I have such passion for marinara sauce. I eat it with pasta of any shapes. I dunk some crusty herb bread in it. I can just go straight – eat it with a spoon. With all natural ingredients, it is very easy to make. Much easier to buy bottled marinara, but if I have an afternoon to kill, I would make a big batch that can last us a whole week. Then that week will be a marinara week.
Chopping the ingredients is hideous work. But can be mind soothing experience for me. I really like the ingredients to be perfectly cut and chopping alone can take 30 minutes. But never fails, at the end, I wish I had a good food processor.
I am using fresh tomatoes. Nothing beats fresh ingredients – I would pick the reddest ones. Stewing the tomatoes for an hour or more would bring out the brilliant red, even when I could only get the pale red tomatoes. But a quick trick if the color is still too pale, add a couple of spoonfuls bottled tomato sauce or canned tomato paste. That would brighten up the sauce greatly.
We love our fruit with something kicking. Be it some sweetened plum powder with salt or some thick gooey palm sugar sauce called Rojak Sauce (bumbu rujak).
On the street side in our city, there are many rojak vendors pushing little carts around. There are several versions too. Rojak tumbuk kacang is the fruit rojak with young plantain banana with roasted peanut in the rojak sauce. Very tangy, and can be very spicy with extra shrimp paste. The simpler fruit rojak is the most basic rojak sauce made from palm sugar block, tamarind, shrimp paste and fresh chili. The other variation include the way the fruit is cut, shredded or big chunk cut, preserved or fresh.
Since the rojak sauce is extremely sweet and sour plus spicy, men don’t think too much of it, I never know why. But we girls adore them! There’s nothing better than a tea time with fruit rojak bought, iced tea and some prawn crackers with your girlfriends. Nibbling away and gossiping the neighbors, colleagues or the street cats. Most vendors only start selling after lunch and by 5pm, they’ll be all gone. These traditional rojak vendors don’t have cooler in their tricycle, so you wouldn’t want to buy fruit that has been out on the humid street for more than 6 hours. But all the sauce from these traditional vendors are made to order – meaning, they start grinding away in their mortal and pestle when you order them. That might take a while.
For those lucky few households with Javanese helpers, homemade rojak sauce is only a phone call away. Whenever I was away on long trip, I long for homemade rojak sauce. With a handful of basic ingredients found in Asian groceries, it is easy to make! Add some cut fruits, they are ready to be served. Dip away – keep the iced-tea close by.
Long story short, I have found the passion of writing again. I have let other personal ventures crossed into the love of cooking and writing, and reading about food and cuisine. Started cooking again this weekend, and it felt great. My family is not that thrilled that, again, I will be messing up the kitchen and buy loads of unused ingredients, but it is fun to see some smoke coming out of the burner, I think.
Something easy and fun to start the year. I am a big fan of eggs. Any type of eggs. Scrambled, sunny side up, hard boiled, soft boiled, with rice, noodles. Easy meal with simple eggs on toasts or plain noodles or rice can fill me up for hours.
Spice up the plain old fried eggs is easy and quite a delight. One of my all time favorite is this simple sweet, sour and spicy treatment – sweetness from the shallots, sour from the lime juice and the hot after taste from the red chili.
Shallots, chili and sugar are like the trio of Indonesian cooking. All three are always present in people’s kitchen. Unlike the extravagant Chinese cuisine’s sweet and sour sauce, I really like this version better. The taste is all there, without the goey sauce thickener. Extra easy and extra yummy. Not using up too many pots and pans, That’s what I called easy cooking, if we can call frying eggs and dressing it up a little bit “cooking”.
Remember those days a gazillian years ago, in college, when grocery money was scarce and with exams plus assignments crashing in there wasn’t just enough time (nor money) to lavish yourself with decent food items? Well, that probably only happened to me. Those were the days when ramen noodles had become the most filling and nutritious meal of the semester. So much that I had to sacrifice to get that black sexy cocktail dress.
Since those bleak (but wild) days, I wished I had a bit of creativity to cook ramen noodles the lifeline. The snazziest thing I did with my sad bowl of ramen was add some scrambled eggs and chopped scallion. That’s about it.
So last night, I felt some creativity sparks and sometime ago I read that Giada made omelette with her leftover spaghetti. We (my brother and I) were starving and there was nothing in the pantry except instant ramen noodles and some eggs. I mixed up the two and it was good – good enough to be blogged about.
Fyi, Indonesians are famous for their instant ramen noodles that go by the name of Indomie. There are many flavors available such as chicken, spicy chicken, curry, soto, and many more. Naturally, Indomie with chicken flavor is what we have in our pantry and that was what I used in my little ritzy experiment.
First I boiled the noodles till al dente and seasoned them with the powdered stock. Stir fry some onions and tomatoes, add the seasoned noodles and pour whisked eggs onto the pan. Voala! Served with spicy tomato sauce – that would hold up the hunger for another hour. Or much less.
How do you spice up your ramen noodles? Please do share.
A quick post for this yummy salsa dip, Indonesian style! Featuring the infamous Sweet Soy Sauce.
Indonesian dishes are often enriched by sweet soy sauce (kecap manis), which is basically soy sauce sweetened by palm sugar. The main ingredients are palm sugar, water, salt, soya bean, wheat, sodium benzoate (0.01%).
This soy sauce is used for marinades, condiment and substitute for any stir-frying dishes needs any sweet kick. Very dark in color and as thick as molasses, it gives dishes the caramelized color.
You can substitute it with equal parts of soy sauce and brown sugar stirred together till the sugar melts completely. Not as good, of course, but it will do!
For the dunking partner, try fried beancurd, cucumber and celery sticks, chips, or french fries! Go dip and dunk with this easy recipe for exotic condiment!