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Monday, August 29, 2011

Chicken Rendang

Though rendang is sometimes described as being like a curry, and the name is sometimes applied to curried meat dishes in Malaysia, authentic rendang is nothing like a curry. In Malay classical literature, rendang is mentioned in Hikayat Amir Hamzah as early as the 1550s.

Rendang is made from beef (or occasionally beef liver, chicken, mutton, water buffalo, duck, or vegetables like jackfruit or cassava) slowly cooked in coconut milk, spices and sometimes kerisik (toasted coconut paste) for several hours until almost all the liquid is gone, allowing the meat to absorb the spicy condiments.

The cooking process changes from boiling to frying as the liquid evaporates. The slow cooking process allows the meat to absorb all the spices and to become tender. The spices may include ginger, galangal, turmeric leaf, lemon grass and chillies. Chicken or duck rendang also contains tamarind and is usually not cooked for as long as beef rendang.

Kerisik is an important ingredient when cooking rendang. Coconut is grated, toasted, then ground to a paste.
It is sometimes referred to as coconut butter. It can be made at home or bought ready made.

However, pre-made kerisik can develop a unpleasant smell. Fresh kerisik can be easily made from fresh coconut which is grated and fried, then ground in a mortar and pestle. Dried grated coconut can also be used, however the resulting paste is not as fragrant.

Ingredient A
1.5 kg drumsticks, cut to pieces  |  250ml thick coconut milk  |  250ml water
3 stalks lemon grass (crushed)  |  6 pandan leaves (knotted)
3 pieces kaffir lime leaf (shredded)  |  1 piece turmeric leaf (shredded)
1 grated coconut (tosted)

Ingredient B (blended)
100g shallots  |  50g cloves garlic  |  6 candlenuts  |  20g fresh turmeric  |  40g fresh galangal
50g fresh ginger  |  3 stalks lemon grass

Ingredient C
80g chili boh  |  1 teaspoon cumin powder  |  1 teaspoon coriander powder  |
1 teaspoon fennel powder

80g gula Melaka  |  1/2 tablespoon salt

blend all spice ingredient B with some water.

heat up 5 tablespoons oil to stir-fry blended ingredient B, ingredient C and lemon grass for 10 minutes.

add in chicken stir-fry for 5 minutes, add in water, coconut milk, pandan leaves and all the seasoning,
bring to boil over high heat, reduce to lowest once boil and simmer for 40 minutes.

lastly add in toasted grated coconut, shredded turmeric and kaffir lime leaves. mix well, dish out and serve with nasi lemak.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gula Melaka Sauce

It’s made by making several slits into the bud of a coconut tree and collecting the sap.
Then, the sap is boiled until it thickens after which, in the traditional way, it is poured into
bamboo tubes between 3-5 inches in length, and left to solidify to form cylindrical cake blocks. Alternatively, it can be poured into glass jars or plastic bags.

Is often used to sweeten savory food to balance out the salty flavor of fish. Its primary use in
Thai cuisine is in sweets and desserts, and somewhat less often in curries and sauces.

Also used in savory dishes like som tam, but is primarily used for desserts such as sago pudding (using gula melaka). It is among some of the more popular gastronomic delights of Peranakan (Nyonya) origin. This dish consists of a bland sago pudding served with palm sugar syrup.

and this also make me think about my favorite dessert - Cendol. is often sold by vendors at roadsides and hawker centres.

The dessert’s basic ingredients consist of coconut milk, a worm-like jelly made from rice flour with green food coloring (usually derived from the pandan leaf), shaved ice and palm sugar. 

600g gula melaka (palm sugar), crush  |  50g sugar  |  100ml fresh coconut milk  |
50ml water  | 1/2 teaspoon salt  |  6 pieces pandan leafs, knotted

Combine all the ingredient in a saucepan and place over lowest heat,
stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Dish out and leave to cool.