One of the most inspiring people in my food world: Jessica Gavin – a mom, a full-time food professional (product development), a professional food blogger, and a wonderful friend. We were linked through IFT’s Food Communicators workshop with other great food communicators.
At Bouchon, it was actually my first time to try Croque Madame – I missed it when I went to Paris. And it was brilliant. The egg on top was very slowly cooked on pan, it was a jiggly gel with only solid at the bottom. The brioche bread was so rich and had the crunchy texture. The ham/jambon rose was kicking with its salty and super savory meaty flavor. The bernaise sauce were thick enough to stick to the sandwich but thin enough to pool in my mouth. The french fries on the side were also on point – French standard.
Altogether it was a wonderful experience – wonderful friend over wonderful food. Not to mention it was Jessica’s treat 😂.
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.
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.
- Candle nut
- Palm sugar
- French green bean
- Blanch the vegetables in boiling water for 1-2 minutes until vibrant, strain
- Ground all the sauce ingredients and add boiling water until slightly watery
- Coat sliced shallots with flour, fry until golden brown
- Fry kerupuk until well-expanded
- Serve with a dash of sweet soy sauce (kecap)
I am grateful for the NEIFT’s graduate student most prestigious Suppliers Award this year, but this is mainly not about me. It is about the food-related sciences eco-system here in the United States that objectively supports students with resources, regardless you are an international student who will go back to your country.
NEIFT (Northeast Institute of Food Technologists) is a professional affiliation for food industry professionals. Like many institutions in the US they have this “give back” culture, which donators collect money to support individual students and student events.
Last year, I noticed my inspiring senior won this award and she wrote in the application that she wanted to go back to Turkey to teach. That gave me a clue that the committee is not necessarily give the awards just to recruit the awardees to the food industry here.
I received the award with the intention of going back to Indonesia in my application and they appreciated it.
This is a strengthening example after the IFT Thesis Video Competition that allowed an international student like me to represent the US IFT to go to the UK. Apart from many social issues that seem compromise newcomers and diversity, such objective culture in the US is something we all need to celebrate and learn from.
In addition, tempe seems to attract more attention. From what I shared about tempe in my application, the committee saw it interesting enough to conduct a talk in an upcoming event. The host even printed Indonesian Tempe Movement‘s how-to-make-tempe flyers and distributed it in the event.
I hope this will inspire people in terms of trying to openly share our own unique identity and passion beyond what we thought would be rejected. I am very grateful for this career ecosystem that can appreciate that.
I would like to congratulate Thanh P Vu, Weicang, Ruojia, and Tianxi from UMass Amherst who also received other awards in the event.
I want to thank my family for the support, my advisor Dr. Xiao, my recommender Prof. Colin Denis, my mentor Prof. Clydesdale and Dr. Lorraine Cordeiro, my inspiring senior Cansu Eek and William Dixon, and many more people that I cannot include.
This is the mos beautiful thing I’ve ever made so far.
- 1 cup of dry soybean
- 1 tbsp of vinnegar
- 1 pinch of Tempe starter (“ragi tempe” on eBay)
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Sweet soy sauce
- Large pot or sauce pan
- Kitchen towel
- Plastic bag (punctured every 1/2 inch)
- Frying pan
- Soak soybean in a pot with 3 times amount of water overnight
- Crush soybean with hand until it splits and the skin floats
- Remove as much skin as possible
- Boil in 2 times amount of water for 1 hour
- Drain and spread the beans on kitchen towel and dry it until it’s dry to touch
- Remove it into a dry bowl, add vinnegar and mix well
- Add tempe starter and wix well
- Scoop the beans into plastic bag, making about 1 inch thick
- Put it on rack with good air circulation. Keep it in warm room temperature (~75 F or 26-30 degree Celsius).
- It’s done when it’s solid white, to stop the fermentation put it in the fridge (stop it as soon as you see some black spots)
- Cut and fry in oil until golden brown, sprinkle with salt and enjoy with sweet soy sauce.
A type of food that I would always go back for: cultural, barely impossible to make by myself, and exceptionally delicious. Not much to say, go taste it yourself – the moist, crumbly, spiced-crust, bright red, striking cuts of beef. It would make you doubt all the beefs you have eaten before or wonder how possible that it’s the same part of the same animal you’ve been eating all this time. Currently still on top in my NYC food list.
Culture: historical jewish immigrant-brought food preservation technology (such as brining, corning, etc.), ingredients (spices and herbs for meat crust and breads), American classic food stall.
Almost impossible to make: weeks of brining, bulk portions of beef, industrial grade of equipment to make the brisket-like char, hard-to-guess recipe.
Exceptionally delicious: melts and kicks in your mouth like no other beef.
Suckling pork rice is a meal with almost all parts of a whole pork cooked and seasoned in different ways. It is a Balinese signature dish that resembles its traditional ceremony to cook a whole pork and also the ways Balinese construct their flavor preference from what is available in nature. I would say this is one of Indonesian cooking styles that would make your eyes glare widely and say ,”I never imagined such flavors exist”.
This specific “Sari Kembar” suckling porkrice is what I always crave outisde Bali for 16 years, not moved by the others. This is my favorite because it has whole rounds of dishes which none of them is too greasy: roasted and yellow-seasoned pork meats and fats, pork spiced satay, pork fried lungs, pork fried chopped ribs, crispy pork skin, and pork bone soup with banana stem. The side dishes are usually stirfried cassava leaves, a mixture of stirfried jackfruit-haricot-papaya meat, and sambal.
The whole meal provides a wide range of flavor variations but rooting to one typical character, which Balinese calls it a “full seasoning”: shallots, chili, ginger, kunci (fingerroot, Boesenbergia rotunda), galangal, turmeric, kencur, lemongrass, cloves, citrus leaves, and could be many more depending to each region.
This is my first time trying a single-origin luwak coffee (pea berry), accompanied with some bites of fried banana/plantain like how many Indonesians have their snack or brunch time. The first time I opened the coffee container, I smelled something like no other coffee. If I’m to map the aroma, it was more like ‘scattering’. Just from its aroma you would notice there are lots of byproducts from the fermentation, making it rich and highly multi-dimensional, like a full circle. I could smell coffee’s disctinct ‘roasted’, slightly acidic and slightly bitter aroma, together with some mild and bold savoriness. There are also probably umami and kokumi that give the ‘body’, which was steeper than the deep body I tasted from the multi-origin luwak coffee I tried.
Single-origin luwak coffee is produced by processing coffee beans excreted from luwak after digestion (re: feces), which single bean type is selected before making it available to the luwak to eat.
Let’s take a moment to appreciate how artsy Indonesian putu is. Putu cake is aa steamed rice flour cake filled with coconut sugar and topped with shredded coconut. The seller usually carries the whole container and steamer on his/her shoulder, followed by the distinct whistling sound out from the small whole used to steam the cake. Putu seller usually has “klepon” as well, a chewy and round cake with similar ingredients, but with sticky rice flour instead of the regular one.