Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Otak-Otak (Indonesian grilled fish cake)

*This is what happens when Ale gets a new food processor =)

**Original recipe from here

350 g mackerel fillet, no skin and bones (I used cod this time, easier to find!)
150 g tapioca starch
100 ml coconut cream (I used about 150ml canned coconut)
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp salt
pepper as you like it (I used a peppermill and basically went around the bowl a few times)
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp chicken stock (I used vet-tsin :p)
15 chinese chives (Matta's wasn't open, alas! And I was too lazy to walk to Chinatown so I substituted this with 2 stalks of spring onion)
Banana leaves to wrap (I bought a bag from Matta's, it was 2 very long banana leaves, and I still have a little bit left)

Peanut chilli sauce:
2 red chillies*
8 red bird's eye chillies*
*I used 12 bird's eye chillies instead
5 cloves garlic
5 candlenuts, toasted
6 tbsp peanut butter (or if you want, fry some peanuts)
1 1/2 tsp sugar
200 ml water
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp salt

For the peanut sauce:
+ Stir fry chillies and garlic til they're soft
+ Put everything in a food processor, blend until smooth

For the fish paste:
+ Put everything in a food processor except coconut milk and egg, then as it's slowly processing the fish, pour in coconut milk and egg slowly
+ Take a dollop (not more than 1 tbsp!) of the paste, put it on the banana leaves, make it elongated, and wrap LOOSELY with banana leaves** stick a toothpick at the end of the leaves to secure it
+ Bake in the oven (I used low temp) til the leaves are dry and the food starts to smell reallyyyyyy gooddd!!
+ Serve with the peanut chilli sauce, and with a big appetite!

** Basically the paste will expand as you cook them (due to the tapioca starch I presume?), I made the mistake of wrapping them too tightly (like rolling a sushi haha) and as a result the leaves cracked and the bit that's exposed dried out :( so some bits are "wrinkly" and it's supposed to be firm, nice and juicy and bouncy....

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Ayam Betutu (Balinese spiced chicken wrapped in banana leaves)

One of our most favourite Balinese dishes, Ayam Betutu, or Spiced chicken wrapped in banana leaves for the unfamiliar ears, is definitely not your typical student dinner. The delicate recipe took me an hour to prepare, 24 hours to marinade, an hour in the steamer, and a final hour in the oven! But, prepared with so much passion and... dare I say perseverence(?) this dish surely will take your taste buds on a roller-coaster ride, and probably make your momma proud too.

(One thing for sure, it was a heavy-weight challenge for my poor, cheap Haden mini food chopper - it didn't survive the marathon).

Ingredients: (taken liberally from here)

1 whole chicken, cut into small pieces (16 or so)
2 lime
2 banana leaves and aluminium foil to wrap

Spices: (process the following spices in a food processor, or if you prefer... the old n trusted mortar n pestle)
4 lemongrasses, finely angle cut
16 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced (whole lime leaves are "double ended", so each of them counts as 2)
2 tsp sugar
30 shallots
1 1/2 garlic buds NOT cloves
20 bird's eye chillies (this will be relatively hot, for milder taste use 15)
2 cm ginger, finely sliced
4 tsp ground turmeric
2 cm galangal
4 tbsp ground coriander
2 tsp dried shrimp paste/belacan/terasi
4 tbsp olive oil, add slowly to the mixture
salt as desired

1. Wash chicken throughly, pat dry, then drizzle with lime all over and rub with salt. Let it stand for 30 minutes.
2. Grind all spices in a food processor until smooth, careful not to overwork the processor or else you'll have to get a new one like me :(
3. Rub chicken with ground spices.
4. Break each banana leaf into 2, you'll be needing about 3 pieces (= 1 1/2 banana leaves).
5. Place chicken pieces in banana leaves and wrap them up, then wrap the leaves in foil. Marinade overnight.
6. Steam for an hour and then bake for a further hour at 160C.

Selamat makan!!!