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*May 2009* COTM Cradle of Flavor: Vegetables

**May 2009 Cookbook of the Month is Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore by James Oseland.

Please post your full-length reviews of recipes here for vegetable dishes from Chapter 9, page 200 - 231. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing and the page number, if possible, as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

Thanks for participating!

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  1. Stir-Fried Asaian Greens with Garlic and Chiles
    pg 205-207

    My first foray into Cradle was a simple dinner for one. The menu included Chicken Satay with peanut dipping sauce, stir-fry vegetables and steamed rice. I had planned to make the Javanese pickles as well, but misread the recipe and didn't start this early enough in the day.

    This dish was so simple and familiar that a recipe wasn't really required. I used baby bok choy as the green. Since I was cutting the recipe down for one serving, I used a 6" fry-pan instead of a wok. I was conservative with the chiles, and in the future I will be more generous. I don't think the Holland chiles that I purchased have enough flavor to be one of only 5 ingredients.

    Easy and quick recipe that I expect I will be using with different greens all month.

    10 Replies
    1. re: smtucker

      You were certainly ambitious with this meal, SMT! I read each of your reports with great interest since the stir-fried greens and the rice are on my list to try.

      Since today is Kentuky Derby day I thought I'd give a shot to a couple of BAY'A recipes but tomorrow I have Kevin's Chicken, coconut infused rice and a green beans dish on the menu. Your description of final results will help me decide how to proceed and how many chilies I might want to use.

      1. re: Gio

        Gio, I've got that green beans dish on my list, too, along with the stir-fried greens smtucker tried. I can't wait to read about how it goes!


      2. re: smtucker

        I also made the Stir-Fried Asian Greens with garlic and chiles, and also used baby bok choy! Agree with smtucker that it was so simple that after this a recipe won't really be needed. I'm *still* unable to fine Holland (or any red!) peppers, so I used serrano. I probably would use more next time, and maybe more garlic too. A very pleasant side dish; not killer, but nice and easy.

        1. re: LulusMom

          Nice photo. I need to find a safe spot in the kitchen for my camera. I am afraid that my dishes won't photograph well. Ah, I dream of new china some day!

          1. re: smtucker

            Thanks smtucker! To be honest, I usually feel like my photos are a bit of a catastrophe. We've got concrete counter tops and they reflect SO much light.
            PS - that "china" is from Target ...

            1. re: LulusMom

              Target or not.... it is white and modern looking. My dishes look very 1981.... when they were purchased. But darn, they are still going strong, and food seems to taste just fine on them, so hard to justify buying new just 'cause I want them. Darn Yankee frugality.

              1. re: smtucker

                If the food tastes good, that is all that *really* matters.

          2. re: LulusMom

            My turn for the Stir-Fried Asian Greens -

            Instead of Bok Choy, which I love, I used Shang Hai Choy which has a slightly peppery flavor - to my palate anyway. Instead of the Holland peppers I used 3 fresh Thai chilies which I had in the fridge and 4 cloves of garlic. When we went to the markets on Saturday the green beans looked pitiful so did an abrupt turn to the Choy. I'm glad I did because it was a fine accompaniment to the Spicy chicken I made for the main dish.

            1. re: Gio

              I made the Stir-Fried Greens too but mine were non-Asian greens! I needed to use up some spring greens from my veg box and they worked fine. I love any kind of greens and this was an easy and tasty side dish which I will definitely make again.

          3. re: smtucker

            Stir-Fried Asian Greens with Garlic and Chiles, p. 205

            I used kai/gai lan (Chinese broccoli). Since I didn't use baby kai lan as the recipe suggests, I first cut up (and split the thicker ones) and blanched the stems, then followed the recipe. I especially liked it drizzled with the spicy Soy, Chile and Lime Dipping Sauce (p. 126). This made a nice meal served with Javanese Grilled chicken and Javanese Fried Rice.

          4. Stir-Fried Bean Sprouts with Chinese Chives (tauge goreng - Indonesia, Java), p. 208

            I made a few changes - I love Chinese chives so I halved the bean sprouts to a 1/2 pound and increased the chives to a 1/2 pound. I didn't have shallots, so doubled the garlic. Also, I hadn't made any of the sambals or dipping sauces for condiments yet, so used red Thai red chiles for plenty of heat.

            Garlic, shallots, and red chili are stir-fried in a wok over MEDIUM heat (at first I had it on high a la Dunlop so burned the garlic a bit), add the bean sprouts and soy sauce, and then chives and s&p. A nice, fresh, tasty vegetable dish to go with the pan-seared kingfish and steamed jasmine rice I made for dinner tonight.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Rubee

              I'm so glad to read your report of the bean sprout dish, Rubee, and to see yor pictures... I have it down on my list to make in the next day or two. I still don't know which main I'm making but t'll probably figure it out when I get to the market. Several fishes are on sale and I have to see which recipe would be the best. I think from what I've read and seen photos of that I do have mung beans instead of soy. I hope so anyway!

              1. re: Rubee

                Rubee, I thought the soy sauce ruined this dish - it tasted like my Dad's chow mein! what soy did you use?

                I would try it with fish sauce or fried dried fish next time - ive had wonderful SEA sauteed bean sprout dishes before, and this did not match up.

                1. re: jen kalb

                  mmmm..love fish sauce, good idea.

                  Though I liked it with the soy sauce too. I used Pearl River Bridge Superior Dark, one of my favorites. I also doubled the chives and halved the bean sprouts. Just bought some more Chinese chives and beans sprouts, so will be making this again this week (if so, I'll try it with fish sauce) or use them in another batch of stir-fried noodles.

                2. re: Rubee

                  Made this again for a vegetable dish for lunches this week. This time I used the full amount of bean sprouts (1 lb of regular bean sprouts) with the extra chives, two red jalapenos, and doubled the shallots and garlic.

                  (JenKalb - I mentioned above that I used the PRB Superior Dark soy the first time, but now realize it was the Light. I used Dark this time, and prefered the Pearl River Bridge Superior Light soy sauce with this stir-fry).

                  Leftovers made a nice lunch yesterday with Dunlop's ma po tofu -

                3. Sauteed Cabbage with Ginger and Indian Yellow Lentils (Muttakos Poriyal)
                  Page 209

                  this is essentially a tamil nadu dish that the tamils cook in singapore (it does have an unfamiliar twist (the ginger) as well as fried onions, which some hindus would not eat in this dish. I love all of the indian cabbage sautees and make them frequently, and this is a very tasty one.

                  Need to do prep - cutting up the cabbage, onions, shredding the ginger, preparing the coconut (I used frozen grated coconut, which needed to be chopped off the frozen block and sliced into small pieces to thaw - ahead of heating the pan. Also (not mentioned) I recommend washing and soaking the toovar dal a bit, then letting it dry before the frying step begins. It can be a little hard if you dont do this.

                  You heat the oil (I used so Indian sesame, rather than the specified peanut) in the pan, throw in the black mustard seeds - when they start to pop, add in order the toovar dal (yellow lentils) a small amount of cumin, two dried chiles, and a dozen or so curry leaves - when the dal starts to turn golden add the chopped onion, cook til that is soft but not golden, then add a tsp of turmeric, mix, then add the cabbage, shredded ginger and some salt. stir and fry until the dish is thoroughly mixed and the cabbage is coated with the spice mixture, then cover and simmer until the cabbage is cooked but still crunchy, add the grated coconut, mix throughly and take off the fire.

                  this dish is good hot, warm or even cold. Its just a delicious thing to eat with rice and a raita, say, as a simple meal. or as a sidedish.

                  Easy and recommended - was fine with my indonesian main dish..

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: jen kalb

                    Thanks for the recommendation of soaking the toovar dal. I used that dal once in a similar dish and remember the dal being very hard.

                    My Keralite friend use to make a similar dish, and instead of toovar dal she use to use chana (not the dal, but precooked one. Sold in Indian stores ofcourse). Also her cabbage use to be shredded and not cut up. I use to love it and ask her to make it for me all the time.

                    1. re: cpw

                      These dishes are SO easy to make, the Cradle version is one of the most complicated I have seen. Is your friend using roasted chana dal? the south indians use several kinds of dal as part of the seasoning in this type of dish- it does impart a nice roasty flavor.

                      I usually shred my cabbage for these dishes - 1/4 in or 1/2 in dice gets you to the same place really - I dont think the exact size matters very much.It takes about the same amount of time to cut up the cabbage either way.

                      1. re: jen kalb

                        Yes that's what it is, roasted chana dal. It is delicious to eat as is too.

                        You are right, size does not matter, it's just the memory of eating something a certain way.

                        I have been trying to think up the name of the dish in Malyalam since I read your post, and just now it came to me. It is called "torren". She use to make cabbage torren and grean beans torren, where french beans are cut up very small. Cabbage one was my favourite.

                        1. re: cpw

                          Yes! a thoran is very similar to a poriyal (I guess that is the tamil name for the dish) In her book Grains, Greens and Grated Coconumt Amini Ramachandran gives a version of this dish with shredded cabbage, green chiles, turmeric, mustard seeds, a tsp each of urad and chana dal, a dried red chile, turmeric, curry leaves and coconut.

                          The washed, shredded cabbage is mixed with thinly sliced green chiles, turmeric and salt. Then the mustard seeds are sputtered, the dal, red chile and curry leaves are added and fried until the dal is golden. the cabbage mixture is added, stirred and the heat is reduced to low and the pot covered. When done, the shredded fresh coconut is added.

                    2. re: jen kalb

                      Sauteéd Cabbage with Ginger and Crispy Indian Yellow Lentils, page 209

                      Don't know why I am so late to the party, but we loved this dish. I was searching for something to make as another element after a specific request for the Javanese Pickles. Served with grilled tuna, the pickles, and some rice.

                      Enjoyed reading this thread years later, and to learn how other regions prepare this dish. Gives me some freedom to consider variations.

                    3. Asiah's Eggplant Curry, Kari Terung, Pg., 229

                      Cook's Confession: Did not use the tamarind pulp. I did use a squeeze of fresh lime juice, as I had read that's a substitute. So I guess it's not technically Asiah's version.....however all other ingredients were used as directed.

                      We liked this dish, the flavor was subtle but noticeable. As Mr. Oseland mentions, the sauce is delicate. I thought flowery with a tantalizingly sweet aroma.

                      Four pale lavender Japanese eggplants are halved lengthwise and cut across into 3" segments. These are then massaged with ground turmeric. (Loved my yellow hands!) The pieces are fried in peanut oil till just golden but not cooked through. They are removed form the pan and drained on paper towels. 2 cloves of garlic and 3 shallots are thinly sliced and fried in 2T of the pan oil till just translucent. Add 4 fresh green Thai chilies sliced lengthwise (I used long thin green chilies from the Asian market but I have no idea if they were Thai or not), ground coriander, chile powder (I used cayenne), cumin seeds, fennel seeds, a cinnamon stick. Sauté gently for about 3 minutes. 3/4 cup of unsweetned coconut milk is added, brought to a gentle simmer then ( the tamarind), 1 t sugar and 1/2 t Kosher salt. All is simmered for about 15 minutes.

                      When the eggplant is added it is gently simmered till fork tender - but not "falling apart." Taste for salt and add if necessary then transfer to a bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes. I loved this even though it was missing the tamarind. Mr. Oseland suggests the Pineapple pickle as a side and I had bought one for just that purpose, but time ran out so it will have to wait a few days. The curry was served with Pan-Fried Mackerel and steamed rice. A wonderful Wednesday night meal!!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Gio

                        Asiah's Eggplant Curry (kari terung), p. 229

                        I really liked this too! One of my favorite recipes from the book with such wonderful flavor. I cut up two large Asian eggplants in chunks, rubbed with turmeric, fried in the oil I had left from the fried plantains last night, then simmered in the sauce. The seasonings in the curry are garlic, shallots, green Thai chilis (I used 5), ground coriander, chile powder (I used freshly ground arbol), cumin seeds, fennel seeds, a cinnamon stick, coconut milk, sugar and salt.

                        I garnished with fresh cilantro and served it with jasmine rice steamed with pandan leaves, and Javanese Sambal. The eggplant curry was delicious, especially with the sambal.

                      2. Braised cabbage with dried shrimp – Pow Choy Ha Mai (p. 212)

                        or, plain ol’ green cabbage steps into the saute pan and shows its glory!

                        This is super easy, and very tasty in a low-key way. You soak some dried shrimp in warm water for 10 mins and drain, reserving water for braising cabbage later. (I subbed bonita flakes since I neglected to purchase dried shrimp)

                        You peel off whole leaves of cabbage (I cut in half for ease, cutting out core), then rinse and cut into 1-1/2 inch squares, more or less. Saute some roughly chopped garlic in peanut oil, add cabbage, bit of sugar & salt, reserved softened shrimp, a few tablespoons of the reserved soaking water, and saute, then cover and braise for 5-7 minutes.

                        I used plain ol’ green cabbage per instructions. Though I usually saute/braise savoy cabbage, the plain ol’ cabbage worked very well with this technique and didn’t get the mushy texture or overboiled smell as in corn beef and cabbage.
                        Other option is savoy – napa is not recommended ‘cause it’s too watery – and the idea of this dish is the cabbage maintains some integrity and doesn’t turn to mush. It’s a nice complement to a spicy hot dish since it doesn’t compete.

                        I served w/ fish (pollock) that I simmered in reserved coconut chicken simmering sauce, brown Thai rice, and sweet soy dipping sauce.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: NYchowcook

                          Thanks for the report! This is one of the vegetable dishes I had on my list to try, glad you liked it!

                          1. re: Rubee

                            One of the first malaysian dishes I ever had and loved (in London) was a stir fried shredded green cabbage dish with tiny whole fish, chiles, garlic . Similar dishes are made with bean sprouts - in both cases the veg stays crisp. Ive never been able to reproduce these accurately at home - a hot wok seems critical to the best flavor.

                            1. re: jen kalb

                              That sounds delicious!

                              I have to admit that my only foray into Malaysian cuisine has been at Boston's Penang (link to GalleyGirl's entertaining write-up of our first CH dinner there below). I'll have to do some research and see if Phoenix has any good Indonesian or Malaysian restaurants.....hmmmm.

                              The Chowhounds that ate Penang!

                        2. Asiah's Eggplant Curry
                          page 229-231

                          served with Nyonya-Style Spiced Fried Chicken, Nyonya Dipping Sauce, Sweet-Sour Cucumber and carrot Pickle with Turmeric and Steamed Rice

                          Since I was putting frying oil into a pan, this seemed like the perfect night to try this eggplant dish.

                          This dish starts with a 1 minute deep fry, flesh side down, and then the eggplant sits on a paper-lined tray. After slicing the garlic and garlic lengthwise, they are sauteed lightly before adding a cupboard of spices. When it smells like heaven, stir in the coconut milk and water. The sauce then simmers for 15 minutes. Add the eggplant back in and simmer for two minutes.

                          I really loved this dish. I don't really know how to describe the flavors since it is so different from anything I have had in the past. Perhaps the word round works. The flavors were full and round, but it is extremely rich. I was glad to have the simple rice to cut through the richness. We have a lot left over so I hope it doesn't mind being reheated.

                          This is the first time I have cooked with the Mae Ploy brand of coconut milk, and I like it much better than the Thai kitchen brand I have used in the past.

                          1. Green Beans with Coconut Milk (sambal goreng buncis, pg 216)

                            Overall good, didn't bowl me over. The beans themselves didn't have a lot of flavor, but when I slurped up the rest of the coconut broth left in by bowl it was pretty tasty on its own. I liked it better once I'd added a touch of sambal terasi chili paste. I did think it picked up more flavor sitting in the fridge overnight; looking forward to those leftovers. The photo is leftovers in the pot; the brown bits are daun salam leaves sticking out.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: Emmmily

                              Green Beans with Coconut Milk (Sambal Boreng Bunis), Pg. 216

                              Loved this!! The sauce was piquant and flavorful. It's interesting that there are so many different ingredients in these dishes yet each flavor is distinguishable.... Did someone say, "an explosion of flavor in your mouth?"
                              Pretty much followed the recipe as written with the exception of omitting the galangal and daun salam which I have not been able to buy yet. They are listed as optional, however, so I don't really feel as if we missed anything since the dish was very tasty..

                              After heating peanut oil in a saucepan sliced shallots, garlic and chiles (I used Serrano) are sauteed for about 7 minutes. A pound of green beans are destemmed then sliced into 1" pieces, and 1 cored and seeded ripe tomato is cut into 10 wedges and added to the pan. Sautee all this for a few minutes then add unsweetened coconut milk, water, palm sugar, salt and stir to combine everything. Heat is turned to med. low and simmered until the beans are "deep green" - about 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly then serve. I used this as a side dish so reduced the amounts of coconut milk and water as recommended. Delicious.

                              Served this with a roasted packet of pollock with zucchini and tomates from the Fish book and fingerling potato salad from BAY'A.

                              1. re: Emmmily

                                Green Beans with Coconut Milk (Sambal Boreng Bunis), Pg. 216

                                I made this tonight as a vegetarian main, except I subbed amaranth greens for the green beans & tomato (because my garden was full of volunteer amaranth and the beans aren't ready yet). It turned out great. I suspect almost any vegetable that is simmerable would do in this recipe. I sauteed the aromatics as instructed, then added the amaranth and sauteed until it had reduced down and let off some of its water, then added the coconut milk & water, and simmered covered for 20-30 min. The texture was similar to some Indian saag (spinach) curries where the leaves get that silky texture.

                                I served it with Trader Joe's Harvest Blend grain mix, which turned out to be a great choice because it has some yellow dal in it that provided a nice, nutty texture contrast. I also made a cabbage & red bell pepper slaw with lime juice, palm sugar, fish sauce, and green chiles. No recipe, just riffing.

                                1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                  Mmm, that sounds great. I have some spinach in the fridge I was going to saute up Indian-style, but I might just have to try it in this recipe instead.

                                2. re: Emmmily

                                  I made the green beans w/ coconut milk as a side to Kevin's roast chicken.
                                  It was alright; it didn't bowl me over, as Emmmily commented.

                                  Maybe to be fair, the flavor of the beans clashed with the chicken. Instead of a fresh tomato, I used a canned San Marzano since tomato season is still a couple months away. Did everything else as directed except no daun salam, and used only coconut milk and no water (though I added a bit at the end because the sauce got thick). I also held back the garlic until the chiles, shallots and galangal sauteed a bit 'cause I think garlic only takes a minute or so to saute, and I *hate* when garlic burns.

                                  I don't think I'll be returning to this dish. I prefer the cabbage w/ dried shrimp. Or just boiled beans w/ a spicy/flavorful main.

                                  1. re: NYchowcook

                                    I made this tonight too, and put me in the "not bowled over" camp. It was nice enough, and went well with the beef dish I also made (terrific - beef in soy sauce from the Malaysian or Indonesian section of Charmaine Solomon's Asian book, can't remember which).

                                    I used runner beans because that's what I had, which seemed to work OK. Mr GG didn't like them much though - stringy, apparently! I agree that you could probably use other vegetables.

                                3. Potato Rendang (rendang kentang, West Sumatra, Indonesia), p. 223

                                  I can't believe I'm the first one to report on this dish. It was a fascinating and delicious dish to make.

                                  It's his standard rendang recipe: simmer coconut milk to reduce it, make a flavoring paste (lemongrass, shallots, garlic, red Holland chiles, green Thai chiles, turmeric, ginger, galangal), add flavoring paste to milk along with lemon basil (I used Thai) and daun salam, and simmer for another long while. Then add potatoes & salt and simmer while the sauce reduces to a paste, then eventually releases oils so you're sauteeing the potatoes by the end. Let rest and cool for at least 30 minutes, which it definitely needed. I thought it was best when it reached cool room temp (i.e. by the end of the meal). It wasn't quite as wow as I thought it would be at first, but by the end I really liked it. I'll be really curious how the leftovers taste.

                                  I'm sorry I'm not good at taking pictures, because I really should have recorded the process the coconut milk goes through, from silky white to a thick sauce to an even thicker paste and finally a crumbly, fried seasoning. I got worried at one point in the middle that I had cooked it too long before adding the potatoes, because he says it's supposed to get "thick and pastelike" after the potatoes have cooked for 30-45 minutes. All I can say is that is goes through many pastelike stages before it gets dry and crumbly in the end, and all was well. At least, as far as I could tell.

                                  I used the smallest potatoes I could find, which were some baby reds. But even they were over his 1" limit. So instead of just slitting them, I cut them all in half, and it worked just fine. I think this recipe would work just fine with larger potatoes cut into 1" pieces, although you'd probably want to stick with waxier potatoes that wouldn't break up easily. (Though come to think of it, I don't think I'd mind potatoes that mashed up more with the yummy rendang paste.)

                                  I used my big food processor (since I don't have a little one) for the flavoring paste because it seemed like a large enough quantity of ingredients, and it worked fine. It may not have been as fine as Oseland would make it, but it was pretty well chopped up and seemed to work out great.

                                  I fished out the daun salam leaves during the final stage because they seemed too stiff, like bay leaves. The basil I initially put in as the entire stem, but later I snipped the leaves off of the stems and removed the stems. The leaves fried up into tasty bits in the final stage.

                                  It did take a long time, and while it wasn't a lot of work, I did need to stick around to stir the pan every 5-10 minutes, especially near the end. I did the first four steps (reducing coconut milk, making flavoring paste, and simmering flavoring paste in coconut milk) in the early afternoon, let it rest in the frying pan, covered, then added the potatoes and finished it for dinner.

                                  I served this with the Javanese Grilled Chicken and the quick Javanese Cucumber and Carrot pickle, a delicious combination.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                    Great post, Karen! I'm glad you made -- and liked -- the rendang.

                                    I had made the beef rendang before COTM, and the coconut milk goes through the same thickening process. I don't think anyone else has made the rendangs -- I wish they would! There's a chicken rendang which I *could* make tonight, but there's a lot of cheerleading going on for Kevin's spiced roast chicken which my bird is leaning towards . . .

                                    1. re: NYchowcook

                                      I've got the chicken rendang on my list ... I'm trying! Husband just informed me he's going away again the week after next (and this weekend, but I knew about that) so less chance to get to them (when it's just Lulu and me, it often seems less appealling to cook something new). But I will eventually!

                                    2. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                      I just took the leftover potato rendang and in a real cultural fusion, mixed it with mayo & yogurt for a spicy potato salad. It was great.

                                      1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                        this was an iteresting recipe to make and a delicious result (even tho I left the galangal in the microwave rather than putting it into the spice paste. - I felt the potatoes (I used the costco fingerling blend) were dryer than I liked in the end and the slitting of the potatoes did not get appreciable more flavor in (judging by color on the inside). I think it would have been preferable, with these potatoes, to put the potatoes in the sauce a bit earlier, so the flavor permeated the whole potato (nothing got in the cuts) and the potatoes got a bit moister. The end result was delicious and I will defintely try again, with galangal.

                                      2. Rohati's Crisp-Fried Potatoes with Chile and Shallot Sambal, (Kentang Balado, West Sumatra, Indonesia), Pg. 221

                                        OMGoodness you must make this dish! The most gorgeous golden spicy wedges of delicious potatoes I've ever eaten. I couldn't believe the flavor from such a simple, if lengthy, cooking procedure. I made the Sambal first with 2 shallots and 10 red Thai chiles whizzed up in the miniFP. Then 6 medium sized Yukon Golds were cut into wedges, 6 per potato. These were fried in 1" of peanut oil till just golden. DH used a wok for this... his favorite pan. This took a little time but thankfully DH stuck with it and cooked them perfectly. When the potatoes are cooked the pan is taken off heat and some of the oil is removed. The remaining oil is then left a few minutes to cool down. Next, the pan is returned to the heat and when the oil is hot enough the Sambal, cider vinegar and salt are added and cooked for a few minutes.... then the potatoes are returned to the pan and carefully combined with the sauce.

                                        I had a half leftover roast chicken which I cut into 6 pieces and put in the same pan to heat in the remaining sauce. This was served with the potatoes. The combination was so tasty and flavorful! We loved it. A simple tossed salad rounded out the meal.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Gio

                                          Took your advice and made it. Really delicious. The only problem I ran across was the heat; I love spicy food but next time I'll choose a milder pepper for the sambal. Added a little kecap manis and a squeeze of lime on the plate and it was fantastic.

                                          1. re: Gio

                                            Rohati's Crisp-Fried Potatoes with Chile and Shallot Sambal (kentang balado), p. 221

                                            I didn't have this recipe marked, until Gio raved about it. Agree - we both loved it! It's really simple - fried potato wedges tossed with chiles (I used red jalapenos), shallots, cider vinegar, and salt, but so good. I served it with a rotisserie chicken on the grill the first night, and leftovers made GREAT spicy home fries the next day - I added chopped onion and fresh cilantro.

                                          2. Ching Lee's Braised Lemongrass Long Beans p.218 with OKRA!
                                            these sambal mixtures are turning out to be pretty fast and easy once you have the ingredients and a small electric chopper.

                                            It's fresh and gingery tasting, on a base of lemongrass, shrimp paste, shallots. and a few fresh red chiles. I made a variation -- did it with fresh sliced okra instead of long beans, and so left out the nuts. Okra has its own viscosity obviously - I didn't want to overdo the thickness/body. In a quick simmer like this, you get a just enough goo from the okra without it being too much.

                                            This was a good pairing with garlic marinated tempeh (p. 322) and jasmine rice.

                                            My rau ram is doing pretty well (citrusy herb a.k.a. vietnamese coriander) and I meant to toss in a few sliced up leaves as a garnish. I forgot, but it would have gone nicely, or a bit of fresh coriander.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: pitu

                                              we made this dish with longbeans as written - using three smooth red chiles from a chinese store (holland chiles?) It was excellent when finally cooked and served alongside a large quantity of jasmine rice. I like the somewhat chewy texture of the long beans and the sauce was great with the rice. The cooking time for our particular beans was longer than noted, I had to fuss over it a fair amount, closing the lid again, adding water - and the taste of the dish really did not come together until the soy sauce and sugar were added and the components cooked together for a while.