HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

May 2009 COTM Winner: CRADLE OF FLAVOR

I am pleased to announce the winner for our May 2009 Cookbook of the Month here at chowhound:

CRADLE OF FLAVOR: HOME COOKING FROM THE SPICE ISLANDS OF INDONESIA, SINGAPORE, AND MALAYSIA by James Oseland

I am going to pick up my copy at the library this afternoon. I would like to thank all who added to this spirited discussion by suggesting and pondering books and offering personal experiences and impressions regarding the nominated books. As usual, I'll be eager to see what books emerge as a possible COTM for June!

So, I look forward to cooking from CRADLE OF FLAVOR and engaging in discussion about the recipes with fellow COTM-ers. Also, I would like to offer a warm welcome to any new participants to COTM. Jump right in and start cooking with us!

*foxy*

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Yay! Just got an e-mail to say my copy's been despatched. Should have it by Wednesday. I'm excited (and I'm going to start quizzing my Malay-Chinese friend from Singapore for handy hints asap - the lucky girl).

    1. Oddly, my city's library system doesn't have a copy and I live in tight urban quarters so I am loath to buy any more books unless they are truly superstars. Any sources for online recipes? I would like to play along!

      9 Replies
      1. re: tcamp

        I'm sure somone will have more Oseland recipes but for starters here's the recipe page from his web site:
        http://jamesoseland.com/cooking

          1. re: tcamp

            tcamp, do you have the ability to do an interlibrary loan? It might take a couple of days longer, but there's still time. And,yes, see this post from the May first round "voting" thread that JoanN has linked below for numerous recipe links: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6107...

            ~TDQ

            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              Thanks for the suggestions. No copies in my city but apparently I can get reciprocal borrowing priviledges in the much bigger neighboring county and they have 10 copies. Who knew?

              1. re: tcamp

                I know! Isn't that neat?! I just recently learned that (through JoanN I think).

                ~TDQ

                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  Ain't libraries cool? My city's system has a "suggest a title" feature online, where you enter the ISBN, publisher etc and request the book to be purchased. I also use the comments section to link to several positive reviews, to facilitate the librarians' purchasing decisions. When the book arrives into their system, I'm notified and have first dibs on checking it out for two weeks.

                  In the 5 years I've been doing it, over 90% have been purchased. It's great. My floor joists, already creaking under the load of my bookcases, have thanked me.

                  1. re: FoodFuser

                    For the past year or so, when I find a book I want to read is not in the vast library system I have access to - which includes colleges and Jr. Colleges..... I buy the darn book, read it then donate it to my local library.
                    Works for me cuz my library shelves cannot accommodate another anything.

                    1. re: FoodFuser

                      This is a really nice feature, hope the Brooklyn NY PL picks up on it. They do order most of the books I have a yen for but there have been some they've missed (Baking for All Occasions by Flo Braker for example, not available last time I checked).

                  2. re: tcamp

                    Wow, I am totally impressed with Fairfax County's librarians. I ordered a card online on Tuesday, got an email response that evening, and received my card in the mail Thursday. Just placed a hold on a copy of Cradle of Flavor to be routed to the nearest branch and plan to dispatch spouse who works out that way to pick it up. In less than a week. For free. Wow.

              2. I've reserved a copy at the library. And this time I will try not to splatter food on it.

                1. Hi all,

                  I'm joining you this month for the first time. My used copy of the book shipped from just one state away (ID to WA) on Monday, so I'm hoping it will be here tomorrow. I live in Spokane, WA and was ready to either order ingredients on the web or gather a few other reasons and make a weekend trip to Seattle. But I went to an odd little store called, of all things, the Oriental Market, and got everything on my long list except fresh tumeric, even the elusive daun salam.

                  Michaela

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: mr99203

                    Yep, some fun new ingredients for me. My local asian/korean/hispanic market has the fresh tumeric but no sign of the daun salam. I was at a highly thrilling government procurement meeting today and asked a friend, who is indian american, and he told me that his wife has lots of it in the pantry and that he'd bring me some later this week. Must be a sign!

                    1. re: tcamp

                      mr99203 and others

                      Welcome to COTM! I'd say that a great part of participating in the discussion is shopping for and posting about unusual ingredients. Some of the best posts have described hunting for this or that "strange" ingredient. This was particularly evident when the 2 Fuchsia Dunlop books (Land of Plenty and Revolutionary Chinese) were featured as COTM a while ago.

                      These posts were often hilarious, almost always interesting and always helpful. Many contained photographs of the sought-after ingredient. They are also helpful references months later when one cannot quite remember whether it was the preserved vegetables or pickled vegetables in a dish.

                    2. re: mr99203

                      Welcome Michaela! I'm glad you're joining in! This should be a fun month, and, in a strange way, the search for ingredients is part of the fun. It's certainly (at least for me) part of the learning!

                      ~TDQ

                      1. re: mr99203

                        Yes! Welcome, Michaela, and congratulations on finding the daun salam. I agree with Dairy Queen -- this hunt for ingredients is fun. Tonight I ate more of the first recipe I made from Cradle, and I have to say that it is just divine and totally worth the time/energy I devoted to the ingredient quest!

                        1. re: foxy fairy

                          Yes, over the past couple of years, the hunt for ingredients has been one of the most interesting subjects of discussion. It grew to a fever pitch when we did Fuchsia Dunlop's two Chinese cookbooks: Land of Plenty and Revolutionary

                          We not only got great descriptions, funny stories, and useful information, but photographs of the various ingredients to help in the search. I love COTM and Chowhound, and, especially the contributors to the threads. Hip! Hip! Huzzah!

                          1. re: oakjoan

                            oakjoan, if you're cooking from this book in May, I will relate that the Bowl sometimes has fresh turmeric; don't know about fresh galangal, but there is a Thai market on University (Tuk Tuk, I think) that's probably a good bet.

                        2. re: mr99203

                          Another source for Asian ingredients in Spokane is the Bay Market on East Sprague

                          -----
                          Best Asian Market - Bay Market
                          2022 E Sprague Ave, Spokane, WA

                        3. Check out the dandy new COTM archive/portal the CHOW folks have given us: http://www.chow.com/cookbook_of_the_m...

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                            That is really helpful. But where will it be? A sticky in home cooking?

                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                              Wow! That really is great. I can finally delete my desktop shortcut for "COTMs from Inception" and stop scrambling to update it every month. But I echo LLM. Doesn't seem to be a sticky on Home Cooking. No Favorites button. Will bookmarking be our only option? I'd love to have one-click access to it directly from the boards.

                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                I Love that! Thank you Chowhound. And, Thank you Caitlin for posting the link.
                                I bookmarked the page plus added a shortcut on the desktop. A sticky would be super, though.

                                1. re: Gio

                                  I wonder if the COTM organizer can just post the link in the COTM thread, since, in the past, it was the COTM organizer who posted the "rules of participation" and links to past COTM's. Perhaps, if foxy fairy agrees, she can even ask the mods to edit her OP above to include the link so we can all find it easily? That way, we don't have to add another, separate, sticky to the top of the forum (which, I think will be appreciated by non-COTM participants.)

                                  ~TDQ

                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                    Noted, Dairy Queen. I will try to get to this tomorrow :)

                                    *foxy*

                              2. Does anyone know if the shrimp paste fermentation changes the attributes of the shrimp so that folks with an allergy aren't affected? For example, I can eat oyster sauce but fresh/cooked oysters are totally off limits.

                                If I eat Thai food regularly, am I eating shrimp paste without knowing it? What other cuisines might have this paste "hidden"?

                                And, is there a substitute if I do have an issue with this ingredient?

                                Cradle arrived at my local library branch this morning, so I will be able to start reviewing the recipes soon. Exciting.

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: smtucker

                                  THAT's an interesting question, smtucker. (My mom's allergic too)
                                  You might want to post it on General Topics for a wider response pool.

                                  1. re: smtucker

                                    I Googled "shrimp allergy" +"shrimp paste" and came up with this:

                                    http://www.cookingallergyfree.com/all...

                                    Doesn't sound like the answer you were hoping for.

                                    1. re: JoanN

                                      Yes, I see what you mean. Seems that anchovy paste is a substitute, though less "pungent." I may try one dish with the shrimp paste. I will know after one bite if shrimp paste is off the table. Everyone else will be able to finish the dish even if I can't.

                                      1. re: smtucker

                                        Janet DeNeefe in "fragrant rice" says either anchovy paste or fish sauce would be a reasonable substitution if you don't have access to shrimp paste.

                                        ~TDQ

                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          And both are kitchen staples. Isn't that wonderful? Thank you so much.

                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                            Sorry, me again. Oseland really discourages you from using fish sauce as an alternative, so, maybe anchovy paste is the way to go for you.

                                            ~TDQ

                                      2. re: smtucker

                                        Shrimp paste ('Kapi' in Thai) is used in very few Thai dishes, probably less than 5%. I know that Malaysian, Lao and Cambodian cooking has an equivalent ingredient and I'd guess that all of the Southeast Asian nations use something similar.

                                        1. re: ThaiNut

                                          Burmese cooking uses shrimp paste extensively.

                                      3. Yay! My book arrived this week! I can't wait to get started. I really like the explanations of the ingredients. He really does a good job of demystifying some of these things.

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: moh

                                          I got my book yesterday, too. I've just read through the first section, thus far.

                                          EDIT: It seems like this book has been 20 years in the making, in a way. I have the feeling I am going to have to buy it (rather than just have it out of the library as I do now). He's invested so much of himself in it.

                                          ~TDQ

                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                            Reading my library copy, I felt the same way. This is on the To Buy list now.
                                            He's a good writer, with actual information scattered in the prose and
                                            I love the tempeh obsession! (Well, I love tempeh too)

                                            1. re: pitu

                                              I don't love tempeh, but I want to! I tried a tempeh (or two) recipe out of Berley and just didn't love it. So, I hope I can develop more of a flair for cooking with it out of CofF. We have a restaurant locally that makes the most amazing tempeh reuben, so, I know it can be great. I hope to learn what I've been doing wrong...

                                              ~TDQ

                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                Can we do a sidebar on that tempeh reuben? How is the tempeh prepared?

                                                1. re: FoodFuser

                                                  Here' s a link to their menu (it's under sandwiches) http://www.frenchmeadowcafe.com/docum... says

                                                  Marinated and grilled organic tempeh with sauerkraut and spiced tomato-soy aioli on organic rye bread.

                                                  It sounds like a whole lotta health, which could lead you to worry that it might taste like sawdust and grass or something, but it's actually really delicious.

                                                  They have a couple of other tempeh dishes on their menu, too, though I don't remember ever having tried them.

                                                  ~TDQ

                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                    Even if it's just kraut, fried tempeh, and mustard on the good roll or bread of your choice, tempeh reuben is excellent. One of our standby favorite sandwiches, no taint of health getting in the way of flavor at all...
                                                    : )

                                        2. I am very pleased to hear (er, read) the excitement over this book.
                                          Yea! It won't be just Joan and me cooking in May!

                                          Oseland is the exec editor of Saveur mag -- so he knows the food business from a westerner's point of view -- and the book jacket says he's been traveling to Indonesia and that part of the world for 20 years. His appreciation of the food (and people/way of life) comes through well.

                                          And we hounds gotta appreciate the excellent photos of the ingredients -- gives us a leg up over some of our prior COTM's!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: NYchowcook

                                            Yep, you all talked to me into it! My book just shipped from Amazon so I should have it next week. Looking forward to exploring Indonesian and Malaysian cooking!

                                          2. In my Library network there are 31 Libraries - which include all public Libraries plus Jr. Colleges and Colleges in 2 counties. Only ONE Library has it and it's a little Community College in a very working class town. Guess who's gonna get that book? Give up?? ME!

                                            I decided to take a look after reading all the wonderful comments. I'm not sure I'll be able to cook many recipes, but there's a few well stocked Asian markets in the next town... so we shall see.

                                            30 Replies
                                            1. re: Gio

                                              Wow! Only one copy? That is amazing! Well, I'm glad you got it. Even if you aren't able to cook from it, it's a good read. What makes you think yoiu might not be able to cook many of the recipes? Ingredient availability (or lack thereof)? time constraints? or other?

                                              ~TDQ

                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                Well I don't have it yet. I just checked and the status is still "On Shelf" so apparently the Hold hasn't Held yet. However, I do have another source, miraculously.

                                                I guessing I'm not going to like many of the recipes after the little I've already read on JO's web site that's why I want to have the book in hand. There's a pretty good Asian near where I live so ingredients may not be that much of a problem.

                                                1. re: Gio

                                                  Ah, okay. Well, it just turns out that not every book is for everyone. Hopefully, you'll find a couple of things to love, but if not, there's lots of other cookbooks in the sea. ;-).

                                                  ~TDQ

                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                    I got my book yesterday and had to laugh. After you all have been discussing the limited number of copies that are in your local libraries: the copy I got from an Amazon seller is from the Las Vegas - Clark County library - it looks like it was checked out once (although my library doesn't stamp the book anymore). It's in perfect shape, hopefully they had too many copies and were disposing of one!!

                                              2. re: Gio

                                                Can you access the Minuteman network? They are showing four books as available, one on hold, and one is not available. I am the hold.....

                                                1. re: smtucker

                                                  I didn't think of that possibility, SMT.... I'm in the Noble network. I'll have to ask our incredibly good library here if that's a possibility in the future. Thanks for the tip!

                                                2. re: Gio

                                                  Gio, I was wondering about the specialty ingredients too -- I can *probably* get them, but I'm not sure I want to! Now that I have the book in hand, I see there's plenty of stuff that can be made without hunting down some of the more obscure bits.
                                                  (yeah!)

                                                  1. re: pitu

                                                    After a trip to the local asian store, I went by Whole Foods to round out my pantry for the next month. They were out of a lot (but are putting in a special order for lemongrass, galangal and hopefully some fresh tumeric), but while there I found in the asian section some stuff I'd never seen before: bottled pre-cut lemongrass and ditto galangal. Now obviously it won't be quite the same, but if you get stuck you might want to look for those products. And I've subbed peanuts for candlenuts in the past without any problem.

                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                      Oseland suggests subbing macadamias for the candlenuts.

                                                      1. re: mirage

                                                        Yes. You can use peanuts too, if you have those around the house though.

                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                          I just dont think peanut is a good sub - the flavor is too strong - macadamias or cashews would be better.

                                                          1. re: jen kalb

                                                            In "fragrant rice", Janet DeNeefe suggests macadamias, almonds or cashews as subs for candlenuts.

                                                            ~TDQ

                                                      2. re: LulusMom

                                                        On ingredients --

                                                        I spotted the palm sugar (a bag of grains) at Whole Foods (at Asian groceries, too, but in a block). No candlenuts there , and no daun salam either. See what I grabbed below (copied from the other ongoing Cradle of Flavor thread). Upon sampling the recipes I can say that it's TOTALLY worth it to grab the ingredients.

                                                        Cradle of Flavor has charmed me -- it is utterly beguiling. I couldn't resist getting a jump start. I am going to curl up and read Oseland's introduction tonight for fun. Soooo ---

                                                        Today I started acquiring ingredients for Cradle of Flavor. I discovered a new (to me) Laotian-owned market near me in Providence, courtesy of a tip on my local chow board. I picked up some of the more elusive ingredients: kaffir lime leaves (yes, found them!), galangal (fresh), lemongrass, and restocked some other more accessible stuff like cinnamon sticks, peanut oil, coconut milk, a LOT of shallot and ginger and garlic, and some bamboo skewers for satay, woohoo!

                                                        In case you're worried about cooking from the book because you can't make a big investment in ingredients that you'll scarcely use, take note --- I'm pleased to see, scanning recipes and paging through Oseland's list of ingredients starting on page 43, that I have quite a few of the ingredients already (mustard seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds) in my crate of goodies for Indian cooking. So that's great for the budget. Plus, a number of the new-to-me fresh ingredients, like galangal and lemongrass, are featured throughout the book, so I'll use it all up as I cook from the book in May. That's key for the foxy cook on a budget.

                                                        Now -- for the still-elusive: DRIED DAUN SALAM (page 64).
                                                        I stopped at three stores (a Laotian grocery where I found all of the above, an Indian grocery, and Whole Foods because you never know) and called yet another Asian grocer. No dice anywhere. I am so curious about the "subtle spicy, woodsy flavor that has no precedent in the West" so I wlll keep searching. He specifies that bay leaf is NOT a substitute although daun salam can be labeled as Indian Bay Leaves.

                                                        In other news, I'm starting on my first recipe tonight! Naughty moderator getting a head start... but I've been sick with the FLU and in need of chicken soup, so I am making the Javanese chicken curry (page 275) on this chilly chilly raw night! I will save the report for MAY.

                                                        1. re: foxy fairy

                                                          I'm so excited you're getting a head start. Of the daun salma, in "fragrant rice" Janet DeNeefe says that you should leave it out if you can't find it, as the taste is so distinct.

                                                          You can find it online at indomart, which is one of the links on Oseland's website. http://indomart.us/catalog/product_in...

                                                          ~TDQ

                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                            I just gave in and ordered some daun salaam, candlenuts and other stuff from there - we will see how it goes.

                                                            1. re: jen kalb

                                                              Thanks for the enthusiasm, Dairy Queen! Great call on the indomart and jen kalb -- that is AWESOME that you went for it and ordered stuff! I am going to try scouting out a few more local Asian markets for the daun salam and candlenuts. If I can't find them, though, I think I will order the candlenuts and the daun salam from indomart too. Can I ask what other ingredients you ordered, jen kalb??

                                                              I am so SO excited about this book. I just made my second recipe from the book tonight (Sambal Goreng Buncis -- green beans with coconut milk). I was especially excited because I had decided to make this one already (after the Javanese chicken curry the other night) and then, in the introduction to Cradle, I read about Oseland's attempts with this specific dish during his early days of cooking these recipes on his own.

                                                              I will be making the chicken satay and, to my delight, I already have everything I'll need except the chicken, because I'd purchased those ingredients for the other two recipes. Yay. Budget friendly. I do want to find the Indonesian sweet soy sauce although, as he points out, I could make my own by mixing soy sauce with palm sugar and cooking until syrupy. I just might do that so I can make the sweet soy sauce and lime dipping sauce.

                                                              Off to eat the luscious green beans!

                                                              1. re: foxy fairy

                                                                The sweet soy sauce (kecap manis) should be easy to find in Asian markets - I haven't seen any double soy sauce yet but I'm planning a trip to either Chinatown or one of the big Asian supermarkets which are a twenty minute drive away.

                                                                My Singaporean friend says I'll struggle to find daun salam in this country but I think I've found it online! She is clearly not as dedicated (or saner) than me!

                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                  greedygirl --- That is SO funny about your friend being saner than you in the quest for ingredients. I'm with you on the less sane end of the spectrum. I am dogged in my pursuit of the daun salam. I knew that I looked totally over the top roaming the Laotian market obsessively searching the shelves for the daun salam, even pulling out my copy of Cradle to show the photo/description to two different employees there :) Then I was driving home thinking -- No. This isn't the end of this. I am determined and I WILL find that daun salam. Waiting for a free spot in my schedule so I can continue scouting Asian markets for it.... LOL :)

                                                                  Cookbook of the Month is so much fun! I was thinking how (sappy alert) it has really changed my cooking, and even my life in many ways. Probably three quarters of the food I make comes from COTM recipes, past or present! :)

                                                                  1. re: foxy fairy

                                                                    I totally failed in my quest for daun salam in Chinatown today. Although I did manage to find fresh pandan leaves, fresh turmeric, palm sugar from Malaysia, galangal, curry leaves and salted soybeans (which I think are the same as sweet bean paste - Oseland says that's one of the names for it.

                                                                    What I could not find anywhere were candlenuts and double black soy sauce. I did find a Thai thick soy sauce with molasses but he says that only a little molasses is added to the double black soy sauce and it was the main ingredient in the Thai version...

                                                                    Obsessive, moi?

                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                      i think the Thai thick soy product will probably be fine for you. The Ketjap manis is, I believe, basically this product infused with spices .

                                                                      1. re: jen kalb

                                                                        I do have ketjap manis already. Could I substitute that for double black soy do you think, or should I get the Thai product as well?

                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                          ketjap manis is spiced. and you would not sub . Rather than obsessing (I know we all are) it makes sense to look and see if any of the recipes you are interested in actually call for this ingredient. I suspect it will be the chinese influenced dishes.
                                                                          Im really surprised you cannot get double black or thick soy in London chinese stores since its a standard chinese ingredient..
                                                                          Do you have David Thompson's Thai cookbook - it may give you relevant info about this ingredient.

                                                                          1. re: jen kalb

                                                                            You can get thick soy - but that doesn't have molasses as an ingredient. The Thai thick soy specifies molasses as the main ingredient (ie it's the first one on the label).

                                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                                              Is the Thai thick soy sauce the same as Vietnamese thick soy sauce?
                                                                              (I looked for a picture on Google Images, no luck)

                                                                                  1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                    That's actually a different product which doesn't contain molasses. No wonder we're all so confused!

                                                                    2. re: foxy fairy

                                                                      Daun salam update - looks like it's not avaiable in the UK. My online source seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth (probably gone out of business). My last hope is my Singaporean friend or one of her contacts (who incidentally says to substitute curry leaves). Or maybe a Chowhounder can post me some!

                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                        not the same as curry leaves - one last suggestion - the indonesian food writer Sri Owen is UK based - you could look in her most recent book for source recommendations - or you could even email her - her email is on her website.

                                                                        1. re: jen kalb

                                                                          That's a good idea, thanks. I think my friend probably will be able to give me some, although she says her supply is pretty old. Definitely worth trying Sri Owen though.

                                                    2. With such apparent interest in tempeh as an ingredient in this book, see this thread if you are interested in making your own. It's divine when freshly made.

                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3920...

                                                      8 Replies
                                                      1. re: FoodFuser

                                                        Great link, thank you! I wonder if CofF itself has any recipes for making tempeh? I will have to look.

                                                        ~TDQ

                                                          1. re: FoodFuser

                                                            I might have to have one for lunch! Thanks for the links.

                                                            ~TDQ

                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                              All right - what's the difference between Tempeh and Tofu.....?
                                                              I've had Tofu in its various configurations but never Tempeh.

                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                  AHA.... Many thanks Caitlin. More studying is in order.....

                                                                2. re: Gio

                                                                  tempeh is fermented soybean cake--you can see the actual whole soybeans pressed together in the cake. Tofu is soymilk that is processed and blocked the way you would a cheese, similar to mozzarella, I understand.

                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                    Thank you too, TDQ! From the quick scan I just made of the above links it appears that Tempeh is actually more nutricious than Tofu????

                                                                    More tomorrow. Ciao for now.....

                                                        1. It's okay to link to eGullet, isn't it? If so, here's a huge thread with many photos and even a few posts by James Oseland.

                                                          http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?s...

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. I took the liberty of emailing James Oseland to alert him to the fact that we hounds are cooking from his book in May, and invited him to take a look and chime in to guide us.

                                                            13 Replies
                                                            1. re: NYchowcook

                                                              Yay! My book arrived on Friday and I am going to sit down on the deck this afternoon and crack it open - have taken a peak and am very pleased. I am going to Chinatown one night after work this week so that I am prepared for the first of the month. Thankfully, I keep kaffir leaves and lemongrass in my freezer (and I think I have a bit of galangal left too). I hope I can get candlenuts where I live!
                                                              I am excited to be cooking from this book. I might have to start a few days early too foxy fairy. Will wait to post if I do cook anything.

                                                              1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                Well, there's a little extra pressure on us all.

                                                                So, dumb question, I'm sure, but I always hear of Singapore rice noodles, which I think of as those bright yellow, super-thin noodles stir-fried. Is that a real thing in Singapore? It seems like the closest recipe to that is on page 191, "mee goreng tauceo", which he describes as being made with egg noodles the size and shape of spaghetti (which is a thicker noodle than I'm envisioning) or the stir-fried kuey teow noodles on page 193, which are flat rice noodles, and that he calls "Malaysia's most celebrated noodle dish". But, neither recipe seems like it would turn out that yellow, especially.

                                                                Is the dish I'm describing a real thing and just not in the book? Or is it in the book and I'm missing it?

                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                  DQ -- I certainly did not intend in informing Oseland that we should feel any pressure.

                                                                  As I recall, Molly Stevens chimed in on her book at one point, and that did not seem to add stress to anyone's life. Sorry if you feel pressure; perhaps I should have asked others before I alerted the author. It's still just us rank amateurs exploring the book cooking together!

                                                                  I told him we're home cooks, so hey, that's the level

                                                                  1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                    Ah, no worries. I'm sure most will enjoy having him chime in, especially when we're having questions about ingredient substitutions etc. I do worry a little about people feeling free to be critical about the book if they know the author is following along, but, hopefully, people will be their typical candid selves regardless.

                                                                    And a chowhound's a chowhound, and always welcome!

                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                  2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                    I don't know if Singapore rice noodles are the real thing from singapore. However, I think the bright yellow color comes from the addition of curry powder to the dish.

                                                                    I've had stir-fried kuey teow noodles in restaurants and it's delicious but nothing like singapore rice noodles.

                                                                    1. re: beetlebug

                                                                      Thanks for that. Perhaps, I'm just going to have to try the kuey teow noodles, then! Delicious is what we're all after, isn't it?

                                                                      Also on my list:

                                                                      pg 226 fern curry with shrimp (I never know what to do with the ferns this time of year)

                                                                      pg 264 black pepper crab (sounds easy, yet delicious)

                                                                      every chicken recipe (ha!) they all sound really good

                                                                      but, also every tempeh recipe (I'm determined to like tempeh)--the "carmelized tempeh with chiles on pg 325 sounds good) Actually, I'm beginning to think my problem with tempeh is that I try to cut back on the oil when cooking it. Maybe it just really requires a lot of oil.

                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                        Yeah, the tempeh likes to be fried, although you can do a clean fry without a ton of oil. I've never tried brushing it with oil and baking instead, but you could. What is appealing to me is the particular fermented soybean taste.

                                                                      2. re: beetlebug

                                                                        I have had the singapore noodles you speak of TDQ (chinese restauants) but I have also eaten a dish called laksa, which is a Singaporean or Malaysian dish and has thin noodles with curry and meat or tofu and vegetables. It is delicious and is almost like a soup. I haven't had a chance all of the recipes in Oseland yet, but I had these noodles at a Singaporean restaurant and was hoping to try to recreate them with the help of the book.

                                                                        1. re: tartetatin

                                                                          I too love laksa, and- yay! - there is a recipe in the book for it.

                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                            Oh, I think I remember seeing that recipe in the book. I'll have a second look.

                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                              Haha - yes. Right after I posted I looked in the book under laksa (nothing), curry and noodles. I went to kare laksa under chicken curry noodles and found it. Weeeee! I can't wait to make it!

                                                                        2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                          "Singapore noodles" is a Hong Kong invention not widely available in Singapore, except maybe in HK-style cafes.. Mee goreng and laksa are very different - they don't use the turmeric-heavy generic "curry powder" found in Singapore noodles.

                                                                          1. re: jadec

                                                                            Aha! thank you for that. I always wondered...

                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                      3. jfood will try to join again, always tough. did find a copy in a neighboring town library. hope the ingredients are available.

                                                                        1. Search for double-black soy sauce

                                                                          I was in Whole Foods last night (without the book, alas) but I spotted something called Double Deluxe Soy Sauce -- Lee Kum Lee brand (imported from China). Ingredients are: water, salt, soybean, sugar, wheat flour. I think this is NOT what Oseland meant, though, as he says that double-black soy sauce "has been aged longer and mixed with a small quantity of molasses." The bottle says in this sauce, the soybeans are "double fermented."

                                                                          I need to return this one, I think, and I need to get back to the Asian market and look there for the double-black soy sauce and the Indonesian sweet soy sauce.

                                                                          They don't have candlenuts at Whole Foods and the buyer for grocery said he's unable to acquire them. I bought a container of macademia nuts in case I can't get the candlenuts anywhere.

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: foxy fairy

                                                                            I'm getting a little frustrated (although still very excited). I was able to find the Indonesian sweet soy sauce at the local asian market, but not the double-black stuff. A trip to WFs on Friday found nothing on my list, but they promised me galangal, lemon grass and possibly fresh tumeric today. Went today ... nothing. No one had even bothered trying. grrrr. Now they're telling me they'll have the lemongrass and the tumeric on Wed. but not the galangal. I've looked at the grocery store, WFs and the asian store with no luck. I thought it was going to be one of the easier things on the ingredient list to find. Anyone else having a problem finding it? I did see roasted unsalted macadamias so will pick them up on Wed. with the other bounty. May be forced to buy that bottled galangal mentioned upthread a few days ago which is disappointing.

                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                              did you look in the frozen food supply at your asian market? Galangal , turmeric, lemongrass (often chopped), pandan (screwpine leaf) and grated coconut are frequently available and very convenient frozen.

                                                                              double black soy should be stocked in any decent chinese market - its not a rare ingredient.

                                                                              the online source indofood has all of this stuff, including candlenuts. By the time you factor in your time, driving around, etc. the shipping could be worth it to you.

                                                                              1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                I'm having problems finding double black soy as well, although my friend says you can get it in Chinatown and is going to pick some up for me.... I don't think the Hong Kong brand he mentions is available here.

                                                                          2. Lemongrass -- my first-ever lemongrass knot! So much fun making the knot and noticing how it subtly perfumes the curry I made!

                                                                             
                                                                            1. Got the book today, and found myself spending hours distilling the pantry ingredient list into something I could take to the store. Heck, I thought, why not share?

                                                                              I have mostly kept to things that I think of as pantry items. I didn't include fish or chicken for example. Where possible, I found pictures of his recommended brands, which always helps me at the Asian markets where language can be a problem. Point me to additional photos if you find something that I missed. I had no luck with the sweet soybean paste, for example.

                                                                              http://tiny.cc/Szdg1

                                                                              11 Replies
                                                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                                                Great spreadsheet. Here's a photo of his recommended brand of sweet bean paste:

                                                                                http://www.chow.com/photos/314984?tag...

                                                                                1. re: smtucker

                                                                                  That is fantastic, thank you! I did something similar, but much less organized. I made a list of recipes and page numbers I want to try, then, under each recipe a list of "hard to find/"not at my usual grocery store" ingredients. Then I went to the ingredient glossary and made notes on those ingredients, brand name, etc.

                                                                                  I'll bring that to the store with me. I'll also bring the book with me and leave it in my car. On occasion (for previous COTMs, anyway), I've had to run back to the car to consult my book.

                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                    Dairy Queen -- Yes. I had to run to the car and grab the book and bring it into the shop with me to show the shopkeepers the photographs of some ingredients. I did this at a Laotian market and a Cambodian market, and both times the shopkeepers themselves smiled a lot and seemed to take on the quest for ingredients with a great spirit of adventure.

                                                                                    1. re: foxy fairy

                                                                                      I've experienced the same. Photos help. For Dunlop month, showing them the Chinese characters helped.

                                                                                      Note to cookbook authors: how about a pull-out laminated sheet for hard to find ingredients that we can mark with a grease pencil for the items we need, then take to the store with us?

                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                        As a former publisher, I can tell you that not only would it be too expensive to produce, but people would remove it from the book in the stores and walk home with it without paying for the book.

                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                          HAHAHA! Sadly, I know you are 100% correct.

                                                                                          Still, a nice pull-out card would be helpful. The handbook to my camera came with a "punch out" wallet sized "short cuts" card. Really helpful. This would probably need to be bigger than that if it had pictures on it and you were actually going to show it to people.

                                                                                          Maybe not laminated so it would be less interesting to thieves?

                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                  2. re: smtucker

                                                                                    That is some truly fantastic work - thanks so much smtucker. Even though I've gone to the asian store once, I think I'll try again with your list/photos in tow.

                                                                                    1. re: smtucker

                                                                                      Thank you SMT! This really very helpful.

                                                                                      1. re: smtucker

                                                                                        WOW. I bow to you. I can't participate in May but I can't wait to read the reports when I come back from vacation. And, I'll probably play with May's COTM in June and July. thanks so much for the wicked cool spread sheet.

                                                                                        1. Search for sweet soybean paste.

                                                                                          Arggh! At my Asian store, the clerk gave me "ground bean sauce" by Lee Kum Kee.
                                                                                          Back home I see that it is specifically not Oseland's recommendation.

                                                                                          Is this it? http://indomart.us/catalog/popup_imag...

                                                                                          I'm reluctant to order from indomart 'cause they don't have a secure connection.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                                            That does appear to be one of the recommended brands. I have updated my shopping list to include this picture. [Annoying web site. Didn't want to let me search without creating a login.]

                                                                                            1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                                              call em up - they called me about my credit card number - very nice.

                                                                                            2. Heads up NYC residents.

                                                                                              Just back from Asia market @ 71 Mulberry between Canal and Bayard and they had nearly everything I was looking for.

                                                                                              What I bought:
                                                                                              · Bango brand kecap manis
                                                                                              · Koon Chun brand double black soy sauce
                                                                                              · Mae Ploy brand coconut milk
                                                                                              · Belacan (hard shrimp paste)
                                                                                              · Daun Salam (Indian bay leaves)

                                                                                              What I couldn’t find:
                                                                                              · Fresh curry leaves (they said they were out of them)
                                                                                              · Either of the brands of jasmine rice he recommends
                                                                                              · The brand of shrimp chips he recommends

                                                                                              They also had (but I had already purchased):
                                                                                              · Candlenuts
                                                                                              · Frozen daun pandan
                                                                                              · Frozen galangal
                                                                                              · Frozen turmeric
                                                                                              · Frozen banana leaves
                                                                                              · A couple of different kinds of palm sugar

                                                                                              And here are a couple of photos to add to smtucker’s great spreadsheet.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                Just got back from there, found everything I needed and had a great time checking out all the neat stuff they had. Wish I'd seen this post before I wasted my time at Hong Kong Supermarket.
                                                                                                Another great shop is Udom's Indonesian & Thai grocery on Bayard btw Mott and Mulberry. They were out of candlenuts, but I got super-cheap sambal and daun salam. Run by a really sweet old guy who was really helpful despite his limited English (and my non-existant Bahasa Indonesia).

                                                                                              2. So in the name of research I just booked a table at a Malaysian restaurant in London that comes highly recommended by another hound, limster, who's from Singapore. I asked the lady who answers the phone where they got daun salam from - she says they don't use it! And they import their own double black soy sauce - hard to get in London apparently... I may be about to give up on this ingredient!

                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                  You've just nudged something in my (apparently addled) brain. One of our favorite restaurants around here is Malaysian. Maybe I need to ask theym about the daun salam! And the galangal. We're in there fairly often, and I bet if they have some on hand they might even be willing to share. Unfortunately my car broke down today, so i can't whisk Lulu off for dinner there tonight (wish it was walking distance).

                                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                    (1) Are you familiar with this shop which Timeout recommends?
                                                                                                    See Woo Hong
                                                                                                    See Woo has a great selection of fresh vegetables and fishballs. It also stocks plenty of ingredients imported from Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. The same owners run See Café in Paddington Basin, a contemporary café and deli that serves a good variety of MSG-free food.
                                                                                                    See Woo Hong, 18-20 Lisle St, WC2H 7BE (020 7439 8325/www.seewoo.com) Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus tube. Open daily 10am-8pm.
                                                                                                    See Café, 4D Praed St, W2 1XJ (020 7724 7358) Paddington tube/rail. Open Mon 11am-6pm, Tues-Sat 11am-10pm.
                                                                                                    (2) I went through my books about the soy sauce again. HOnestly, I think the specific dark thai sauce you linked would be fine. Chris Yeo recommends it for use in his Singapore cooking - says it would be to Singapore taste. David thompson says that Thais use light and dark soys (the latter in braises, etc) and that he likes to use indonesian ketjap manis for this. So I really wouldnt sweat this issue - if you use the thai you will have something regionally appropriate.
                                                                                                    (3) Here is a link to a thread on a website for overseas singaporeans, with a bunch of UK websites and store suggestions http://www.overseassingaporean.sg/for...

                                                                                                    1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                                      I went there on Sunday! It's in Chinatown, but actually I found another shop which had a better selection of Indonesian ingredients. I have also e-mailed Sri Owen to see what she says. I do love me a challenge - and my journo instincts are kicking in on this one!

                                                                                                  2. Anyone else having a hard time finding red chiles? I've searched everywhere, and found none. I've bought a supply of serranos. He says the chiles *must* be red, but I'm just not finding anything, which I think is weird. I'm willing to take the chance with the serranos, rather than just not trying at all.

                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                      I've found long red Holland chilies in Korean markets in the past.

                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                        Lots of shops in my area sell cayenne chillies, which are pretty similar to the red Holland chillies.

                                                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                          Seems like the weirdest thing in the world to me that there isn't a single red chile available in this whole town.

                                                                                                      2. More success! Went back to the asian store and sure enough (in a freezer case marked: Not For Sale) there was some frozen galangal. They also had the double soy sauce. Got my lemongrass, and fresh tumeric and macadamia nuts too at WFs (who were out of basil of any sort, but that should be easily remedied).

                                                                                                        1. Well.... I received The Book yesterday afternoon thanks to my COTM Guardian Angel and I have a couple of questions, not about ingredients, though, because as I am reading the pantry list and the description/substitutions I'm not anticipating much problematic shopping.
                                                                                                          But - is anyone thinking of using a Hibachi for the satays, for example? Also, I have a large capacity food processor and a mortar & pestle, but Mr. Oseland mentions using a mini chopper.... does anyone think that would be useful for me??
                                                                                                          Thanks!

                                                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                            I made my first flavoring paste today, and I think it would be a *lot* of work to do it with a mortar & pestle, but if you're used to using that, maybe you've got arms of steel and it wouldnt' be a big deal to you. My best guess is that it would be fine to do it in the regular size processor. But ... if you're looking for an excuse to buy a mini-prep, I'm happy to be your enabler. I use mine a lot.

                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                              Thank you LLM!! I think I won't be using the M & P, but if you think the bigger FP would be OK to use, I realy don't need to buy another appliance. .

                                                                                                              But the Hibachi is intriguing me, if not beckoning. We have an indoor grill pan and an outdoor Weber that we use wood chips with... can't stand charcoal & lighter fluid.

                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                We bought a hibachi one summer while staying at a lake house up north, and then promptly put it in the basement. It can't compete with the charbroil in my griller's eyes. But you are right. This might be the perfect tool for small grill sessions so I don't waste as much fuel. Hibachis are really cheap this time of year.

                                                                                                                As to satay's, he indicates that you do better with a broiler than a grill pan. Can't find the page right off, but he feels that grill pans sautee and steam too much, and don't grill as well.

                                                                                                                I have two chicken thighs thawing now, and will be trying the broiler method tonight since Mr. Grill is away.

                                                                                                                1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                  Thanks for that SMT! I read that about the broiler too, but I cannot use my broiler for some reason. It has some sort of delay ignition and I just have not been able to figure it out... or perhaps I just didn't spend the time to learn how...

                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                    Found two...

                                                                                                                    Ace hardware $10.49
                                                                                                                    http://www.acehardware.com/product/in...

                                                                                                                    Tags Hardware online store which is really cooking.com. A true beauty at $30.
                                                                                                                    http://www.cooking.com/products/shpro...

                                                                                                              2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                I have a big brass mortar and pestle which is pretty good for making this type of paste - there is some thinking that the grinding and pounding in the m&P brings out more flavor than the food processor's cutting action. But if the ingredients include hard stringly stuff like lemon grass, it will be likely to go into the FP.

                                                                                                                Re the miniprep, I think the main issue is the quantity of the stuff you are grinding - if its a small amount the large food processor or blender bowls can be ineffective and you wind up adding larger quantities of water. In those cases, a mortar and pestle definitely can have an advantage.

                                                                                                                1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                                                  I have made a bunch of recipes from Cradle of Flavor and I have only used my mortar and pestle, not any type of food processor. I agree with jen kalb that this brings out more flavor. If I were grinding lemon grass, I would cut it into small pieces first. I actually find the pounding kind of therapeutic, though it usually takes more time than I imagine it will.

                                                                                                              3. re: Gio

                                                                                                                The Cuisinart mini-prep plus is great for blending the spice pastes. The quantity is too small for my full-size Cuisinart. You're blending a lot of ingredients and I think the full-size won't blend. And you want to make sure you get those candlenuts (or sub) mixed in.

                                                                                                                I've used mine a lot since I started cooking Indonesian and Thai and make those pastes.
                                                                                                                They're not that expensive -- just a bit more than the cost of all the ingredients, so I say: go for it!

                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                  I've had mine 20 years and use it all the time. Black and Decker - one and half cups. Small footprint.

                                                                                                                  Their newer model:

                                                                                                                  http://www.njspecialties.com/bldehcha...

                                                                                                                2. I have found just about everything. Between the Super88, and online order at veryAsia.com and the Fresh Pond WF, I have accumulated an entire pantry worth of goods. But, why can't I find fresh tumeric? or even frozen tumeric? Is it worth traveling to an Indian store for this?

                                                                                                                  As a side note, I do wish some of these ingredients came in smaller containers. I have a lifetime supply of palm sugar and soy sauces and no room to build an addition.

                                                                                                                  25 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                    Bizarrely, turmeric root is one of the things I have no problem finding--at least two of our local co-op groceries stock it. It's inexplicable to me.

                                                                                                                    I have a "Dunlop" box of ingredients I keep in our basement fridge (I am fortunate enough to have one!). It's expanded to include some ingredients from Vietnamese month, and, I suspect, will expand to include CofF stuff. The only solution is to keep cooking until you've used it all up. And I'm actually only half joking.

                                                                                                                    I decide which ingredients to buy based on which recipes I want to try. But, once I've tried those I typically end up flipping through the book looking for ways to use up those ingredients. Of course, it can be a bit circular because sometimes those other recipes call for other ingredients...

                                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                      I know! I didn't even put tumeric on the pantry list since I thought it would be amongst the easiest things to find. [And you don't want to know how much stuff is in my basement!]

                                                                                                                      1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                        Do you have a Whole Foods near you? They got the fresh tumeric for me (although I did have to special order). At least he allows you the option of using dried, so it isn't *too* big a deal, I'm thinking.

                                                                                                                        And yes, us (we?) COTMers probably have the most interesting pantries in the country, given how many different cuisines/cookbooks we've done. Does one american woman really need this many oils, vinegars, sauces? (small but defiant - yes!)

                                                                                                                      2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                        DQ -- thanks for your response on the other thread (which we can mention no more, pls) -- and thank you, and please do participate!

                                                                                                                        1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                                                                          You are welcome and thank you for your warm reply.

                                                                                                                          What shall we cook from CofF first? I'm thinking that black pepper crab on page 264 looks like it would be, well, easy to ease into.

                                                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                            Why I never even looked at the crab recipe. . . and the paste is simple and easy for a starter recipe! (even if I have to use powdered turmeric) Good idea!

                                                                                                                            We didn't think to add Tiger beer to the ingredient search!

                                                                                                                            1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                                                                              HA! Excellent point. My husband is in charge of beer--I shall have him put it on his list!

                                                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                                                              1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                                                                                So beer is the usual beverage of choice to pair with Indonesian food??
                                                                                                                                How about a nice cold Gewürztraminer?

                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                  Well, I'd be delighted with a nice cold Gewürztraminer, but Oseland specifically recommends ice-cold Tiger Beer or sweetened iced tea with plenty of lemon as an accompanyment to the Black Pepper Crab. :).

                                                                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                    P.S. Gio, maybe you can recommend to us a sweet tea recipe out of Bon Appetit Y'all?!

                                                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                      I completely missed the statement about sweet tea in Mr. Oseland's notes, but then I'm only on the Gs in the pantry listing..... LOL I'm taking copious notes so I don't have to take the book with me to the market. Guess we'll have to get us some Tiger beer on Saturday when we go to the Asian market. Luckily, the package store is on the route!

                                                                                                                                      And, you know.... I can't even remember if there Is a sweet tea recipe in BAYA... I'll look when I go downstairs in an hour or so. (I only go downstairs once a day if I can help it...too painful.)

                                                                                                                                  2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                    We had a reisling with our dinner from CoF last night and that worked well. I'd be happy to do beer too, but I have to say, I'm not a huge fan of Tiger Beer.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                      Im not a beer drinker. I suspect any lager could be subbed for Tiger Beer - that sounds like nostalgia speeking in Oseland.
                                                                                                                                      Not much wine in SEA but no reason not to drink gewurz or similar if it works for you and the particular dish. My experience with thai is that sometimes sweet wines are excellent and sometimes they clash with more pungent dishes (maybe those with a lot of belacan, Ive not analyzed it. Red wines work with some of the dishes like Rendang. Im sort of suspecting that the black pepper crab would wipe out any subtleties of the wine, would be interested to hear.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                                                                        Yes, I'd happy (and without any guilt) sub any other lager. I'd be really interested to hear what kinds of red wine people pick - I've never had great luck with red wine and asian food, and would love to figure out what works well.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                          When I was in Indonesia, I couldn't get enough of the lemongrass tea. I think the "warm spiced limade" recipe on page 355 might do the trick for me. If it's good, I'm going to drink that all month. :) Also, I might check my book "Fragrant Rice by Janet DeNeefe" (which is part recipe book part memoir about how she, an Australian, came to fall in love with and marry a Balinese man, then open a restaurant in Bali) for lemongrass tea recipes.

                                                                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                  Crab legs are on sale at a local grocery store, so I'm making that black pepper crab too this weekend. Hopefully getting to the Asian market tonight to stock the pantry.

                                                                                                                                  I started reading the book last night. It's nice that the author actually recommends Chowhound as a good source to ask about local Asian purveyors.

                                                                                                                            2. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                              Fresh tumeric is LOVELY, and worth hunting down. I mean that in general -- I haven't cooked anything from this book yet. (My food coop carries it too. I wonder if health food stores carry it as much or more than ethnic groceries)

                                                                                                                              1. re: pitu

                                                                                                                                Found some! Small Indian Grocery store in Woburn, MA. They had only three small ziplock bags, and I bought one of them. The store owners stated that they only carry a little because it isn't a popular item.

                                                                                                                                They had a large sign for curry leaves, but the box was empty. When asked, I was told that curry leaves can no longer be imported. I googled upon my return and it is true! http://www.aphis.usda.gov/publication...

                                                                                                                                Found 400grams of the tamarind paste for $1.50, and some nice black mustard seeds. They had Indian Bay leaves, but they looked nothing like the pictures. They were perhaps an inch wide and 4-5 inches long. Since I have some arriving via mail order, I didn't purchase any.

                                                                                                                                And I think LulusMom has the right idea. I should put all the ingredients I have collected and will use for this book in one storage box to make it easy to dive in.

                                                                                                                                1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                  Good info on the curry leaves. The same type ban was imposed on Szechuan peppercorns several years back, then later relaxed.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                    You do not want dry curry leaves except as a last resort. American-grown fresh curry leaves are avaialble and If you go to an indian grocery you will find then- I was just in a Subzi mandi in NJ today and they had a whole bin of branches, and bagged up some for me. I think they must grown them in local greenhouses as well as shipping them in. The dont keep long in frig, but will freeze just fine (not as pretty but perfectly good in your cooking)

                                                                                                                                    1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                                                                      I bought some in an grocers in an Indian-dominated area of London and they were only 25pence a bag and beautifully aromatic - such a bargain I bought two and put one in the freezer, along with my galangal, fresh turmeric and fresh pandan leaves.

                                                                                                                                      Off to meet my Singaporean friend for lunch. She has promised me daun salam, although she says they're old and dried up! We're going to be near Chinatown so I will have another look for double black soy sauce - she says they have it but only in industrial sized bottles, and that superior dark soy can be substituted.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                        Oseland says NOT to buy white or yellow mustard seeds, but he doesn't say anything about brown. I went looking for black mustard seeds at the South Asian market. The Indonesian store had none, but the East Indian store had brown mustard seeds. I was assured by the owner that they are the same as black ones. Does anyone know if this is true?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: tartetatin

                                                                                                                                          page 47.... "on rare occasions, mustard seeds that are slightly more brown than black are available... Their taste is almost identical to black mustard seeds."

                                                                                                                                          I think you will have no problems!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                            Thanks smt. I went to the market during my lunch hour and don't have my book with me today. Sounds like I will be fine!!

                                                                                                                                        2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                          Well it turns out that my friend had dried curry leaves and not daun salam. I think she was a bit embarrassed that she doesn't really know what daun salam is! I did find candlenuts this time in Chinatown, and something called double deluxe soy sauce (Lee Kum Kee brand - a premium sauce that's twice the price of regular soy sauce!).

                                                                                                                                          I also bought bean sprouts and fresh ho fun rice noodles to make my first COTM dish of Char Kuey Teow. I have to say it was not entirely successful - more on the relevant thread.

                                                                                                                                2. Hey FF -- where are our boards to post? It's May, and I have a pot o' beef on the stove I would love to rant about as I fret. And previous picks and pans to post. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                                                                                    Sorry to hear about the beef stew, NY chowcook. I made the Javanese chicken curry last week, and it was delightful (although I did add pineapple and some pineapple juice).

                                                                                                                                    Anyway, the individual chapter threads are up, and I'm just working on the main thread right now. So you can go ahead and post away about your stew on the Foods of Celebration thread, here:

                                                                                                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/616573

                                                                                                                                  2. warning: steer clear of the malaacan beef stew.
                                                                                                                                    Vial, terrible. So disappointing. If you're cooking beef, head to the rendang.

                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                                                                                      Oh no! How disappointing!

                                                                                                                                      I'm so sorry!

                                                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                      1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                                                                                        I've made that beef stew and liked it alot.
                                                                                                                                        Just saying YMMV.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: mirage

                                                                                                                                          YMMV??
                                                                                                                                          Of course it wasn't "vial", and after a day not at all vile (too many for the cook!)

                                                                                                                                          1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                                                                                            YMMV=your mileage may vary.

                                                                                                                                            Isn't it funny how certain dishes need a day of rest? Maybe this is one of those dishes. Still, it sounds like you didn't love it, and that's okay, too.

                                                                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                      2. Happy May Day! Our official thread for CRADLE OF FLAVOR is up, here:

                                                                                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/616583

                                                                                                                                        The link above will feature general discussion of the book, as well as dialogue regarding Oseland's introduction and his Cuisines and Geography chapter. It also includes links to all threads for comments and discussion on individual recipes, plus a thread for Ingredients, Techniques, & Equipment (chapters 3 and 4). So I encourage all of us to use these newly initiated "official" Cookbook of the Month threads as we embark on our month exploring Oseland's fantastic book.

                                                                                                                                        Thanks so much! Have fun!

                                                                                                                                        *foxy*

                                                                                                                                        1. This is why I love Chowhound! Thanks to the kindness of comparative strangers, I now have daun salam! It arrived from the States in three days flat, which is impressive (and didn't get stopped by customs, even though it said "dried herb" on the declaration lol). Thanks JoanN - you're a star.

                                                                                                                                          1. I was bummed when Cradle of Flavor was chosen because I knew I'd be out of town and unable to participate for the first half of the month. But what the heck, I'll try to play catch up now. And it's great to be able to read about everyone else's experiences first!

                                                                                                                                            Just in case there's anyone in the south SF Bay area reading this in the future, I'll note that I went to Lion Foods on Saratoga today and managed to find EVERYTHING on my list (including dried daun salam, fresh turmeric, and frozen pandan!) except the curry leaves, which I'm pretty sure I can get at one of the Indian shops if I really need them (not sure I'm going to be making any of those recipes). I could have saved myself some browsing time (not that I really minded the browsing) if I had checked the overhead signs and headed straight for the section labeled "Indonesian". Doh. I didn't always find the recommended varieties, but I think I did okay.

                                                                                                                                            Now I have to impatiently wait until Wednesday before I get to use any of these ingredients. I can hardly wait.

                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                                                                              Wow, Karen. Can't believe that you were able to grab everything in one place! I have actually enjoyed scouting for these ingredients, discovering two new small Asian markets near my home. I really like the Laotian market and they were urging me to cook Laotian food and travel to Laos. I told them I'd been there and excitement bubbled in the store... :)

                                                                                                                                              1. re: foxy fairy

                                                                                                                                                Heh, I wouldn't have minded doing more scouting around, but I'm not going to complain. The great thing is that this is a market that is not too far from me but that I thought of as being smaller than a couple larger ones that are farther away. I expected to be going on to the others, but as it turned out, I didn't need to. So now I realize that this one is both larger and better appointed than I thought, so I'll be visiting it more often. Win-win.

                                                                                                                                                A Laotian market? Cool! Have you read any of the Colin Cotterill mysteries set in Laos? Great writing, very much a sense of place.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                                                                                For future reference: I saw a fresh Vietnamese herb labeled "La dua" and wondered if it was pandan. Indeed, according to Gernot Katzer's Spice pages (http://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/engl/i...), it is. Although I found a discussion elsewhere on line where some folks said they thought the frozen ones from Thailand have more flavor than the fresh ones which usually come from Hawaii. But I may buy some anyhow next time I'm at the market and compare myself.

                                                                                                                                                I'll note that I also found fresh "la trau" = betel leaf and "rau la lot" = pepper leaf. Not relevant to Indonesian cooking, but possibly useful info for the future.