // 1/4 cucumber sliced // 600 mls of fish stock // 2 tbsp of fish sauce // 1 tbsp Soy Sauce (light is better) // Large handful of coriander leaves // Handful of mint leaves // 400ml can Coconut Milk // 150g cooked king prawns/ 2 chicken breasts sliced / Sunday’s left over roast beef // 150g rice noodles // 100g bean sprouts // 2 medium chillies finely sliced // 1 lime, cut into wedges

In a medium sized pan, gently fry the crushed garlic, chillies and tomato puree. Pour in the stock and then add the lemongrass and ginger; briskly boil for about 15 minutes to create the basic broth. Taste it and if necessary and season. Turn down the heat, cover the pan and leave to simmer for a further 15 minutes. This will allow the flavours to really develop.
Add your choice of meat (prawn, chicken or cooked beef) and simmer. Prawns will cook in the boiling liquid fairly quickly; chicken will take around 20 mins and cooked beef needs to ensure it’s been boiling for a round 20 mins and re-heated correctly. Then add the spring onions, tomatoes, cucumber, fish sauce and the herbs. Reserve a little of each herb for garnishing.

Put the lid back on the pan, and leave so your meat soaks up all the wonderful flavours.
Place the rice noodles in the boiling water and cook for 4-5 minutes (or less if using straight-to-wok noodles).

Remove the lemongrass, ginger and garlic from the soup. Now add your bean sprouts and coconut milk and gently simmer for ten minutes. Keep tasting and add salt, pepper, chilli flakes etc to taste. Chuck in your sliced chillies for added heat and combine.
Divide the cooked noodles between two deep bowls. Pour the soup over the noodles. Garnish with a little of the coriander and mint leaves – serve with a squeeze of lime.

It sounds complicated but it really isn’t – and if you make a large enough bowl, you’ll have pho soup for weeks! Enjoy


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