Pressed Rice Cakes with Chicken

2 Cups of glutinous rice
2 Cups of water
1 tsp salt
3 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 Cups of shredded cooked chicken meat
3 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 stalk spring onion finely chopped
Salt to taste

Saute 3 tsp of minced garlic in vegetable oil until golden brown. Be careful not to burn them. Combine glutinous rice, salt, water and 1 tsp of the sauteed garlic. You can either cook your rice in a 2-quart pot for about 40 minutes until liquid is absorbed or your rice cooker. I used rice cooker ? Let them cool down after cooking.

Meanwhile, while the rice is cooking, combine the shredded chicken meat with the remaining of the sauteed garlic and 3/4 of the remaining garlic oil from no.1. Season with salt to taste. Mix well and set aside.

Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap and brush with some of the remaining garlic oil. Sprinkle with half of the toasted sesame seeds. Spoon half of the rice into the lined pan and work with wet hands to press the rice into an even layer. If the rice is still too warmed to handle, let it cool down.

Spread the chicken mixture evenly over the rice and cover with the remaining rice. Sprinkle with the remaining sesame seeds and cover with more oiled plastic and weigh it down by placing few cans or something heavy on top of it.

Let stand for at least 20 minutes. Invert onto a cutting board, remove the plastic, and slice into 1 1/2 inch squares with a wet knife. You can slice them further diagonally to form triangles too if you want. Serve at room temperature or lightly pan-fry them until crisp

Rempeyek Kacang (Indonesian Peanut Fritters)

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups raw peanuts without skin
2 cups coconut milk if you are using canned, give it a good shake
2 1/2 oz of rice flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
Oil for deep frying
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 Tbsp coriander powder

INGREDIENTS TO GRIND:
4 kaffir lime leaves
3 candlenuts
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of sugar

In a medium-size pan without oil, stir-fry the peanut on low heat for about 5 minutes or so. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Use a food processor to process the ingredients to grind into paste. In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, coconut milk, and add in the paste, turmeric powder, and coriander powder. Stir to mix everything. It should be somewhat a thin batter.

In a small-size (deep enough for deep-frying) pot, preheat enough oil for deep-frying. Give the batter a stir each time before you drop them into the oil. Drop a tablespoon of the batter into the hot oil and let it fry until golden brown on both sides. Work with one at a time. Remove with slotted spoon and place on absorbent paper towel to drain. Let them cool down completely before storing in air-tight container.

Perkedel Jagung (Bakwan Jadung – Indonesian Corn Fritters)

500 gr sweet corn kernels
6 oz shrimps cleaned, deveined and finely minced
80 gr rice flour
1 large egg beaten
1 tsp salt
1 Thai chili
Oil for deep-frying

AROMATICS:
2 shallots peeled
2 garlic peeled
3 Tbsp chopped Chinese celery leaves

Place 1/2 of the corn in a food processor along with the shrimp, shallots and garlic and pulse few times until finely chopped.

Mix the chopped corn mixtures along with the other half of the corn kernels, eggs, chili, celery leaves, flour, salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir to mix everything.

Heat about 1/2 inch of oil for frying. Lower the heat to medium and then drop one or two spoonfuls of the mixture into the hot oil and fry until golden brown. You may want to fry one first and then taste to see if you need to add more salt (as you can’t taste the “raw” mixture) and adjust by adding more salt if needed before frying more.

You can try to use egg rings if you have some to help hold the round shape, but you really don’t have to. If you use them, fill the ring with the corn mixture and then use the back of the spoon to kinda smooth it out to make sure there’s no “hole” so your bakwan jagung won’t fall apart later. Once the fritter is golden brown at the bottom, you can remove the ring and flip to the other side and cook until golden brown.

Continue with the rest of the mixture. You can serve with any of your favorite sweet chili sauce or just eat them as is.

Beef Chow Fun

INGREDIENTS:
1 lb flat rice noodles fresh or dried (1/2 lb if dried)
6 oz beef sirloin (freeze in the freezer for about 15 minute and cut very thinly)
2 Tbsp cooking oil
6 oz beansprouts

AROMATICS:
4 stalks green onion
1 inch fresh ginger

SAUCE:
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp fine sugar
1/4 tsp white pepper powder

MARINADE:
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp corn starch

PREPARE BEEF AND RICE NOODLES:
Put the sirloin in the freezer for 15 minutes before cutting. Make sure you cut the meat across the grain so you get a tender meat. Put all ingredients for marinating the beef and let it marinade for 30 minutes while you are preparing other things.

If using dried rice noodles, soak in water for at least 2 hours. If you are using fresh sheets of rice noodles, they come in one large sheet or pre-cut. If you are using one large sheet, cut into 1-2 inch wide.

PREPARE AROMATICS:
Separate the white and green parts of the green onions. Cut into a 3-inch length. Halve the white part of the onion. Set aside.

Peel and finely chop the ginger.

PREPARE SEASONINGS:
Place all the ingredients for seasonings in a bowl and stir to mix. Set aside.

COOKING:
Preheat the skillet/wok over high heat until really hot. You can start seeing smoke rising from the wok. Add in about 2 Tbsp of oil, swirl it quickly to cover the base and add the beef slices. Don’t stir and let them cook for about 1 minute and then a quick stir to separate them and dish out and set aside. Do not overcook the beef.

Scrap any crust off the skillet/wok, if any. Heat the skillet back until it’s stonking hot and smoking again, add another 1 Tbsp of oil (if needed) and add the ginger and white part of green onions, stir fry for about 30 seconds. Add the rice noodles, spreading it across the skillet/work and stir fry quickly for about 20-30 seconds, it might be longer for dried noodles. The noodles will continue to get soften. Don’t over stir the noodles or they will break apart and turn choppy. Pour in the seasonings and give it a stir and cook for another 30 seconds.

Add the beef slices back and stir fry again for another 10 seconds. Add the bean sprouts and green part of green onions. Stir to mix briefly. Stir to mix everything. Dish out into a serving platter and serve immediately.

Quick Kaya

200 ml canned coconut cream
50 gr palm sugar
50 gr white sugar
3 pandan leaves/screwpine leaves knotted
4 egg yolks from large eggs beaten

SEPARATING EGG YOLKS FROM THE WHITES:
Make sure you separate the egg yolks from the white very carefully. Leaving as little trace of egg whites as possible when separating. If there is a trace of egg whites, you can run the egg yolks through the sieve. This is to ensure you don’t get any lumps in the kaya. Otherwise, beat the yolks until smooth just using a regular fork is perfectly fine. Run it through the sieve if you want to.

TEMPERING THE EGG YOLKS:
Place coconut cream, both sugars, and pandan leaves in a saucepan over medium heat and just cook until the sugar melted. It shouldn’t be boiling, just heated to warm.

With one hand still beating the egg yolks, the other hand holding the saucepan with coconut cream, very gradually pour 1/4 of the coconut cream mixture. Then you can pour the egg mixture back to the saucepan. Stir to mix everything and then place this on the stove over medium heat.

Continue to stir over medium heat. The mixture started to thicken for me at around 8 minutes mark and continue to stir. It may still appear a bit runny, but it will continue to thicken once it cools down completely. Discard the pandan leaves.

Once the kaya has cooled down completely, transfer to a glass jar and secure the lid. Put in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Pressure Cooker Mango Sticky Rice

1 cup white sticky rice
1 1/2 cups water see notes
1 ripe mango
1 cup canned coconut milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 pandan leaf knotted (optional)
White and/or black sesame seeds optional

Add 2 cups of water in Instant Pot inner pot. Put the trivet in there. Rinse the sticky rice in water briefly. Drain off water. Place the rice in heat-proof glass or stainless steel bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups water to cover the rice. Give it a quick stir and make sure all rice is submerged in water. Place this on top of the trivet. Close the lid, steam release handle to sealed. Press pressure cook and set to high pressure and use -/+ to set the time to 15 minutes.

When the sticky rice is done cooking, I waited for about 10 minutes and make sure that the float valve is down. Then turn the steam handle to venting. Once the steam is all out and stops hissing, open the lid carefully. The sticky rice should be soft and sticky. Remove from Instant Pot and pour half of the coconut sauce on the sticky rice while the rice is still warm and stir to mix. It may seem wet at this point. Cover to let the rice absorbs the coconut sauce.

While the sticky rice is cooking, pour 1 cup of the coconut milk in a saucepan, add sugar, salt, and pandan leaves in. Let it gently simmer for about 5 minutes or until the sugar dissolves. Do not boil the coconut milk. Remove the pandan leaves (if using) and use your spoon to squeeze out last few drops of coconut milk from the leaves if any.

CUTTING THE MANGO:
Peel the mango and cut in small cubes. You can use this hedgehog method for easier cutting: Slice both mangoes down either side of the stone. Take each half and score a crisscross pattern about 2 cm down through the flesh, stopping at the skin. Turn the skin inside out so the mango pieces pop up. Trim the skin off the middle bit where the stone is, then cut them into cubes as well so you are not throwing any extra flesh away.

PUTTING THEM TOGETHER:
Serve with cubes of mango, sprinkle with sesame seeds and coconut sauce on the sides for more drizzling.

RECIPE NOTES:
The amount of water may vary slightly depending on the kind of sticky rice. You may need to cut back the water to 1 to 1 1/4 cups if the result is too mushy to your liking.

Perkedel Kentang (Indonesian Potato Fritters

1 lb of potato (peeled and diced into 1/3 inch square)
4 oz of ground pork/chicken
1 tbsp of corn starch
1/2 cup chopped celery leaves
Salt and white pepper to taste
1 egg beaten
Cooking oil for frying

Deep fry the diced potato until cooked but not too brown or it will be hard to mash. Place them in a large mixing bowl and mashed with fork while still hot because it’s easier to do so
Add pork and the rest of the ingredients, except for oil and stir to mix everything.

Wet your hands to prevent the mixture from sticking to your hands. Form the mixture into balls, then flatten with your palm to about 1 inch thickness.

Preheat a oil enough to deep-fry the perkedel. When the oil is hot enough, lower the heat to medium so the perkedel won’t get burn outside but with pork still uncooked inside. Deep fry until golden brown, it shouldn’t take long, about 1 minute on each side or so. Keep your eyes on them as they may brown faster if your perkedel is smaller in size. Place on absorbent paper towel and serve warm or room temperature on its own or with other dish.

Soto Ayam Medan (Chicken Soup with Coconut Milk)

4-5 chicken thighs (skin removed)
1 Tbsp cooking oil
4 cups chicken stock
1 block chicken bouillon
1 cup of coconut cream (you can replace with whole cow’s milk, but I don’t recommend using low fat or fat-free)
Salt and Sugar to taste

TOPPINGS:
2 Roma Tomatoes seeded and chopped
Small bunch of Chinese celery leaves (chopped)
2 hard-boiled eggs quartered
1/3 cup crispy fried shallots
Kecap manis for drizzling

PASTE:
4 cloves of garlic
7 shallots
4 candlenuts omit if you don’t have any
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 cups Beansprouts (blanched)
2 tbsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp of chopped ginger

OTHER HERBS AND SPICES:
4 bay leaves
3 Kaffir lime leaves
4 cardamom pods
3 cloves
1 stalk lemongrass bruised with heavy object

CHILI SAUCE:
50 gr long green chili or use serrano peppers
1/4 tsp salt

SERVED WITH:
Perkedel kentang (potato fritters)

Put all ingredients you need to grind in a food processor except for turmeric powder. Process into a paste and then add the turmeric powder. That way you won’t stain your food processor bowl.

Boil the chili in a boiling water until soft, about 5 minutes. Discard water and process into a smooth paste or roughly chopped if you prefer. Add in salt to taste. Can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Bring about 4 cups of water to a boil. Put in chicken pieces and lower the heat to simmer for about 30 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside. Save the liquid and shred the meat when cool enough to handle.

In a meantime, heat up some oil in a large pot and stir-fry the paste you prepared earlier, cardamom, cloves, and lemongrass until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Put in bay Leaves and kaffir lime leaves and continue stir-frying for few minutes until fragrant.

Pour in the liquid from cooking the chicken and chicken broth and let it cook for about 15 minutes. Strain off the liquid and discard the solids. Add in coconut cream and let it heated through but do not let it boil. Have a taste and season with more salt and pinch of sugar to your taste. It should be savory

When ready to serve, portion the shredded chicken meat, bean sprouts, diced tomatoes, in a individual serving bowl. Ladle the hot soup over. Garnish with celery leaves, crispy shallots, hard-boiled eggs. Serve with rice, chili sauce, and perkedel.

Mee Goreng

1 lb fresh or dried egg noodles, instant noodles, or ramen noodles
2 Tbsp cooking oil
1 leek (cut into 1-inch length and wash thoroughly )
3-4 whole green/red bird’s eye chili (stems removed)
8 oz boneless skinless chicken thighs (cut into 1-inch cubes)
2 cups shredded cabbage
2 Roma tomatoes (seeded and quartered). You can use grape tomatoes too (halved)

SEASONINGS:
5 Tbsp kecap manis
1/4 cup soy sauce and more to taste
1/4 tsp white pepper powder

INGREDIENTS TO GRIND:
5 shallots
4 cloves garlic
6 candlenuts/kemiri or sub with macademia nuts

GARNISH:
Fried shallots crisp

INSTRUCTIONS:
If using dried egg noodles, cook according to direction. I suggest to undercook it because we will be stir frying it later
Place the shallots, garlic and candlenuts in food processor and process into a paste.

Preheat a wok or a large pan with oil. Add in the paste you prepared earlier. Saute until they are brown and really fragrant, around 5 minutes. Add the leeks and saute until they are limp and soft.

Add shredded cabbage and saute until they are soft, about 5 minutes. Add green chili (if using) and stir fry for about 30 seconds. Add chicken and saute until they cook through, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stir-fry for another 30 seconds minute.

Add the noodles in follow by the sweet soy sauce. Mix well to make sure the noodles pick up the color of the sweet soy sauce, add more if needed. Add soy sauce for saltiness (to your taste) and pepper. Continue to stir and make sure everything is well mixed and turn off the heat.

Garnish with a deep-fried shallots crisp and serve immediately

Pressure Cooker Nasi Gurih (Coconut Milk Rice)

INGREDIENTS:
400 gr Jasmine rice
400 ml coconut milk 500 ml if cooking on stove-top
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 duan salam leaves (4 if you use dried leaves)

Wash the rice in several changes of water until the water is clear. Drain off water completely. Use a strainer to make sure you completely remove all water.

TO COOK WITH RICE COOKER:
Transfer the rice to inner pot of rice cooker. Pour in coconut milk. Add the salt. Give it a stir. Add bay leaves
Press the white rice setting or whatever setting on your rice cooker. It takes about 20 minutes or less on my rice cooker to cook.

Fluff the rice with rice paddle and nasi gurih is ready to be served.

TO COOK WITH INSTANT POT RICE COOKER FEATURE:
Pour coconut milk and salt to the rice cooker. Stir to mix. Sprinkle in the rice and then gently push the rice to make sure it’s covered by the liquid. I do it this way to prevent the IP from showing “burn” message later. It doesn’t always happen, but it might sometimes. Add leaves.

Close the lid. Turn the steam release valve to seal. Press “rice” and it will automatically set everything else for you and it will beep when it starts cooking and when it’s done cooking. Wait 10 minutes and then unlock the lid and fluff the rice.

TO COOK WITH INSTANT POT PRESSURE COOKER FEATURE:
Pour coconut milk and salt to the rice cooker. Stir to mix. Sprinkle in the rice and then gently push the rice to make sure it’s covered by the liquid. I do it this way to prevent the IP from showing “burn” message later. It doesn’t always happen, but it might sometimes. Add leaves.

Close the lid. Turn the steam release valve to seal. Press “pressure cooker” and then “high pressure”. Set the timer to 3 minutes. When it’s done cooking, wait for 10 minutes and then fully release pressure.

Unlock the lid and fluff the rice with the rice paddle.

TO COOK ON THE STOVE:
Pour the coconut milk and salt into the pot. Bring to a boil and then stir in the rice. Return to a boil and then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for the next 20 minutes
After 20 minutes, uncover the lid, fork the rice lightly from around sides of the pot, mixing in any coconut milk that has not been absorbed, and replace the lid back for 5 more minutes. Now it’s ready to be served.

Nasi Goreng Rendang

INGREDIENTS:
1 egg
1/2 small onion peeled and diced
2 Tbsp Bumbu Rendang leftover from rendang Padang
2 Tbsp oil from cooking the rendang
1 stalk celery cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 cups cooked white rice made with 2 cups of long-grain rice + 2 cups of water

SEASONINGS:
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp sugar

SERVING SUGGESTIONS:
Fresh slices of cucumber
Fresh slices of tomatoes

MAKE FRIED EGG:
Preheat the non-stick skillet. Large enough to cook the fried rice later.

Add about 1 Tbsp regular cooking oil. Crack one egg in and fry to your desired doneness.

COOKING FRIED RICE:
In the same pan, add the rendang oil. Let it melt. Add onion and stir fry until fragrant and soft, about 3 minutes.

Add the rendang paste and stir fry for another minute. Scrape the bottom of the skillet to make sure nothing got stuck there. Add celery and stir fry for another minute. We want the celery to still be crunchy.

Add the rice and continue to stir fry to make sure the rice picks up the rendang paste and the changes color to brownish yellow, another 2 minutes. Add seasonings and adjust to your liking. It should be savory and spicy.

Serve immediately as is or garnish with chopped green onions and/or crispy fried shallots (bawang goreng), few slices of cucumber, tomatoes and prawn crackers if any.

Kwe Tiau Radna (Thai Rice Noodles with Sauce)

2 lbs fresh rice noodle or Fresh noodle Sheets or 1 lb of wide dried rice noodles
1/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil
2 to 3 Tbsp minced garlic
Scant 1/2 lb boneless pork butt or shoulder , thinly sliced across the grain into 1-by 1/2-inch pieces (or substitute lean beef or boneless chicken, sliced similarly)
1 tsp sugar
1 lb of Chinese broccoli (Gai Lan), cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch wide spears and well washed (3 to 4 cups loosely packed)
1 Tbsp fermented soybean paste (dao jiao/dao jio), mashed until smooth
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp rice or cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups mild chicken , beef, or pork borth or water
1 Tbsp cornstarch , dissolved in 3 Tbsp water
Generous grinding of white or black pepper

CHILI VINEGAR SAUCE (1/2 CUP):
1/2 cup rice vinegar
2 to 3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 mild chile (such as Cubanelle, Hungarian wax, or banana chile), I used 10-15 bird’s eye chiles, sliced into rings)

If using fresh rice noodles, rinse under warm running water. Stack the sheets, if using, slice into 3/4-inch-wide noodles, and separate gently with your fingers; set aside. If using dried rice noodles, soaking warm water for 30 minutes to soften, then drain and set aside.

Place all the other ingredients by your counter top near the stove. Have a platter and 3 or 4 dinner plates (one per person) nearby.

Heat a large work over high heat. Pour in 1 1/2 Tbsp of the oil and swirl to coat the wok. When very hot, toss in approximately half the noodles and stir-fry gently for about 2 minutes, pressing them against the hot pan, then turn out onto the platter and repeat with the remaining noodles, using only 1 Tbsp oil. Divide the noodles among the four dinner plates.

Wipe out the wok, then place back over high heat. Add the remaining 1 1/2 Tbsp oil and, when it is hot, toss in the garlic. Stir-fry briefly until starting to turn golden, about 20 seconds, then add the pork slices and a generous pinch of the sugar. Stir-fry for about 1 minutes, or until all the meat has changed color. Toss in the sliced greens and stir-fry, pressing the vegetables against the hot sides of the wok, until they turn bright green, about 1 1/2 minutes or more (depending on the size of your wok).

Add the soybean paste, soy sauce, fish sauce, vinegar, and the remaining scant teaspoon sugar and stir-fry to mix, then add the broth or water and the cornstarch mixture. Stir to mix, then cover for 30 seconds to a minute, until the liquid comes to a boil. Remove the cover and simmer, stirring carefully from time to time, for another 2 minutes, or until the liquid has thickened a little and the greens are tender.

Use your spatula or a ladle to distribute the meat, greens, and gravy over the noodles. Grind pepper over generously and serve hot, with a bowl or cruet of the chile-vinegar sauce.

Put the vinegar in a small bowl and stir in the sugar until it is completely dissolved. Add the chile rings. Serve with a small spoon so guests can spoon a little onto their noodles. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator, this will keep for 4 to 5 days.

Pressure Cooker Beef Khao Soi (Chiang Mai Beef Curry Noodles)

2 lbs boneless beef shank cut into 2-inch chunks
1 lb Chinese flat egg noodles reserve about a handful of it to make crispy egg noodles

RED CURRY BROTH:
1 Tbsp Madras curry powder
2 tsp turmeric powder
1/3 cup Red Curry Paste less if you don’t want it too spicy
2 cups water
2 cups canned coconut milk

SEASONINGS:
3 Tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp coconut sugar
TOPPINGS:
2 hard-boiled eggs halved
Crispy egg noodles
3 cups fresh mung bean sprouts briefly blanch in boiling water

CONDIMENTS:
Limes quartered
Fresh basil and mint leaves

PRESSURE COOK WITH INSTANT POT (CAN BE PREPARED THE DAY BEFORE YOU PLAN TO SERVE):

Place the beef pieces along with the ingredients for red curry broth and seasonings in the inner pot of instant pot. Add water and stir to mix everything. Cover the lid. Turn the steam release valve to seal. Press “pressure cooker” and then “high pressure”. Set timer to 40 minutes.

When the timer is done, wait 5 minutes and then release all the pressure. Unlock the lid. You can prepare ahead up to this point if you make it the day before. Don’t stir in the coconut milk yet until the day you plan to serve.

Keep in the refrigerator. The next day, you can heat it up, turn off the heat and stir in the coconut milk. Have a taste and add more fish sauce and/or sugar if needed. It should be savory, spicy, with a hint of sweetness.

MAKING CRISPY EGG NOODLES:
Meanwhile, make the optional crispy noodles: place a plate lined with several layers of paper towels by your stove. Place a large wok or heavy pot over high heat and add about 1 cup of oil, or 1/2 inch oil. When the oil is hot, drop in a strand of uncooked egg noodles to test the temperature. It should sizzle slightly as it falls to the bottom, then immediately puff and rise to the surface; adjust the heat slightly, if necessary

Toss a handful (about 1 cup) of noodles into the oil and watch as they puff up. Use a spatula or long tongs to turn them over and expose all of them to the hot oil. They will crisp up very quickly, in less than 1 minute. Lift the crisped noodles out of the oil and place on the paper towel-lined plate.

COOK THE EGG NOODLES:
To serve, bring a large pot of water to a vigorous boil over high heat. Drop in the remaining noodles, bring back to a boil, and cook until tender but not mushy, according to direction. Drain well and rinse in fresh water to get rid of extra starch and stop the cooking process.

SERVING:
Divide the cooked noodles among four large bowls. Portion out the mung bean sprouts. Ladle over the broth and meat. Top with halved egg, crispy noodles, crispy shallots. Serve with the remaining condiments set out in small bowls.

Do Chua (Vietnamese Picked Daikon and Carrot)

3/4 lb daikon, peeled
1/4 lb carrot, peeled
1 Tbsp salt
1 1/2 cups water
5 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup distilled vinegar

Coarsely grate the carrots and daikon into strips, or use a knife to cut into matchsticks. Sprinkle on the salt and toss to mix and let stand for 20 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a nonreactive saucepan, combine the water, vinegar, and sugar and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat; cool to room temperature. (Don’t cook the vegetables, bathe them). Rinse the vegetables briefly with cold water, then squeeze dry and transfer to a medium bowl.

Pour over the vinegar mixture and stir gently with a wooden spoon to ensure all the vegetables are well moistened. Let stand for 24 hours before serving.

It tastes best at 48 hours I think, but I find it acceptable starting at 24 hours point if you are pressed for time. They can be kept in a refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

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.

Naam Tok Nuea (Isaan Grilled Beef Salad)

3 Tbsp lime juice
3 Tbsp fish sauce
1 pinch of sugar
1 tsp chili powder
5 oz (150 g) beef tenderloin
2 shallots , sliced finely lengthwise
1 spring onion , sliced finely in rings
1 stalk of lemongrass , hard bottom end cut off, outer leaves removed, white part sliced very finely in rings (optional)
1 handful of mint leaves
Toasted sticky rice/sweet rice/glutinous rice

Preheat a small to medium skillet on high heat without any oil. Once hot, put in one handful of sticky rice and use a wooden spoon to move it around and let it toast until golden brown.
You can even smell the nuttiness. Set aside to let it cool down a little bit. Put the toasted rice into a food processor and process into fine powder and let it cool and store in an air-tight container. You can do this a night before if you prefer.

Mix the lime juice with fish sauce, sugar and chili powder. Balance well; this dressing should taste spicy, sour and salty.

Grill the meat, preferably on a wood charcoal grill for that authentic flavor if you can. If not, don’t sweat it just grill it they way you normally would using outdoor grill or using grill pan. Grill it to the doneness you like.

Once you finish grilling, cover with aluminum foil and let the beef rest for a while before you slice it. Slice the beef into bite-size. Don’t waste the meat juice, save as much as you can. Combine beef and juice with shallot, spring onion, lemongrass when using, and fresh herbs. Finish with dressing and toasted rice powder.

Ohn No Khao Swe (Burmese Chickpea Noodle Soup)

1 lb of fresh egg noodles, blanched in boiling water
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, cubed
6 Tbsp fish sauce
1/4 cup oil
1 large onion (diced)
4 cloves garlic (peeled and grated)
1/2 Tbsp fresh ginger (peeled and grated)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 Tbsp chili flakes
1/2 cup chickpea flour or besan flour or gram flour + 1/2 cup water
6 cup chicken stock
1 1/3 cups coconut milk

GARNISHES AND CONDIMENTS:
4 hard-boiled eggs , peeled and sliced
2 green onions (thinly sliced)
1 medium onion , finely sliced
1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves
2 limes , quartered
1/2 cup chili flakes
1 cup fresh bean sprouts (blanch in hot water briefly if you prefer.)
12 oz (350 g) fresh egg noodles, deep-fried in oil until crispy, drained on paper towel, cooled and crumbled by hand into bite-size pieces
Fish sauce

Marinate chicken with fish sauce for at least 15 minutes. Heat oil in large pot, saute onion, garlic, ginger and turmeric for 5 minutes. Stir in chicken and chili flakes. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent chicken sticking to pot. Meanwhile, add chickpea flour to water and whisk to remove lumps.

Add chicken stock to the pan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for a further 10 minutes and the chicken is cooked through. Add coconut milk and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes.Stir in chickpea flour paste until the soup thickens slightly.

Arrange each garnishing item on a separate plate on the table around a central bowl of chicken and coconut chickpeas soup. To serve, take a portion of fresh noodles and a generous helping of soup, add a little of each garnishing (a dash of fish sauce if desired).

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.