inkwell.vue.320 : James Oseland, "Cradle of Flavor"
permalink #26 of 107: a plague of cilantro (cjp) Fri 8 Feb 08 10:14
    
Oh man, that egg dish at Lorong Bangkok sounds worth the trip! I have
really enjoyed this cookbook. I am utterly unfamiliar with Indonesian
food, and my only real foray into this cuisine was when I made
rijsttafel out of the 1970's Joy of Cooking, so Cradle of Flavor is a
revelation. The directions in your book are wonderfully clear, and I
adore the little essays that accompany them -- they create the perfect
aura for imagining what a new dish will taste like before actually
creating it. 

That spice cake was the first thing that caught my eye, too.
Perfection. And it has gone the way of all good cakes: happily down the
hatch with a couple glasses of cold milk!

I guess I'd like to ask a variation on the question Bourdain always
asks his chef buddies: what would be your perfect last meal, if it
could only be made of Indonesian dishes?
  
inkwell.vue.320 : James Oseland, "Cradle of Flavor"
permalink #27 of 107: fat and sassy and laying eggs (wiggly) Fri 8 Feb 08 10:18
    
Reading these descriptions on an empty stomach is torture. Time to head
over to the store for some galangal and turmeric, I suppose.

Speaking of ingredients, it seems that some common items from Vietnamese,
Thai, and Chinese food are missing - fish sauce, bitter melon, and various
gourds for example. Is there a particular reason something like fish sauce
didn't make the crossing from the mainland?
  
inkwell.vue.320 : James Oseland, "Cradle of Flavor"
permalink #28 of 107: Which is better - one or two? (smash) Fri 8 Feb 08 10:20
    
> Nutmeg jam

You suggest making it with the nut, but the discussion seems to point
to the (unavailable - in the US) fruit. We know that Mace and Nutmeg
(nut) are very different from each other in flavor. What does the fruit
itself taste like?

> Beef Rendang

I had it in a restaurant last week, and it was typical of what I get
in restaurants around here (in the SF Bay Area): the sauce is great,
but the beef is mostly flavorless. It seems as though the meat has
never had the benefit of the sauce. Your recipe is all about cooking it
in the sauce, and I can't imagine cooking them separately. What is
going wrong with them?

We have a kaffir lime bush. Of course, the leaves are great, but is
there much useful to do with the fruit? I don't see them referenced in
the book.
  
inkwell.vue.320 : James Oseland, "Cradle of Flavor"
permalink #29 of 107: Which is better - one or two? (smash) Fri 8 Feb 08 10:23
    
And slipped by the stressed Mr. <wiggly> (for the next little while at
least. (Wiggly - I'm going to make the Beef Rendang next week. Neener
neener.)

Since he mentions fish sauce, I'm also interested. I happen to have a
wide-ranging fish allergy, and I find fish sauce to be nasty. I'm glad
that it's not predominant in the cuisine.
  
inkwell.vue.320 : James Oseland, "Cradle of Flavor"
permalink #30 of 107: fat and sassy and laying eggs (wiggly) Fri 8 Feb 08 10:29
    
The best thing to do with those limes is send them to me.
  
inkwell.vue.320 : James Oseland, "Cradle of Flavor"
permalink #31 of 107: Eric Gower (gower) Fri 8 Feb 08 10:40
    
The zest from kaffirs is great, Scott.
  
inkwell.vue.320 : James Oseland, "Cradle of Flavor"
permalink #32 of 107: Which is better - one or two? (smash) Fri 8 Feb 08 16:26
    
Dream on, guys.

I just hit Ranch 99 to shop for Beef Rendang ingredients, and was
really disappointed. I hoped to find galangal, candlenuts, daun salam
(screwpine) leaves, and turmeric; I was sure I'd seen most there
before. I only found the galangal, plus screwpine extract. I found some
dried whole turmeric in an Indian grocery. Of course, I already have
the kaffir lime leaves.
  
inkwell.vue.320 : James Oseland, "Cradle of Flavor"
permalink #33 of 107: James Oseland (jamesoseland) Fri 8 Feb 08 18:42
    
Re. fish sauce: weirdly, is virtually unknown in the foods of
Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. Instead, locals cooks get a
similar, umami-type flavor profile from dried shrimp paste, which is
made from tiny brine shrimp. The ingredient is used VERY sparingly, and
it's almost always toasted first, which mellows its flavor (and aroma)
considerably....
  
inkwell.vue.320 : James Oseland, "Cradle of Flavor"
permalink #34 of 107: James Oseland (jamesoseland) Fri 8 Feb 08 18:47
    
Re. my last meal: OK, this is tricky. Part of me wants to go the
spare, simple route, like the toast/tea/egg breakfast I described
earlier. Probably, though, decadence would win out, and I'd want ikan
pepes (a whole fish slathered in a kaffir lime-y spice paste then
grilled inside a banana leaf); coconut rice--lots of coconut rice; an
eggplant curry with coconut milk and cinnamon and cloves; some
stir-fried water spinach that had just been picked five minutes prior;
a glass of cool, sweet limeade made from kalimansi limes; and, of
course, the spice cake.
  
inkwell.vue.320 : James Oseland, "Cradle of Flavor"
permalink #35 of 107: James Oseland (jamesoseland) Fri 8 Feb 08 18:55
    
Sorry, smash, about your bad luck in finding (or not finding,
actually) ingredients at the Ranch 99. Did you go to the one in the
East Bay or Milpitas? (I live in New York but know both stores pretty
well.)

The weird thing is, they probably DO have candlenuts (you can use
macadamias instead) and daun salam (I've bought them at both locations
before)--they're just secreted in a tiny section dedicated to
Indonesian/Malaysian ingredients and the people who work in the store
don't know how to steer you there. (By the way, daun salam is different
from daun pandan, the extract you bought; "daun" means leaf.) The
fresh turmeric may have been in the frozen foods section--but dried
works perfectly well.

Good luck, though, with what you've got thus far--let me know if you
have further questions.
  
inkwell.vue.320 : James Oseland, "Cradle of Flavor"
permalink #36 of 107: paralyzed by a question like that (debunix) Fri 8 Feb 08 19:26
    
The shrimp paste is from dried saltwater shrimp, right?

Thinking you can't actually mean brine shrimp, the microscopic
creatures I hatch out and feed to my baby fish......
  
inkwell.vue.320 : James Oseland, "Cradle of Flavor"
permalink #37 of 107: fat and sassy and laying eggs (wiggly) Fri 8 Feb 08 21:50
    
The Sayur Lodeh from the tofu section of the book was a big hit tonight.
I've used shrimp paste in the past, but never the toasting technique. It
adds a really interesting element to the curry - plus the kitchen smells
like barbecued shrimp while you're toasting the paste.

At the Asian grocery I got my supplies from, the small Indonesian section
has cans of imported Kraft processed cheese with an Arabic Kraft logo on
the can. Is this a common ingredient there? It really stuck out amidst
the sambals.
  
inkwell.vue.320 : James Oseland, "Cradle of Flavor"
permalink #38 of 107: Which is better - one or two? (smash) Fri 8 Feb 08 22:25
    
Thanks for the comments. I went to the one in Cupertino; maybe I'll
head to Milpitas and take a look.
  
inkwell.vue.320 : James Oseland, "Cradle of Flavor"
permalink #39 of 107: (martyb) Sat 9 Feb 08 08:50
    
One night I was randomly viewing blogs on blogger, and I came to the blog of
a young woman from (IIRC) Malaysia. She mostly reviewed restaurants that she
had gone to with her friends. I was surprised at how often toast was
mentioned. Assuming my memory is not totally off, which it could be, is
toast a more deliberately ordered restaurant snack food in that part of the
world?
  
inkwell.vue.320 : James Oseland, "Cradle of Flavor"
permalink #40 of 107: a plague of cilantro (cjp) Sat 9 Feb 08 08:56
    
(slipped by martyb)

I've found lots of Indonesian and Malaysian ingredients (as well as
Chinese stuff I can't find in other markets, like red wine yeast and
big discs of pu erh tea) at the Lions Market at the corner of Saratoga
and Kiely near 280 in the South Bay. I believe I saw a huge selection
of SE Asian foods there. The only real drawback is the horrible traffic
at that intersection.

Thanks for the last meal menu. That does sound delish. And I'd
probably go with lots of coconut rice, too. I mean, if it's the last
meal, then why worry about too much coconut, right? 

I'm a vegetarian and I'm assuming there's vegetarians in Indonesia;
what do they use in place of the shrimp paste? I often use fermented
tofu and its brine in Chinese cooking to give it the necessary funk. Is
there something similar in Indonesian cuisine?
  
inkwell.vue.320 : James Oseland, "Cradle of Flavor"
permalink #41 of 107: Which is better - one or two? (smash) Sat 9 Feb 08 11:33
    
Dang. I'd forgotten about Lion, and I drove right by there yesterday.
  
inkwell.vue.320 : James Oseland, "Cradle of Flavor"
permalink #42 of 107: David Adam Edelstein (davadam) Sat 9 Feb 08 18:15
    
James, what should I be looking for in a package of Daun Salam? The
ones I found at my closest asian market were pretty dry and crumbly,
but I have no idea if that's as expected or if they should be more
"fresh" for lack of a better term.

OK, "hidup", alive, is probably the right term, as you describe the
Alwi's cook using it in the book.  What do daun salam look like when
they're hidup?
  
inkwell.vue.320 : James Oseland, "Cradle of Flavor"
permalink #43 of 107: Which is better - one or two? (smash) Sat 9 Feb 08 23:34
    
I'm still not finding it. Can I substitute regular bay leaf - is it
close?
  
inkwell.vue.320 : James Oseland, "Cradle of Flavor"
permalink #44 of 107: paralyzed by a question like that (debunix) Sat 9 Feb 08 23:53
    
I've only used pandan extract, which is much more reminiscent of
almond extract or even vanilla than of bay.  Not resinous and spicy,
but sweet and nutty and floral, almost.

I might try mahleb or almond extract if I couldn't get pandan for a
dessert.

Not sure if the same substitution would be the right way to go for a
beef rendang.
  
inkwell.vue.320 : James Oseland, "Cradle of Flavor"
permalink #45 of 107: paralyzed by a question like that (debunix) Sun 10 Feb 08 21:29
    
Scored frozen pandan leaves in my local thai market.  Long, skinny,
easy to miss the narrow little slot on the shelf that holds them.  Had
to ask at the checkout and be directed to them--missed first time
around.

Potatoes rendang tonight.
  
inkwell.vue.320 : James Oseland, "Cradle of Flavor"
permalink #46 of 107: fat and sassy and laying eggs (wiggly) Sun 10 Feb 08 22:12
    
No daun pandan in the potato rendang recipe. You need daun salam.

Made potato rendang and urap last night. I should have read through
the recipe closely, as I didn't anticipate the total cooking time. It
was very much worth the effort, though.

Tomorrow's recipe: tempeh sambal with lemon basil. Well, probably thai
basil since lemon basil was nowhere to be found during my shopping trip
yesterday.
  
inkwell.vue.320 : James Oseland, "Cradle of Flavor"
permalink #47 of 107: paralyzed by a question like that (debunix) Sun 10 Feb 08 22:29
    
Just realized that:  fortunately, I got some cassia leaves too.

The cassia leaves are quite unique smelling.  The ones I have are
frozen, and not very intact.  Should the broken bits be chopped up into
the seasoning paste ingredients, or should I put them in a
tea-strainer or other pouch so I can recover them after cooking/
  
inkwell.vue.320 : James Oseland, "Cradle of Flavor"
permalink #48 of 107: fat and sassy and laying eggs (wiggly) Sun 10 Feb 08 22:42
    
I thought cassia leaves were different than daun salam.

The leaf labeling around here is pretty confusing. The market I frequent
has fresh curry leaves labeled as Indian bay leaves, and the dried daun
salam are also labeled as Indian bay leaves. It took me a while to figure
out what was what, but not before I screwed up Indian curry for 50 with
a bunch of daun salam (which at the time I didn't have the slightest
knowledge of).
  
inkwell.vue.320 : James Oseland, "Cradle of Flavor"
permalink #49 of 107: paralyzed by a question like that (debunix) Sun 10 Feb 08 23:43
    
Hmmm....the leaves I have are labelled cassia on the english nutrition
label, but they do looks like bay leaves.   There is nothing I can
translate on the Thai label to know if they're the right leaves or not.
 They do have a slightly tart flavor that is not particularly like
bay.

But if is very tricky to be sure when you're trying to find such an
unusual (at least, in US supermarkets) ingredient--when there's often
no way to read the original label, and the label in english, if there
is one, may be quite unhelpful--giving an english name that doesn't
approach the name given in the cookbook.

It took me quite a while to find mahleb in middle eastern markets
because the local places called it mahaleb and pronounced it quite
differently than I did. 
  
inkwell.vue.320 : James Oseland, "Cradle of Flavor"
permalink #50 of 107: a plague of cilantro (cjp) Mon 11 Feb 08 10:08
    
Talk about not being able to read the labels... I was in Hankook
Market yesterday shopping around for kimchee and those glorious Korean
turnips (sweet as apples and not a bit gassy; I even julienne the peels
and stirfry them with some dried chilis), and there was this display
of jars of dark red kimchee with a Korean sign in front of it that
looked all the world like $100blahblahblahblahblah blahblahblahblah$100
blahblah blahblahblahblahblah blahblahblahblah blahblahblahblah
blahblahblah $100. And I was wondering, why would kimchee cost $100?
How good IS that kimchee, right? So I flagged down one of the younger
employees who looked like an ABK and therefore spoke English and asked
him. "Ha ha!" he said, at my silly lack of Korean comprehension.
"They're not for sale. You have to buy $100 worth of this other stuff,
and you get a jar of kimchee free." Ah, that made more sense.
  

More...



Members: Enter the conference to participate

Subscribe to an RSS 2.0 feed of new responses in this topic RSS feed of new responses

 
   Join Us
 
Home | Learn About | Conferences | Member Pages | Mail | Store | Services & Help | Password | Join Us

Twitter G+ Facebook