Archive for Main dish

Babi Ketjap

Babi ketjap is an Indonesian dish made of pork in a ketjap-based sauce. Ketjap (ketjap manis in this case) is a sweet, Indonesian type of soy sauce. You can make it with tougher cuts of meat that you stew in the sauce, or use a fast-cooking cut like I did. If you want a spicy sauce, add more sambal.

Usually, an Indonesian meal consists of rice, at least one saucy dish and one dry dish (one of them with a protein and one of them with vegetables), and usually some sambal and a pickle (atjar) on the side.

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Babi Boemboe Ketjap(serves 2-4, depending on what else you serve)
Adapted from “Kook nu eens zelf Indisch en Chinees – Nique van der Werff-Wijsman

300 g pork fillet, sliced in strips
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp sambal badjak
salt
1 tbsp oil
100 ml water
1/2 tbsp goela djawa
4 tbsp ketjap manis
1 tsp tamarind paste

Puree the onion and garlic. Heat the oil and add the puree, sambal and salt. Cook until all the water is evaporated. Add the pork, and fry until browned. Add water, goela djawa, ketjap and tamarind paste and cook on high heat to evaporate some of the water. Make sure you don’t overcook the pork.

Sambal Goreng

A sambal goreng is an Indonesian dish consisting of vegetables or meat cooked in a spicy, red sauce. The one I made consisted of green beans and bean sprouts, but you could use all kinds of other vegetables (cabbage is really nice) or proteins (I especially like this sauce with boiled eggs). By adding more sambal you can make it more spicy, by adding some more tomato and use less sambal it gets more mellow, but keeps it red colour.

Usually, an Indonesian meal consists of rice, at least one saucy dish and one dry dish (one of them with a protein and one of them with vegetables), and usually some sambal and a pickle (atjar) on the side.

Trassi is fermented shrimp paste. In it’s raw state it is incredibly smelly, some people find it so smelly that they refuse to cook with it. But it does give dishes a subtle extra flavour that is really nice, and after you cook it out it doesn’t smell at all. I have found a brand that does give a good flavour, but isn’t too smelly. But in the past I’ve also had a brand that was terribly smelly, the kitchen kept smelling after I cooked with it and I had to wrap the package in a bazillion layers of plastic to keep the smell contained. So it’s worth it to experiment with a few brands.

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Sambal Goreng (serves 2-4 persons, depending on what other dishes you serve)
Adapted from “Kook nu eens zelf Indisch en Chinees – Nique van der Werff-Wijsman

1 onion
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp sambal oelek
pinch of galangal (dried, ground)
1/4 tsp trassi
salt
1 tbsp oil (coconut, ricebran)
2 tomatoes
250 ml bouillon
250 g ingredient of choice (vegetable/protein)
1/2 tbsp tamarind paste
1/2 tbsp goela djawa
1 cm piece santen (creamed coconut)

Blend the onion and garlic to a paste. Heat the oil in a pan, add the puree, sambal, galangal, trasi and a pinch of salt. Cook until fragrant and the onion starts to caramelize.
Cut the tomatoes in cubes and add to the pan. Cook for a few more minutes. Add the bouillon.
Add the ingredient of choice, and cook until it is done.
Finish the sauce with the tamarind paste, goela djawa and santen. Don’t let it boil any more, it might split.

Note: to make this dish vegan, don’t use the trasi and make sure you use a vegan-friendly bouillon. The sauce is really nice with tofu/tempeh, to make a vegan protein dish.

Pintxos

Pintxos are slices of bread topped with some nice ingredients, skewered together by a pincho (hence the name). They are a speciality of the Basque region of Spain. Often they are eaten as an appetizer, together with a glass of wine or beer. But it is also completely normal to go from bar to bar, eating and drinking, with a group of friends. This makes the pinxtos the complete meal, eaten over the course of many small bites.

I first came across pintxos in Barcelona. Of course they were called pinchos in Barcelona, because pintxos is the Basque spelling, and Barcelona is in the Catalonian part of Spain. But I immediately fell in love with the concept, and I still am. It is the perfect way to sample all kinds of lovely ingredients in a simple and tasty way. A display of pintxos looks incredibly inviting. And I like the social way of nibbling and chatting away with your friends. So when we thought about what to serve on New Year’s Eve, I decided to make a selection of pintxos.

You need good bread for pintxos. If your bread isn’t right, it will muddle the flavours of the ingredients you top it with. I wouldn’t use toasted bread, this would make it quite hard to eat. That is also the reason why you have to slice the bread quite thinly. I used a good baguette, but maybe something like ciabatta would work too. Often the toppings are quite simple, but you can make them as elaborate and complicated as you like. Use good ingredients, they can’t hide behind something, the flavour has to be good.

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On the photo (top to bottom, left to right):
– grilled sliced of goat’s cheese with a drizzle of honey
– slow cooked red paprika with boiled egg and anchovies
– aioli, slow cooked green paprika, spicy sausage
– jamon iberico, slow cooked green paprika, anchovies, boiled egg, mayonnaise
– tuna salad (canned tuna packed on oil, drained, with a drizzle of lemon juice, some mayonnaise and a bit of salt)
– aioli and sauteed mushrooms

Other possibilities:
– manchego, membrillo, walnut
– grilled goat’s cheese, jamon iberico
– manchego, jamon iberico, slow cooked paprika, boiled quail’s egg
– jamon iberico, fried quail’s egg
– aioli, shrimps
– tomato and sardines
– pimiento filled with tuna salad
– smoked salmon and egg mimosa
– egg salad
– mascarpone with berry sauce and chopped nuts
– …

Belgian Endive with Bechamel Sauce

A proper Dutch winter meal. For an extra crisp top, you could sprinkle some grated cheese on it before placing it under the grill.

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Belgian endive with bechamel sauce (serves 2)

500 g small potatoes
5 heads of endive
100 g cooked ham
20 g butter
20 g flour
250 ml milk
salt, pepper, mace

Cook the potatoes.
Prepare the endive, cut in half and remove the bitter and hard heart. Cook, steam or grill until done.
Make a bechamel. Melt the butter in a sauce pan. Add the flour, cook on low heat while stirring for about 1 minute. Gradually add the milk while whisking to prevent lumps. Cook for a few minutes while stirring. Season with salt, pepper and some mace.
Arrange the endive, potatoes and tuffs of ham in a baking dish. Pour over the bechamel. Place under a hot grill until it turns nicely golden (my grill wasn’t really cooperating, so the dish on the photo was rather pale, but still very delicious).

Fish Stew

An Asian-inspired fish stew, that coincidentally used all of the ingredients that I needed to use up. It has a nice warmth from the spices and fills you up very well. I usually don’t like using frozen fish, because it is always very wet to cook, which makes it impossible to give it a nice crust, and often very dry to eat. But for this dish it’s fine, some extra wetness in the sauce is not a problem and the sauce keeps the flesh moist. Which is nice, because frozen fish is a lot cheaper than fresh fish. Do make sure you use MSC or ASC certified fish.

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Fish Stew (serves 2)
Adapted from “A Simple Table – Michelle Cranston”

1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tbsp cumin
1/2 tbsp turmeric
3 garlic cloves, crushed finely
1 small red chilli, seeds removed, chopped finely (or use some sambal instead)
1 leek, washed and thinly sliced, mostly the whites
400 g can tomatoes
500 ml bouillon (from a cube is fine, I used vegetable, but you could use chicken, fish would make it very fishy)
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1 green paprika, diced
50 g brown rice
salt and pepper
400 g white fish, in large chunks
Optional: coriander, lime and/or coconut milk to finish

Heat the coconut oil in a pan. Add the cumin, turmeric, cloves, chilli and leek, and sauté until soft and fragrant.
Add the tomatoes, bouillon, sugar, paprika and brown rice. Cook until the rice is almost cooked, this will take about 30-40 minutes.
Add the fish and cook for another 10 minutes, or until the fish is cooked. Serve with the coriander, lime and/or coconut milk if using.

Gobi Curry

This is a good dish to use up all kinds of vegetables. It needs to contain cauliflower (gobi), but otherwise the vegetables are up to you. It is not a very authentic curry, but nicely flavoured and doable on weekdays.

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Gobi Curry(serves 2)
Inspired by “Leon – Ingredients & Recipes”

1 tbsp oil (coconut, rapeseed, rice bran, peanut, sunflower, ghee)
1 onion, sliced
1 red chili (or 1 tsp sambal oelek)
1 thumb-sized piece ginger, peeled
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 tsp nigella seeds
1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
pinch of coriander powder
pinch of cumin powder
1 small cauliflower, into florets
1 large carrot, in chunks
2 handfuls (frozen) peas
1 small can coconut milk (~200 ml)
1/2 tsp tamarind paste (you can use lemon juice instead)
salt
To serve: cooked rice, chopped coriander (optional), toasted dessicated coconut (optional)

Heat the oil, add the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook on medium heat until translucent.
Meanwhile, put chili, ginger and garlic in a blender and blend into a paste. Add this paste to the translucent onions and sauté until the raw smell has disappeared. Add nigella seeds, mustard seeds, curry powder, garam masala, coriander powder and cumin powder. Fry for about a minute, or until fragrant.
Add a splash of water and mix well, scraping all the bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add the cauliflower and cover with a lid. About halfway done, add the carrot. When both the cauliflower and the carrot are almost cooked, take off the lid, pour in the coconut milk and add the peas. Cook until hot. Add the tamarind paste. Taste and season with salt and some extra tamarind paste if necessary.

This dish is vegan when you use a vegetable oil (not the ghee – which is made from butter) and, if you are using sambal instead of chili, use one that doesn’t contain shrimp paste.

Falafel Sandwich

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This must be the best falafel sandwich ever. Naan, spicy hummus, tzatziki, roasted paprika, roasted courgette, mixed sprouts and falafel balls. Lovely!

Omelet Wrap

Tortilla wraps with cream cheese and smoked salmon are a classic. I decided to make a variation on this, it is nice to do something different sometimes.
These wraps are very nice for lunch.

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Omelet Wrap (1 wrap)

2 eggs
splash of milk
salt and pepper
few leafs of lettuce
1-2 tbsp light cream cheese
some chopped up parsley and chives
smoked fish (I like mackerel or trout for this recipe)

Mix the eggs with a splash of milk and some salt and pepper. Bake into a thin omelet.
Mix the cream cheese with some salt and pepper, and the chopped herbs.
Place the lettuce on the omelet, spread with the cream cheese, then sprinkle over the smoked fish. Roll up as a wrap.

Gado gado

Gado gado is an Indonesian dish of vegetables with peanut sauce. It can be served as a main, but also as part of an Indonesian meal with several different dishes.

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Peanut sauce
Slightly adapted from “Kook nu eens zelf Indisch en Chinees- Nique van der Werff-Wijsman”

1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp sambal oelek or sambal badjak
1/4 tsp trasi
salt
1/2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp peanut butter (all natural, no ingredients except peanut)
1 tbsp ketjap manis
1 tsp goela jawa (palm sugar)
1/2 tsp tamarind paste
200 ml water
1/2 cm from a block of santen (creamed coconut)

Finally chop the onion and garlic. Use a mortar and pestle or blender to make into a purée, mix with the sambal, trasi and salt.
Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the purée and sauté on medium heat until most of the moisture is evaporated, and the mixture doesn’t smell raw any more.
Add peanut butter, ketjap, goela jawa, tamarind paste and water. Mix well. Leave to bubble for a bit, until the sauce has the desired consistency. Add some more water if you think it’s too thick. Add the santen and mix. Taste and season with salt, goela jawa and tamarind paste if necessary. Serve.

Gado gado
200-300 g raw/cooked vegetables per person (can be cold or hot), for example cabbage, green beans, carrot, taugé, cucumber, cauliflower, potato
boiled eggs and/or fried tofu
peanut sauce
To serve (optional): rice, krupuk

Serve all the ingredients with the peanut sauce poured over.

To make this dish vegan, don’t use the trasi (which is fermented shrimp paste), and make sure your sambal doesn’t contain shrimp paste. Also, don’t serve the dish with eggs. Krupuk contains shrimp, use cassava chips as an alternative.

Pasta with wild mushrooms, gorgonzola and endive

An autumnal pasta dish.

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Pasta with wild mushrooms, gorgonzola and endive (serves 2)
Inspired by a recipe in Allerhande

200 g spaghetti
200 g wild mushrooms, cleaned, sliced if large
knob of butter
salt and pepper
150 g gorgonzola, in cubes
1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

3-4 heads of endive
salt
splash of lemon juice

Prepare the endives. Remove outer leafs, cut in half, cut out the hard/bitter heart.
Cook pasta according to the instructions on the packet/by your preferences.
Place the endive in a large pan on medium heat, turn occasionally and leave to cook until soft and slightly caramelized. Season with salt and a splash of lemon juice.
Meanwhile, sauté the mushrooms in a frying pan in a knob of butter, until golden and cooked. Season with salt and pepper. Mix with the pasta, parsley and gorgonzola. Serve with the endives.

To make this dish truly vegetarian, use a blue cheese that is suitable for vegetarians.