Tag Archives: Cirebon

Empal Gentong – Cirebon Beef Soup Recipe

Empal gentong is a traditional beef soup from the city of Cirebon in West Java, Indonesia. I’d like to think of this soup as the representative soto (traditional Indonesian soup) of Cirebon. This beef soup is very rich and savory from the use of spices and coconut milk. It is enjoyed with either steamed white rice, or ketupat/lontong, and a side of sambal rebus.

Ingredients to prepare empal gentong (Cirebon beef soup).

Choosing the right beef cut to use for empal gentong

Like most other Indonesian soto/soup that use beef as its main ingredient, the most popular cut is beef brisket (Indonesian: sandung lamur). Basically, this is our most common stew cut to make any kind of soto. You don’t have to stick to this particular cut, and you can use other beef cuts that are also suitable for stew, such as:

  • beef chuck
  • beef round
  • any beef cut that is labeled as beef stew cut

Aside from the meat, traditionally we also add equal part beef entrails to make empal gentong. Honeycomb tripe and intestines are always popular, but if you feel squeamish, or if it is not easy to obtain these, you can use 100% beef meat.

Empal gentong - Cirebon beef soup.

Empal gentong – Cirebon beef soup.

Herbs and spices to prepare empal gentong

To prepare empal gentong, you will need the following ingredients:

When serving this soup, I usually prepare the following:

Empal gentong - Cirebon beef soup.

Empal gentong – Cirebon beef soup.

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Tahu Gejrot Cirebon – Fried Tofu in Chili Soy Sauce Recipe

Tahu Gejrot Cirebon – Fried Tofu in Chili Soy Sauce.

Street food is a common sight in Indonesian life, and though it may sound unusual to non-Indonesians, we have quite a variety of tofu-based street food snacks or light meals.

One of our popular tofu street food is tahu gejrot Cirebon, fried tofu cut into small cubes and doused with a spicy chili soy sauce. Cirebon is a port city on the northern coast of West Java bordering the province of Central Java. Other famous dishes from this city that includes empal gentong, mi koclok, nasi lengko, tahu petis, and docang.

With my recipe, you can now replicate this dish in your home even when you are not living in Indonesia. This dish also happens to be gluten-free and vegan-friendly, so I love serving it to my non-Indonesian friends.

Ingredients for tahu gejrot Cirebon: firm/extra-firm tofu, shallot, garlic, green chili, kecap manis, coconut palm sugar, salt, cane sugar vinegar, and water.

Ingredients for tahu gejrot Cirebon: firm/extra-firm tofu, shallot, garlic, green chili, kecap manis, coconut palm sugar, salt, cane sugar vinegar, and water.

Ingredients for tahu gejrot

1. Fried tofu

In Indonesia, fried tofu is just as commonly sold as raw tofu. We have several common varieties of fried tofu that are suitable for tahu gejrot, such as tahu pong, tahu Sumedang, or even the most generic fried tofu.

In the United States, you may find fried tofu cubes in your Asian market. You can also use Japanese tofu pouch (abura age) if you can find them. You may want to rinse store-bought fried tofu with boiling water to remove excess oil before using it.

For most people, getting a block of firm or extra-firm tofu and frying the tofu at home would be the most approachable method.

2. Chili soy sauce

We will need shallot, garlic, green chilies, kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce), coconut palm sugar, salt, cane sugar vinegar, and water.

You can use as many chilies as you like, and you can use any variety of chili. Most Indonesians will stick to bird-eye chilies, or perhaps a combination of bird-eye chilies and cayenne chilies. You can also use serranos, jalapenos or Fresno for a milder sauce.

Chili soy sauce for the tofu dish: boil minced garlic, minced shallot, minced/diced green chili, salt, coconut palm sugar, cane sugar vinegar, kecap manis and water.

Chili soy sauce for the tofu dish: boil minced garlic, minced shallot, minced/diced green chili, salt, coconut palm sugar, cane sugar vinegar, kecap manis and water.

Prepare fried tofu cubes

1. From a block of firm/extra-firm tofu

Drain tofu and pat dry with a kitchen towel/paper towel. Cut into eight pieces and fry with a little oil in a non-stick frying pan or a well-seasoned cast-iron pan until golden brown.

2. From store-bought fried tofu

Store-bought tofu can be very oily, so I always place the tofu in a large mixing bowl and cover with boiling water. Drain the tofu after 5 minutes.

Prepare chili sauce

In a small saucepan, bring water, sweet soy sauce, coconut palm sugar, salt, vinegar, chilies, shallot, and garlic to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Serving tahu gejrot

Cut each piece of tofu into 4 pieces so you get a total of 32 small fried tofu cubes. Divide the tofu cubes into 4 serving bowls. Pour the sauce on top of the tofu and serve immediately.

Divide fried tofu cubes into individual serving bowls/plates. Pour the chili soy sauce over the tofu once you are ready to serve.

Divide fried tofu cubes into individual serving bowls/plates. Pour the chili soy sauce over the tofu once you are ready to serve.

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