Indonesian Fried Fish Cakes / Otak Otak Goreng

This fried fish cake was one of my favorite food when I was still living in Jakarta, and even when I was still a little girl. Usually, my mom would buy this delicious fish cake from the wet market, but unfortunately I had to share with other family members, so I never had enough of fish cake, hahaha……………….

The fish cake was so delicious especially when it was still hot, and we would dip it in chili sauce and ate it with hot steam white rice………………so yummy………….and I remember I could eat 2 to 3 plates of rice with this fish cake (and I was so skinny back then even though I ate a lot…………..).

When buying fish cake in the wet market or in the supermarket, the more dominant ingredient usually would be the flour and not the fish (of course, because tenggiri fish was usually quite expensive), so we couldn’t really taste the fish when we eat it.

It was different when I made this at home. I used 1/2 kg of fish (although I had to spent $16 just for the fish only) and only a small ratio of flour. I also added lots of cilantro and spring onion (which made the texture not so smooth) because I loved the smell and flavor of those cilantro and spring onion. So, I could really taste the fish (and not just the flour) in every bite. This was definitely delicious……………..

I also cut the fried fish cakes and mixed them with fried noodle or fried rice or stir fry vegetables.

Ingredients:

  1. 500 gr batang / tenggiri fish fillet (no skin, no bones), squeeze 2 tbsp of lime juice and refrigerate for 30 minutes to remove the fishy smell
  2. 1 large shallot
  3. 5 garlic
  4. 2 egg whites
  5. 1.5 tbsp salt
  6. 2 tbsp UHT coconut cream
  7. 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  8. 5 tbsp tapioca flour
  9. 10 cilantro, minced
  10. 20 spring onion, minced
  11. ice cold water

Method:

  1. Prepare a large bowl and fill 3/4 of the bowl with ice cold water
  2. In a food processor, process batang fish, shallot, garlic, egg whites, and salt until smooth and they form a paste
  3. In a large bowl, mix together coconut cream, all purpose flour, and tapioca flour
  4. Add fish paste, minced cilantro, and minced spring onion to the bowl and mix until well combined
  5. Shape the paste mixture into long shape with the palm of your hand (makes about 13 fish cakes)
    First, make a round shape
    Then roll in with the palms of your hands

    Place in a tray (dust the tray with flour)
  6. Boil water in a large pot (fill the water only until 3/4 of the pot)
  7. Add fish cake to the boiling water one by one and wait until they float
  8. Once they float, immediately transfer to the bowl with ice cold water
  9. Remove from the ice cold water after 5 minutes
  10. Dry the fish cakes with paper towel
  11. Deep fried until golden brown

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Soto Udang / Indonesia Traditional Shrimp Soup with Herbs and Spices

Soto is actually the name of Indonesian dish that resembles soup but cooked with lots of herbs and spices. There are many variations of soto in Indonesia, and it seems like that every province has there own version of soto. There are many variations of ingredients used to make this super delicious dish, but the main ingredient is usually something meaty, such as beef, ribs, chicken, prawns, or even fish. The meat plays a very important part to make a good broth. Then we will mix the broth with herbs and spices to make them even more delicious. You can tell if a soto dish is good or not just by looking at the color and slurping the broth. Once you taste one spoonful of broth, you will already know if the dish is good enough or not.

We eat soto for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and sometimes if we’re hungry in between meals, hahaha………………….yes, that is to describe how famous this dish is in Indonesia and it plays a big part in people’s daily life. Soto can be easily found everywhere, from street food vendors to 5 starts restaurants, but you will mostly find soto served hot with steam rice as a family meal on the dining table, cooked by the chef of the house aka. the mother.

Although the main ingredients can be different, but actually the herbs and spices are mostly the same…………….well, maybe a bit different but not that much. The one thing that really differentiate is actually the broth, because chicken broth will taste different than beef broth or other broths.

One other thing in common is that we eat soto with lots of condiments, such as vegetables (potatoes, cabbages, bean sprout), boiled egg, perkedel or fried mashed potato, keropok or crackers, topped with fried shallots, spring onion or celery, poya or shrimp crackers crumbs, and not to forget to squeeze some lime juice, add sweet soy sauce, and at least one spoonful of hand made chili sauce. That is so yummy and so addictive……………..

Cut, mince, chop, boil, and fry the condiments for home made soto dish

I make soto quite often as it is one of my family’s favorite dish. When my sister was visiting us, she also requested soto to be served as our dinner. Yes, that is how much we love this comfort food.

I’ve posted a recipe for soto ayam or soto which was made from chicken broth here, but this time I will be posting a different kind of soto which is made from shrimps. Originally, this dish came from Medan, North Sumatera, Indonesia. If you ever heard of Lake Toba, that this is the place where the lake is located. It is a famous tourist destination in Sumatera, Indonesia.

I made a clear soup and didn’t make the one that use coconut milk (there are 2 versions of the broths), and we really loved the taste. Well for me, as long as my boy approved the taste, it was good enough for me (oh, motherhood…………..). My husband didn’t eat it because he couldn’t eat shrimps, so no comments from him. My son and I loved the broth so much and indeed, it was so delicious and refreshing that I was thinking of why I didn’t make this earlier.

Oh well, this is the recipe……………….

 

The recipe is for 2 portions

Ingredients:

  1. 1/2 kg shrimps or prawns
  2. 1 large red onion / large shallots or 8 shallots
  3. 6 garlic
  4. 5 candlenuts, stir fry until fragrant in a non stick pan without oil
  5. 1 tsp coriander powder
  6. 1 tbsp salt, or to taste
  7. 1/2 tsp cumin / jinten in Bahasa Indonesia (optional, although you can skip it, but I always loves adding cumin when cooking some of my dishes)
  8. 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  9. 10 lime leaves
  10. 1 thumb of galangal, cut in thin slices
  11. 1 thumb of ginger, cut in thin slices
  12. 5 salam leaves
  13. 1 lemongrass, peel off any dry or tough outer layers then cut diagonally into 5 (don’t just use the bottom part of the lemongrass, use the whole lemongrass to improve the flavor of the dish)
  14. 2 tbsp of oil
  15. 1.5 L of water
  16. 5 big celery
  17. fried shallot (store bought, ready to use)
  18. minced coriander leaves
  19. minced spring onion
  20. 1 potato, cut into 6
  21. 1 tomato, cut into thin round shapes
  22. 100 gr bean sprout, cook in boiling water for 1 minute, then strain and set aside
  23. 20 gr rice vermicelli (soak in cold water for 15 minutes, then cook in boiling water for 10 seconds, then strain and set aside)
  24. limes

Method:

  1. Peel the shrimps and seperate the shells and head. Devein the shrimps and clean under running water. Set aside the shrimps in a small bowl
  2. Rinse thoroughly shrimp shells and heads under cold running water, then set aside in a bowl
  3. Squeeze lime juice from 2 limes unto the shrimp shells and heads (this is to remove the fishy smell)
  4. Prepare the spices and herbs: In a blender or food processor, add together: large red onion, garlic, candlenuts, coriander powder, salt, cumin, and turmeric powder. Process until they form a paste
  5. Heat a wok with 2 tbs of cooking oil, then add the paste from step number 4, lime leaves, galangal, ginger, and salam leaves. Stir fry until fragrant
  6. Add the shrimps shells and head, keep stirring until they change into pink color
  7. Add 1.5 L of water
  8. Bring the pot to boil then turn to low heat to simmer for 1 hour. The water will reduce into 1 L
  9. Turn off the heat, add 5 big celery, stir, then wait for another 15 minutes to let it cool
  10. Set up a mesh strainer over another soup pot and strain stock from other ingredients
  11. While waiting for the shrimp stock to be cooked, the shrimps must be kept in the refrigerator
  12. After straining the stock into a pot, bring the stock to boil
  13. Add cut potatoes into the pot until half cooked
  14. Add shrimps into the pot and cook until they change into pink color. Turn off the heat
  15. Prepare in 2 serving bowls: cut tomatoes, bean sprouts, rice vermicelli, 1 tbsp fried shallots, 1/2 tbsp minced coriander leaves, 1/2 tbsp minced spring onion, and squueze lime juice from 1 lime
  16. Add potatoes and shrimps to the serving bowls
  17. Pour the soup onto the bowls and serve with chili sauce (the recipe for the chili sauce in this this post)

 

 

Fish Floss Roll / Sumpia Abon Ikan

In my previous post, I shared the recipe of how to make fish floss from raw fish. So, since I had 2 jars of fish floss, I decided to make something that went well with the fish floss. We ate fish floss with hot rice and as topping of fried rice, but then I was thinking of making something that I loved to eat when I was a little girl. I wanted to introduce this snack to my son too and hoped that he would like it too.

It was actually fish floss rolls which we could easily get in Bee Cheng Hiang or other snack shops, but again, it was so expensive although it came in small packages. It was very easy to make, so I though of making it at home by myself.

In Indonesia, this delicious crispy snack is known as “Sumpia”. My favorite was the ones with the the mixture of shrimp floss with a bit of spiciness inside. It was so yummy and I was certain that I could finish the whole package by myself if I didn’t have to share with other family members, hahaha………………….

All I need were just store bought spring roll wrapper and my homemade fish floss, and voila………………..fish floss rolls were ready within minutes. Fish floss roll is actually a mini version of spring roll with dry ingredients inside and can be stored for up to one week outside the refrigerator. If you put in an air tight container, I guarantee the fish floss rolls will stay fresh and crispy.

Fortunately, my son loved this fish floss roll and he loved having it with mango iced tea as his after school snack. Well, you can have this snack anytime with coffee or tea, and even I had this as my breakfast when I was not in the mood to cook for myself.

So, enjoy these adorable crispy rolls………………….

Ingredients:

  1. Spring roll pastry (22 X 22 cm)
  2. Fish floss
  3. Egg white, beaten (we will use this to glue the rolls)
  4. Oil to deep fry the rolls

Method:

  1. 1. Cut each spring roll pastry into 4 identical squares and lay them on flat surface
  2. Place 1 or 2 tsp (depend on how big you want the rolls to be) of fish floss into on side of the spring roll skin
  3. Roll it up tightly. Fold the left and right sides until it resembles an envelope. Roll again and seal the edges with the egg wash
  4. Do these steps for the rest of the spring roll skins. How many skins you will use will be depending on how many rolls you want to make
  5. Heat up your wok with enough cooking oil. Once the oil is fully heated up, fry the mini spring rolls on medium heat until golden brown
  6. Dish out and drain the oil
  7. Make sure the rolls are completely cool before keeping them in airtight container to ensure that the rolls remain crispy

Fish Floss / Abon Ikan

Did I tell you that batang or tenggiri fish was on sale in the supermarket back then? Yes, I did in my post here. So, as a result of buying the whole fish, I ended up with lots of fish meat and I was in a point that I didn’t know what to do with it.

As I tried to find inspiration from my dear friend Mr. Google, I stumbled upon fish floss recipe, and I thought: “oh, this would be good to try” as it looked so easy to make and so delicious too. Besides, we never buy fish floss here as it is so expensive and we never really like the taste of store bought fish floss. How do we know that we don’t like it if we never buy it? Oh, it’s very easy, we just need to taste any samples that the stores offer us whether in mall, supermarkets, food bazaar, or food expo.

My favorite is always meat floss from beef with lots and lots of crispy fried shallots in the mixture (that was what I ate when I was still living in Jakarta when my mom didn’t have time to cook as meat floss was not that expensive back then ), but for a healthier choice I wouldn’t be making meat floss at home. Instead, I would try to make fish floss from scratch (raw fish), and I had a great hope that it would turn great too.

As Indonesians, I always love to cook with many kinds of herbs and spices, so I added red onion, garlic, coriander powder, galangal, and lime leaves. You can always skip galangal, coriander powder, and lime leaves if they are too difficult to find and exchange them with any kinds of herbs and spices that you like, or you can just stick with garlic and onion.

Some recipes add soy sauce and sesame oil when making fish floss, but I still preferred not to add any sauces and only used natural ingredients. You can also add sugar (about 1/2 tsp) if you want a bit of sweetness in your fish floss. I also try to avoid refined sugar for health reason, so I didn’t add any sugar in this recipe.

Anyway, there are many ways to make fish floss and there is no exact recipe of what to add when making fish floss, so you can always have your own creation.

And how was my home made fish floss taste?

We loved it…………… It smelt really good, so crispy, salty (we all love salty food), melt in our mouths, and most of all…………….cheap, hahaha…………….and we could have as much as we wanted…………..

Bu the way, when I searched for the recipe in the internet, everyone said it would take 20 to 30 minutes frying the fish meat, but I ended up with 1.5 hours in front of my stove to turn the fish into floss, and it was just the frying process. I didn’t count the time I used to steam or blend my fish meat, so overall time was definitely longer than 1.5 hours. Oh well, I guess it all depends on the heat and how much fish that you use.

I really loved they way it turned out to be a great floss, so maybe next time I will try making chicken floss too.

Ingredients:

  1. Batang / tenggiri fish
  2. 1/2 large red onion or 4 shallots
  3. 5 garlic
  4. 1 tsp salt, or to taste
  5. 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  6. 2 tbsp olive oil
  7. 8 lime leaves
  8. 1 thumb of galangal, thinly slices
  9. 3 tbsp fried shallots (ready to use)

Method:

  1. Steam the fish in a steamer until the fish turns white and thoroughly cooked (check with a fork to make sure)
  2. Once the fish is cold, remove all the bones and skin. I had 450 gr of fish flesh after removing the bones and skin
  3. Shred the fish flesh roughly with a fork or with your fingers. Set aside
  4. Place large red onion, garlic, salt, and coriander powder in a blender and process until they form a paste (you can also use mortar and pestle)
  5. Heat a non stick pan with 3 tbsp of olive oil, then add galangal, lime leaves, and the paste of onion, garlic, coriander powder, and salt and stir fry until fragrant
  6. Add the shredded fish to the pan and immediately switch to low heat
  7. Mix the fish flesh with other ingredients. Do not stop stirring to make sure it doesn’t burn. It is better to use a wooden spatula
  8. Shred the fish with the spatula while stirring it
  9. Fry for about 30 minutes. Reduce the heat of this dish and pour into a plate, then use your hand to shred the fish gently to make it floss
  10. Once again pour this fish mixture into pan, fry for another 30 minutes or until the meat starts to dry
  11. Add 3 tbsp of fried shallots and mix well with the fish meat
  12. Since I saw that the meat didn’t completely turn into fine floss, I processed everything in a blender (or you can use a food processor) in batches until it was finely chopped and turned into floss
    I processed everything in a blender until evenly shredded

    Before and after I processed the fish meat in a blender. Before: there were some while parts that were not finely shredded. After: the fish meat was evenly and finely shredded into fine floss
  13. Fry again until the meat is completely dried (the color should be golden brown)
  14. Turn off the heat. Discard galangal and lime leaves
  15. Wait to get cold and store in an air tight containers
  16. The floss will turn even crispier once it gets cold

In total, it took me 1.5 hours to fry the fish meat and turned it into fine floss. Working with low heat is very important because if you fry too fast, the fish meat will be moist and will not taste good

This fish floss is good to be eaten with hot steam rice, as topping for porridge, or you can even eat it with slices of white bread (this one was also my favorite breakfast or snack back then when I was a little girl, I like to sandwiched the floss in between white bread), or to be made as fish floss roll which I will share the recipe later. Anyway, there are many ways to enjoy fish floss and since making it at home would be cheaper and more delicious, please try this too at home.

Nasi Tim Ikan / Steam Rice In a Bowl With Fish and Mushroom in Sweet Soy Sauce

Batang fish or tenggiri was on sale in the supermarket few days ago, but in order to get that price, I had to buy the whole fish………………and so I did! I didn’t know what I would do with so much fish flesh and bones and (0nly one) fish head, but I still bought it anyway. It was more than 2.5 kg of whole fish, so it was huge and the cleaning part after that was not so nice, hahaha………….Luckily, I already asked the staff at the supermarket to debone the fish, cut the head and tail, and separated them in different plastic bags, so I just had to clean with tap water, cut, squeeze lime juice, and separate them into different containers for further use.

Then I was thinking of why not making them as toppings for one of my signature dish, which was nasi tim or steam rice with toppings in small stainless steel which everyone in the house always loved. It’s a very common dish usually served as breakfast in Jakarta, Indonesia, but also suitable for lunch or dinner. It is also one of the food that mothers usually introduce to their babies once they were allowed to eat rice as solid food (this should be the next step after rice porridge for the babies ). The texture of the rice is not as soft as porridge but also not as hard as rice being cooked in a rice cooker. So it is very suitable for babies above 1 year old who start eating rice.

For my nasi tim dish or steam rice in bowls, I usually used chicken as the main topping and I’ve posted the recipe in here.  This time, I replaced the chicken with fish. I want my family to reduce the amount of chicken that we eat as the source of protein and change it into mainly fish, tofu, and tempeh (tempeh is one of my son’s favorite food). So, replacing the topping of this steam rice dish from chicken to fish was a very good option. The good thing was……………..everyone one loved it. Daddy said it was super delicious…………………..he even thought it was chicken and was surprised when I told him there was no chicken in the dish. After the cooking process, the fish taste resembled like chicken so they didn’t know the difference, hahaha……….. Even the soup which I made from fish stock also tasted so good, more delicious and healthier than chicken stock of course, but you have to eat them hot, it will not be so good anymore once the soup is cold.

The recipe is for 8 servings (8 X 300 ml stainless steel or ceramic bowls).

There are several steps to make this dish and it really takes time to do everything from beginning till the end, yet everyone eats this dish in less then 15 minutes…………….sigh…………..

First, we have to make the fish stock, prepare the topping, cook the rice on a pan, and finally steam the rice and the toppings. I usually prepare the fish stock several days before and put it in containers to freeze it and just take it out whenever I need it. This time, I made the stock one day before and just put it in a big bowl in my refrigerator, and it really saved my time the next day when I had to make everything else.

This dish taste so delicious………………but the making process really took time……….

How to make fish stock

Ingredients:

  1. Fish heads, spine, and any other remaining parts from the fish carcasses (I used fish head and bones from 1 whole tenggiri / batang fish)
  2. 2 tbsp olive oil
  3. 2 thumbs of ginger, thinly slices
  4. 1 large onion / bawang bombay, cut into 8
  5. 1 large red onion / bawang merah besar, cut into 8
  6. 3 garlic, crushed
  7. 10 kafir lime leaves
  8. 2 L water

Method:

  1. Heat a large wok with 2 tbsp of olive oil, and fish head and bones, ginger, large onion, large red onion, and garlic. Stir fry until aromatic and the fish turns color into white. Then stir again for another 5 minutes
  2. Add water and lime leaves and bring to low heat
  3. Bring the water to boil. Cook for another 30 minutes
  4. Turn off the heat, and let it cool
  5. Set up a sieve  over another soup pot or large bowl and strain stock from other ingredients
  6. Keep the stock and discard everything else
  7. Set aside the fish stock. At this time, there will be about 1.5 L of fish stock ready to use

How to make rice topping

Ingredients:

  1. Batang fish fillet without skin (make sure there are no bones). Steam the fish fillet until soft. Poke with a fork to make sure the fish is thoroughly cooked. After steaming, I had 250 gr of fish flesh
  2. 3 tbsp olive oil
  3. 5 garlic, minced
  4. 5 shallots, minced
  5. 20 gr coriander leaves, minced
  6. 20 spring onion, minced
  7. 5 shiitake mushroom, minced

Sauce Ingredients (mix everything below in a small bowl):

  1. 1 tbsp fish sauce
  2. 1 tbsp soy sauce
  3. 1 tbsp sesame oil
  4. 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
  5. 3 tbsp sweet soy sauce
  6. 1 tsp salt, or to taste
  7. 200 ml water

Method:

  1. Place the steaming fish in a bowl and shred it into small pieces with a fork

    Shredded fish
  2. Heat a pan with olive oil, then add minced garlic and shallots. Stir fry until fragrant
  3. Add mushroom and fish flesh
  4. Turn to low heat, then add the sauce and mix well with mushroom and fish flesh
  5. Stir fry and cook until there is only 1/4 of the water left
  6. Turn off the heat, then add minced coriander leaves and minced spring onion. Mix well with other ingredients
  7. Set aside in a bowl

How to cook the rice

  1. 300 gr rice (2 cups)
  2. 500 ml fish stock. The amount of the stock used is depending on the rice. Look at the rice package to find out the ration between rice and water, and that will be the amount of fish stock that you will use to cook the rice
  3. 5 garlic, minced
  4. 5 shallots, minced
  5. 2 thumbs of ginger, thinly slices
  6. 1 tsp salt
  7. 1 tbsp sesame oil
  8. 2 tbsp olive oil

Method:

  1. Heat a large wok with olive oil, then add garlic and shallots. Stir fry until fragrant
  2. Add rice, sesame oil, and salt. Stir fry for about 3 minutes
  3. Add fish stock
  4. Cook until the rice absorbed all the water
  5. Turn off the heat, let it cool in the wok for 15 minutes
  6. Set aside in a bowl

How to cook steam rice in bowls with toppings:

  1. Prepare some stainless steel or ceramic bowls (my bowl was around 300 ml each). I only had 3 bowls, so I arranged and cooked everything several times
  2. Prepare half cooked rice, rice topping, and fish stock
  3. Add 3 tbsp of fish and mushroom topping to the bottom of the bowls
  4. Add rice on top of the topping until 3/4 of the bowl
  5. Add fish stock (4 tbsp or more if you want the rice to be softer)
  6. Add 2 tbsp of leftover soup from the fish and mushroom 
  7. Steam until the rice is thoroughly cooked and no more water left in the bowls (about 30 minutes after the water in the steamer boils)
  8. Turn off the heat and take out the bowl. Wait for about 5 minutes until it is cool enough to handle
  9. Place a plate as a lid on top of the bowl, then quickly turn the bowl upside down in the plate so the topping is at the top of the rice. Serve with the soup
  10. While waiting for the rice to cool, prepare the soup: bring to boil the remaining fish stock, add salt, minced coriander leaves, minced spring onion, and fried shallots. Serve in small serving bowls

 

Tahu dan Pare Isi Ikan Dori / Stuffed Fried Beancurd and Bitter Gourd (Using Dory Fish)

Oh my…………..this is one of my favorite dish since I was a child. This dish is very popular in Indonesia and we used to call it siomay (the steam version) or batagor (the fried version). There are many versions of siomay which might sound like siew mai or Chinese dim sum made of chicken or pork, but it’s actually a different dish. Originally, Indonesian siomay is made of fish paste (usually tengiri fish) mixed with tapioca flour. For variations, the fish paste can also be stuffed into cabbage, bitter gourd, potatoes, and tofu. For batagor, we are using wanton skin as the wrapper of the fish paste and then cut into bite size. Although I can also find this kind of stuffed tofu and bitter gourd in Singapore (you must be familiar with the name “Yong Tau Foo”), there is one thing that differentiate the way we eat this dish.

In Singapore, Yong Tau Foo is eaten with soup in a bowl. It can be a clear soup, curry flavor soup, tom yam based soup, and even laksa soup. In Indonesia, siomay is eaten with peanut sauce made fresh from raw peanuts (we will never use peanut butter to make the sauce, we always make the sauce fresh by using raw peanuts). After we pour lots and lots of peanut sauce on top of the dish, we also like to add some ketchup, sweet soy sauce, chili sauce, and squeeze lime on top of the dish and mix everything well. Then we eat happily until our tummy if full……………….

Since siomay is a common dish in my hometown, we can find it easily almost everywhere (including in fancy restaurants or hotels as breakfast, lunch, or dinner), but the best siomay are still the ones from the street vendor or wet market food stalls (in my opinion).

Stuffed tofu………………

As I wrote previously that commonly, we use cabbage, tofu, bitter gourd, eggs, and potatoes, but this time I only made this dish from bitter gourd and fried beancurd. Although my husband is not a bitter gourd lover, but he said he loved it so much and it didn’t taste bitter at all. He could eat at least 6 bitter gourd every time. Since he didn’t eat spicy food, I also made the sauce not spicy at all and he said he like it a lot. For the boy, he still prefer not to try to taste bitter gourd, hahaha……………and he still not a big fan of peanut sauce………….well, maybe someday……………….. but he loved the crispy stuffed fried beancurd a lot……………..

I love bitter gourd……………….it’s a healthy vegetable………………

Since dory fish was on sale in the Giant Supermarket (so I bought many packages), I made this dish using dory fish instead of tengiri fish, and it tasted sooo…………..good too. I also added white tofu, mushroom, and carrots as I intended to make this a super healthy dish, hahaha……………..

How to Make Stuffed Tofu and Bitter Gourd

Ingredients:

  1. 2 packages of dory fish or pangasius fillet (each package was around 400 gr)
  2. 5 garlic
  3. 2 tbsp sesame oil
  4. 2 tbsp fish sauce
  5. 1 tbsp soy sauce
  6. 1.5 tbsp salt
  7. 2 egss
  8. 5 tbsp tapioca flour
  9. 2 carrots, grated
  10. 1 white firm tofu (around 6 x 6 x 3 cm), mashed with your hand or with a fork
  11. 20 gr dried black fungus, soak in cold water for 15 minutes, squeeze the excess water, then finely chopped
  12. 20 spring onions, minced
  13. 30 gr coriander leaves, minced
  14. 20 tofu puff / fried beancurd
  15. 1 or 2 bitter gourd

Method:

  1. In a food processor, place dory fish, garlic, sesame oil, fish sauce, soy sauce, salt, and egg. Process until they form a paste
  2. Transfer the paste to a big bowl, then add tapioca flour and mix well
  3. Add grated carrots, mashed tofu, minced black fungus, minced spring onion, and minced coriander leaves to the bowl. Stir until all ingredients mix well. Set aside
  4. Cut the tofu puff diagonally into 2 (triangle shape)
  5. Fill each tofu puff with the fish paste using a tea spoon
  6. Prepare a steamer and steam until the fish paste is thoroughly cook (around 30 minutes)
  7. Let it cool and you can either deep fried the stuffed tofu or put in the oven for 15 minutes (200 C) to make the tofu puff crispy
  8. Wash bitter gourd and cut into 2 cm round shape
  9. Scoop out the seeds (using your hands or a small spoon)
  10. Fill each bitter gourd with the fish paste
  11. Prepare a steamer and steam bitter gourd until soft (poke with a fork before your turn off the heat)
  12. Serve with peanut sauce (sambal kacang)

How to Make Peanut Sauce

Ingredients:

  1. Raw peanuts, clean and let it dry. Fried with 2 tbsp of vegetable oil in a non stick pan until thoroughly cooked. Place in a food processor and pulse several times to chop them finely. I used 220 gr fried finely chopped peanuts. I usually make fried peanut paste in big batch and keep it in the refrigerator for further use
  2. 3 garlic
  3. 1 shallot
  4. 1.5 tsp palm sugar / gula jawa
  5. 8 kafir lime leaves
  6. 1 tsp salt
  7. 2 tbsp sugar
  8. 400 ml water
  9. 1 tbsp sweet soy sauce (optional)
  10. 2 tbsp chili sauce (optional)
  11. Lime juice from 3 limes

Method:

  1. Place finely chopped fried peanut, garlic, shallot, salt, sugar, palm sugar, and water in a food processor and process until smooth
  2. Remove to a non stick pan and add kafir lime leaves. Cook in low heat, bring to boil and wait until the amount of water reduced and the sauce becomes thick. The thickness of the sauce is depending on your preference
  3. When the sauce is thicken, add sweet soy sauce and chili sauce then mix well and bring to boil again
  4. Taste the sauce and add salt, sugar, sweet soy sauce, or chili sauce if necessary
  5. Turn off the heat, add lime juice to the sauce and mix well
  6. Transfer to a serving bowl

How to serve:

  1. Cut stuffed tofu and bitter gourd into bite size
  2. Pour peanut sauce on top of the stuffed tofu and bitter gourd and mix everything well
  3. Add more sweet soy sauce and chili sauce (I like it to be very spicy…………..)

Red and White Snapper Fishball Soup In Homemade Fish Stock

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In my previous post, I shared about how to make fish stock. Since I had a big pot of fish stock, I decided to make fish ball soup. The fish ball is, of course, homemade from fresh fish that I bought from the fishmonger in the wet market. I loved red snapper and white snapper, so I used both of them as the basic ingredients for my fish ball.

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My husband really liked this dish and said it was so good, he gave two thumbs up especially for the soup base. The fragrant smell of the soup plus fresh chopped coriander leaves added into the soup could make us salivating. The fish balls were also smooth and bouncy, and because they were homemade, they taste like real fish (store bought fish balls sometimes only use small percentage of fish and thus we can’t really taste the fish).

So here is the recipe for homemade red and white snapper fish balls with home made fish stock:

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Ingredients:

To make fishball:

  1. 540 gr of fish fillet (mixture of red snapper and white snapper), put in the bottom side of the refrigerator (not freezer) 24 hours before start making the fish ball. The texture of the fish should be soften enough to be processed in the food processor but still cold. Cold fish and cold water used in this process will make the texture of the fish ball chewy and bouncy
  2. 2 garlic
  3. 180 ml ow water, make into small ice cubes
  4. 150 gr tapioca flour
  5. 1 tbsp salt
  6. 2 egg white

To make the soup base:

  1. 750 ml water
  2. 1.5 L fish stock (the recipe of how to make fish stock can be seen in here)
  3. Salt, to taste
  4. Carrots (optional), cut into thin round shapes. My son loves carrot so much so I usually add carrot in every soup dish
  5. Minced spring onion
  6. Minced coriander leaves
  7. Fried shallot

Method:

  1. In a big pot, bring to boil water and fish stock. I used the combination of water and fish stock because I didn’t want the strong taste of the fish stock overpowered the soup. Besides, I was going to cook fish ball in the stock which would give extra fish flavor too to the stock
  2. In a food processor, process the fish meat until smooth and form a paste
  3. Add salt, garlic, and 1/4 of the ice cubes, and process again until all mix together
  4. Add salt, process again
  5. Add flour and ice cubes little by little and process again until they form a smooth paste. Lett the food processor work for another 2 minutes after that
  6. Transfer the fish paste to a bowl
  7. Lightly knead with the wet hand hand while patting the paste several time to release the air. Gather the mixture with wet hands, bring it up towards you and slap it back down for about 10 times. I didn’t need to knead for a long time because the food processor already did half the job for me.
  8. Knead and pat until the fish paste doesn’t feel not so sticky in your hand anymore and you can easily make a smooth ball with your hand.
  9. Wet your hand again, taking 1 tbsp of the paste and make a round ball shape and drop into boiling fish stock in the big pot one by one
  10. The fish balls are cooked when they float to the top
  11. Add cut carrots into the pot and season with salt
  12. Cook until carrots are cooked thoroughly, then turn of the heat
  13. Add minced spring onion, minced coriander leaves, and fried shallot and stirimg_5401
  14. Transfer to serving bowl  and serve hot

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Making Fish Stock

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I like to buy fish in the wet market, not only because they are fresh, but also because the fishmonger is willing to clean thoroughly, descale, debone, make into fillet, or cut in anyway I like it to be. When I buy whole fish, I would throw away the bones and just use the fish fillet.  I don’t like fish with bones because it will be very difficult for my boy to eat. Sometimes, I put all the bones in a plastic bags, and after several trips to the wet market, I get one big bag full of fish bones, tails, and heads. So instead of throwing them away, I decided to make a big pot of fish stock.

Fish stock is, of course, healthier than meat stock. It is full of healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. It is an excellent source of iodine, calcium, gelatin, DHA, and other things that are good for our body and brain. With the right method of cooking, the result is incredibly delicious. My husband even said (and I agreed with him too), that it tastes better than chicken stock. No fishy smell of course because that will ruin the taste of the stock. To get rid of the fishy smell, I always use lime juice and ginger to do the job.

Always serve the dish hot when you’re using fish stock. Add salt, some herbs and spices, carrots or other vegetables, homemade fish ball, prawns, or crab stick, and you’ll get a delicious soup ready for the whole family.

Ingredients:

  1. Fish heads, spine, and any other remaining parts from the fish carcasses from 3 medium size fish (I used red and white red snapper carcasses). Wash and rinse fish bones thoroughly. Squeeze lime juice from 5 limes and put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. The lime juice will help reducing the fishy smell
  2. 1/2 large red onion, minced
  3. 5 garlic, minced
  4. 1/2 large onion, minced
  5. 2 thumbs of ginger, cut in thin slices
  6. 3 tbsp olive oil
  7. 1 lemongrass, take the white part only and crush it with the back of the knife
  8. 10 lime leaves
  9. 1 big celery (with celery leaves), cut into 6
  10. 1 tbsp of salt (optional, you can always add salt later when you are going to cook it as a soup base and add other soup ingredients)
  11. 2 L of water

Method:

  1. Heat a big wok with 3 tbsp of olive oil
  2. Add ginger, red onion, garlic, and large onion and stir fry until fragrant
  3. Add fish bones, stir fry until aromatic and the fish turn into white color (for about 5 minutes). This will help to get rid the fishy smell from the stock
  4. Add lemongrass and lime leaves and 2 L of water and bring to boil
  5. Turn into low heat and let it simmer uncovered for 1 hour. Don’t forget to skim off any scums that rise to the surface
  6. 15 minutes before you are going to turn off the heat, add celery and celery leaves
  7. Turn off the heat and let it cool for about 15 minutes
  8. Set up a sieve  over another soup pot or large bowl and strain stock from other ingredients
  9. Keep the stock and discard everything else
  10. The stock can be kept in freezer in a container or zip lock bag for further useimg_5398

Ebi Furai / Crispy Fried Shrimp

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Ebi Furai is one of my son’s favorite dish. Most of the time, he would order this crispy fried shrimp whenever we went out to eat in Japanese restaurants. I still remember that he didn’t like to eat shrimps when he was younger, not even the fried and crispy ones. So it’s still amazing to me that he can eat many things that he didn’t like before.

Actually, I never buy (not even until now) prawns or big shrimps and cook them at home. My husband can’t eat shrimps and he is also not allowed to eat them. As for me, as I’m getting older, I try to avoid several food ingredients such as red meat, prawns, crabs, and clams………….although I like them so much…………….

I only add small shrimps when making dumpling to be mixed together with fish and chicken, and sometimes I add 2 or 3 small pieces of shrimps to make noodle soup or fried noodle just to increase the flavor, but basically, I don’t cook with shrimps very often.

It just happened that last week, my husband had a barbecue dinner party at his office and there were lots of leftovers, especially raw beef and big shrimps. One of his friends packaged them for him and asked him to bring almost everything home because he was the one who had a car and most of his friends didn’t cook at home. So last week, my freezer was so full with fried fishballs, beef, shrimps, and many other things.

Those big shrimps were still fresh so I cleaned them (because they were coated with barbecue sauce) and separate the skins (to make shrimp stock) and the flesh. That was when I thought of making tempura and fried shrimp. So yesterday (it was a school holiday), I tried making ebi furai first and am planning to make tempura tomorrow. While my son was studying to prepare for his exams, I prepared his lunch and that was fried shrimp, and thankfully, he liked it so much………..

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Ebi furai is suitable for kids because they will love the juice and soft texture of the prawns, and also the crispy and crunchy texture that coated the prawns. No wonder it’s very famous in Hoka Hoka Bento (very famous Japanese franchise restaurants in Indonesia).

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Ingredients:

  1. 10 (or more) big shrimps or prawns
  2. 1/2 tsp salt
  3. 1/2 cup flour (you can either use all purpose flour or self raising flour  like I did)
  4. 1.5 cups breadcrumbs or you can use Panko (Japanese style breadcrumb which you can find in the supermarket)
  5. 2 eggs, beaten
  6. Oil for deep frying

Method:

Since I never like using store bought breadcrumb, I always make my own breadcrumb at home. I used to make everything from scratch, and that included the bread. Since my bread maker is broken and I can’t use it anymore and haven’t bought a new one, I just bought baguette from the bakery and then make it into breadcrumb. In this way, I can always decide the texture of breadcrumb that I want to make.

For the bread, I like to use baguette than white bread because the texture is not as soft as white bread, thus it will make better texture of breadcrumb. This is how I make breadcrumb from baguette:

  1. Cut the baguette in small pieces using a bread knife
  2. Process in batches in a blender (I tried using my food processor but it didn’t work as well as my blender) until coarse crumbs form. For Ebi Furai, the bread should just coarsely ground unlike standard breadcrumb that we buy in supermarket. Smoother texture of breadcrumb would be suitable for making chicken or fish katsu, but will not look good in this fried shrimp dish
  3. Spread the fresh crumbs in an even layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes in 150 C while stirring occasionally so the bottom part will not get burn (do this in batches)
  4. Transfer to a large serving plate and let it really cool and dry (for at least 4 hours)
  5. Store in an airtight container up to 1 month and the breadcrumb is ready to use

Next step is to prepare the shrimps:

  1. Pull off the head of the shrimp
  2. Pull off the outer shell and only keep the last segment of shell and the shrimp tailimg_6151
  3. Rinse the shrimp under running water
  4. Devein the back of the shrimp using a small and sharp knife. Cut vertically for about 2 mm deepimg_6155
  5. Lift up the vein using the knife or your two fingers (thumb and index finger)img_6157
  6. Flip the shrimp (belly side up) and make another vertical cut for about 2 mm deep
  7. Lift up the vein using the fingersimg_6154
  8. Cut the tip of the shrimp’s tail so it will not create splatter in the oilcut-shrimp-tail
  9. Still belly side up make 4 or 5 very shallow perpendicular cuts along the length of the belly, be very careful not to slice all the way through the shrimpimg_6161
  10. Turn the shrimp over and gently pressing down on the flesh to straighten and lengthen it

Final step: Battering and Frying

  1. Prepare 3 bowls. In the first bowl, mix flour with salt. In the second bowl is the beaten egg. The third bowl is the breadcrumbimg_6151
  2. Coat the shrimp with flour, then beaten egg
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  3. Double coat the shrimp by coating it again with flour, and then eggsecond-coating
  4. Finally, coat the shrimp with breadcrumbimg_6171
  5. Do all these one shrimp at a time
  6. Leave all the shrimps on a plate and let them rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. I did this to make sure that the breadcrumb would stick to the shrimp nicelyimg_6172
  7. Deep fried the shrimps until golden brownimg_6176
  8. Remove excess oil using a wire rack or paper towel and serve hot with rice, salad, and chili sauceebi-furai

According to my son, even after 45 minutes the fried shrimps were still crispy. He said he liked them better than the ones that we used to buy in our favorite Japanese restaurant. The shrimps were big and juicy and sweet, and the coating was just perfect, salty, and crispy. Moreover, he could eat as many as he wanted (he ate 8 and I got only 2 by the way), unlike in the restaurant where he only got 2 or 3 pieces every time he ate (and very expensive too according to mommy…………..).

The prawn was cooked perfectly, not overcook and also not undercooked
The prawn was cooked perfectly, not overcook and also not undercooked

Also, when making Ebi Furai at home, we know that the oil is new and still in good condition, and that makes the taste even better.

Crispy and crunchy until the last bite
Crispy and crunchy until the last bite

How To Make Shrimp Stock / Membuat Kaldu Udang

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Shrimp stock is a must have when you want to make tom yum soup. It is also delicious if you add fish and make it into fish soup. Tekwan, which is an Indonesian fishball soup from Palembang, South Sumatera also uses shrimp stock as the soup base. There are many dishes that go well with shrimp stock, and that is why making homemade shrimp stock is something that I usually do regularly at home.

Shrimp stock is said to be healthier than any other stock that is made from meat, such as chicken, beef, or pork. It contains very little fat but rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6.

Making shrimp stock is actually not difficult, the most annoying part for me is to peel the shrimp one by one and then rinse everything (also one by one because I have to make sure that every single part is clean enough before I start cooking) and it really takes time and energy…………….so that is why I always make in big batches and just keep the rest of the stock in the freezer.

If you’re using shrimp stock as the soup base, always remember to serve it hot. Always heat the soup again before you serve it because unlike chicken stock, shrimp stock stock is not good when it is served cold.

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Ingredients:

  1. shrimp shells and heads from 1 kg of shrimp, rinse thoroughly under cold running water
  2. lime juice from 2 limes
  3. 2 thumbs of ginger, cut into 8
  4. 1 carrot, cut into 4
  5. 1 large onion, peel and cut into 4
  6. 5 garlic, peel and crush
  7. 1 large red onion, peel and cut 4
  8. 3 L of water
  9. some stalks of celery from big celery
  10. 1 tsp of cooking oil (optional)img_5652

Method:

  1. Squeeze lime juice all over the shrimp shells and heads and put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. This will help reduce the fishy smell
  2. After 30 minutes, heat a big wok with 1 tsp of cooking oil (no need to use the oil if it’s a non sticky pan) and add shrimp shells and head together with the ginger into the wok.img_5653
  3. Stir fry until the shrimps turn into pink color. In this way, we can get rid of the fishy smell and will get a nice and aromatic stockimg_5655
  4. Add water and all other ingredients ( carrot, garlic, large onion, large red onion) into the wokimg_5670
  5. Bring the pot to boil then turn to low heat to simmer for 1 hour
  6. Skim the impuruties that rise to the surface with a spoon or ladle
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  7. Turn off the heat and wait for another 15 minutes to let it cool
  8. Set up a mesh strainer over another soup pot or large bowl and strain stock from other ingredientsimg_5674
  9. Don’t throw the shrimps shells and heads and everything else yet. Put all of them back into the wok and add another 2 L of water. Repeat step 4 to 6 all over again. You can still use the shrimp shells and heads up to 3 times, but reduce the amount of water when you re-use them
  10. You can keep the shrimp stock in ziplock plastic bags and  store it in the freezer for up to 3 monthsimg_5675