Month: August 2019

Banana Green Curry Cake

My sister-in-law (not by law but let’s not get into the details here) gave me her copy of Christina Tosi’s All About Cake. As happens to all of us, she got it out of excitement for Tosi but then found she didn’t have the time to actually bake from it.

A guy with ME written above his head, looking at a girl with "A NEW COOKBOOK" written across her and then his angry girlfriend with "THE BOOKS I ALREADY OWN" written across her

While I side-eyed all the cookbooks (and books-books) I have that I haven’t cooked from yet, I promised I’d bake from this book. Since it is my goal to bake more this year and since I love Tosi this shouldn’t a problem (remind me of this later).

We’ve got the funk: green curry in cake? Hell yeah!

As someone who is more savory than sweet and a lover of funky flavors, the first thing that caught my eye was this Banana Green Curry pound cake with black pepper butter. I turned it into a Bundt cake because I don’t have a loaf pan.

The cover of All About Cake by Christina Tosi

This cake is not as funky as the name would have it. It’s more sweet with spicy undertones, which is perfect for people just getting into the funk. I might add a bit more green curry the next time I make this, because why the fuck not?

Tosi says you can toast it as well, but I found my cake was gone before I could try that.

A word on Christina Tosi recipes

Tosi’s recipes always sound very intimidating because she uses a lot of ingredients. Beyond those ingredient lists I’ve found most of her cakes are still your basic “mix your wets and dries separately, then together and then bake”-bakes. So take a deep breath, go for a shop and dig in.

A banana curry cake surrounded by Haribo candy bananas and the book All About Cake by Christina Tosi

Banana curry cake from Christina Tosi's All About Cake

Dorothy Porker
This banana green curry cake is lush and moist with a nice little kick at the end.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Birthdays, Dessert, Party snack
Cuisine American, Fusion
Servings 8

Equipment

  • Oven
  • Bundt or loaf shape cake pan
  • Small bowl x2
  • Fork
  • Large bowls x2
  • Whisk
  • Wire rack

Ingredients
  

  • 2 medium - 280 gr ripe bananas ripe as in oozing out of their skins ripe

Wet ingredients

  • 12 T - 170 gr butter melted
  • 3/4 c - 165 gr sour cream
  • 1 T - 18 gr Thai green curry paste
  • 1/2 t - 2 gr banana extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk this is just the yolk from a large egg

Dry ingredients

  • 1 c - 200 gr sugar
  • 1 c - 135 gr all purpose flour
  • 1 c - 120 gr cake flour see instructions below if you can't find this
  • 1 1/2 T - 6 gr baking powder
  • 1 t - 6 gr baking soda
  • 1 1/4 t - 5 gr salt

For the black pepper butter, optional

  • 7 T - 95 gr butter softened
  • 3 t - 10 gr sugar
  • 1 t - 4 gr salt
  • 1 1/2 t - 3.5 gr black pepper freshly ground

Instructions
 

To make your own cake flour

  • If you cannot find American cake flour, you can make your own by blending together 1 c - 125 grams of plain flour with 1 T - 15 grams of corn flour. This makes little over 1 cup, so for this recipe you will need to make 4 batches of cake flour and you’ll be left with a little extra for another day.

To make the cake

  • Preheat your oven to roughly 350° F/ 160° C. Grease and dust whichever pan you're using for this.
  • Place 2 very ripe bananas in a small bowl and mash with a fork.
  • Now whisk together the 12 T - 170 gr of melted butter, 3/4 c - 165 gr of sour cream, 1 T - 18 gr of curry paste, 1/2 t - 2 gr of banana extract, 2 large eggs and 1 large egg yolk in a large bowl. Add the bananas and stir to combine.
  • Mix together 1 c - 200 gr of sugar, 1 c - 135 gr of all purpose and 1 c - 120 gr of cake flour with 1 1/2 tsp - 5 gr of baking powder, 1 tsp - 6 gr of baking soda and 1 1/4 tsp - 5 gr of salt in another large bowl. Pour the wet ingredients in with the dry and stir to combine. Use a whisk to break up any lumps.
  • Finally pour the combined batter into your greased and dusted cake pan. Bake the cake for 60 minutes or so, until the cake rises and puffs. Tap the top of your cake with your fingertips. If the cake bounces back firmly and the center is no longer jiggly, the cake should be done. If it does not pass this test, give it another 5 to 10 minutes and then try again.
  • Let the cake cool in the pan for at least 45 minutes, before turning it over onto a wire rack and allowing it to cool completely. While you try your patience you can make the black pepper butter.

To make the black pepper butter, optional

  • Mix together 7 T - 95 gr of softened butter with 3 t - 10 gr of sugar, 1 t - 4 gr of salt and 1 1/2 t - 3.5 gr of freshly ground black pepper until airy.

Notes

The cake will keep in your fridge in an airtight container or wrapped in clingfilm for 1 week.
The black pepper butter will last for roughly 1 month in the fridge, and is a great excuse to bake a second cake.
Keyword all about cake, american cakes, christina tosi, milk bar

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Gado Gado: Classic Indonesian Salad

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I used to dislike gado gado until I realised I can just omit the veggies I dislike. Now I make a combo of the veggies that work for me. As pictured here.

The vegetarian cheat code for gado gado

It was the first staple dish I cooked for vegetarian friends when they came round for dinner. But it wasn’t until this year that I learned that you can make it vegan or vegetarian by replacing the trassi (fermented prawn paste) with miso.

A plate of Indonesian chicken and waffles with pandan waffles, gado gado slaw and Indonesian style fried chicken

Gado gado slaw for Indonesian chicken and waffles

I use the sauce to make a gado gado style slaw with grated red cabbage, white cabbage and carrots for my Indonesian chicken and waffles. And replace the boiled egg with crispy oven-baked tofu puffs for vegan friends.

When and how do I eat gado gado?

Gado gado’ll do nicely for lunch or dinner and should comprise a full meal in itself, with maybe a side of kerupuk or prawn crackers.

I still get angry when people put weird shit like bell peppers in their gado gado. Or boiled blubbery bean sprouts? But I guess at least they’re eating it. So if that’s what you wanna do I’m not stopping you.

A yellow ceramic bowl with white trim filled with gado gado (lettuce, cucumber, new potatoes, bean sprouts, a soft boiled egg and a peanut-based sauce) with a red chili floating above it on a soft pink backdrop.

Gado Gado: Classic Indonesian Salad

Dorothy Porker
This classic Indonesian salad recipe with spicy peanut sauce is a great staple to feed your vegetarian and vegan friends and yourself. Never forget yourself.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main course
Cuisine Asian, Indonesian, Southeast Asian, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings 2

Equipment

  • Small saucepan
  • Pots in the amount of veggies you want to cook

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 c - 350 ml water
  • 2 medium shallots finely chopped
  • 3 red chilies finely chopped with the white core and seeds removed if you prefer less heat
  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 2 t - 8 gr trassi fermented prawn paste, use miso to make this vegan
  • 1" - 1.5 cm galengal freshly grated, or replace with 1/2 tsp dried
  • 1 1/2 T - 20 gr tamarind pulp
  • 2 T - 30 gr palm sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 7 T - 100 gr peanut butter as plain as possible
  • 3 makrut lime leaves smashed and bruised
  • 1.5 oz - 50 gr creamed coconut you can find this in Asian supermarkets
  • 1 T - 15 ml kecap manis sweet Indonesian soy sauce

For gado gado my way

  • head lettuce of choice, avoid anything too bitter, I like little gems myself
  • 1 egg per person, soft boiled - skip if you're eating vegan
  • tofu puffs as many as you like, either store-bought or home made (see notes)
  • 1 c - 50 gr bean sprouts brown bottoms removed, definitely not cooked
  • 2 c - 75 gr new potatoes cooked for about 15 minutes in salted water
  • 1/2 cucumber sliced to whatever dimensions you enjoy

For gado gado slaw

  • 1 c - 100 gr red cabbage grated
  • 1 c - 100 gr white cabbage grated
  • 1/2 c - 50 gr carrots grated
  • 3 spring onions sliced into thin rings

Instructions
 

  • Prep your veg first, I like my combination of 1 head of lettuce, 1 egg per person, a handful of tofu puffs, 1 c - 50 gr of bean sprouts, 2 c - 150 gr of boiled new potatoes and 1/2 sliced cucumber, but you can have this with whatever and however many veg you like.

To make the sauce

  • Place 1 1/2 c - 350 ml of water in a small saucepan, add 2 finely chopped shallots, 3 finely chopped red chilies (seeds and pith removed for less heat), 3 finely minced garlic cloves, 2 t - 8 gr trassi, 1 inch freshly peeled and grated galengal, 1 1/2 t - 20 gr tamarind, 2 T - 30 gr palm sugar, 3 bruised lime leaves and a pinch of salt and bring to the boil.
  • Once the water spice mixture has come to the boil, lower the heat and stir in 7 T - 100 gr of peanut butter.
  • Let it come back up to the boil, then reduce the heat one last time and add 1.5 oz - 50 gr creamed coconut. Stir until dissolved and take the sauce off the heat.
  • Finish by stirring in 1 T - 15 ml of kecap manis to give the sauce a slight gloss.

To compose your gado gado or gado gado slaw

  • When the sauce has cooled completely,either:
  • Plate up your veggies, tofu puffs, new potatoes and eggs and add a nice big dollop of the sauce on top of it. OR:
  • Mix a few tablespoons of the sauce into a large bowl 1 c - 100 gr red cabbage, 1 c - 100 gr white cabbage, 1/2 c - 50 gr of carrot and 3 finely sliced spring onions until everything is coated in a thin layer of the sauce.

Notes

You can find my recipe for oven-baked tofu puffs here.
The peanut sauce will keep for 5 days in a closed container in the fridge but you need to allow it to cool to room temperature before you store it.
If re-using, remove from the fridge and let it get back up to room temperature and give it a good stir before adding it to anything as it does get quite firm once cooled down completely or reheat in a sauce pan and add water until you get your desired consistency.
Keyword Asian food, asian recipes, gado gado, Indonesian food, Indonesian recipe, Salad, slaw

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Indonesian Fried Chicken Recipe

I guess everybody’s favorite fried chicken is the fried chicken they grew up on, so this is mine. I could eat buckets of this even as a young one. Now I rarely make it and when I do, it’s part of my Indonesian chicken and waffle recipe.

Fried chicken in a frying net

There are more complex versions of this dish online, but this is how I know it and I accept no substitute.

I could say more about this but it’s fried chicken. What else is there to say?

How do I eat Indonesian fried chicken?

I like having mine with plain white rice and some lightly pickled cucumber or gado gado slaw. You can also coat your chicken in your sambal of choice straight after frying for added oomph or make throw it on the barbecue instead of frying it.

A plate of Indonesian chicken and waffles

And if course it’s a key component to my Indonesian chicken and waffles with pandan waffles and gado gado slaw.

Chicken marinating in asem garem marinade

Indonesian Fried Chicken - Ayam Goreng Asem Garem

Dorothy Porker
Easy fragrant and succulent Indonesian fried chicken. Perfect for Indonesian chicken and waffles, with some rice and gado gado salad or on its own as a snack.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Overnight marinade 8 hrs
Course Barbecue, Main course, Party snack
Cuisine Asian, Indonesian
Servings 4

Equipment

  • Container with lid to marinade overnight
  • Deep fat fryer
  • Paper towels

Ingredients
  

  • 3/4 c - 75 gr tamarind pulp
  • 1 T - 15 gr salt
  • 2 c - 500 ml water lukewarm
  • 8 pieces chicken skin on, bone in - I like thighs myself
  • neutral oil for deep frying

Instructions
 

The evening before you want to eat

  • Mix together 3/4 c - 75 gr tamarind pulp, 1 T - 15 gr salt with 2 c - 500 ml of lukewarm water until most of the tamarind and salt are dissolved.
  • Gently score the chicken skin of 8 pieces of chicken before placing the pieces in the tamarind mixture and leave to marinade overnight.

The day of

  • Heat your deep fat fryer or oil to 180° C/ 350° F.
  • Fry your chicken in batches. I like to fry mine lid off for about 5-7 minutes and then placing the lid on for an additional 10 minutes to add. You're looking for some really dark crisp caramelized edges.

Notes

Please note: Dutch chickens tend to run smaller and my pieces are fried within 15-20 minutes max, bigger pieces may take longer.
You can keep left-over cooled chicken in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in a oven at 175° C/ 350° F for 10-15 minutes or until crisp. 
Keyword Asian food, asian recipes, chicken, fried chicken, Indonesian food, Indonesian recipe

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Super Easy Seafood Risotto

Last week I shared a recipe for making classic shellfish stock with you. This week I am using that stock to make a pretty bomb ass seafood risotto.

Variations on seafood risotto

I used prawns for my first batch, which leaves you with more heads, which equals more stock, which equals more risotto. But you can also use the stock to make a risotto with plane old fish, like I did for my second batch, though I can’t recommend fattier fish like mackerel for this. Or have yours mussels, lobster, or whatever you fancy in the seafood department.

You can also make this using store bought stock, though I’d recommend going for a fancier liquid brand rather than cubes as those tends to be waaaaaaaaaaaay too salty for risotto making.

I like to add green veggies to mine, like frozen or fresh peas or some grilled asparagus. But you do you. I think some grilled fennel would also be dope.

The ingredients for super easy seafood risotto

To cheese or not to cheese

A lot of people think Parmesan or some kind of cheese is essential to making your risotto nice and gooey, but if you’ve stirred your risotto well enough and in doing so have released plenty of starches from the rice, you should end up with a gooey, unctuous risotto either way.

A word on prawns

I used to make this dish with prawns, but there are a lot of problems with how prawns are farmed. Prawn farming produces huge quantities of greenhouse gases and is largely founded on abusive labor practices. So check where your prawns are from and how they are produced or omit them al together.

Super Easy Seafood Risotto

Dorothy Porker
Use my shellfish stock to make this deeply flavorful seafood risotto. You can add whatever seafood and veggies you like to it.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Instant Pot 15 mins
Course Dinner, Main course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2

Equipment

  • Oven
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment
  • Large pot for holding stock
  • Ladle
  • Small saucepan for risotto
  • Wooden spoon

Ingredients
  

For the asparagus, optional

  • 1/2 bunch green asparagus or other veg to taste
  • 1 T - 15 ml olive oil
  • pinch salt
  • pinch black pepper
  • 1 t - 5 gr za'atar optional
  • juice of 1/2 lemon optional
  • 2-3 cloves garlic smashed, optional

For the risotto

  • 2 c - 500 ml (shell)fish stock home-made or store bought, avoid cubes in this case
  • 1/2 c - 100 gr Arborio rice some say other rice variaties work as well, I'm not so sure
  • 2 T - 30 ml olive oil
  • 1 T - 15 gr butter
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 small shallots peeled and finely chopped, 1/2 an onion will also do nicely
  • 10 oz - 300 gr seafood of choice
  • 1 c - 125 gr peas frozen or fresh, or your veg of choice
  • 3/4+1/4 c - 100 + 25 gr Parmesan grated, optional
  • pinch salt
  • pinch white pepper

Instructions
 

Bake the asparagus, if using

  • Preheat an oven at 350° F/ 175° C.
  • Snap the bottoms off your 1/2 bunch of asparagus. They will snap roughly where their bottoms are too coarse for eating.
  • Spread asparagus over a pre-lined baking sheet, cover lightly in olive oil, salt and pepper and whatever spice you like (my go-to is za'atar) and roast for 25-35 mins until crisp at the edges. This method is also suitable for broccoli, if that's your thing. You can liven it up a bit more with a squeeze of lemon juice and 2-3 smashed garlic cloves as well if you like.

To make the seafood risotto

  • Preheat 2 c - 500 ml of (shell)fish stock in a large pot. It should be warmed through but not boiling. Be sure to keep it next to the pan you are cooking your risotto in, with a good sized ladle for easy transfer.
  • In a saucepan, melt 2 T - 30 gr of butter and 1 T - 15 ml of olive oil together over a medium low heat.
  • Add 3 finely chopped cloves of garlic and 2 finely chopped small shallots and saute gently until they start to become translucent and soft, avoiding getting any color on them as this will make the garlic bitter.
  • Now add 1/2 c - 100 gr of rice and stir continuously for 5 minutes or so, coating the rice in the fats until they also get a transparent sheen to them. Skipping this step may result in your rice not taking up enough of the liquids to cook in time, so be sure to follow this step properly or you’ll be very upset later.
  • Once 5 minutes of vigorous stirring have passed, add your first ladle of stock to the rice. Keep stirring vigorously until all the liquid has either been absorbed by the rice or evaporated into thin air.
  • Add your second ladle of stock, stir until absorbed. And so on and so forth, until roughly 20 minutes have passed and all your stock has been added to and absorbed by the rice.
  • When to add your seafood will depend on the kind of seafood you’re using. Precooked prawns, mussels and the like can be added at the very last minute, just to heat them through. Frozen fish should be thawed and flaked before use and can also be added in at the last minute. Anything bigger you will probably want to pre-cook and serve it separately so you have a better handle on whether it’s cooked through or not.
  • In the final 2-3 minutes add your peas and 3/4 c of parmesan, if using.
  • Season to taste before serving. There is a lot of salt in the stock already, so it may not need any more. Pepper however is always a good idea. Top with the asparagus and the remainder of the Parmesan if using.

To make seafood risotto in an Instant Pot

  • Follow steps 2 to 3 from the previous section, using the saute function of your Instant Pot.
  • Add 2 c - 500 ml of warm stock and 1/2 c - 100 gr of rice and stir.
  • Seal your Instant Pot and set the timer for the pressure cooking function to 7 minutes.
  • Use the quick release and stir in pre-cooked seafood, vegetables and Parmesan cheese.

Notes

Risotto doesn't really reheat very well.
If you do have left-overs keep them in a closed container for up to 3 days, roll the cooled down risotto into balls, perhaps filling them with a small helping of mozzarella, coating them in flour, egg and bread crumbs before deep frying them to make arancini. 
Keyword Italian food, risotto, seafood

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Classic Shellfish Stock

I’m trying to be more fastidious with my scraps, so after I’d grilled a bunch of prawns recently, I set the shells aside in my freezer to make stock. I also want to make better use of the unreasonable amount of cookbooks that I own, so when I was in the mood for risotto earlier this week, I stuck my nose into a stack of books to find advice on making stock.

Flavor makers for classic seafood stock

Fish stock basics according to Harold McGee and Escoffier

Most of my books were more focused on making fish stock, and the main advice seems to kind of be: don’t.

As Harold McGee explains it, you don’t add fish to your stock until the very end. Fish collagen has such a low melting point you can extract it into the broth at a very low temperature in a very short time. Cook it any longer and your broth will turn murky from the calcium dissolving from the fish bones. So what both he and Escoffier recommend is making a so-called court-bouillon (a very quick and basic broth) and then adding the fish once it’s cooled down to 80 degrees Celsius or so before briefly poaching the fish.

Where McGee and Escoffier differ, is that the former advises you to add the peppercorns at the very end, to avoid bitterness, while the latter is more of a ‘chuck it all in there’ kinda guy.

Save your prawn shells and heads to make a great seafood stock

Shellfish stock according to Fergus Henderson

But I didn’t even have any fish bones to begin with. I went to my market to find som but I get there too early and had zero patience. So I decided to go for it anyway, with the remains of 10 or so large prawn and a few pointers from the legendary Fergus Henderson. He basically recommends you smash your shells before use. So that’s what I did. And the result was rather wonderful.

The below will make you about a liter of shellfish stock. It combines Escoffier’s recipe for a white wine court-bouillon, McGee’s insights into when to add the peppercorns and Fergus’ advice on how to treat a shell to make a really nice stock. He does also add tomatoes, but I was like nah. I’ll let you know how I got on with my risotto next week.

A word on prawns

I used to make this dish with just any old prawns. But there are a lot of problems with how prawns are farmed. Prawn farming produces huge quantities of greenhouse gases and support abusive labor practices. So check where your prawns are from and how they are produced. If you can’t find any sustainably sources and humanly farmed prawns consider not making this recipe at all.

A pint of shellfish stock in a Pyrex measuring cup with the head of a prawn balancing on the rim

Classic shellfish stock - McGee, Escoffier and Henderson

Dorothy Porker
A spectacular, well-researched punchy shellfish stock, based on the findings of food legends Harold McGee, Escoffier and Fergus Henderson.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Course Supplies
Cuisine English, French
Servings 1 liter

Equipment

  • Plastic bag
  • Rolling Pin
  • Large pot with lid
  • Fine sieve

Ingredients
  

  • remains of 20 large prawns or similar, less won't do
  • 2 T - 30 ml olive oil
  • 1 oz - 20 gr carrot finely diced- fennel is also nice
  • 1 oz - 20 gr onion finely diced
  • 4 c - 1 liter water
  • 1/4 c - 50 ml white wine
  • 1 oz - 20 gr parsley stems and leaves
  • 1 rind of Parmesan optional, you can save rinds in the freezer as well
  • 2 t - 10 gr salt
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • 4 white peppercorns black peppercorns will work too

Instructions
 

A note on my leftovers

  • My prawn shells were pre-cooked. I’d gotten fresh large prawns the week prior, marinated them briefly in olive oil, a couple of cloves of garlic, parsley and some chipotle flakes before grilling them for about 2-3 minutes on each side and digging in. All this added additional flavor and heat.

To make classic shellfish stock

  • Place your shellfish remains in a bag and smash them with a rolling pin. You can omit the bag, but even with the bag there was stuff flying everywhere, so use a bag.
  • Heat a 2 T - 30 ml of olive oil in a large pot. Add 1 oz - 20 gr of finely chopped carrot and onion each and cook on a low heat until softened but not browned.
  • Now add the smashed prawn shells and stir until you, as Fergus calls it, “Smell splendid shellfish things.”
  • Add 4 c - 1 l of water, 1/4 c - 50 ml wine, 1 ounce - 20 gr of parsley, the Parmesan rind (if using), 2 t - 10 gr salt and 1/2 a bay leaf, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and leave to simmer gently for 1 ½-2 hours, lid off. Add 4 white peppercorns 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time.
  • Strain your stock through a fine sieve, making sure you crush every last drop of liquid out of your shells and veggies before discarding them.

Notes

Shellfish stock keeps for about 4-6 months in the freezer.
If you want to be even more frugal with your leftovers, be sure to save any leftover cubed carrot and onion in your freezer, which is something I forgot.
UPDATE (Augustus 13th 2019): After sharing this recipe local hero Noah Tucker commented that white peppercorn works slightly better with fish and shellfish so I've adjusted the recipe accordingly.
Keyword bouillon, broth, leftovers, shellfish, stock

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