Tuesday, February 23, 2010

soto ayam

soto ayam is a yellow, spicy chicken soup served with thin noodles (vermicilli) and a variety of other toppings. the broth is flavorful and quite tangy, from the lemongrass and lime leaves used.

while i was in indonesia last week, i was shown how to properly make it. i've made it before back in canada, but i used a pre-made paste, so that doesn't really count. the process is quite time-consuming, so this is not a meal you would cook very often. maybe more of a special occasion or for when guests come over. the lady who taught me says she never makes it just for her and her husband.

ingredients to go into the paste:
- turmeric (kunyit)
- ginger (jahe)
- red onion (bawang merah)
- garlic (bawang putih)
- candlenut (kemiri)

blend the paste with some water. fry the paste with a few stalks of lemongrass (serai) and lime leaves (daun jeruk).

add water to the fried paste and boil the chicken in the soup. once the chicken is cooked, remove, drain, fry, and shred. keep the soup.

now for the soup toppings:

1. slice potatoes really thin, and deep fry.

2. deep fry emping (a chip made from a dried, smashed nut)

3. chop up cabbage:

4. soak bean sprouts (tauge) in water

5. soak the vermicilli in water

6. chop up green onion (daun bawang)

7. boil eggs, peel and chop:

8. slice little limes (jeruk nipis) - hard to find these in canada

9. chop up celery leaves

10. put fried shallots in a bowl

11. chilli paste (i don't use this, i'm a wimp when it comes to spice)

put noodles, and everything else in your bowl and ladle soup on top. ta da!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

names of food places

taken from a mall directory here in singapore:

i love the names of food places here.

anyone want to go to tasty treat? wait....! a coffee snack bar!

another great name was an ice-cream place here called 'ice rock.' 'coldstone creamery' anyone? or the canadian version, 'marble slab'? nope, i want to go to ice rock.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

meandering appetites

meandering appetites

i have been bugging my friend matt for a while now about starting a food blog. we went to college together, but i only discovered (with sadness - honestly, i could have done with some delicious home-cooked meals in college) how skilled he was in the kitchen a year after i'd left college and left manitoba behind. he made me fettucine alfredo, from scratch. it was the simplest, most amazing meal ever, that i left regretting all those years i didn't know that butter was the answer to everything. i have been wanting to blog about making alfredo sauce for a while now, but haven't gotten around to it. maybe i'll just wait for matt to write about it, and i'll just link it here.

(photo by matt o)

anyway. i got distracted by all that butter talk. and the photo of chicken curry that looks like butter chicken, which really makes me salivate. matt just started his food blog (finally!) and i am already an avid follower. not only is he a foodie, but he's the type of person that has the full set of jamie oliver cookbooks at home. and actually reads them. and uses them. yeah. so check out his blog: meandering appetites.

Monday, February 8, 2010

eating seafood on top of the sea

eating seafood on top of the sea

setting: (because sometimes your surroundings when you are eating affect your eating experience) indonesia. ruralish – outskirts of the city. seaside. platform on top of the sea – not floating, but on stilts.

i wouldn’t normally say ‘i LOVE seafood, i’ll eat ANYTHING seafood.’ but sometimes in life, when you are served a table FULL of food that is only (save for one plate of vegetables (sayur) and one bowl of kimchee, you eat, almost literally, EVERYTHING seafood.

for the first time in my life, i willingly ate something new and foreign to me. i don’t even know what it is called. i’m pretty sure we were all calling it ‘the thing that comes out of the shell.’ the plate of shells looked like a decorative piece, not something for ingesting into my body. luckily someone at our table had eaten it before and knew what to do. step one: take a toothpick, and insert it into the shell’s opening. step two: poke the thing inside the shell with the toothpick and gingerly, carefully pull it out. step three: eat the weird squishy-looking substance that you just pulled out of the shell. apparently there was a sauce for dipping but most of us noticed that after the meal was finished. but i was creative and started dipping it into the chilli-crab sauce. i can even proudly say: “i ate more of the shell things than my dad.” actually, i can do better than that. i can say: “i was braver than my dad, because he didn’t even TRY any.” hah! take that, world. i’m pretty sure my dad has eaten monkey brains before. or pig intestines or something - both things i would avoid at all costs. i would probably even risk offending someone before i would eat either of those (sad to say but its true). BUT, this time, i tried something my dad didn’t want to try. i feel pretty good about that. (insert smug face here.)

the best part of the meal was the chili crab. sadly, those crabs were pretty small, and i only was able to eat one leg, since there were others at the table who ate a liiittle bit more than their share. ah well. kids will be kids i guess. i’m also a very amateur crab leg cracker. i didn’t know how to bite that sucker properly. so i was pretty slow at eating it. sigh.

we also ate fried fish, prawns, deepfried battered squid. the prawns were served whole, shell, head, and all. i never knew that some people ate those things whole. i’m a bit of a wimp and i left the head (i gave it to someone else) and the shell behind. if i want something crunchy to eat, i will eat chips, thank you. i’m a texture person. i’m surprised i ate 3 of those shell things.

the next best part of the meal was the coconut drink. seriously. in terms of aesthetics alone, the coconut makes the perfect drink. luckily it tastes good too. and it’s fun, because you get to scrape the coconut flesh out of the coconut once finished drinking. so out of the whole deal you get: refreshment, fun, and good looks.

all in all, it was a good evening. except for the shortage of chili crab. :)