One of the sexiest and most artistic things to do in cooking.
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.
It had been two years since the first Tempe Challenge. I did not take that lean body for granted anymore. My metabolism was different, it stored fat more easily. I was also struggling in the United States with the temptation of western foods. And after I found my passion in the culinary arts, I could not sacrifice cooking and eating just for the sake of bodybuilding anymore.
My goal this time was to feel and look healthy again after a very intense 3-week culinary trip to Chicago, London, Oxford, Chipping Campden, Darmstadt, and Paris.
The main focus was still to use tempeh as the main protein source, but I combined it with fasting and shaping the gut microbiota. I used fasting to regain the joy of eating after the trip. Gut microbiota are the germs in our gut that can contribute whether we store fat more easily or the opposite and we can ‘shape’ them. High-fat diets were reported to increase the amount of microbiota in the Firmicutes group, which is correlated with obesity. In contrast, high-carbohydrate, vegetable, and fruit diets increased microbiota in the Bacteroidetes group. This is identical with lean individuals.
After a tough one-day fasting, with only Icelandic dried fish and coconut water, I carried on to the next days. I slowly increased my meal portion to regular increments with tempeh incorporated low-fat foods.
I have included a detailed program of the challenge which includes a severe food allergy reaction that got me hospitalized and made a slight change in my diet.
Again, this is not a scientific examination because the only control that I had was tempeh consumption and fasting. This diet was an effort to show tempeh as my main protein source and that I could still be healthy and move forward in shaping my body.”Enough! I need food that does not harm me!”
This is what I said to myself after a 3-week culinary trip. The food was great, I cherished every meal, and I got lots of culinary insight. However, the taste of a lean, fresh, and wholesome meal was missing. On top of that, I noticed that I did not feel healthy; my cheeks were bloated and my body felt heavy after the trip.
The following weeks after my trip, I began eating a meatless diet to reduce facial bloating; this had worked for me previously. To reshape my gut microbiota I additionally reduced my fat intake and increased consumption of fruits and vegetables.
I realized that as I was changing my diet, I was in actuality participating in The Tempe Challange again. I was depending on tempe, also known as “tempeh”, as a main protein source.
The Tempe Challenge is a resource used to build muscle mass by eating tempeh as a protein source. I had developed and initiated this idea in 2014 to increase the awareness on tempeh as a cheap, environmentally friendly, and tasty protein source. In this book, I document how I went through the steps of the challenge in a much more robust way. It includes how I developed some out-of-the-box tempeh recipes to keep the journey exciting.
Again, this is not a scientific examination because the only control that I had was tempeh consumption and fasting. This diet was an effort to show tempeh as my main protein source and that I could still be healthy and move forward in shaping my body.
Daily Log Example
Program: Sleep at the airport
Foods: Tempe tikka masala, rice; 3 pao de queijo, 1/4 cup of red wine, 1/4 cup of white wine; 2/3 portion of pork chop and freekeh salad; 3 pao de queijo, 2/3 portion of pork chop and freekeh salad, TempeBar; 3 pao de queijo
Program: 30 hours of flight to Indonesia
Foods: 2/3 portion of pork chop and freekeh salad, a cup of mixed fruits, 1 pretzel; miso noodle, bean salad, bread with butter, rice crackers
Foods: Tiny turkey and cheese sandwich, 1/2 cup of french toast, 1 cup of fruits; 1 cup of ginger pork, rice, 3 sushi, 1/2 cup of unagi; 1/2 cup of rice, 3 pcs of fried chicken, 1 pc of potato, vegetables, 1/4 cup of chocolate cake, 1/4 cup of Japanese beer
Program: 0.5 mi run, 3 sets of full body exercises to failure
Foods: Pao de queijo, butternut squash soup; yellow rice, small fried chicken, potatoes, vegetable, crackers, apple, tempe stir-fry, tempe chips, dry tempe; rice, potatoes, watercress, tempe stir-fry, dry tempe
Program: 3 sets of pull ups and push ups to failure
Foods: apple, macadamia nuts, tiny bread, 1/4 cup of granola, dried tempe; rice, tempe stir-fry, yellow rice, potatoes, tiny fried chicken, crackers; uduk rice, fried chicken, chili, crackers, coleslaw
Program: 3 sets of full body workout to failure
Foods: egg, apple, rice; rice, tempe, chili, 1/4 cup of chicken, crackers; rice, a piece of chicken leg, chili, cassava leaves
Program: morning walk, 3 sets of full body workout to failure
Foods: egg, rice porridge; fried rice, watercress, mussels; noodle with shredded chicken, mushroom, and wontons; bread, salami, butter, orange
Program: morning walk, 3 sets of full body workout to failure
Foods: bread; rice, tempe, vegetable; sirloin steak, mashed potato
Program: morning run (3.85 mi), full body workout
Foods: omlette, bread; papaya flower, rice, fish; ribeye steak, pizza
Program: morning walk and run
Foods: noodle, shredded chicken, mushroom, wonton; pear, rice, papaya flower, fish, tempe; beef burger
Program: morning walk, full body workout
Foods: chocolate bread; rice, vegetable; beef burger
Program: morning walk, 1 set of full body workout
Foods: beef burger; rice, vegetable, fish; fried rice, fried noodle
Program: run (2.6 mi)
Foods: rice noodle, tempe soup, banana, apple, orange
Program: run (2.8 mi)
Foods: rice noodle, fried chicken, tempe char siu, tempe katsu, banana, apple, orange
Program: run (2.6 mi)
Foods: tempe wonton, 1/2 rice, 1/4 char siu, banana, apple, orange, tempe matzo balls, fempe char siu
Program: run (1.5 mi)
Foods: tempe pie, 1/2 cup rice, 1/2 cup char siu, 1/2 cup oxtail, 1/4 cup rice, 1/2 cup noodle
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.
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.