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February 2012 Archive

Indonesian Meat Satay

Indonesian Meat Satay

This famous Indonesian charcoal-grilled kebab appears on menus from San Francisco to Amsterdam.  The secret of tender succulent satay is, of course, in the rich, spicy-sweet marinade.

While the origins of satay have been contested, it is most likely from Indonesia. Originating from Java where it is said to have been created by Javanese street vendors as a take on an Indian kebab - it has become the national dish of Indonesia.

In Indonesia, satay is available everywhere from travelling street vendors to upper-class restaurants. In Bandung, the West Java Governor's office is popularly called 'Gedung Sate' meaning  'Satay building' in Indonesian, due to thesatay-like pinnacle on its roof.

One of the most popular types of satay in Indonesia is Satay Madura. This version usually uses chicken or lamb. It is marinated in sweet soy sauce, garlic, palm sugar, shallots, shrimp paste, peanuts and salt and is served with rice or rice cakes wrapped in coconut or banana leaves.

Because Indonesia was a Dutch colony until the 20th century, Indonesian cuisine is a prevalent part of the food culture in the Netherlands today - satay being one of several popular dishes. Satay is available in Dutch snack bars, supermarkets, pubs and cafes. 

Many different variations of satay exist. They vary in meat, preparation and cooking methods. In addition to different satay varieties within Indonesia, satay is also popular in Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

Satay can be made using chicken, lamb, beef, pork, goat, fish, and various cuts and parts of the animal can be used. Tofu and tempeh are used in vegetarian versions.

For other creative ideas for satay marinades, try these recipes:

http://www.asianhomegourmet.com/australia/our-recipes/indonesian-meat-satay-spice-paste/balinese-spring-rolls-serves-6-8.php

http://www.asianhomegourmet.com/australia/our-recipes/indonesian-meat-satay-spice-paste/chicken-in-crispy-cups-serves-4.php

 

Tom Yum Soup

Tom Yum Soup

Literally the Thai words for hot and sour soup, Tom Yum is one of the most popular dishes in the world, known for a flavor base that's sweet, sour, savory and chilli all at once.

A mixture of lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal (blue ginger), lime juice, fish sauce and chili is used to create these intense flavors but more than tasting great, the ingredients at the heart of this famous broth give the drinker many nutritional benefits.

Tom yum soup is not only a soothing remedy for when you're feeling under the weather but when you're sick, it helps you increase your appetite and as a result, strength! Its various ingredients are natural immune-system boosters and assist in warding of Winter illnesses like the flu, cold and cough. It's therefore no surprise that these base ingredients are the same ones used traditional Thai medicine!

 
  Did you also know that in Thailand:

  • Galangal is used both to treat flatulence and as an aphrodisiac
  • Traditional doctors use lemongrass to relieve gas in the digestive system
  • Kaffir-lime is thought to cure dandruff

What's more, tom yum soup is a great dish for anyone trying to lose weight! Low in calories and jam-packed with flavour, the dish has long been a favourite of many a dieter across the globe. The spiciness of the dish also helps to kick your metabolism into high gear as your body digests food with more efficiency.

With so many great aspects, this soup has not only been widely adapted in neighboring countries as Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore but has also been changed by Western influence. The version most people are familiar with today is tom yum made with shrimp but due to its abundance in Thailand, the main protein ingredient used in the dish had traditionally been fish. With the widespread preference for shrimp in the West, however, tom yum goong (shrimp) has usurped tom yum pla (fish) for top position worldwide. 

 
   Some other contemporary twists:

  • Coconut milk:-a traditionally spicy soup, many Western adaptations add milk or coconut milk to create a more mild taste. While creating a creamier texture, this also increases the calories in the soup!
  • Roasted chilli paste has been added in some Asian adaptations to give the flavor a greater punch. This also lends the soup its bright, eye-catching color.

While a spice paste is enough to give flavor, to bring any dish to life, AHG always recommends adding fresh ingredients too- this also means you can adjust the flavour for personal preference!

See below for a great Tom Yum Goong recipe or, if you want to mix it up a little bit, AHG also has some online recipes for creative ways to use our Thai Tom Yum Soup SpicePaste© including Baked Tom Yum Fish and for a vegetarian option, Eggs with Thai Tangy Sauce.




Tom Yum Goong

Ingredients

  • 1 packet Thai Tom Yum Soup SpicePaste©
  • 880ml (4 cups) water or chicken stock
  • 250g ( ½ lb) shelled and deveined prawns
  • 60g (2 oz) sliced cherry tomatoes

To taste:

  • Chilli
  • Galangal*
  • Lemongrass**
  • Kaffir lime leaves

To season:

  • Fresh cilantro
  • Lime or lemon juice and soya sauce or fish sauce as optional seasoning.

Method

  1. Boil water in a saucepan. Add Spice Paste and stir well.
  2. Add prawns and mushrooms and tomatoes, sliced galangal, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves; bring back to the boil.
  3. Just before serving, season to taste. Garnish with coriander and serve hot.

* This is creamy-white and is slighter harder than ginger - it is used in the same way but has a more lemony flavour

** This is a widely used herb that is sold as long lemony scented blades. Try to buy pale-green, near white, bulbous stalks. Lemongrass imparts a fresh citrus taste with a touch of ginger but without the bitter acidity of lemon or lime. If you like, lemongrass can be bought in bulk, chopped finely and frozen for later use.

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Recently:

Indonesian Meat Satay

Indonesian Meat Satay

This famous Indonesian charcoal-grilled kebab appears on menus from San Francisco to Amsterdam. The secret of tender succulent satay is, of course, in the rich, spicy-sweet marinade.

» Read more

Tom Yum Soup

Tom Yum Soup

Literally the Thai words for hot and sour soup, Tom Yum is one of the most popular dishes in the world, known for a flavor base that's sweet, sour, savory and chilli all at once.

» Read more