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:
- 2 fillets of smoked salmon
- 3 garlic
- 3 shallots
- 5 Thai peppers (or other type of chili peppers that you prefer)
- 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!
Got a chance to catch up with an old roommate a couple of weekends ago. Jeff and I joined her and her family at a lake house that we rented. We got lucky. October was being kind, sunny, and warm that week. Fall painted earthy colors all around us. We spent most of the time talking, eating, and running around outside.
We covered a wide range of topics that weekend. Food was one of them. In addition to exchanging cooking ideas, we also made a few dishes. Eating well was one of the activities we planned to do at this lake house reunion. My friend made red cabbage coleslaw one night to accompany her grilled lamb chops. I’ve always loved crunchy and tangy slaw but had never made it before. When I saw hers, I made notes in my mind: make coleslaw, use red cabbage and green onions, make it colorful! It was delicious. Thanks, Lal.
Feeling inspired and intrigued, I slightly adapted the recipe the other day. Here’s my version with horseradish punch:
- 1/2 of small red cabbage head (sliced into very thin shreds)
- 4 green onions (chopped)
- 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon of honey
- 1 tablespoon of prepared horseradish
- Black pepper
I mixed and whisked the apple cider vinegar, olive oil, honey, horseradish, black pepper, and salt in a big bowl. Tasted and adjusted the flavors. Then I added the cabbage and green onions, tasted and adjusted again. Mixed them up, covered, and refrigerated it for an hour/overnight before serving. Let the vegetables absorb the flavors. Great to serve alongside steak or lamb chops.
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!
When it comes to dessert, I tend to go rustic. I see this pattern on my blog too. Most dessert recipes I do involve a high degree of simplicity and…lots of fruits! Fruit cake/pastry/cookie appeal to me. They taste amazing and look genuine, sincere, and friendly. I find their uncomplicated nature to be charming.
Speaking of rustic dessert, I saw an attractive recipe from Food52 the other day: Olive Oil Ricotta Cake with Plums. Being crazy about plums, I had to try it. Though I couldn’t make mine to look as pretty as Food52’s (yet), the cake came out great, sweet, tart, and lemony–delicious, as predicted. (Notes: Mine was sweet enough, so I didn’t dust the cake with powdered sugar as the original recipe suggested. I also sliced my plums into thinner cuts.)
Hope you like it and thank you for stopping by.
Click here for full recipe: Olive Oil Ricotta Cake with Plums
Baked Tempeh. My parents would probably chuckle when they read this post’s title. You see, tempeh is one of Indonesia’s staple food and a favorite of mine. Typically, we’d just sprinkle salt on it and brown it in a pan with a little bit of oil. It is delicious, simple, and humble. Now, as much as I love having tempeh, I loathe getting oil splatter all over my stove, kitchen, skin, and clothes. So, my solution to avoid such a mess: bake them in the oven. Why not, right?
Tempeh absorbs seasonings and marinades quite well. So, we could just salt it OR add more flavors to it. I like to do a dry rub with a few spices for mine. Here’s how I prepare the baked tempeh:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- I slice tempeh into thin rectangular cuts
- Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil on the tempeh cuts and brush to coat evenly
- Sprinkle a little bit of salt, cayenne pepper powder, turmeric powder, and coriander powder
- Mix these spices with the tempeh cuts and make sure each is well coated
- Bake for 15 minutes or until they turn golden brown
They are still that delicious, simple, and humble tempeh that I like so much, even with the added ingredients and steps.
Great to serve alongside a vegetable dish and rice
Hope you like it.
I must love green beans a whole lot that they keep showing up on my blog. Here they are again—this time sautéed with peppers and anchovies. Yes, anchovies! I am one of those people who enjoy them. A lot of Indonesians use the fish in different dishes as flavor booster. These little babies make my sautéed vegetable dishes salty, savory, and smelling fantastic. And a little goes a long way, really. No need to go crazy.
Here’s what we’ll need to make this dish:
- Two handful of green beans
- 3 yellow sweet peppers
- 5 cayenne or Thai or finger hot peppers (I like these skinny spicy peppers)
- 3 shallots (chopped)
- 4 garlic (chopped)
- 6 anchovies (In a can with olive oil—I rinsed mine before cooking to lessen the salt and oil content)
- Black pepper
- Ginger powder
- Fill up medium pot with water, bring to boil
- Add string beans and let them cook for a while until the water bubble for the second time
- Remove them from the hot boiling water and place under cold running water (or a bowl of ice cold water) to stop the cooking process (I am learning from various cooking sources that this process is also called blanching)
- Heat up a tablespoon of canola oil in a large pan (medium heat)
- Saute anchovies, garlic, shallots, and peppers for about two to three minutes (until the anchovies melt)
- Add green beans, a dash of black pepper, and a pinch of ginger powder
- Mix them really well, reduce the heat, and cover the pan for a minute or two
- Serve with baked tempeh and rice
Another favorite: Tempeh
My favorite simple peasant plate
Thanks for reading. I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend, wherever you are.
A wholesome salad makes a great power-booster lunch. The other day, I was in the mood for quinoa. So, I combined it with a mix of sliced avocado, smoked salmon, red bell pepper, and cayenne pepper that I dressed in lemon juice, olive oil, dijon mustard, and a little bit of honey. The taste of smoked salmon mixed with creamy avocado, crunchy peppers, and nutty quinoa blended well with the tangy and sweet vinaigrette. What a party in a salad bowl!
Here’s my ingredient list:
- 1 cup of quinoa
- 2 cups of chicken stock (or water)
- 1 avocado (sliced)
- 1 red bell pepper (chopped)
- 2 slices of smoked salmon (sliced)
- 1 cayenne pepper (chopped)
- Lemon juice from 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoon of dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 teaspoon of honey
- I followed the quinoa cooking instruction on its package: bring it to a boil with two cups of chicken stock and lower the heat to let it simmer for 15 minutes in a covered pot
- In a medium bowl, I whisked lemon juice, olive oil, dijon mustard, and honey together to make the dressing
- Mixed the avocado, salmon, and peppers with the dressing. Cover and chill in the fridge
- Let the quinoa cool down for a bit, place in a salad bowl, and topped with the avocado, salmon, and peppers
Great for bring-lunch-to-work menu (keep it chilled) or as a meal after an exercise.
Have a great weekend, all!
When people find out that I cook, some would ask, “Wow, you don’t mind the effort that cooking involves?” or say, “Good for you. I am way too lazy to cook.” or “Oh, you’re such a good wife.” (I usually roll my eyes, in my mind, for the latter comment :D.) Feels like there’s this impression that a person who cooks is industrious, taking on such an onerous task, or domestic. Well, contrary to that assumption, I cook because I get bored with food a lot. I seek wonderful colors, a burst of great flavors, and pleasing tastes in food. They bring me joy, while bland food just makes me feel sad.
My curiosity of tastes and appreciation for creativity takes me on an ongoing search for things to try. Just like this recipe I adapted and simplified from a genius food blogger at Dash and Bella: Grilled Plum and Lemon Ricotta Toast. Grilled sweet plum over warm bread with mild cheese spread. Delicious. I’d like to try using apples, nectarine, or peach next time. What a great way to enjoy more fruits! Thanks, Dash and Bella.
In my version, I used:
- 4 black plums (each sliced into four cuts)
- Ricotta cheese
- I grilled the slices of plums and bread for about 1-2 minutes each side over medium heat (I didn’t mix the plums with olive oil, balsamic, and herbs as the original recipe suggested and still they tasted wonderful).
- Spread ricotta cheese on the warm bread and place the juicy plum on top (I used the ricotta plain without the lemon juice)
- Enjoy! Great for breakfast and snack
Have a great day!
The other day, I had tons of cherry and beef steak tomatoes. Using a technique that a friend taught me, I turned them into a fantastic red-hot cooked salsa. Easy and delicious!
My friend G, whose family came from Oaxaca, Mexico, shared her homemade cooked salsa verde (green salsa) with me a while back. It was so garlicky, spicy, fresh, and good, I could just drink it. I slightly modified her recipe in a blog entry titled: Grilled Jumbo Shrimp with Tomatillo Mango Salsa. Cooking the tomatoes (or tomatillos for the green salsa) definitely made this condiment so great.
Here’s what we’ll need for the red hot salsa:
- Two cups of cherry tomatoes (halved)
- 2 beef steak tomatoes (cut into four pieces)
- A handful of cilantro (just use the leaves and chop in a food processor along with the garlic and jalapeno peppers)
- 2-3 garlic
- 5 jalapeno peppers
- Lime juice from 1/2 of lime
- Heat up a cooking pot over medium heat
- Add the tomatoes into the pot, cover with a lid, and let them cook for 5–10 minutes until they fall apart and become juicy. Turn of the heat.
- Add the chopped jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, salt, and lime juice into the pot. Stir well to mix with the tomato. Let it cool down for a few minutes before serving.
- Serve with corn chips
Thanks for reading!
To my friend G and our book club
(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.
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
- Bell peppers
- String beans
For these greens, I prefer to have it just by itself in the stew, not in a combination.
- 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!
I love the scent of parsley, especially right after picking. One of the things I like to do with the herb is to mix it with feta cheese, fold it in filo dough sheets, and bake them—just like in the Turkish baked borek. This time, I wanted to try something different with the mixture. So, I spread it on a few pita bread, topped the bread with cherry tomatoes, and baked them. Oh, what a fantastic aroma they created as they cooked in the oven! They tasted delicious too. The fresh herb and tomato definitely added more complexity to the salty white cheese melted on the warm bread.
Here’s how I did mine:
- A handful of parsley (just the leaves)
- About 4 oz. of feta cheese (I bought one of those 8 oz. plain regular chunk)
- Olive oil
- 3 pita bread
- Cherry tomatoes
Then I heated the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, mixed/chopped the parsley and feta in a food processor, brushed the pita bread with olive oil, spread the cheese mixture on it, topped with cherry tomatoes, and baked for 6-7 minutes.
Thank you for visiting!