Seafood Dumplings in Peanut Sauce

Appetizer, Seafood Recipes, Snack

 (My version of the Indonesian street food Siomay Bandung)

Siomay Bandung ala Tiny Chili PepperFood cravings drove me to be extra creative lately. Especially since the latest strong desire and taste I had were for authentic Indonesian dishes! Example number one, Siomay Bandung: steamed seafood dumplings drizzled with peanut sauce (Bandung is the city of origin of the dish) .

Back when I was little in Surabaya, the seller of siomay would pedal his bike, that had a small wooden box attached to the back to carry a steamer full of siomay and the sauces, all over the neighborhood in late afternoon. Street food hawkers, in my family’s neighborhood, seemed to have their own particular schedule: bakery and bread in the morning, fruit salad (rujak) in the afternoon, siomay and meatballs later in the afternoon, while satay, fried rice, fried noodle, would come at night. The siomay man would call out, “May, Siomay…” while sounding his bicycle horn over and over. I’d recognize that sound immediately and ran toward the terrace to call and stop him in front of our house. A big chunk of my childhood memories is filled with lots of good eats!

There are tons of recipes out there to create this dish from scratch. But I was far too hungry for it and couldn’t, wouldn’t, be patient enough to do so. Entered an idea, a simpler way to prepare Siomay Bandung with pleasing result.

Here’s how I do my version. We’ll need:

  • A dozen fish meat balls (frozen section, Asian grocery store)
  • A packet of shrimp dumplings (frozen section, Asian grocery store)
  • A dozen of fried tofu balls (vegetable section, Asian grocery store)
  • Three tablespoon of sweet soy sauce (Indonesian food product section, Asian grocery store)
  • Two tablespoon of chili sauce (Indonesian food product section, Asian grocery store)
  • ½ cup of peanut sauce with garlic, ginger, and lemongrass (Brand: House of Tsang , Bangkok Peanut Sauce, Dipping Sauce. Found at Kroger).
  • Juice from ½ of lime
  • 1 tablespoon of canola oil
  • A handful of frozen green beans

the sauces

 Steaming the good stuff


  • Set steaming pan above the pot filled halfway with water. Bring to a rolling boil over medium heat.
  • Place fish meat balls, shrimp dumplings, tofu balls, green beans on the steamer and drizzle them with canola oil.
  • Cover the pan and steam for about 8-10 minutes to thaw and warm up (they are precooked)
  • Cut them up to smaller pieces.
  • Mix all of the sauces and lime juice in a bowl.
  • Serve the pieces on a plate and drizzle with the sauce.

seafood dumplings, tofu, green beans in peanut sauce

Selamat Makan! (Enjoy your meal!)

Have a great weekend!

Smoked Salmon in Spicy Coconut Milk Sauce

Seafood Recipes

Smoked Salmon in Spicy Coconut Milk Sauce by Tiny Chili Pepper

Smokey, spicy, aromatic, and easy to make. Inspired by a native dish of an area in East Java, I recently added smoked salmon in spicy coconut milk sauce into my list of favorite menu. The idea is simple: add sauce (and flavors) to an otherwise dry fish. As for the sauce, all it takes: mix coconut milk with garlic, shallots, and chili peppers and bring it to a boil. Then add galangal root  for some lemony aroma. That’s it. (The original recipe involves serving a type of smoked fish that is not available in the States. So I substitute it with smoked salmon.)

Here’s my easy recipe:

We’ll need:

  • 2 fillets of smoked salmon
  • 3 garlic
  • 3 shallots
  • 5 Thai peppers (or other type of chili peppers that you prefer)
  • Salt
  • 7 fl oz of light coconut milk (1/2 can of the regular 14 fl oz—Use the rest of the milk for Braised Collard Greens, next blog post)
  • 1 inch cut of galangal root, smashed (No galangal root? Substitute with zest from one lemon or lime)
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable/canola oil


  • Chop garlic, shallots, and Thai peppers in a food processor
  • Heat up a medium size pan over medium heat and add oil
  • Sweat garlic, shallots, and peppers for about one to two minutes
  • Add coconut milk, salt, and galangal root to the pan. Stir until it starts to bubble.
  • Add the fish fillets and coat with the sauce. Since the fish is already smoked/cooked, I just need to mix it with the sauce. I let it sit in the bubbling sauce for two or three minutes.
  • Discard galangal root
  • Serve with hot jasmine rice and braised collard greens

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Versatile Vegetable Stew

Seafood Recipes, Vegetable Recipes

(My version of gulai sayur. Origin: Indonesia)

Here is my version of gulai, which refers to the flavorful yellow broth made of turmeric, chili peppers, garlic, shallot, and coconut milk. It makes such a wonderful vegetable stew. In fact, I have written a couple of versions of this recipe before, titled Chayote Squash in Spicy Broth and Spicy Kale. Today, I’d like to adjust it a bit to show how easy and versatile it could be.

Squash and Shiitake Mushroom by Tiny Chili Pepper

When summer comes to an end, it usually yield tons of produce. Like many of you, I love going to farmers market to get those goodies. Maybe like some of you, I tend to get too many things. Just like the other day, I got a variety of peppers and tons of shallots and garlic—the three key ingredients in Indonesian cooking and in this vegetable stew recipe. I also had a couple of Chayote squash and two handful of shiitake mushroom in the fridge.  So, here’s what I did with them:

Prepared the vegetables:

  • Peeled, cored, and sliced the Chayote squash into long and thin cuts. Then I soaked the cuts in a bowl of water mixed with salt for about 30 minutes to get rid of the sap. Could be substituted with summer squash/zucchini/ bell pepper (see more vegetable options on the bottom of the page)
  • Remove the shiitake stems and roughly chopped the mushroom

Prepared the gulai broth:

List of ingredients:

  • 4 shallots
  • 4 garlic
  • 3 hot peppers (red/orange color)
  • 3 sweet peppers (red/orange color)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 2-3 cups of water
  • 1/2 can of light coconut milk
  • 1/2 inch of sliced galangal root (or 1 lemongrass) to add lemony aroma to the stew. Could be substituted with lemon zest (from one lemon).


  • Chopped shallots, garlic, hot peppers, and sweet peppers in a food processor (or blender)
  • Added turmeric powder and a little bit of salt to the mixture
  • Sweat it in a heated pot with a tablespoon of vegetable oil, to release the moisture
  • Added water and galangal root, let it simmer
  • Added coconut milk, stirred
  • Once the broth simmered for the second time, I added the squash and mushroom
  • Let them stew for about five minutes or until the broth simmered for the third time
  • Removed galangal root before serving

At dinner time, my guy had a good point. He said that the stew’s contents could vary. We could have different types of vegetables with (or without) mushroom or even with tofu/tempeh/some seafood in it. Aha! That comment gave me an idea. I listed several produce that would taste great in this vegetable stew recipe:

Choose one vegetable or do a pairing of a vegetable with either mushroom/one of the seafood selections/tofu/tempeh from the following list: (I’d combine up to two things to avoid stew overcrowd)


  • Summer squash
  • Zucchini
  • Chayote
  • Eggplant
  • Bell peppers
  • String beans

For these greens, I prefer to have it just by itself in the stew, not in a combination.

  • Kale
  • Swiss Chard
  • Collard Green


  • (I like using) Shiitake mushroom


  • Smoked salmon (I’d cut it into small square and add into the stew closer to the end of cooking, since it is already cooked)
  • Shrimp (cook together with the vegetable of choice in the simmering broth until shrimp is fully cooked, about 5 minutes)

Soy-based protein goodies:

  • Tofu (extra firm and cut into small square. Cook together with the vegetable of choice in the simmering broth for about 5 minutes)
  • Tempeh (cut into small square and cook together with the vegetable of choice in the simmering broth for about 5-10 minutes)

What do you think? Anything else we could try? I’ll add to the list if I could think of more.

Thanks for stopping by!

Summer Party on a Plate: Grilled Sea Scallops, Guacamole, Mango Salsa, and Beets Orange Salad

Salad, Seafood Recipes, Vegetable Recipes

There are days when I get highly motivated. When they come, something like this materializes:

Party on a plate by Tiny Chili Pepper

Moved by a warm summer day with the perfect breeze, I went a little overboard with Wednesday’s dinner menu.  I wanted something light and colorful.  Grilled scallops, mango salsa, and guacamole immediately came to mind. But as I walked around the farmers market, I also got some beets (and a lot of other things!). I had never cooked beets before but I was curious about it.


When I got home, I realized that I forgot to get cilantro for my mango salsa and guacamole. So, I substituted with green onions, which worked out quite well for both dishes—though I still prefer using cilantro. For this version of my mango salsa, I chopped 10 cherry tomatoes, two garlic, four cayenne peppers, and three green onions in a food processor. I added a little bit of lime juice and salt to the salsa before I mixed it with the mango slices. I also cut more cherry tomatoes, each into four pieces, and added them to the mango salsa.


For the guacamole, I followed the recipe I wrote last year. The combination of creamy avocado with cumin, lime juice, salt, garlic, and onion made such a wonderful treat (cilantro would add a fantastic taste and aroma to it too). And it wasn’t hard to make at all! I like to have guacamole and mango salsa as side dishes for grilled fish as well.

Guacamole by Tiny Chili Pepper

For the sea scallops, I marinated them with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice from one lemon, salt, and pepper. After 15 minutes, I threaded the scallops onto the skewers (which I have soaked in water for about 15 minutes prior to using). It’s much easier to grill scallops this way. Then, I grilled them for about three minutes on each side.

Grilled Sea Scallops by Tiny Chili Pepper

I saw a recipe called Perfect Roasted Beets with Orange Slices in a magazine and was intrigued by it. I basically followed the recipe but did not have sherry vinegar so I went without. The result? The orange slices and juice gave sweet taste to the dish. But the beets’ earthy flavor was definitely something for me to get used to. Let’s see, maybe I could find a different beet recipe to try. Do you have one to recommend?


Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Mango Sambal Over Broiled Tilapia

Condiment, Seafood Recipes

In Surabaya, there’s this incredible sambal mangga or chili pepper condiment that is mixed with thin-sliced mango. (In Bahasa Indonesia: sambal refers to crushed chili peppers mixture and mangga means mango.) The condiment is usually served with grilled fish, squid, or prawn, and steaming hot jasmine rice. It is simply to die for, as my sister would say. This sambal and the grilled seafood are my must-haves when I return to my homeland. Here’s what the condiment looks like. Whenever I look at this picture, I experience a Pavlov’s dog moment. Ding!

Mango Chili Pepper Condiment at Asia Baru Restaurant in Surabaya

Thin-sliced mango in chili peppers: A condiment at Asia Baru Restaurant in Surabaya (Picture by Harini, 12/12)

Inspired by mango sambal at a local seafood restaurant in Surabaya, I created something similar to accompany my broiled Tilapia.

Tilapia covered by Mango Sambal

Tilapia covered by Mango Sambal by Harini

Here is how I do the manggo sambal (My recipe for the broiled Tilapia is right below it.)

Warning: Spicy!

We will need:

  • 1 mango (I find one that is ripe but not too soft)
  • 3  Thai peppers
  • 5 hot finger peppers
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 garlic
  • 1 small tomato (or 4 grape tomatoes)
  • Salt


  • I peel the mango and gently slice it into thin cuts (lengthwise). Then stack the mango meat together and start slicing them into skinny cuts. Plate them and set aside.
  • Make the sambal in a food processor by mixing and chopping: Thai peppers, tomato, hot finger peppers, shallots, garlic. Add salt.
  • Mix the mango and sambal together.

Mango sambal by Harini

For the broiled Tilapia: (or your preferred mild-tasting fish), we’ll need:

  • 4  fillets (thawed)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Ginger powder (a pinch)
  • Turmeric powder (a pinch)
  • Coriander powder (a pinch)
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 Lime (lemon works too)


  • In a bowl, mix vegetable oil, salt, pepper, ginger powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, lime juice from half of lime 
  • Coat the fillets with the marinade and let them sit for 15 minutes. Make sure they are coated evenly on both sides.
  • Heat the oven broiler
  • Grease the oven tray and place the fillets on it.  Broil for 8-12 minutes (no turning) until the fillets turn golden brown, crispy on the outside, and flaky in the inside. Give at least 6 inches of distance between the broiler and the tray.

Broiled Tilapia by Harini

Plate the fish and top with the mango sambal. Serve with hot jasmine rice. Add some more lime juice from the other half if necessary.


Serve with rice by Harini

More Tilapia recipes:

Crispy Baked Tilapia

Spiced Up, Steamed, and Broiled Tilapia

Have a great weekend!

Egg Noodles and Sea Scallops in Eggplant, Pepper, and Tomato Sauce

Noodles, Pasta, Seafood Recipes, Vegetable Recipes

Egg Noodle with Scallops in Eggplant/Tomato Sauce by Harini

My kind of pasta dish: spicy and loaded with seafood and vegetables.

Egg Noodles with Sea Scallops in Eggplant/Tomato Sauce by Harini

Last summer, I wrote about an eggplant/peppers/tomato dish that I learned from a good friend of mine. I really liked the dish and this time I decided to mix it up with some egg noodles and sea scallops. Definitely another favorite pasta dish: light, infused with great fresh produce flavors, and boy…would you just look at the colors! Such a treat for the palate AND the eyes.

Here’s how I do the eggplant/peppers/tomato sauce:

  • Get 2-3 smaller and skinnier eggplants (or 1 big eggplant)
  • Halve the eggplants and cut into 4 long pieces
  • Chop them up into shorter cuts
  • Dice 4 medium size tomatoes
  • Mince 4-5 garlic
  • Chop 1 red bell pepper
  • Chop 5-7 hot finger peppers (Serrano or jalapeno would work too. Warning: spicy! Please adjust to your spicy-tolerance level)
  • Heat up a medium pot with a tablespoon of olive oil
  • Let the garlic sizzled for 2 minutes, add all of the above, sprinkle a little salt and pepper into the pot
  • Close with a lid and cook until the eggplants turned soft and translucent (15-20 minutes over medium heat)

Prepare the egg noodles:

  • Bring water to a boil in a medium pot, add a little bit of olive oil and salt, and cook 2-3 cups of egg noodles for about 6-8 minutes (or as directed on the bag)
  • Drain and set aside

Prepare the sea scallops:

  • Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice from 1-2 lemons on the (thawed) 8-10 scallops
  • Sprinkle a little bit of salt and black pepper
  • Let them sit for about 10-15 minutes to marinate
  • Heat up a non-stick pan (medium heat) and sear the scallops for 2-3 minutes on each side (until both sides get that beautiful golden crust).
  • Set aside

Mix the egg noodles with the eggplant/pepper/tomato sauce, top it with some scallops, and eat up! :).

(Serve 2)

We’re inching closer to spring time in this part of the world. Still cold. But at least the sun is out today! Wishing you all for some good weather wherever you are.

Thanks for stopping by!


Green Pea Salad Over Broiled Halibut

Salad, Seafood Recipes

Green pea salad by HR

People say we eat with our eyes. There might be some truth to that statement. I like this warm green pea salad recipe, another creation of Giada De Laurentiis, not only for its taste but also for its beautiful colors.

I must admit that I never really thought much of green pea before, let alone turning it into something appetizing. To me it was just some complementary vegetable used in a soup or in fried rice or just served (sadly and quietly) steamed as a side of something else better and tastier. And Jeff confirmed. He said he didn’t really care for green pea until he tried this salad. In this recipe, the vegetable gets a special attention enough to transform its plain being into a flavorful and visually appealing dish. Sometimes it really does depend on how we cook things, doesn’t it?

Green peas salad on broiled halibut by HR

In Giada’s recipe, the salad is served over baked halibut fillets. As usual, I did a few things differently. First, I used regular green pea instead of petite pea. Second, I made the salad a little bit garlicky and of course spicy by adding Serrano peppers ;). Third, since I prefer to have my fish crispy on the outer part and flaky inside, I broiled the halibut instead of baking it. Lastly, the recipe called for fresh mint and thyme, which I didn’t have this second time I made it so I went without.

The result? Sweet but yet spicy with a hint of lemon, nicely seasoned, and surprisingly filling salad. A perfect companion to the flavorful, lemony, and flaky broiled fish. The combination makes a great dinner menu. I added boiled potatoes drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper as a side but I really didn’t need to. The fish and salad were quite filling by themselves.

Here’s my adapted version to serve two people:

Salad ingredient list:

  • 1 small bag of frozen peas (thawed)
  • 4 garlic (chopped)
  • 3 shallots (thin sliced)
  • 1 red bell pepper (sliced)
  • 3 table spoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Serrano peppers (you could also use other bigger peppers like jalapeno, hot fingers, cayenne, etc.)
  • Lemon zest from 1 lemon

Broiled halibut ingredient list:

  • 2 halibut fillets (enough for two people)
  • Lemon juice from 2 lemons
  • 3 garlic (chopped)
  • 1/4 extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper


  • As suggested in the original recipe: I mixed the lemon juice, chopped garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl. Then I added the halibut fillets in the bowl, covered it with a plastic wrap, and let the fillets marinate for about 30 minutes in the fridge.
  • Then I heated up a medium pan and added: olive oil, garlic, shallots, and bell pepper to cook for about 6 minutes until they became soft and translucent. Once they were cooked, I turned off the heat, and added the thawed peas, salt, pepper, and lemon zest. Mixed all of them together nicely and set aside.
  • After the 30 minutes marinating time was up, I placed the halibut fillets on an oven tray (sprayed with olive oil), and broiled them for 10-13 minutes (no turning) or until they had these golden color around the edges. I also made sure that there was about 6 inches (about 15 cm) distance between the broiler and the tray to avoid charring.
  • I served the fillets and topped them with the green pea salad.

Green peas salad on top of broiled halibut by HR

Thanks for coming and have a great day!

Original Recipe: Roasted Halibut with Pea and Mint Salad, (De Laurentiis, Giada. Giada at Home. Clarkson Potter, 2010. Pg. 134)

Online version: Roasted Halibut with Pea and Mint Salad

Easy Summer Recipe: Grilled Squid in Spicy Salsa

Seafood Recipes

I’ve gone grill crazy this summer. I seriously have :). Here’s another result from my obsession with cooking over an open fire: grilled squid. Yes, squid! Oh… the aroma and taste of it after being grilled, just divine! Growing up in one of the world’s largest (and most populated) archipelagos surrounded by seas and oceans, I got introduced to all sorts of fresh seafood early in life. Hence my love for it.  For this recipe, I put a little bit of Mexican twist to the dish by adding one of my favorite flavors: spicy salsa. Intense!

We will need:

  • 1 pound of frozen squid (usually they are already cleaned)
  • Lemon juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 serving cup of store-bought refrigerated fresh spicy salsa (usually are placed next to hummus and tabbouleh salad). OR we could also prepare a bowl of our own homemade salsa by chopping two or three tomatoes, a half of sweet onion, a handful of cilantro, three garlic, five jalapeno peppers, and adding salt and lime juice.
  • Olive oil


  • Cut the thawed squid tubes into rings and the tentacles into smaller pieces
  • Drizzle the cut squid with olive oil and lemon juice
  • Let them marinate for 10-15
  • Meanwhile, heat up a small pot on the stove (over low heat), add a tablespoon of vegetable oil, and add the fresh salsa. Let it cook for 5-10 minutes to let most of the water out (and to sharpen the flavor of the salsa). Set aside on a serving plate.
  • Brush the grill rack with oil
  • Fire up the grill
  • Grill the squid for 2-3 minutes total, turning only once. They cook very fast, so please be careful not to overcook.
  • Mix the cooked squid with the salsa.
  • Combo suggestion: serve with my Bitter melon with Shiitake Mushroom stir-fry and jasmine rice

Hope you like it!

Have a great weekend, everyone…

Grilled Jumbo Shrimp with Tomatillo Mango Salsa

Appetizer, Seafood Recipes

A good conversation with a friend could lift up the spirit. A good FOOD conversation with a friend could inspire and create a fantastic dish. Spicy grilled shrimp and mint chutney, along with other types of food, came up during the talk. Then for a couple of days, not sure how, my mind played a food puzzle game by itself. It combined these images of grilled shrimp, some type of sauce, and the ingredients I’d like to use together. These pictures seemed so real I felt like I could almost taste them. The next day, I produced my grilled shrimp with tomatillo mango salsa dish 🙂

Here’s how I do it. For the grilled shrimp, we will need:

  • 24 jumbo shrimp (raw, deveined, and shelled)
  • Lemon juice from 1-2 lemon
  • A handful of mint leaves (chopped)
  • A handful of parsley (chopped)
  • A teaspoon of minced garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • 6-8 bamboo skewers (soaked in water for at least 30 minutes)


  • Mix everything together in a zip lock bag and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Thread 3-4 shrimp on each skewer
  • Fire up the grill to medium high and let the shrimp sizzle for 3-4 minutes on each side until they are pink and firm.

For the Tomatillo Mango Salsa:

  • 5-6 tomatillos (remove the husk and wash until the green tomatillos no longer feel sticky)
  • 5 Jalapenos peppers (please adjust the number to your preference)
  • A handful of cilantro leaves (chopped)
  • A tablespoon of minced garlic
  • Salt
  • 1 ripe mango

Steps to prepare the salsa:

  • Heat up a small skillet on the stove over medium heat.
  • Halve the tomatillos and chop the jalapenos
  • Add into the skillets and let them char a little
  • Add a tablespoon of water, cover with a lid, and let them cook for 5 minutes.
  • In a food processor, add the cut up mango, cilantro, garlic, a little salt, and the cooked tomatillos and jalapenos. Pulse until everything is mixed together.
  • Put the salsa in a bowl, let it cool down, cover with a plastic wrap, and place in the fridge before serving. I like the salsa to be served cold. I like it even better when I make it the night before serving. It gives all of the great flavors some time to chill and blend well with each other. There’s a little bit of everything in this salsa. It’s sweet, tangy, with a jalapeno kick, and fragrant with wonderful fresh aroma.
  • To serve, scoop the salsa into a serving plate and place the shrimp on top of it.

These two things could also be served separately. Next time, I’ll put the salsa on top of grilled (white meat) fish or on a nice skirt steak.

Have a great weekend!

Crispy Baked Tilapia

Seafood Recipes

(Author revised on April 12, 2013)

I like a variety of white fish like snapper, halibut, and tilapia. In my opinion, tilapia happens to have a very mild taste suitable for Indonesian cooking, which normally uses a lot of spices. For readers in Indonesia, I imagine dori, gurame, or red snapper fillets would work great for this recipe.

So here’s what we’re going to need (feel free to adjust the spices to fit your preference):

  • 4 Tilapia fillets (medium size)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder (substitute with chili or paprika powder if you prefer it to be milder)
  • A pinch of dried oregano (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of white vinegar (optional)
  • 1 lemon


  • Spray or grease the oven tray with a little bit of olive oil or canola oil.
  • (Optional) Mix the white vinegar with a little bit of water in a small bowl and give the fillets a quick rinse. And then rinse with water. (I do it to lessen the fishy aroma a little bit.)
  • Place the fish on an oven tray.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the salt, ginger, black pepper, cayenne powder.
  • Heat the oven to 425 degree Fahrenheit.
  • Sprinkle and coat the fish with the mixed spices. Let the fillets sit for about 10 minutes.
  • Cook for 12-13 minutes.  Do a longer bake time if the fillets are bigger/thicker.
  • For more crisp, turn the oven broiler (after baking) for about 3-4  minutes. Leave the oven door slightly (like 2 inches) open to avoid charring.
  • When it’s done, the fish will have that light golden color and crispy texture on the outside but fluffy in the inside.
  • Serve with lemon wedges on the side.

Serve 2-3 people