Acar Timun (Quick Cucumber Pickles)

2 medium size cucumber
4 tbsp hot water
4 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp white vinegar
3 red Thai chili cut into small pieces

Peel the cucumber and then cut into half vertically. Use a spoon with a sharp point, like grapefruit spoon for example, to scoop off the seeds. Regular spoon will work too, so don’t sweat it if you don’t have grapefruit spoon. It just makes the work a little easier.

Cut the cucumber into cubes or you can cut it into half-circle shape.

Place the hot water and sugar in a glass-jar. Stir to dissolve the sugar.

Add the vinegar and chili. Add the cucumber. Close the lid of the jar and shake it. You can pickle this in a non-reactive bowl too. Whatever works for you.

Let it pickle for at least 1 hour in a refrigerator. You can store this in the refrigerator for up to 1 week

Green Beans and Bean Threads

1 lb green beans trimmed both ends and remove tough fibers, cut into 2-inch sections
2 oz minced lean pork or any meat you like I used left over sausages
2 bundles of bean thread noodles/vermicelli noodles soak in cold water to let it soften and then cut into shorter pieces
1 Tbsp chopped spring onion
3 Tbsp of canola oil

MARINADE:
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
Salt to season
1 cup water
Dash of sesame oil

Blanch the green beans in boiling water for about 2-3 minutes and quickly submerge into ice water bath. Drain and set aside.

Heat 3 Tbsp of canola oil and stir fry the minced pork and use the spatula to break up the meat, toss in chopped spring onion, add dark soy sauce, salt and water. Lastly add the green beans and cook for about 3 minutes.

Add the vermicelli and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes. Turn up the heat to reduce the gravy if you prefer. Lastly drizzle with some sesame oil.

Note on soaking vermicelli: If you want the vermicelli to further soak up the flavors and sauce of the dish you are cooking it in, soak it in cold water. If you are not cooking it in a sauce, soak it in warm water instead to allow it to swell more before cooking.

Chili Chicken

1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into bite size
1 medium onion thinly sliced
Corn starch to coat the chicken
Salt to taste
1-2 Tbsp of sugar
Oil for deep-frying
CHILI INGREDIENTS:
20 shallots
1 stalk of lemongrass
2- inch piece galangal
1 tsp of shrimp paste/terasi
About 20-30 bird’s eye chili
5 cloves garlic
1/2 cup of water

Put all the chili ingredients into a food processor and ground into a fine paste. The water is to get the grinding process going.

Heat up some oil in a pan, enough to cover the chicken for deep frying. Meanwhile, dredge the chicken pieces into the corn starch and fry until golden brown and set them aside.

In a separate pan, heat up about 3 Tbsp oil oil and stir fry the onion until they are soft, add in the chili paste and stir fry until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add the sugar and salt to your taste. Add the fried chicken pieces and toss them to make sure they are coated with the sauce and stir fry for another 1 minute and serve immediately.

Bagan Char Kwey Tiau (Stir-fried Rice Noodles)

1 lb (450 g) fresh wide flat rice noodles / kwe tiau. If using dried, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes then discard water
2 handful of beansprouts (washed)
6 cloves of garlics (finely chopped)
4 eggs
2-3 Tbsp of soy sauce or more as needed
1 small cube of chicken bouillon
6 Tbsp of ground red chili paste
1/4 cup of canola Oil + 4 Tbsp of canola oil (Lard for best result)
3 cups of hot water

It is best to use a wok if you have one. Preheat until the wok is stonking hot and smoke started to rise. Add in 1/4 cup of oil and the flat rice noodles and stir fry for about 30 seconds, splash in 2 Tbsp of soy sauce. Dish out and set aside. You may end up with some “crust” on the wok from cooking the noodles. Scrap them off with wooden spoon.

Preheat the wok again until really really hot. Then add in about 4 Tbsp of canola oil and add in the garlic and ground red chili paste and stir-fry until fragrant, another minute.

Push it to the side of the wok, crack in 4 eggs and stir to break the yolk a little bit and then let it cook for about 1 minute, then stir to mix everything. Add in the hot water (it’s important that it’s hot so you won’t reduce the temperature of the wok too much) and chicken bouillon and bring it to a boil for about 1-2 minutes.

Add in the rice noodles that you have stir-fried earlier, and soy sauce. Stir to mix everything, have a taste and add more soy sauce if needed.

Lastly add in the beansprouts and turn off the heat. The beansprouts should be still crunchy. The fried noodles should be red in color and a little bit saucy, but not entirely soupy. Give it a stir one more time to mix everything. Portion into individual serving plate. Serve immediately.

Semur Daging (Javanese Beef Stew)

1 lb of beef for stew
4 medium-size potatoes
1/4 cup of butter
4 shallots thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic peeled and finely chopped
1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
4 bay leaves
4 Tbsp sweet soy sauce
4 cups of water
2 large carrots peeled and cut into big chunks
2 large tomatoes quartered
Salt to taste
Cellophane noodles – optional

GARNISHES:
Fried shallot crisp
Small bunch Chinese celery leaves finely chopped
Sweet soy sauce for drizzling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel and cut the potatoes into large cubes. Soak them in warm water for about 30 minutes. Drain off the water and pat them dry. Drizzle with cooking oil and season with a bit of salt and use your hands to toss and make sure potatoes are coated with oil and salt. Place on a aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Place the potatoes on the baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes or until lightly golden brown and cooked through.

In a meantime, melt some butter in a pot and add in shallots, garlic, nutmeg and bay leaves. Stir fry until fragrant. Add the beef and 4 Tbsp of sweet soy sauce to the pot and let them brown a little bit for about 10 minutes. Pour in the water and bring to a boil and lower the heat and slowly simmer for about 1 hour until the meat is tender. Add in the carrots and tomatoes after 30 minutes of cooking and add the fried potatoes in 10 minutes before the end of cooking. Gently stir everything to mix. Have a taste and season with salt if needed. It should be slightly sweet from the sweet soy sauce.

WHEN READY TO SERVE:
If using cellophane noodles, blanch the cellophane noodles in boiling water, it just take few seconds to soften. Portion into individual bowl and portion out the beef and potatoes over each bowl. Laddle the hot broth over the noodles. Garnish with fried shallot crisp and celery leaves. Drizzle with some kecap manis and you are good to go. Or just serve this with rice on the side.

Traditionally, this dish used deep-fried potatoes. You can deep fry the potatoes or just add the potatoes and carrots in 30 minutes before end of cooking time. Roasting or deep-frying the potatoes first sure makes it taste even better.

Pandan Chiffon Cake

THICK BATTER:
5 egg yolks from large eggs about 50 gr each
20 gr sugar
3 Tbsp cooking oil
100 gr cake flour sifted
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
100 ml coconut milk use the canned version
2 tsp pandan extract

MERINGUE:
5 egg whites from large eggs room temperature
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
60 gr sugar

Separate the egg yolks from the white and let them sit out for 30 minutes at room temperature. The meringue whips better at room temperature.

MIXING THE THICK BATTER:
Whisk the egg with sugar and cooking oil, then add coconut milk and pandan extract. In a separate mixing bowl, mix the cake flour, salt, and baking powder.

Gradually add the cake flour to the egg batter while mixing. Mix until smooth and no lumps. Strain the batter if necessary to get rid of any lumps.

WHIPPING THE MERINGUE:
Preheat your oven to 330 F. Place the oven rack 3rd from the top.

Place the egg whites in a clean bowl. You will have trouble whipping your meringue if there’s trace of grease in your utensils or bowls. Beat the egg whites on medium speed until frothy, add cream of tartar and whip until it turns whitish. Gradually add the sugar as you beat. I beat them for around 4-5 minutes until you get a stiff peak. You will know you get to the stiff peak when you hold your whisk up and your meringue holds its shape.

Gently fold in 1/4 of the meringue into the thick batter. Using a rubber spatula, swipe from the side and gently fold over to mix and then continue. Repeat this motion several rounds. Continue on with second 1/4 of the meringue again to mix. Continue to do this until you are done with the meringue and the batter and meringue are nicely mixed.

DO NOT grease your chiffon pan. The cake needs to cling to the pan to rise. Give the pan a strong tap on the side for a few times before pouring in the batter to remove any air bubbles. Pour the batter in. Smooth the batter with rubber spatula. Give the pan a tap again to remove any bubbles or you can use toothpicks to do so.

Pop into the oven and let it bake at 330 F for 45-50 minutes. DO NOT open your oven door at least for the first 30 minutes of baking or you will deflate the cake.

Don’t be alarm if your cake has some cracks on top. What you are looking at will become the bottom of your cake. I find that baking at this temperature in my oven prevents the cake from cracking.

Once out of the oven, carefully invert the pan upside down. Your chiffon pan may have the little stands for you to invert, but I find it not high enough. I use a glass jar and set the inverted pan on top of the jar and let it cool down completely.
Please don’t be tempted to remove from the pan if it’s still warm. It takes about one to two hours to cool down completely
Once it’s cool down completely, use a spatula knife to run through the edge of the cake to help release the cake. Gently push the base of the pan down. Use the knife again to run through the top of the cake to help release it from the base of the pan.

Serundeng (Seasoned Crispy Coconut Topping)

10 oz grated white coconut
2 duan salam leaves
1 kaffir lime leaf
1- inch galangal (bruised)
1 Tbsp sugar

GROUND SPICES:
2 shallots (peeled)
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 Tbsp coriander seeds

You can use fresh grated coconut or if you can’t find one, you can buy frozen dessicated coconut.

Mix the grated coconut with ground spices and stir to mix evenly.

Preheat a large skillet without any oil over low heat. Add in the coconut mixture, bay leaves, lime leaf, galangal and stir fry until the coconut is really dry and crispy and sprinkle in the sugar while stirring. This may take a while and remember to do this over low heat or you are risking burning the coconut before it’s dry. Once it’s completely dry, crispy, and golden brown, remove from the heat and store in air-tight container when it’s completely cool.

Pressure Cooker Ketupat and Lontong (Rice Cakes)

1 cup Jasmine rice
2 cups water

Rinse the rice in several changes of water and then completely drain off the water.

USING RICE COOKER:
Transfer the rice to inner pot of rice cooker. Add water. I use white rice setting in my rice cooker, which takes about 20 minutes to cook.

USING INSTANT POT PRESSURE COOKER FEATURE:
Transfer the rice to inner pot of instant pot. Add water. Cover the lid. Turn the steam release valve to sealing. Press pressure cooker, then high pressure. Set timer to 3 minutes. When it’s done, wait 10 minutes and then release pressure and proceed to moulding the cake.

USING INSTANT POT RICE FEATURE:
Transfer the rice to inner pot of instant pot. Add water. Cover the lid. Turn the steam release valve to sealing. Press RICE and the time will automatically be set. When it’s done, wait 10 minutes and then release pressure and proceed to moulding the cake.

MOULDING THE CAKE:
After it’s done cooking, immediately transfer to a loaf pan or container. Use the rice paddle or the back of the spoon to spread and really push the rice down to pack it. Repeat this process until all the rice is in.

Once all the rice is in, use a parchment paper to cover the top of the rice and use your palms to gently push down all over the surface to ensure you really pack it down and to smooth the surface.

Let cool at room temperature for 3-4 hours or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cutting.

Use in soups and salads, or with Lontong Sayur Medan, a multicourse meal with savory dishes such as rendang, vegetables in coconut milk, jackfruit curry, shrimp, and serundeng.

Kaya Butter Toast and Kopitiam Eggs

For toast:
4 slices of white bread
Cold butter
Kaya

For eggs:
2 large chicken eggs (about 58 gr each) at room temperature
2 cups rolling-boiled hot water
White pepper powder
Soy sauce

For toast:
Toast the slices of bread in your toaster and toast until they are golden brown.

Traditionally, the crusts of the bread are removed from all four sides, but you can leave them on if you prefer.

Spread the kaya generously on both sides of the toast and then cut some slices of cold butter and arrange it on top of the toast and then top with another piece of toast. Cut them into four equal size or you can cut it diagonally into half. The cold butter will gradually melt when it comes into contact with the heat from the toast.

For eggs:
Get the eggs out from refrigerator 5 minutes before getting ready to cook. This is important because if it’s cold from the fridge, the eggs might crack when coming into contact with the hot water AND the 5-minute cooking time may not be accurate anymore.

Pour 2 cups of rolling boil water into the mug with a lid and gently add the eggs in and secure the lid. Set the timer to 5 minutes. TIMING IS EVERYTHING here!

After 5 minutes, use a spoon to get the eggs out and rinse with cold water. Use the back of the spoon to crack the shell and let the egg slip out into a bowl. The egg white should be white in color (doh!) runny, soft custard like, while the yolk appears to be whole but it’s very soft and very runny when you break it with a spoon. If you see this, then you have yourself kopitiam style soft-boiled eggs.

Season with white pepper powder and a little bit of soy sauce.

RECIPE NOTES:
The eggs that I used were large grade A white shells and about 58 grams each. Brown eggs might have “thicker” shells compare to white shells, so you might have to add another minute or so, in other words, you will have to experiment, but 5 minutes are the minimum I would imagine.

If you cook 4 eggs at one go, you may need 6-7 minutes. I would suggest limit 4 eggs in one batch though.

If it is your first time making this kopitiam soft-boiled eggs, then after 5 minutes, remove one egg and crack open to see if the egg white has turned white and no longer translucent. This way, you only “sacrifice” one egg if they haven’t cooked through and you can continue to let the other cook in the hot water for another minute.

Ideas for Egg Lunches: Sambal Chili

1 lb 500 g dried chili (soaked until softened and process until fine)
1 lb 500 g shallots
1 lb 500 g onion
7 oz 200 g garlic (peeled)
1 medium size ginger
3 Tbsp shrimp paste/ belacan
5 Tbsp palm sugar
5 pieces candlenuts/kemiri/buah keras
1/4 cup tamarind juice
Salt and sugar to taste

Blend together shallots, garlic, candlenuts, ginger to a smooth paste.

Add a little oil in the wok with medium heat, place shrimp paste in the wok an saute until fragrant.

Add the blended dried chili into the aromatic shrimp paste and cook for 30 minutes on low to medium heat.

Add the rest of the blended ingredients into the mixture and continue to cook for 15 minutes.

Add the tamarind juice into mixture and cook until it binds together into a smooth, shiny and sticky consistency. It will turn darker too as the sugar caramelized.

Lastly, add salt and sugar to taste.

Sambal Chili (for Nasi Sayur Medan)

1 lb 500 g dried chili (soaked until softened and process until fine)
1 lb 500 g shallots
1 lb 500 g onion
7 oz 200 g garlic (peeled)
1 medium size ginger
3 Tbsp shrimp paste/ belacan
5 Tbsp palm sugar
5 pieces candlenuts/kemiri/buah keras
1/4 cup tamarind juice
Salt and sugar to taste

Blend together shallots, garlic, candlenuts, ginger to a smooth paste.

Add a little oil in the wok with medium heat, place shrimp paste in the wok an saute until fragrant.

Add the blended dried chili into the aromatic shrimp paste and cook for 30 minutes on low to medium heat.

Add the rest of the blended ingredients into the mixture and continue to cook for 15 minutes.

Add the tamarind juice into mixture and cook until it binds together into a smooth, shiny and sticky consistency. It will turn darker too as the sugar caramelized.

Lastly, add salt and sugar to taste.

Stir Fried Bee Hoon (for Nasi Sayur Medan)

8 oz of rice stick noodles soak for 30 minutes and drain
2 Tbsp cooking oil
3 cloves garlic peeled and finely minced
1 Tbsp all-purpose chili sauce
2 Tbsp of soy sauce
Salt to taste
1 stalk green onions finely chopped

Preheat a large skillet or wok with some oil. When hot enough, add in the garlic and saute for 30 seconds, add in the chili sauce and saute for another 30 seconds.

Add in 1 cup of water and bring to a boil.

Add in the rice noodles and drizzle in the soy sauce. Stir to mix everything and cook until the rice noodles are soft and absorb most of the water. Have a taste and add a pinch of salt to your taste. Cut the bee hoon into shorter strands with kitchen shears.

Sprinkle with some green onions and dish out into a serving platter

Potato Rendang (for Nasi Sayur Medan)

2 lbs of small round baby potatoes unpeeled and washed
2 – 3 oz long red chilis soaked in warm water until soft before blending (if you can’t find long red chilis, use red dried chilis)
1 red Thai chili for some heat if you like -optional
1 tsp of shrimp paste
2 cloves garlic peeled
3 shallots peeled
1/2 inch ginger root 1 cm, peeled
1- inch of turmeric root or about 3 tsp ground turmeric powder 2.5 cm
1 1/2 inches galangal root or 4 tsp of galangal powder 4 cm, peeled
Pinch of salt to taste
1 stalk of fresh lemon grass trim the stalky ends and cut into two and bruised
3 fresh kaffir lime leaves tear each leaf a bit to release flavor
1 turmeric leaf optional
2 fresh bay leaves
3 cardamom
1 cup coconut cream
2 Tbsp of cooking oil
Salt to taste

Place the chili and other ingredients all the way to galangal and blend them into a paste, you may need to add a little bit of the water in there to get it going.

Preheat a large heavy-bottomed pot. Add in the cooking oil. Stir fry the ground spices until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, turmeric leaf (if using), bay leaves, cardamom, and continue to stir fry until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add in the potatoes, bring to a gentle boil and reduce the heat to let it simmer gently, uncovered until all the liquid is almost gone and the coconut cream has reduced to oil, this may take about 20-30 minutes for the potatoes to be fork tender but not mushy. Have a taste towards the end of boiling to see if you need more salt.

When all the liquid is gone and you have nice looking orange-color oil left. Turn off the heat. Discard of the stems and leaves. The rendang tastes even better the day after. So you can definitely prepare one day ahead.

Sayur Lodeh (Indonesian Vegetables in Coconut Milk for Nasi Sayur Medan)

1 Tbsp of cooking oil
1 Tbsp galangal powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 Tbsp Better-than -bouillon chicken base optional
4 cups chicken broth
2 large chayote peeled and diced into 2-inch pieces
1/2 head of cabbage roughly chopped into about 2-inch pieces
1 large carrot peeled and diced
1/2 lb green beans cut into 2-inch length
10 oz of canned baby corn drain off liquid
2 cups of coconut milk shake the can before using
Salt and sugar to taste

SPICES TO GRIND:
8 candlenuts substitute with macadamia nuts if you must
5 shallots peeled
5 cloves garlic peeled

Preheat a large pot with cooking oil. Add in the ground spices followed by galangal, turmeric powder and chicken base. Saute for about 5 minutes until fragrant. Add in the chicken broth. Bring to a boil and then add in all the vegetables except for baby corns. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover and let the vegetables cooked until soft but not mushy.

When vegetables are cooked, add in the baby corns, coconut milk. Once you add in the coconut milk, take care not to let it boil as it will “break” the coconut and make it frothy. Cook for another 5 minutes. Have a taste and season with salt and small pinch of sugar to your taste.

Serve as part of Nasi Sayur Medan—-a multi-course meal alongside potato rendang, fried bee hoon, a protein, and spicy sambal.

Other vegetable options include jackfruit, eggplant, and tomatoes.

Lau Shu Fun Medan (Breakfast Pin Noodles with Pork)

1 lb of Lau shu fun noodle (pin noodles)
2 Tbsp of grape seeds oil or oil of your choice
3 cloves of garlic (peeled and finely minced)
1 lb of ground pork
2 Tbsp of soy sauce or more to taste
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
Dash of white Pepper
1 cup of chicken stock
2 tsp corn starch + 2 tsp water

SOUP:
4 cups chicken stock
Salt to taste
Pinch of sugar

GARNISHES:
3 stalks of green onion (finely chopped)
Small bunch of cilantro leaves
Crispy fried shallots

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanch the Lau Shu Fun noodle in a boiling hot noodle briefly until it turns soft and lightly translucent. Refresh with cold water. Remove and portion them into the bowls.

Preheat oil in a wok/skillet. Saute garlic until fragrant. Add in the pork and stir-fry until the pork turns color.

Add in soy sauce, dark soy sauce, dash of white pepper and continue to saute until the pork is cooked through.

Add in the chicken stock and bring it to a boil and then lower the heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Have a taste and season with salt if needed.

Stir in the corn starch solution and cook until thickened. Turn off the heat.

Portion the meat mixture with some gravy over the noodle. Garnish with green onions and crispy shallots. Serve with the soup on the side and sprinkle some green onions on the soup

Nasi Kebuli Ayam (Indonesian Chicken Spiced Rice)

3 cups long-grain rice soaked in water for 30 minutes
2 Tbsp butter
700 grams boneless chicken diced
3 cups chicken stock

SPICES AND SEASONINGS:
5 shallots peeled and sliced
4 cloves garlic peeled and thinly sliced
1 tsp coriander seeds
4 cardamom pods
2 cloves
1 stalk lemongrass discard outer layer and use only fat bottom third of the stick
1 large cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
1 1/2 tsp salt

FOR THE GARNISHES:
Crispy fried shallots (bawang goreng)

Heat a large pot with a tight-fitting lid over high heat. Add in butter and let it melt. Add the chicken pieces in the pot and let it brown a little bit, about 3 minutes. Dish out into a plate. The chicken is not cooked yet at this point. In the same pot, add the rest of the ingredients in the spice and seasoning list, stir fry until really fragrant about 3 minutes. Add the chicken back in and stir fry for another 1 minute.

USING POT TO COOK THE RICE:
Add rice grains into the pot and stir to mix. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once it boils, lower the heat, cover and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes undisturbed.

Uncover the lid. The rice should be soft and fluffy at the end of cooking time. Use a fork to fluff the rice.

USING RICE COOKER:
Add rice grains into the pot and stir to mix. Add the chicken stock. Stir to mix everything. Remove from the heat and transfer this to a rice cooker and finished cooking in the rice cooker, about 20 minutes.

SERVING:
When ready to serve sprinkle the rice with a generous amount of crispy shallots. Can be served as side dish or entree.

Ideas for Egg Lunches: Sambal Telur (Egg Sambal)

INGREDIENTS:
4 hard-boiled eggs peeled
2 Tbsp cooking oil

SAMBAL:
10 cayenne peppers more if you like it spicier
2 Thai chili more if you want spicier
7 shallots peeled
2 cloves garlic
2 large tomatoes quartered

SEASONINGS:
2 Tbsp coconut sugar
1/4 tsp salt

AROMATICS:
3 duan salam leaves
4 kaffir lime leaves

PREPARE THE SAMBAL:
Prepare the sambal by putting the chili, shallots, garlic, and tomatoes in a food processor and grind it until smooth.

PREPARE THE EGGS:
Preheat 2 Tbsp of cooking oil in a medium-size skillet. When the oil is hot, gently place the hard-boiled eggs on the pan and let them pan-fried and use tongs to rotate the egg so the surface touches the hot oil and blistered up evenly all over. Keep the oil to saute the sambal.

COOKING THE SAMBAL:
In the same pan you use to pan-fry the egg, add the ground chili mixture, and stir fry until really fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the aromatics and seasonings and continue to saute until the sambal turns slightly darker in color (the sugar will caramelize and darken the sambal).

Have a taste. The sambal should taste more at a sweet side. Adjust by adding more salt or sugar to your liking. The sambal should be thick as liquid evaporates when you cook. If you like it runnier, just cook until the consistency you prefer. Place the eggs back into the pan and mix with sambal. Remove from the heat and serve.

This recipe uses hard-boiled eggs, but it’s not uncommon to also see people make this sambal telur using:

1. Sambal telur dadar – fried eggs are smothered in the sambal sauce.

2. Sambal telur pecah – raw eggs are poached in the sambal sauce. You need to cover the pan to help the eggs cook faster.

3. Sambal telur hancur – raw eggs are scrambled along with the sambal sauce.

Ketoprak (Indonesian Noodle and Tofu Salad with Peanut Sauce)

INGREDIENTS:
1 block of firm tofu
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
250 gr dry rice stick noodles / bee hoon

PEANUT DRESSING:
3 cloves garlic
6 red chilis more if you like it spicier
100 gr roasted peanuts see notes
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2-inch block of tamarind paste
200 ml warm water
2-3 Thai chili more if you like it spicier

GARNISHES:
Indonesian sweet soy sauce
Fried shallots
Prawn crackers or whatever crackers you like
2 hard-boiled eggs quartered
1 large cucumber

Blanch the rice stick noodles briefly in hot water until it softens but not mushy. Drain and then refresh with cold water. Set aside. You can also blanch the raw garlic briefly if you don’t like the raw taste of it.

Peel the cucumber and then half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop the seeds out. Cut into 1-inch slices.

MAKING THE PEANUT DRESSING:
Mix the tamarind paste with warm water. Once it softens, use the back of the spoon to mash the tamarind and then discard the solid. In a food processor, blend the peanuts, garlic, chilis, tamarind juice, and sugar. Process into a thick but pourable consistency. You can add a bit more water if it’s too thick. Season with salt to your taste.

PREPARING THE TOFU:
Place the block of tofu on an absorbent paper towel and then another layer of paper towel on top of the tofu. Place a heavy object like cast iron pot or pan on top of the tofu for about 15 minutes to press all the extra liquid out. Cut the tofu into 2-inch chunks. You can deep fry the tofu or pan fry it with a little bit of oil on the pan until all sides are golden brown. Set aside.

Assembling:
In a large serving plate, place the noodles, cucumber slices, bean sprouts, fried tofu, and egg pieces. Pour sauce over and garnish with fried shallots, a drizzle of kecap manis. Serve with prawn crackers.

Note: You can sub the roasted peanuts with creamy/chunky peanut butter. It’s up to you. You may need to play with the amount of liquid so that it’s thick but still somewhat pourable.

Sate Ayam Kecap (Indonesian Chicken Satay with Sweet Sauce)

1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 inch tamarind + 2 Tbsp hot water
4 cloves garlic
4 candlenuts Pinch of salt
1 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp Indonesian kecap manis
1 Tbsp coriander powder
2 Tbsp coconut sugar
15-20 bamboo skewers soaked in cold water

SWEET SAUCE:
1 Tbsp of cooking oil
1 Tbsp grated garlic
2 shallots peeled and diced
2 red chilis -optional seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup of sweet soy sauce kecap manis
Juice of 1/2 lime
Pinch of salt

GARNISH:
Fried shallots crisp bawang goreng

PREPARING CHICKEN AND MARINATE:
Cut the chicken into roughly about 1.5 inch pieces. Place 2 inches of tamarind in a bowl and put 4 Tbsp of hot water and let it soak for 10 minutes. This will be divided for marinade and peanut sauce later. Use the back of the spoon to mash the softened tamarind and squeeze out as many liquids as possible from the tamarind. Discard the solids.

Place candlenuts and garlic in a food processor and pour half of the tamarind juice and process into a paste. Add the rest of the ingredients for marinade in a large mixing bowl and add in the paste. Add chicken pieces and toss to make sure all pieces are coated with marinade. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes if you are pressed for time. You can let them marinate overnight too.

Meanwhile soak the bamboo skewers in cold water for at least 1 hour so they don’t break easily when you grill them.

After the meat is marinated, thread the meat on each bamboo skewer.

Preheat your grill and grill the chicken until it is golden brown and cooked through and basting the meat with some cooking oil for that shine.

MAKING THE KECAP SAUCE:
Meanwhile, make the sauce by preheating a small saucepan with cooking oil. Add in garlic, chili, and shallots and saute for about 1 minute. Add in the sweet soy sauce followed by juice of 1/2 lime. Have a taste, it should be more at the sweet side, but I like to add a pinch of salt to bring out more flavor.

SERVING:
Serve with the sauce on the side or drizzle some on top. You can also sprinkle on some fried shallots crisp (bawang goreng).