- Recipe of the Day: Balinese Chocolate Cake for your Valentine’s Day
- Recipe of the Day: Kue Bika
- Behind the scenes in the Street Food Chef kitchen.
- Recipe of the Day: Ikan Cobek with Sundanese Style Sambal Hijau
- Here We Go Garut: #StreetFoodChef TV
- Sneak peek of my next recipe.
- Recipe of the Day: Sate Buntel
- Street Food Chef TV: Solo
- Recipe of the Day: Ayam Rendang
- Hannah Al-Rashid Talks Will Meyrick and #StreetFoodChef
Recently I found myself in the kitchen of a little warung in Padang, getting the lowdown on how to make some coconut fritters called kue bika. Read More
Even though I’m on the road a lot, shooting Street Food Chef is not just adventures in tiny towns, boat trips and warung wanderings. I’ve also been spending quite a bit of time in my new studio kitchen in Jakarta shooting the ‘how to’ part of the show: bringing back a few of my favourite recipes from each area and giving you a quick 101 on how to make them at home.
On last weekend’s episode of Street Food Chef I got a refresher course into Sundanese food over in Garut, West Java. It wasn’t entirely unchartered territory for me, because my wife, Wati, is originally from Bandung, which is probably the most well known city in that region.
Wati is always helping set me up with insider contacts; being able to find out which family is known for doing a special version of a particular dish, which ibu-ibu (matriarch) could be persuaded to let me in her kitchen and teach me her secrets. I’m extremely lucky like that (I know, I married well, and she is forever reminding me about that ha ha), and this trip was no exception.
Tomorrow morning on Street Food Chef, I’m hitting up Garut in West Java.
Garut is widely known as the ‘Switzerland of Java’ because of it’s fantastic scenery, unlike anything else you’ll see in the rest of the archipelago. That perfect-Polaroid moment of the blue mountain rising above the vivid green landscape below really hits you with its wow factor, in a way that a camera will never do justice. It’s the kind of place that deserves a visit. And so there I was.
It’s Sundanese cuisine in this little pocket of West Java; distinctive enough, culturally and geographically, to be recognised as its own entity. The Sundanese people place a big emphasis on vegetables, especially the raw kind, and fish rates highly on the epicurean agenda. Not surprisingly, it’s known for being about as fresh and healthy as regional Indonesian food gets, and is highly rated by those in the gastro-know across the country . There some interesting parallels with traditional Balinese food; the found and foraged nature of some of the greens and herbs, the local river fish, a damn good raw sambal, with no concessions made when it comes to the heat.
Incidentally, it’s also the home of some of the fluffiest steamed rice in the country. The Sundanese like to say that ‘if you have not eaten rice, then you have not eaten’, which pretty much sums up why rice is the centrepiece of so many meals.
While I was there I had some delicious ikan cobek (whole fried fish) served up with a firecracker of a sambal, got to get an insider’s look at some very quirky ram fighting and tried my hand at making some of the most sought after dumplings in the region – kue burayot.
Keeping to my philosophy of always discovering something new, a new vegetable popped up on my ingredient radar: leunca. Never heard of it before? Well, it’s not exactly a big hitter in comparison to say, pea eggplants, but it’s worth checking out. Part of the nightshade family, it sort of looks like a large green berry. Bitter, and with a bit of a crunch. It was interesting enough that we wove it into this episode, and got into cooking it on the show.
Because I know that leunca might be a bit tricky for you to easily get your hands on, I’m going to give you a super easy recipe for the ikan cobek on Tuesday – so either stay tuned into the blog until then or just subscribe, so it gets sent to your inbox instead – so you can try it yourself at home.
In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a little clip of me having a go at making kue burayot. It’s just some rough-and-ready footage from the road, but if you’re outside Indonesia and haven’t been able to catch the show yet, you might like to see what I’m really up to these days (when I’m not in the restaurants!).
Don’t laugh at my Bahasa … it’s getting better all the time!