Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Eve 2015

To ring out the old year, I made a dinner from Pacific and Southeast Asian Cooking (aka TLPacSEA) from the Time-Life Foods of the World series. This is the latest book in my project of working my way through this series.

In all cases where fresh coconut was needed, I used grated coconut from a packet.

To start the meal, we had Banana Cows (p116). We're not big cocktails drinkers, but this was nice, barely tasted alcoholic, rum, banana, milk, vanilla, Angostura bitters. Banana and rum complement each other and the bitters took the edge off the sweet. The only problem was the quantity. One recipe fills the 12-oz glass that's asked. Not having snapped to the 12-oz part, I used 8-oz glasses. I should have made a single recipe and split that between us. But we enjoyed our cows.

For a starter, we had Lime-Marinated Scallops with Coconut Sauce (p9). I made approximately a whole recipe (7oz of scallops rather than 8oz). These would be tiny servings if six were being served and servings for four would be quite small. (On the other hand, serving all this for two was perhaps a bit much.) I used part of a can of coconut cream that was lingering in the pantry for the coconut top milk. There was an enormous amount of sauce. We'll use it as salad or veggie dressing in the next days. The dish was very tasty and very easy.

There were two mains, both things that would work well as finger food: Malaysian Curry Puffs (p7) and Saté AjamBroiled Skewered Marinated Chicken (p26).

The "puffs" are kind of mini-empanadas filled with a delicious spicy beef mixture. (I didn't get all of them well-sealed, you see.) I made a full recipe, since that's how much beef I bought (and ground in the food processor). The meat mixture is easy to make and extra yummy. I used store-bought pastry and was sorry. Home-made would have been much better. I might make the meat and use it to stuff phyllo packets or something similar.

The chicken saté was also yummy. A quarter recipe (one kip filet) would have been enough for four wooden skewers, with corresponds with the recipe. I didn't make the peanut sauce since neither of us particularly like that. I used coarse salt to help with mashing the garlic. I used store-bought ketjap manis. I sprayed the brochettes with oil rather than drizzling. Very easy to do. Very tasty.

For some vegetable matter, I went for Urab—Vegetable Salad with Spiced Coconut Dressing (p93). This recipe looked a bit questionaable to me, so I consulted Sri Owen's Indonesian Food and Cookery, where the salad is call Urap. Here I learnt that the sauce (more or less the same but using chili powder and garlic instead of sambal oelek, which was store-bought) is called bumbu. Owen says that if you're using dried coconut, you should boil the mixture with some water for 5 minutes. I boiled, but forgot to add the water, so my sauce was rather dry and crumbly rather than being any kind of runny. But it tasted fine. She always gives two versions of the salad, one with cooked veggies, the other with raw veggies (watercress, carrots, white cabbage, radishes, cuke, and spring onions)

The times given in TLPacSEA for steaming the veggies were wildly off (which is what made me consult Owen). I made about half a recipe. I did the bean sprouts for 3min (slightly less would be okay);  the cabbage, cut in wider strips than asked for, for 3.5min (a teeny bit longer might be okay if you prefer your cabbage softer); the spinach for 1.5min, which should have been no more than 1min; the green beans (haricots verts) for 5min. Owen also uses carrots, so I steamed thin slices for 5min.

Altogether a pretty salad, easy to assemble and very tasty. It would make a good dish for a pot luck or a buffet.

With a mix of Hawaiian, Malaysian, and Indonesian, this was altogether a nice dinner, everything I'd make again.

Happy 2016 to all!

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