Runny Cashew Chicken over Rice

Just a casual lunch among studying for PhD comprehensive exam. This fresh, made-to-portion, warm cashew chicken running down my rice really boosted my mood.

Garlic, green onions, soy sauce, oyster sauce, chicken, vinegar, brown sugar, Sichuan peppercorn, dried chili, sesame oil, sesame seed, salt, black pepper.

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37-hour Indonesian Smashed Pork Ribs

Again, melting pork ribs cooked for 37 hours, smashed with Indonesian fresh ground chili paste (sambal ulek). My pork shoulder roast has been beaten.

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37-hour Mom-style Sweet Soy Sauce Pork

One of my family’s winning dishes honed. Nothing so fancy – ginger, garlic, soy sauce, oyster sauce, pork ribs. Cooked for 37 hours sous vide then seared under broiler. The meat melted in my mouth, the sauce infused the rice, the ginger transformed into a sweet kick, the pork fat and gelatin mixed with the sauce.

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Indonesian “Pecel” with Homemade Bawang Goreng

Indonesian pecel is  mix of blanched/boiled/steamed vegetable with savory peanut sauce containing ground shallots, chili, palm sugar, salt, and sometimes candle nut. With the obligatory kerupuk (Indonesian cracker) and bawang goreng (fried shallots), this dish brings multiple layers of sensations – freshness of the vegetables, richness of the nutty spicy sauce, added depth of the fried shallots, and crunchiness from kerupuk.

INGREDIENTS

SAUCE

  • Peanut
  • Shallots
  • Chili
  • Candle nut
  • Palm sugar
  • Salt

VEGETABLES

  • Spinach
  • Carrots
  • Cabbage
  • Beansprouts
  • French green bean

GRANISH

  • Shallots
  • Kerupuk

STEPS

  1. Blanch the vegetables in boiling water for 1-2 minutes until vibrant, strain
  2. Ground all the sauce ingredients and add boiling water until slightly watery
  3. Coat sliced shallots with flour, fry until golden brown
  4. Fry kerupuk until well-expanded
  5. Serve with a dash of sweet soy sauce (kecap)

Instant Noodle Tempe

Inspired by the Indomie Uniqmie competition, I tried to push my creativity on preparing instant noodle. This instant noodle tempe reflects myself – A food scientist, technologist, fermentist, who loves food so much and play around with it. The feeling of creating something new playfully always one of the best rewards.

How to Make

  1. Cook noodle in boiling water, drain and dry with paper towel
  2. Mix with 1 tsp of vinnegar in a clean bowl, then mix with 1 pinch of tempe starter
  3. Incubate in warm room temperature (I did 32 degree Celsius for 30 hours) until solid white
  4. Cook as tempe, I fried it and seasoned it with the instant noodle’s seasonings. You can also rub the seasoning on the noodle tempe before cooking.

TempeBar – Tempeh Health Bar

This creation has been in my kitchen for months, containing so much hope to be a solution for healthy snacking. I had been thinking of patenting and registering trademark of it. However, my heart doesn’t go for anything that prevents others to cherish this healthy delicacy. I decided to set this idea free, I wish the world can make more creation of tempeh to enjoy, which all could begin from this single humble post. Please access www.tempe-bar.com.


TempeBar

TempeBar is a healthy snack bar made of chocolate-covered baked tempeh. Among other snack bars, TempeBar stands out by its main ingredient: tempeh.

Tempeh is a fermented traditional food from Indonesia, firstly documented in a 16th century ancient inscription. Tempeh has high protein, low fat, low carbohydrate, low salt, and contains the essential Vitamin B12 that is commonly found in animal products. While other bars usually use high amount of sugar and fat to compact the grains, TempeBar does not need that thanks to the favorable fermentation, which also makes the nutrients easier to digest and eliminate soy bean’s anti-nutrient.

TempeBar has a very unique taste – a combination of tempeh’s nutty and umami, semi-sweet chocolate’s sweet and bitter, and dimensions of sweet berry or savory coconut as toppings.

TempeBar is a hope for solution to affordable and healthy snacking, including for vegetarians and vegans. It is a gift from Indonesian culture tradition to the world.

While the idea is set free, TempeBar is welcoming investors and manufacturers to spread the good news in the market around the world.

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My First from-scratch Smoked Pork Shoulder Barbecue with Potato Rolls

Scroll down to see galleries, video, Food Story, and recipes!

GALLERY

VIDEO

Making this dish brought some meditations about early cooking techniques, its depth of cultural, social, ceremonial, and sesual aspects in its simplicity. Thanks to Michael Pollan’s Cooked book from an inspiring chief friend Adrian and weekly pork belly making with my cook boss Hendro, I jumped up and down in happiness when I tasted the combination of seasoned pulled caramelized meat, crackling bark/skin, and potato rolls just came out perfect.

FOOD STORY

Barbecue resembles on of the earliest cooking technique – placing food near the source of heat until it is more fun to eat: tender, tasty, fragrant. The technique provides low heat and smoke from the burnt woods, which over time cook the food and infuse it with flavors. The word “barbacue” is found similar to “barbacoa” in European languages, “barbicu” in Caribbean and Timiucua of Florida, and translated as “framework of sticks set upon posts” in Haitian. The etymology spread shows its long history, including an interesting story of the first barbecue in China. It was accidentally found by leaving a house burnt with the family’s pig inside. The son traced the amazing smell and found the tender meat under the crackling skin below the burnt remnants of the house.

Along the process of making this dish, I enjoyed witnessing many art and science wisdoms. The reaction of salt that pulled the water out of the meat and skin; how the water in the wood chips boil, vibrate, and evaporate carrying the woods flavor molecules; how the delicate heat penetrated the meat slowly and eventually liquify the meat “glue” protein, collagen, making it tender; how the once-elastic skin is now crackling by losing water and the heat changed the skin components’ structure.

This pork shoulder cut itself is preferred not without any reason.  I found a perfect balance of skin, a layer of fat underneath, and abundant fibrous protein. After the meat comes off very easily from the bone, it is true that the bone-attached meat tastes richer.

Now the potato rolls. I first wondered, why do you put potato in bread mix? Maybe instinctively people new that potato is also starch and would blend in while adding a little bit of distinct flavor. Anyway, it turned out great, especially right after baking. I could taste occasional brittles and sweetness of the potato inside the porous bread network.

Making it buns or sandwiches, the combination of pork meats and potato rolls worked well to me while they were hot. After they cooled down and the collagen be intact again, I would say a more moisture would be better. This is what the barbecue is for!

Barbecue sauce also resembles a combination of nature and human technology. The base of this sauce turned out to be tomato sauce and brown sugar, which are processed beforehand with certain techniques that humans developed. It is adorable to think about the combination between tomato’s umami, brown sugar’s sweetness, paprika’s and cayenne pepper’s spiciness, and vinegar’s acidity. It is like a full-round flavor, and we haven’t talked about each depth of flavor.

All together, this dish sounded American to me, which this is a way of cherishing my life here. However, after reading, hearing, and tasting this food’s story, it is not only about America anymore. It is a complex accumulation of human instinct, senses, culture, traditional, and our relation to nature. This food inspired me that saying barbecue is a traditional, non-technologist, non-modern way of cooking is not necessarily true. Barbecue itself is a technology, and technology is always a part of our human brain, a part of our nature. This food is a revelation that technology is a human nature. Being tech-y is natural.

RECIPES

PORK SHOULDER BARBECUE

Ingredients

3 lbs pork shoulder with skin and bone (“Boston butt”)
6 tsp himalayan pink salt
6 tsp sugar
2 handfuls pecan wood chips
1 disposable pan
1 any heat-resistant bowl
1 aluminium pocket for smoker
1 convection oven with grill in

Directions

  1. Score pork skin, make it easier to break
  2. Mix salt and sugar, rub all over the pork shoulder to season and get the crackling skin later
  3. Leave overnight uncovered on the tip of bowl so the water can drip
  4. Preheat oven at 250 F
  5. Soak wood chips in water for about 30 minutes, providing water that will smoke and carry the flavor
  6. Drain and place them inside a shallow aluminum pocket, close and score with knife so the smoke can get out
  7. Place the smoker pocket at the bottom of the oven
  8. Fill out pan halfway with water, and place on an upside-down heat-resistant bowl at the bottom of the oven, to catch drippings
  9. Five minutes later (giving time for the smoker), place pork shoulder on the grill above the pan
  10. Monitor the temperature, it will be done at 190 F, more or less 6-8 hours, to ensure it kills all the dangerous germs
  11. When it is above 185 F, crank the heat at 500 F until the skin is crispy, about 3-5 minutes. Do not forget to remove the smoker out of the oven beforehand, otherwise it will smoke so badly.

POTATO ROLLS

Ingredients & Materials

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup scalded milk, cooled
1/2 cup mashed potatoes
1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 big bowl
1-2 greased pan(s)
1 egg, beaten for wash

Direction

  1. Activate yeast in warm water
  2. Mix all the remaining ingredients except flour
  3. Add 2 cups of flour
  4. Add the remaining flour
  5. Knead on lightly floured surface until elastic
  6. Place in a greased bowl, turn once so the grease covers the dough
  7. Let it rest for 1 hour covered
  8. Punch the dough at the center, flip
  9. Leave for 10 minutes
  10. Divide into balls
  11. Place on greased pan, leave for 1 hour covered
  12. Brush with egg wash
  13. Bake at 400 F for 10 minutes

BARBECUE SAUCE

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 1/2 canned grilled diced tomato, drained
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 black pepper

Direction

  1. Mix all the ingredients
  2. Enjoy