Tag Archives: Indonesian

Indonesian style chicken

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Indonesian style chicken

Bollywood movies are always these  epic musicals with really good looking people who play the lead.  They are three hours of unreality with usually 6 song and dance numbers.  I was riveted to a recent one because it was dubbed over in Mandarin.  An incredibly unlikely combination. The high-pitched Mandarin speaking voices did not match any of the actors or actresses and added a crazy dimension to the already melodramatic movie.  The mix reminded me of Indonesian food (I always think about food).  What I love about Malaysian, Singaporian and Indonesian cuisine is that it is a fantastic fusion of South Asian flavors traditionally seen in India, Bangladesh or Pakistan with more East Asian influences.  The results I think are phenomenal.  The movie….not so much!

Spices at a glance

Saute the onions with coriander, chili powder, ginger and garlic for about 5-7 minutes before adding lemongrass, lime leaves and cinnamon sticks

Add chicken and cook (for 8-10 minutes)

Add coconut milk and water and cook an additional 20-25 minutes, covered.

Let cool for 15 minutes before serving

Indonesian style chicken curry

Indonesian style chicken curry

2 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp red chili powder

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

3 thai chilis, kept whole

1 piece fresh ginger – 1 inch, peeled and thinly sliced

4 tbsp vegetable oil

5 kaffir lime leaves

4-6 sticks cinnamon

1 stalk lemon grass

5 boneless chicken thighs cut into chunks

3/4 tsp salt

2 cups coconut milk

1 1/4 cup water

In a large saucepan heat oil and saute onions coriander, chili, garlic and ginger over low heat.  Cook, stirring frequently for 5-7 minutes.  Add lime leaves, cinnamon, whole chilis and lemongrass.  Cook stirring occasionally for about 2 more minutes until all the flavors are released.  Increase the heat to medium and add the chicken and cook turning once until golden brown about 8 minutes.  Stir in one cup of coconut milk and 1 1/4 cup water and salt.  Simmer, stirring occasionally until chicken is tender about 20-25 minutes.  Add remaining coconut milk and cook for 2 minutes.  Let cool for about 15 minutes before serving with plain rice or Coconut Fried Rice.

It’s Chicken Satay time!

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It’s Chicken Satay time!

I am doing a shout out to my former student “Nate”. He mentioned several times in class how much he loves to grill and I promised him some Indonesian/Thai inspired food…. so here it is Nate!! Not only are these Chicken Satays very quick and easy to do, they are high in flavor and low in fat.  Perfect accompaniment for our summer workouts.  (I should mention that we’re almost done with our first week of P90x and Insanity and I’ve lost 1 1/2 pounds so far….13 1/2 to go!).

I should mention that I always prefer to use chicken thighs over chicken breast because they have a lot more flavor and they are a lot cheaper too.  You can buy boneless, skinless chicken thighs or you can easily de-bone the chicken thighs at home.  All you need is a sharp knife and the ability to cut along the edges of the bone and you’re done!!

The secret to this dish of course is the sauce.  I love how this sauce turns out.  I could eat it by the spoonful but then I’d have to work out some more.  Please do use the Sweet Soy Sauce instead of the regular soy sauce.  If you must use regular soy sauce then choose the low sodium kind and use only 1/8 cup otherwise your sauce will be very salty.  This is great as an appetizer or a main dish served with Coconut Fried Rice and a fresh crunchy salad.  We also ate other veggies dipped in the sauce along with our chicken!

Place all the ingredients for the sauce directly into the pan and heat over medium heat

Divide the sauce, one for dipping and the other for basting!

Place chicken skewers on grill and cook for 6-8 minutes turning over once.

Baste during the grilling process with the sauce

Serve with the reserved sauce

Chicken Satay with peanut sauce

Chicken Satay

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into strips

1/2 cup natural peanut butter (or you can grind up some peanuts) – I like chunky

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup sweet soy sauce

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar

3/4 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

3 garlic cloves, minced

scallion, diced (for garnish)

In a saucepan place all ingredients except chicken and scallion.  Cook over medium heat until sauce is bubbly.  Take off heat and cool sauce.  Divide sauce into two parts.

Cut chicken into 1″ inch long strips and thread onto skewers.  If using bamboo skewers make sure you soak them before hand so they don’t burn and fall off.  Spray chicken with non-stick cooking spray and place on hot grill (about 300-350 degrees) cook for 6-10 minutes covered,  turning once.  Baste with half of the sauce (make sure the dipping portion is never in contact with the raw chicken) during the grilling process and serve with remaining sauce garnished with sliced scallions.   The sauce is also fantastic for dipping carrots, cucumbers and other fresh veggies as well.

Nasi Goreng ~ Indonesian Style Fried Rice

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Nasi Goreng ~ Indonesian Style Fried Rice

There are so many ways to cook rice, the possibilities are endless.  The continent of Asia alone has about a thousand variations.  I love how the same spices used in slightly different combinations can produce a totally different taste.  Nasi Goreng is an Indonesian style of fried rice.  There are many different ways of making Nasi Goreng, some people add prawns, steak or chicken, others add a variety of vegetables, basically whatever is leftover and on hand.  But some of the basic spices don’t change.  The key to Nasi Goreng is using Kecap Manis or Sweet Soy Sauce.

Kecap Manis or Sweet Soy Sauce

Kecap Manis is made from fermented soy, date palm sugar (jaggery) and several other spices.  It is quite thick and has several layers of flavor that is very different from regular soy sauce.  It is delicious.  The other must have items in Nasi Goreng are red chilis and Sambal Oelek.  I like to use both.

Red Chilis and Sambal Oelek

Sambal Oelek is a red chili paste found in any Asian super market (same place where you’d pick up some of the Kecap Manis).  Cumin and Coriander are also used.  This adds a slight smoky flavor and balances out the sweetness of the Kecap manis and the heat of the red chilis.

Even though garlic, cumin, coriander and chilies are regularly used in South Asian cooking, when combined with the Sambal Oelek and Sweet soy sauce it completely changes the taste.  This dish is widely eaten in Malaysia, Singapore and of course Indonesia.  Served hot with that wonderful fried egg on top, it is amazing.  You can’t stop eating it!

Left over Basmati Rice

Make a well in the middle of the wok and add eggs to the mixture

Add rice to vegetable mixture

Add caramelized onion

Nasi Goreng served with fried egg

Here’s the recipe:

Nasi Goreng

6 cups cooked rice (preferably overnight)

2 large eggs

Salt according to taste

6 tablespoons cooking oil

3 cloves of finely chopped garlic

1 onion, finely chopped

2 red chilies, seed removed and sliced finely

1 teaspoon Cumin

1 tsp Coriander seeds

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

2 tbsp Kecap Manis (sweet soy sauce)

2 tsp Sambal Oelek

3 Stalks of celery, chopped

1 whole tomato, seeded and chopped

½ cup frozen green peas

4 finely chopped scallions

Additional eggs to serve over rice

1 large onion, thinly sliced (for caramelized onion)

In a large frying pan or wok heat oil and add 1 large onion very thinly sliced (using mandolin really helps to keep it very thin).  Cook until onions are dark golden brown in color and place in a paper towel lined pan.

Beat the eggs in a bowl until foamy. Add a little salt according to taste. Set aside. Use a food processor to process the onion, chili, tomato, Sambal Oelek, garlic, sugar, cumin and coriander until it became a thick paste.

In the same pan that the onions were caramelized earlier add the processed paste and cook until it is fragrant. Add the vegetables except for the sliced scallions and stir fry for a few minutes.  Make a well in the middle of the pan and add beaten eggs.  Stir fry eggs until cooked and mix in with the rest of vegetables.  Finally add in the cooked rice and a more cooking oil if necessary. Add the Kecap Manis (Sweet Soy Sauce) and scallions and continue frying for another 30~60 seconds, until it is well incorporated. Finally add caramelized onions and toss.

Scoop from the wok onto a plate and serve with a fried over-easy egg on top.  If using as a side dish then serve without the egg on top.