Mouse Princess

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sate Babi [Sweet Pork Satay] ~yum!

Pork Satays - Can't get enough!

Thank god there's no good tv show today, otherwise I would have rested my butt in front of the tv after slaving in the kitchen and drift the precious hours away... Yeah, I've been postponing this entry because I was too busy watching the tv or the internet [Simpsons addiction!!]. I actually made these delicious pork satays last week and it took me some time to upload the pictures and select the good ones [throw the bad ones away right away due to this obsession to free up as much space as possible on my hard drive].

Alright, now let's talk about this sweet and savory dish. I was craving "sate babi" while I was swimming. Swimming always makes me hungry and think of food. The hunger takes me back to my childhood where our extended family spent the weekend at a swimming pool resort in the country [remember Surya in Pandaan?]. After the rigorous swimming activity, our parents would feed us with battered fried plaintains [pisang goreng], chicken satay [sate ayam], and meatball soup [bakso]... All the things I could barely have here in Canada... *drools*
My mind also flew back to when my siblings and I visit my grandparents. Our grandma always has food available in her house and she sometimes buys this fatty and sweet pork satays from an aunty who sells food door to door. I love eating these skewered meat, especially with rice! So, I googled "sate babi" and found the recipe on the Diary of a Foodaholic.

I made it with some modifications to accomodate the unavailability of certain ingredients, such as fresh galangal and candlenuts. Just click on the link for the original recipe, while I'll share what I modified! I can't believe that I could successfully make an Indonesian food. It tasted almost like the one I used to have back in my grandma's house. The only complaint is that I didn't grind the spice fine enough, so the eaters might feel kind of inconvenienced. I also chose the pork's shoulder butt chop because I thought it was well marbled and it turned out to be the perfect choice!

Indonesian Sweet Pork Satay

Pork Satays - Before going into the ovenPork Satays - with rice and pickles

Sub candlenuts with pecans
Sub fresh galangal with dried ones, soak in boiling water and use it to infuse the spice mixture while it was fried.
Sub shallots with red pearl onions
Sub grilling with roasting in the oven

I also serve it with pickled cucumbers and red pearl onions and of course, steamed rice! Love pickles!
Just chop up some english cucumbers and red onions. Add rice vinegar until they're well covered. Season with salt and sugar. Refrigerate for an hour, then serve!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Spaghetti alle Vongole

Spaghettini alle Vongole

I've always been inspired by Italian cooking. I'm obviously not from an Italian background and I don't know much about Italian history or language, but the simplicity and freshness of Italian cooking has always appealed to me.

The ingredients used in an Italian food recipe are usually very simple and easy to find [especially now that I live in a North American country], such as tomatoes, basil, cheese and olives. The flavoring is also not complicated most of the time, yet the end result is always tasty and healthy.

One of the main dishes that comprises Italian cuisine is of course, pasta. There are different shapes, colors, and textures. You must use the right shape of pasta with the right sauce to get the ultimate result. I used to think that there are only two sauces to accompany pastas, cream sauce and tomato sauce [and their combination]. I never thought that an invisible[clear] sauce would make a tasty pasta. Boy, was I wrong.

The sauce used in this vongole pasta is basically a garlic-infused olive oil and reserved clam juice. With a little bit of chili flakes, lemon zest, and seasonings, the clear sauce is perfect for your spaghetti or spaghettini and you can taste the freshness of the sauce while slurping your pasta ^^

The recipe comes from The Pasta Bible by Jeni Wright and I made some modifications, such as adding the chili flakes and lemon zest. Love chili flakes!!

Spaghettini with Clam Sauce [Spaghettini alle Vongole]

1 kg fresh clams
4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
120 mL dry white wine
350 gr dried spaghettini
2 garlic cloves [I used 4], crushed
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
a punch of chili flakes
salt and pepper

01. Scrub the clams under cold running water, discarding any that are open or do not close when sharply tapped against the work surface.
02. Heat half the oil in a pot, add the clams and 1 tbsp of the parsley and cook over high heat for a few seconds. Pout in the wine and cover tightly. Cook for about 5 minutes, shaking the pot frequently. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted boiling water according to the instructions on the packet.
03. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the clams to a bowl, discarding any that failed to open. Strain the liquid and set it aside. Shell the clams and leave some with the shell intact for garnish.
04. Heat the remaining oil in a clean pan. Fry the whole garlic cloves until golden. You may leave the garlic in [i did!] or discard them.
05. Add the shelled clams to the oil and gradually add some of the strained liquid. Add chili flakes, lemon juice and lemon zest. Then add plenty of pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes, gradually adding more liquid as sauce reduces. Add the remaining parsley and cook for 1-2 minutes.
06. Drain the pasta, add it to the pan and toss well. Garnish with unshelled clams. and serve immediately.

Serves: 4

Modification: I added some black tiger shrimps and used flax seed spaghettini to make my health-conscious brother happy.

Kue Sus - Choux Pastry with Jamaican Rum Custard

Choux Pastry with Jamaican Rum Custard

I always love eating these wonderfully light and hollow choux pastry. I believe the pastry shell itself was invented centuries ago in France, but Indonesians have adapted the recipe through many generations and added their own twist. I would speculate that the Dutch introduced this delicious snack during their colonialization and it continues to be cherished by the native people. It is commonly known by the name "Kue Sus", maybe because the pronounciation of "choux" resembles "sus". They're also known as cream puffs in English.

My mom has a great recipe for kue sus, the choux pastry is lightly crispy on the outside and hollow on the inside. Her recipe doesn't call for an egg wash and tend to have a paler color than the ones sold at the creampuffs franchise, such as Beard Papa. However, this time I wanted to make those golden creampuffs and used the recipe found at I am quite pleased with the result. At first I was a bit clueless on the shaping department as I have not made kue sus for a while. I found a solution by piping at a smaller circle going upward.
This is what it looks like before going into the oven.

Kue Sus - Raw

Kue sus is commonly filled with rum-flavored egg custard and I will share my mom's recipe for the custard. I almost failed in making this custard because I was impatient and my custard ended up too runny. I realized that I needed to wait until the cornstarch is fully cooked before adding the egg yolks and butter. This way, the custard will hold more shape and I didn't need to unnecessarily add more cornstarch. I just have to keep this in mind next time.

Go visit Stephanie's website for the choux pastry recipe. I will upload my mom's choux pastry recipe once I test it in my kitchen. Meanwhile, here's the custard recipe.

Jamaican Rum Custard (Vla)

150 mL milk
50 gr corn starch
100 gr sugar
1 tbsp butter, melted
2 egg yolks
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
a splash of Jamaican Rum

01. Mix 50 mL of milk with the corn starch until blended
02. Mix the remaining milk and sugar in a small pot and bring it to a boil
03. Stir in the corn starch mixture and whisk the mixture until you get a custard consistency
04. Remove from heat, stir in butter, then add the egg yolks while beating quickly to avoid scrambling the egg
05. Stir in the vanilla and rum
06. Let it cool then pipe it into the individual choux pastry

- You can dip the caps of the choux into a chocolate ganache
- You can fill the choux with your favorite custard, whipped cream, or even make it a the nest for your creamy chicken potpies

I hope you'll like it !!