Mango Jelly #05

 

It’s another fruit-based jelly. I love mango and I have never met anyone who doesn’t. But it is one of the fruits that I think I enjoy the most as is. Meaning, nothing is done to it. Just the fruit, cut up and serve up on a plate. I don’t really get mangoes in other forms than that. I also have another thing about mango. Not a good one. I can never eat mango peeled by other people, other than my mother and my partner. Yup, I just couldn’t do it. So if I am to eat mango and enjoy it, I would have to peel and cut them myself.

I decide to try making jelly out of a couple of mangos we bought in the market, not sure what I would end up with. I use the basic composition of fruit puree, sugar, water, agar and lime juice.

I ended up with something taste and feel like the real fruit, in the shape of cone. The only thing I did was just transforming two mangoes into another form. It was pretty nice. The texture was just amazing. Everybody loved them.

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Banana. Sticky rice. Grated coconut. Palm sugar. Sound familiar? Probably not. These are our street food. They are like the great grandfather of Indonesian street food. Not many sold them anymore these days, since people prefer fried chicken or bubble tea, or doughnuts. They are sold as a set, a bit of sticky rice, a couple of deep-fried plantain bananas, freshly grated coconut and sprinkled with melted palm sugar and wrapped with banana leaves. I like to be greedy and ask the vendor to drench them. Really wet the whole thing. Most often than not, they pretend not to hearing me. I mean, what’s wrong with a bit more of palm sugar? It’s not like the cost a lot, right?

When we make it at home, I can be generous. Like really generous. Okay, I think I had too much coffee at work today.

Back to the sticky rice. I used Nick Munro’s Pewter mould to shape the sticky rice to a nice cone and deep-fry some bananas, serve them with the mandatory coconut and palm sugar

Sticky rice (or glutinous rice) has to be soaked overnight, or at least 3-4 hours, to fully hydrate the grains. I am always told to get Thai’s sticky rice, which generally cost about twice as much as our local’s. The grains are said to be better shaped, or whole, compared to the more broken grains often found in local’s sticky rice. On the day you are to steam the rice, drain the liquid off and place rice in a steamer, preferably the ones with a lot of holes, bottom and sides. Fill the bottom part of the steamer with water, not touching the rice. You will end up with mushy porridge. Cook over high heat, covered.

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Strawberry Jelly #03

Does anybody love Monday? I have a love and hate relationship with it. I have a job that drives me nuts all week long, especially Mondays when I have to deal with messed up stuff the week before and the upcoming messes. Sounds fabulous? It is.

I made these pretty cone jellies out of strawberries and agar with bright colored fruits on the side. They would sure perk up those nasty Monday blues. Strawberries are one of the prettiest fruit out there, aren’t they? I decorated the serving plate with grapes and they just seemed to pop out of the white background I was using. They are pretty to look at, and also with the added benefit of their anti-cancer properties, who can resist them?

I seem to be addicted to using Royal Selangor pewter mould with jellies made from agar. The final products hold their shape really well. And they are crunchy to eat too. Plus, agar is also a great substitute for gelatin for you vegetarian guys. The thing with agar powder is that you need to bring it to a quick full boil with any liquid you are using, preferably water, before adding other ingredients. The agar has to be fully cooked and incorporated well with the rest. Also it goes well with everything and it set great.

There are two tricks I learned these couple of days. First is to spray inside of moulds with cold water right before pouring jelly mixture. That would help getting jelly out of it perfectly. Second is to dip cones in hot water for about 5-10 seconds before running a wet knife along side of moulds to remove the jelly. Well, practice makes perfect. Every time.

Wash strawberries thoroughly and quartered them.

Combine berries with sugar in a clean, non-reactive bowl.

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Nasi tumpeng is a dish of turmeric-flavored rice, bright yellow and shaped into a cone served with other traditional Indonesian dishes. I have been wanting to learn making this for a long time. The traditional cone is shaped by bamboo-weaved mould. The mould is pretty big, enough to feed 10-20 people. I am using my Royal Selangor pewter mould, perfect for shaping nasi tumpeng for one serving.

This dish has significant meaning to us, originally from Javanese culture, but now widely adapted in the country. Whenever we have something to say thanks about, it has to be present. Wedding, birthday, anniversaries, new year. The mounds of rice represents gold, and the many dishes surround it shows bountiful of food and luck.

I am not going to lie. It is a lot of work. Rice needs to be prepared overnight. The accompanying dishes are at least 4-5 dishes, and they should be chicken dish, beef dish, egg dish, green vegetables or salad. The tumpeng is always decorated with banana leaves and on top of the cone, a flower made of red chilies.

The rice I made was served with chicken rendang, chicken gizzard sambal, sambal belacan, carrots and cucumber sticks and omelette with rice crackers.

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This agar is mother’s favorite. This is also the very first one she shot out excitedly when I mentioned the Royal Selangor jelly challenge. It is easy to make with very little ingredients and more importantly, it is deliciously creamy and lightly sweetened.

The separation of clear and milky part of agar happened naturally, as water is heavier than coconut milk. After a few minutes, the coconut milk will float to the top of agar mixture. Just make sure you already pour the agar into containers before this happened.

On another lighter note, we have just renovated our front yard a couple of weeks ago. It is now very nice with its own little outdoor umbrella and yard furniture. We spend weekends sitting out reading and eating. Lately there are a lot of cone-shaped dessert involved. It took me many years to decently appreciate the beauty of tropical sunlight. It is one of the best aspects of living in the equator, although we have always taken it for granted and complained about it tirelessly.

Ready to make some jelly?

I used store-bought agar-agar, about 7g a pack. The liquid used is water and fresh coconut milk. If fresh is not available, canned or powdered can be used as substitute.

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