Pindang Salmon – Salmon in Spicy and Sour Soup Recipe

The city of Palembang on the island of Sumatra is famous for its seafood dishes, and this pindang salmon (salmon in spicy and sour soup) is one such dish. In Palembang, the fish most commonly used to make this soup is ikan patin (swai), but I use salmon since this is much easier to find in the United States. If you want, you can use catfish too, but I prefer salmon to catfish 🙂

Pindang Salmon – Salmon in Spicy and Sour Soup

To make this soup, you will need fish of your choice (salmon or catfish, or swai if you can find it), tomatoes, pineapple, limes, lemongrass, ginger, galangal, bird eye chilies, Thai basil leaves, and scallions. Just going through the ingredients, one can image the soup to be very fresh, with sourness from tomatoes and limes, sweetness from pineapples, and spiciness from bird eye chilies. The soup looks and tastes amazing, and I think a soup like this is just the perfect thing to ward off winter chill.

Pindang Salmon - Salmon in Spicy and Sour Soup

Pindang Salmon – Salmon in Spicy and Sour Soup

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Sekba Babi – Peranakan Pork Stew Recipe

Sekba babi is a very famous Indonesian-Chinese peranakan dish. A peranakan dish typically means that the dish that has been adapted over time and has evolved into something quite entirely different from its original dish. I have never encountered this so called Chinese dish outside of Indonesia. To me, sekba babi is pretty similar to babi dan tahu kecap (taw yew bak/豆油肉), which I prepare quite often and is one of my favorite comfort food. If my guess is right, then somehow taw yew bak evolves into sekba babi, and along the way the ingredients list expanded to include preserved green mustard (Indonesian: sayur asam) and potatoes, on top of tofu and hard boiled eggs which are also present in taw yew bak.

Sekba Babi – Peranakan Pork Stew

Anyway, enough with my conjecture and let’s talk a bit about sekba babi. In Jakarta, this dish is very easy to find in Chinese neighborhoods such as Kota (the old city) or in Northern Jakarta. Most places will include not only pork meat, but also more exotic parts of the pig, such as ear, tripe, innards, and so on. It can be a rather shocking experience for the uninitiated, so I just use pork meat, specifically pork shoulder ribs, in this recipe. That said, for those who are adventurous and you can find the more exotic parts of the pig (which you most likely can get a hold of if you visit Chinatown or Chinese groceries), feel free to add them to the stew 🙂

Sekba Babi - Peranakan Pork Stew

Sekba Babi – Peranakan Pork Stew

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Steamed Chicken with Shiitake, Wood Ear, and Lily Flowers Recipe

Perusing through the dried Chinese ingredients in my local Asian groceries can be a fun time. It is messy and the organization is not always perfect, sometimes what’s being displayed and the price tag can be a mismatch, but I still love doing it all the same.

One of the more uncommon ingredients, at least to non Chinese, is probably going to be dried lily flowers. Unlike dried chrysanthemum or dried rose, at a glance dried lily flowers don’t look like flowers at all.

Dried lily flower are typically sold in a see-through plastic packaging. The flowers look more like 3 inches of golden brown stalks, and probably not the most appetizing thing judging from their appearance. But if you manage to find it in your market (or just buy from Amazon), these flowers have a mild flavor with crunchy and interesting texture, a perfect addition to your stir fry dishes, soup especially hot and sour, and of course I am going to use them in this recipe.

Combining all the ingredients and let the whole thing marinate for 2 hours.

This is a very homely dish, something that my Grandma made for us when we were kids, and definitely not something you find served in fancy restaurants.

You will need to start preparing the dried ingredients the night before you want to cook the dish, I usually wash and soak all my dried ingredients (wood ear, shiitake, and lily flower) in separate bowls just before I am ready to go to bed so they have enough time to fully rehydrate by the next day when I prepare for lunch.

Once they are fully rehydrated, squeeze out the water, then thinly slice the wood ear and shiitake, chop off the stem (if present) of the lily flowers and tie each flower in a knot. If you are short on time, you don’t have to tie them in knots, but I think it is a nice touch and that’s how it’s been done in my family since my Grandma’s time.

Steamed Chicken with Shiitake, Wood Ear, and Lily Flowers

Steamed Chicken with Shiitake, Wood Ear, and Lily Flowers

The rest of the steps is very easy, but we will still need to marinate for 2 hours, so if you want to make this for lunch, it is best to do this step by 10 a.m. Simply combine all the ingredients (minus cornstarch) in a mixing bowl, cover the bowl with a saran, and marinate for 2 hours in the fridge. Remember to return to room temperature prior to cooking.

To cook, prepare a steamer and let the water boils on medium heat. While we wait for the water to boil, add cornstarch to the mixture, mix well, and transfer the whole thing into a steam proof bowl.

I use a 9″ pie dish and it is perfect. Once the water boils, just put the dish into the steamer and steam for 15 minutes. Remember to let the dish rest another 5 minutes before taking off the lid. Garnish with scallions and the dish is done!

Steamed Chicken with Shiitake, Wood Ear, and Lily Flowers

Steamed Chicken with Shiitake, Wood Ear, and Lily Flowers

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Chongqing (Chunking) Chicken Recipe | Daily Cooking Quest

Most Chinese food lovers are probably aware that Sichuan cuisine is well known for its spicy dishes, but Chongqing (Chunking) has many famous spicy dishes as well, such as Chongqing chicken.

Similar to Sichuan cuisine, Chongqing cuisine also uses plenty of dried red chilies and Sichuan peppercorns, so be prepared for some numbness and hotness, and be ready with a pack of tissue or even towel to wipe that sweat away.

Ingredients for Chongqing chicken: chicken breast, dark soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, cornstarch, salt, oil, Sichuan peppercorns, ginger, garlic (not shown), dried chilies, scallions, and sugar (not shown).

Use chicken breast or whole chicken

If you have tried true Chinese dishes, you will probably realize that chicken will always be served with bone-in, never boneless or skinless.

I am taking a liberal short cut here by using skinless boneless chicken breast, so if you want to make this as original as possible, get your butcher to chop up a whole chicken into small pieces with bones and skin intact. Usually you can request for one whole chicken to be chopped up into 20 pieces.

Chongqing (Chunking) Chicken

Chongqing (Chunking) Chicken

Use as many chilies as you can handle

For those who love spicy food, be sure to break your chilies since whole chilies do not make for a spicy dish. But when those chilies are broken, I can guarantee that your socks will definitely be knocked off.

I have actually frequented some authentic Sichuan/Chongqing/Hunan restaurants where the servers hand out hand towels for the patrons to wipe off their sweats, and if you break all your chilies, you will want that hand towel.

If you are unsure, or if this is the first time you try this dish, don’t go overboard and just try breaking 3-5 chilies. If that is not hot enough for you, you can always break more the second time you make this dish.

Chongqing (Chunking) Chicken

Chongqing (Chunking) Chicken

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Steamed Chicken with Salted Soy Beans Recipe

Steaming chicken or fish with a simple salted soy beans sauce (Indonesian: tauco) is a healthy way to prepare a quick dish for lunch or dinner. Salted soy beans can be found in many Asian grocery store. My favorite salted soy beans is the one from Yeos, a Malaysian brand, which happens to be very similar to the ones I grow up eating in Indonesia. There will be slight different in taste if you choose other brands of salted soy beans, feel free to experiment to find out which one you like best.

Steamed Chicken with Salted Soy Beans

If you opt to use chicken meat, I suggest a mixture of skinless boneless breast and thigh, or 100% thigh meat if you don’t mind the slightly higher calories. A pure 100% breast meat is still good, just not as juicy. You can also use white fish fillet slices (again, make it bite sizes) such as tilapia, rock fish, or red snapper, but be sure to reduce steaming time to 5 minutes since fish cooks much faster than chicken.

Steamed Chicken with Salted Soy Beans

Steamed Chicken with Salted Soy Beans

I love this dish so much and since my parents are still here in the States, I made two batches back to back! They are staying with my younger brother so I am packing one batch for them to enjoy 🙂

Steamed Chicken with Salted Soy Beans

Steamed Chicken with Salted Soy Beans

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Spicy Korean Chicken Wings Recipe

The first time I tried spicy Korean chicken wings were with my family when a Korean fried chicken franchise had just opened its shop in Jakarta back in 2013 or 2014.

It was the most delicious thing ever, and each of us polished off at least ten wings per person. There was a neat stack of empty paper buckets by the end of a very satisfying lunch.

Since then, I have been working on the recipe to recreate those finger-licking wings.

Bake chicken wings in the oven until golden brown.

Step 1: Fry chicken wings in the oven

Most chicken fingers recipes start with deep frying. I have nothing against that, but I prefer if I can avoid deep frying if possible.

Here are the steps to fry our chicken wings in an oven:

1. Prep the oven and baking sheet.

Preheat the oven to 250 Fahrenheit (120 Celsius). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Insert a wire rack into the lined baking sheet and brush it with oil to prevent sticking.

2. Prepare chicken wings.

Pat dry chicken wings and toss them with baking powder and salt to coat. Arrange chicken wings on the wire rack, and make sure they don’t touch each other.

3. Bake chicken wings in an oven.

Bake using the lower rack in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Increase the temperature to 425 Fahrenheit (220 Celsius), transfer the wings to an upper rack, and continue baking for another 45 minutes, or until the wings are golden brown and crispy.

Spicy Korean Chicken Wings

Spicy Korean Chicken Wings

Step 2: Prepare spicy gochujang sauce ingredients

While your wings are cooking nicely in the oven, it is time to make the sauce. We will need:

  • oil
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • sugar
  • rice vinegar
  • soy sauce
  • gochujang (Korean chili paste).

Gochujang is Korean chili paste, and this is what gives Korean fried chicken its signature bold red color and spicy kick.

You can buy Gochujang in most Asian grocery stores. The paste usually comes in either a red plastic tub or a glass jar. If you plan to cook more Korean recipes, get the 500-grams or even the 1-kilogram tub/jar.

Spicy Korean Chicken Wings

Spicy Korean Chicken Wings

Step 3: Cook spicy gochujang sauce to glace chicken wings

1. Cook gochujang sauce.

Sauté garlic and ginger until fragrant in a large frying pan/wok over medium heat, about 3 minutes. Add remaining sauce ingredients and cook on low heat for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat but let the frying pan/wok sits on the stove’s heat sauce to keep it warm.

TIPS: Choose a large frying pan or wok since it will be easier to toss the chickens in the sauce.

2. Glace chicken wings.

Remove fried chicken wings from the oven, add them to the cooked sauce and gently toss to coat them evenly.

Transfer the wings to a serving plate and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds or crushed peanuts. Serve the chicken wings immediately with some cold beer.

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Gochujang Meatballs Recipe | Daily Cooking Quest

Meatballs, who doesn’t love them? Especially if they are super juicy, packed with flavor, seared to get that crunchy outside but juicy inside, and then the whole thing is dunk in sweet and spicy gochujang cranberry sauce.

These meatballs are out of this world folks, the ultimate comfort food, and also the best thing to serve as a party appetizer. Be prepared to double or triple the batch and watch them disappear into thin air, or more precisely, your guests’ tummies.

Left: ingredients for the meatballs; Right: portioning meatballs with ice cream scoop.

Use leftover cranberry sauce to make the gochujang glaze

The glaze in the recipe that I based this on was made with apricot jam, but I don’t have it at home. Instead, I have a couple of jars of cranberry sauce/preserve that I made for Christmas and they are still sitting in my fridge, so I use that instead, and it turned out to be surprisingly delicious. And since I use cranberry instead of apricot, the glazing has the color of dark maroon, a rather sexy shade I think 🙂

For this lovely gochujang cranberries glaze, you will need:

  • cranberry sauce, if you have some leftover from Thanksgiving or Christmas, that will be perfect for this
  • gochujang
  • rice vinegar
  • soy sauce, preferably low sodium so it is not overly salty

This lovely glazing sauce is very easy to prepare, simply combine all the glaze ingredients in a small saucepot, and cook on a medium heat while stirring until it thickens. Set the sauce aside while we prepare the meatballs.

Gochujang Meatballs

Gochujang Meatballs

Use an ice cream scoop to portion the meatballs

I use an ice cream scoop to portion the meatballs. If you don’t have one, I would say each portion is about the size of a golf ball.

But seriously you can shape the meatballs as tiny or as huge as you like, just make sure to adjust cooking time, which for beef, this means the internal temperature should reach about 70 Celsius (160 Fahrenheit) once cooked. An instant thermometer is useful for this.

Once they are cooked, brush the meatballs with the glazing sauce, and you can further garnish them with toasted sesame seeds and thinly sliced scallions. If you are serving them for a party, it looks nice and is super convenient to stick a toothpick to each meatball.

Gochujang Meatballs

Gochujang Meatballs

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Avocado and Grilled Zucchini Sandwich (Vegan)

Avocado and Grilled Zucchini Sandwich (Vegan)

Dulu yang namanya memilih alpukat itu pekerjaan paling beresiko, rasanya sudah memilih yang paling mulus eh pas dibuka taunya zonk, bagian dalamnya tidak sesuai harapan atau kadang matangnya cuman setengah, sisa setengahnya masih keras dan pahit. Beruntung belakangan mencari alpukat yang kualitasnya bagus sudah tidak sesusah dulu, kalau dulu harus beli alpukat import yang harganya ampun-ampunan bikin kantong bolong, belakangan kualitas alpukat hasil panen dalam negeri juga sudah  sangat baik terutama alpukat mentega yang datang dari tanah dataran tinggi Muria di Kudus, Jawa Barat.  

Bila musim panennya tiba, kita bisa dengan mudah menemukan alpukat mentega dengan isi yang tebal mulus, serta lembut bak mentega sesuai namanya. Ukuran buahnya tergolong besar berbentuk memanjang, dengan kulit hijau terang. Harga perkilonya juga jauh lebih murah dari alpukat import. Jadi saat alpukat mentega Muria bertebaran di pasaran, saya juga ikut senang karena bisa membuat aneka olahan dengan alpukat berkualitas baik, salah satunya membuat menu sarapan atau snack siang yang lebih sehat. 

Yang paling saya suka adalah menggunakan daging alpukat mentega untuk isian sandwich atau topping toast, kandungan nutrisi, lemak baik, serat dan mineralnya  sangat baik bagi tubuh. Kalium dalam alpukat membantu mencegah tekanan darah tinggi, sehingga alpukat sering dijadikan alternatif bagi mereka yang rentan terkena hypertensi. 

Kali ini saya akan berbagi resep sandwich yang mudah, sehat dan mengenyangkan, sangat pas untuk menu makan siang yang ringan atau cemilan siang hari. Gunakan roti sourdough atau multigrain bread untuk opsi yang lebih sehat. Tambahkan saus pesto favorit untuk memperkaya rasanya, dalam resep ini saya memakai sun dried tomato pesto (pesto rosso) untuk menciptakan rasa asam segar pada isian sandwich. Jika suka yang lebih wangi dan kaya aroma, gunakan classic basil pesto untuk pilihan pengganti. 

Foodies bisa mengganti zucchini dengan sayuran lainnya seperti jamur atau terong, panggang sebentar hingga matang dan tiriskan bila ada kelebihan air saat proses memanggangnya agar tidak merusak texture roti menjadi lembek atau soggy. 

Nah tanpa panjang lebar, berikut saya share resep dan cara membuatnya, sandwich ini sangat mudah dan praktis untuk dibuat tapi rasanya tak kalah enak.

opsi pilihan untuk kudapan siang atau menu makan siang yang ringan

bahan-bahan yang sedikit, membuat sandwich ini praktis dan mudah dibuat

Avocado and Grilled Zucchini Sandwich (Vegan)

Bahan-Bahan:

 

  • 1/2 buah zuchini iris tipis kemudian grilled sebentar.
  • 4 slice roti sourdough, panggang sebentar kedua sisinya.
  • 1/2 buah alpukat matang, keruk isinya dan haluskan.
  • 3 sdm sauce pesto (saya pakai sundried tomato pesto)
  • Garam, merica dan chili flakes secukupnya
Cara membuat:

  •  Tata roti yang sudah dipanggang di atas piring saji.
  • Campurkan daging alpukat dengan garam, merica dan chili flakes. Aduk rata.
  • Beri olesan alpukat ke atas roti
  • Tumpuk dengan irisan zuchini yg sudah dipanggang di atasnya.
  • Beri lagi olesan alpukat di atas zuchini kemudian terakhir tambahkan pesto sauce sesuai selera.
  • Tangkupkan 1 slice roti di atasnya.
  •  Clean bite sandwich siap disajikan.
tata roti di atas piring saji, olesi dengan isian alpukat yang sudah dibumbui

susun grilled zucchini di atasnya 

beri olesan alpukat lagi 

terakhir tambahkan saus pesto di atasnya, lalu tutup dengan 1 slice roti 

Selamat Mencoba 

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Brussels Sprouts and Garlic Stir Fry Recipe

Today I have a super easy and delicious side dish for you, brussels sprouts and garlic stir fry. Brussels sprouts look like miniature cabbage, and the taste is very similar to cabbage as well. They grow in a stalk, and sometime if I visit farmers market, I can find some sellers selling them in stalks! But sadly most of the time, they are sold in a bag and no stalk, but I still find them very cute 🙂

Brussels Sprouts and Garlic Stir Fry

I have tried many brussels sprouts recipes, but I think a simple stir fry like this is easy and very delicious. You can use olive oil or butter for this, so it totally depends on you. Obviously if you are vegan, you will stick to olive oil, but for others, experiment and see which one you like best. I love the garlicky smell, but I find that if I use minced garlic, the burnt garlic smell overpowers the brussels sprouts, so I like it better if I just use whole garlics and slightly bruised them.

Brussels Sprouts and Garlic Stir Fry

Brussels Sprouts and Garlic Stir Fry

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Butternut Nikuman Recipe | Daily Cooking Quest

Asian steam buns with ground pork/meat filling come with many names. It is called rou bao (肉包) in Chinese, nikuman (肉まん) in Japanese, and in Indonesia where I grow up, we call it bak pao, derived from Chinese Hokkien dialect. The most traditional meat to used in a nikuman is ground pork, but you can also make it with ground chicken, or for extra deluxe filling, a combination of ground pork/chicken and ground shrimp will make the steam bun even more delicious.

Ground pork mixture for the nikuman filling.

Since the dough will need to proof, it is best to knead the dough first. Steamed buns usually have snowy white skin, but you will need to make sure to use bleached all purpose flour and white color lard/shortening. I usually stock unbleached all purpose flour at home, so I know my skin will not be snow white, and I purposefully add butternut puree to my dough and make it bright yellow. You can also use pumpkin, kabocha, yam/orange sweet potato, purple sweet potato, or taro as puree and create colorful skin without any artificial coloring. I hand knead my dough, but you can use dough hook attachment, just make sure to knead until the dough is non-stick, soft, elastic, and smooth. With hands, this takes about 20 minutes. I am sure it will be faster with an electric mixer. Once the dough is kneaded, place it in a bowl and cover with saran/wet kitchen towel, and proof until the volume is doubled, about 1 hour.

Place a meatball at the center of a flatten circle dough and wrap into a neat ball.

Place a meatball at the center of a flatten circle dough and wrap into a neat ball.

Meanwhile, let’s make the filling. Just combine everything and let the filling chill in the fridge until the dough is ready. There shouldn’t be any standing liquid in the filling, so if you see that, add a bit of corn starch and stir again until there is no liquid.

Butternut Nikuman

Butternut Nikuman

Once the dough has finished proofing, punch to release air bubbles, knead for a couple of minutes, and divide into 12 portions. Take the filling out from the fridge, and divide it also into 12 portions and gently roll each portion into a meat ball. With a rolling pin, flatten each piece of dough into a round circle, about 4 inch diameter, and place one meat ball at the center. Gather the edges, pinch together so the dough fully enclose the filling, gently roll into a round ball, and place on a cupcake liner. If you don’t have cupcake liners, you can also use parchment papers and cut into 3 inch squares to use as liner. I know most people make pleats for nikuman, but I want to make this as beginner friendly as possible and simply make a smooth round bun with the filling enclosed. If you are highly experienced with pleating steamed buns, go ahead and make pretty pleats.

Butternut Nikuman

Butternut Nikuman

You will need a steamer to steam the buns. A multi-tiered bamboo or stainless steel steamer is best since we are going to steam 12 buns. If you have a small size steamer, please make sure to steam in batches. The buns will expand slightly after being steamed, about 50% bigger, so make sure you don’t crowd the steamer so the buns have enough room to expand. If your rice cooker comes with a steamer rack insert, you can use that as well. If your house has no steamer at all, you can still make a make-shift steamer as long as you have a wok or a large skillet with a tight fitting lid. Place a small heat proof bowl/plate upside down in the wok/skillet, pour enough water to come almost come to the top of this small bowl/plate, place your buns on another bigger heat proof plate and place this plate gently on top of the small bowl/plate. You need to make sure the lid doesn’t touch the buns. With this configuration, you can steam the buns even without a dedicated steamer.

Butternut Nikuman

Butternut Nikuman

Once the buns have been steamed for 15 minutes. Turn the heat off, but do not open the steamer lid. Let the buns sit in the steamer for another 5 minutes, then gently remove the lid, making sure no water drops on the buns since any water droplets will cause the skin to blemish. Steamed buns are best eaten straight out from the steamer. I love these for breakfast. For a bun of this size, one is enough for me, but my husband usually needs two 😉 Store any leftover in a freezer friendly zip lock bags, they should last for at least a month in the freezer. Just reheat with a steamer or microwave for next time.

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