(My version of Tahu Isi)
Here’s another Indonesia’s favorite snack: stuffed tofu! The idea is quite simple: fill up tofu (cubed fried tofu, light and airy inside. Sold at Asian groceries.) with cooked vegetables, dip them in thin batter of flour and spices, brown in a little bit of oil, and eat them with chili peppers! One of Jeff’s aunts made these scrumptious snack for us when we visited the family in Indonesia a while back. Oh la la…so delicious. If only delivery across the ocean weren’t an issue, we’d shamelessly request these stuffed tofu from her all the time.
Driven by this taste memory, Jeff and I made the snack ourselves the other day. As always, my guy made his neatly. He does a better job in food presentation than I do. I have yet to master the skill of not rushing in the kitchen.
Here are the things that we will need:
A bag of cubed fried tofu (sold at Asian groceries)
Crunchy vegetable medley, do a combo of two from these options: carrots/ bean sprouts/ broccoli stalk/cabbage (thinly cut)
4 garlic (chopped)
Salt and pepper
1 cup of water
2 tablespoon of flour
Cayenne pepper powder
Thai chili peppers (sold at Asian groceries)
Heat up a small pan, add a tablespoon of canola oil, and garlic. Let it cook for two minutes and then add vegetables, salt, and pepper. Cook for 3—5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Prepare the dip in a medium bowl: whisk water and flour, add salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper powder. Mix well until it thickens a bit.
Make a small cut on one side of each tofu and stuff it with a little bit of vegetables. Dip it lightly in the batter and set aside. Repeat until all tofu and vegetables are used up.
Heat up a large pan and add a bit of canola oil (enough to brown).
Brown the stuffed tofu. (Since they are already cooked, all we want to do is just to cook them until they look golden.)
Let them cool down on a cooling rack. Place a plate underneath to catch excess oil.
Serve with chili peppers
(My version of the Indonesian street food Siomay Bandung)
Food 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
- 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.
Selamat Makan! (Enjoy your meal!)
Have a great weekend!
The snow-covered streets looked beautiful this morning. Snow clump plopped down quietly from the tall evergreen right in front of my apartment window. Peaceful, calm, bright, and sunny. (“Just like on the cover of Christmas cards I saw when I was little,” my mother would always say whenever she’d visit.) Such a different scene from the past two gloomy, windy, and snowy days. When I wrote this post, the AM temperature still read three degrees Fahrenheit tough… It sure has been a cold December in Michigan.
Distractions to take the mind off the bitter cold and to stay cheerful are necessary. Mine include: Netflix, good books, movies. Jeff and I also take up my friend Lindsay’s suggestion: baking! Jeff likes the idea very much that this blog post is actually about these delicious and savory cookies he made last night.
Here’s Jeff’s creation, inspired by the Dutch-influenced Indonesian holidays cookie: Kaastengels and Nutella butter cookies that we made last week:
Yield: about 100 mini cookies
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 3 egg yolks (2 for the cookie batter and 1 for the wash to brush on top of the cookies)
- 2 cups of flour
- 1 cup of Gouda cheese (shredded)
- 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
- A pinch of salt
- Beat butter and two egg yolks with a mixer. Add vanilla extract.
- Slowly, add flour, beat
- Add cheese and salt, fold. Use both hands to mix.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Pick up a handful of dough and, on a clean cutting board, roll and shape into a super long and a rather skinny finger (as long as the cutting board). Then cut the long finger dough into one-inch pieces. Repeat and use up all of the dough.
- Transfer the mini pieces to two large baking sheets (layered with parchment paper)
- Brush the top of each mini finger with egg yolk wash
- Bake for 20—25 minutes
Have a great day, folks!
Ah, the good old banana bread: rustic, classic, and reliable. A fantastic company for coffee over breakfast or snack time. I simply love it. Not to mention the aroma it creates in the apartment when I bake it.
When I started learning how to bake, I picked beginner-friendly recipes. One of them was this wonderful Dark Chocolate Banana Bread recipe by Baker Bettie. It became a favorite. This summer, I found another hit: Banana Blueberry Bread by Giada De Laurentiis. It has made a few appearances since then. I love how the spicy nutmeg and cinnamon reveal their wonderful presence in every bite.
I follow the recipe with a couple of minor adjustments:
- Place a sheet of parchment paper to line my oven loaf pan
- Bake the bread for 55 minutes instead of 60 minutes (my apartment’s oven tends to get really hot I think)
To see the highly recommended recipe, please click here: Banana-Blueberry Bread
Thanks for reading and I wish you a wonderful weekend!
Fried banana (in Bahasa Indonesia: pisang goreng), a classic Indonesian snack, comes in many versions. From the very gourmet at trendy restaurants, to the ones sold in bakeries, to the everyday version sold on the streets stacked up against food vendors cart’s glass window, the snack could easily be everyone’s favorite. It is sweet, simple, and straightforward. Pure comfort. With plenty of banana varieties (sweet ones, not so sweet ones, small ones, big ones, green, yellow, reddish-brown and names like pisang raja, pisang tanduk, etc) in this country, it only makes sense to turn them into delightful little bites.
One of my first trials in making fried banana was back in college days with a couple of friends. The three of us stood in my friend’s kitchen following my other friend’s mom’s recipe. He actually called his mom in Jakarta to get the recipe. We were serious about making this snack that night :).
Years have gone by since that day. The way I do fried banana might have evolved too. But the basic method I learned with my buddies more than a decade ago stuck with me.
Here’s the ingredient list for my version:
- 5-6 bananas (I get the yellow ones with a little hint of green on the skin and on the crown part. They need to be on the firm side so they won’t get mushy when fried.)
- 1 cup of all-purpose flour
- ½ cup of water
- 3 tablespoon of fine sugar
- 3 tablespoon of honey
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- Vegetable oil
- Heat up a large pan (over medium heat). Fill it with 1 or 1 ½ cup of vegetable oil (depending on how big the pan is.)
- In a big bowl, mix flour, sugar, honey, egg, and salt. Add water to the mixture until it turns into nice and thick liquid batter.
- Peel the bananas and cut them up into round pieces
- Add bananas into the batter and make sure that they are all nicely coated
- Spoon three to four pieces of bananas together (making them into clusters) into the hot oil. You could probably fry three or four clusters at the same time in the pan. Make sure that ¾ of the banana clusters are submerged in the oil. Fry each side for about 2 minutes or until it turns golden brown. Flip and fry the other side. Reduce the heat if the bananas brown too quickly.
- Remove banana clusters from hot oil using food strainer to drain excess oil
- Let the bananas cool down for 5 minutes on a serving plate layered with paper towel
- Watch them disappear quickly 🙂
Thanks for stopping by.
Have a great week ahead!