I can’t begin to express how often I’ve heard the phrase, “I’ve never had Indonesian food.” As a kid, it was hard for me to describe Indonesian food and to have people actually understand my description of it. No matter how hard I tried to describe it, it always came back to “is it just like Chinese food?”
Borneo Kalimantan is an unassuming Indonesian restaurant on Garfield, just a little south of the Main Street and Garfield intersection. The place, as its moniker implies, serves up dishes from the island of Borneo (Kalimantan), the largest island in Asia, and shared by three countries: Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.
This isn’t a review or a recipe of any sort. It’s just a quick blurb about something my mom made for us the other night for dinner. She told me it’s the Indonesian version of steak. I asked her of its origins, and she said that it was very much influenced by the Dutch. Unlike the conventional steak that is cooked on a grill or pan fried, this is cooked in a number of sauces and simmered similarly to a stew.
It was really good! I loved how my mom presented the food, too. She simply blanched the vegetables, but it was a nice balanced meal, considering the rich flavors in the steak. Yum! I wish there was more…
Just a quick post– there are some more to come.
I’ve been a bit under the weather lately, so I haven’t been eating out as much or taking the time to cook. Forgive me foodcoma followers!
- 3/4 whole chicken, cut into pieces
- 1 packet of Munik Bumbu Rendang
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 lemon grass
- 2 sprigs of leaves from a lime tree
- 12-14 shallots
- 8-10 cloves of garlic
- 1 can of coconut milk
Take 8-10 cloves of garlic and cut them in half. Roughly chop the shallots and place it in a food processor or blendor. Add the garlic. Add a little water to the food processor/blendor. Run the blendor until you have a semi-smooth consistency, or until all of the pieces are finely minced.
In a heated pan, add about 2 tablespoons of oil. Fry the garlic-shallot mixture for about 2-3 minutes. Take the Munik Bumbu Rendang packet and add it to the mixture. Fry the mixture for about another 2-3 minutes. Slowly, add in coconut milk to the mixture a few tablespoons at a time, while continuously stirring. Only use 1/2 of the can of coconut milk at this point. Keep mixing until the sauce thickens up.
When the sauce thickens up, add the bay leaves, lemon grass, and lime leaves to the mixture. Turn the heat down to medium and add the chicken to the mixture. Add about 2-3 tablespoons of coconut milk to the mixture and stir.
Once the sauce begins to thicken up a little, add another 2-3 tablespoons of coconut milk. Continue to repeat this process until the chicken is fully cooked. Be sure to flip the chicken every 10 minutes, and to scrap the bottom of the pan to avoid burning of the sauce. Once the chicken is fully cooked, and the sauce has thickened up, remove the chicken from heat. Plate to serve.
Yet another meal was requested by my parents. I woke up Thursday morning to find a number of ingredients prepared for me to cook. Our family has inherited a box full of different types of foods from my cousin, who is moving back to Indonesia for good. In that box we found a few packets of Munik brand sauces, which my mom did not want to go to waste.
I’ve tried the Rendang packet once when I was in the apartments, but the result was not very good. I honestly believe that things made completely from scratch, usually almost always taste better than things that are pre-made. I mentioned to my mom about my cooking fail and my experiences with this particular packet of sauce. It was then my mom taught me a semi-homemade recipe that could bring out the homemade flavors I was looking for.By adding a few more ingredients, it took the bland packet up another notch.
The directions on the back of the Munik box said to place the sauce packet in a wide open pan, add the meat and coconut oil and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce has thickened. I followed these steps before, and used beef instead of chicken during my previous experience. Even though I followed these directions, the flavors still came out bland, the meat was not soft, and my stomach was sad from the fail.
Normally you would find beef rendang dishes. We didn’t have beef in the house, so we substituted it with chicken. It was still really good, but if you truly want to appreciate the spices that goes into rendang, you will need to use beef. However, I’m sure Justin would appreciate this substitution, considering he doesn’t eat beef.
Anyway, my mom’s suggestion to add the coconut milk slowly throughout the process was definitely a good tip. If you’re looking for a fast dish, this is not one of them. You need to put in a lot of love, patience, and labor into this dish to make it good. Well, when I say labor, I guess some people may think, adding the coconut milk slowly over time requires too much of their time span, but believe me! It is definitely worth it.
I hope you like this dish, and have the opportunity to try the beef version.
My mom brought home two 1 1/4 lb lobsters today. We were trying to think of the best/easiest way to cook it, so my mom suggested to just steam it. I’m not a fan of eating seafood with butter. I never got the hyped about it. I’m so used to eating it fried, and cooked in house garlic special sauce.
In Indonesia, seafood is usually steamed and eaten with a side sauce. I didn’t take a picture of the sauce, but basically crab or lobster is usually eaten with a chili sauce. The chili sauce that my mom made was just a combination of ketchup and a chili sauce we call “cap jempol” (pictured below)
It’s a nice garlic, chili type sauce. It’s very smooth, but packs a large kick to it.
It was really good and simple meal. I ate the lobster with some rice. It was a nice dinner on a cold day.
Salju Dessert: Matcha Shaved Snow
35 West Valley Blvd #B
Alhambra, CA 91801
For one whole week, Calvin of thoughtsovereasy.tumblr has been itching to go to this new Indonesian dessert place in Alhambra. He told me about the place and I yelped it. It looked really good from the pictures I saw, and it was decently priced. I finally got a chance to go with him earlier tonight.
Surprisingly it was easy to find. It is located right across from Naga Naga Ramen, formerly where Noodle World was located a long time ago. When we first walked up to the place, there weren’t any customers inside. However, the workers greeted us with a smile and immediately handed us the menu. They explained the choices, although the menu was pretty straightforward.You can choose a flavor of shaved snow, along with 3 toppings and your choice of syrup.
Calvin and I chose the Matcha Shaved snow, topped with strawberries, colorful mochi and grass jelly. We also wanted to stick with condense milk for our choice of syrup. It was a decently sized bowl, so Calvin and I shared one. The total came out to be about $5.95 after tax. (Correct me if I’m wrong Calvin). They handed us our order and we took a seat towards the back.
The dessert place was well decorated. It was very bright and colorful. It had a nice whimsical feel to it. A really cool place to kick back.After we came, more people came but they took their orders to go.
So when we finally dug into our shaved snow, we were pleasantly surprised. The texture of the snow is definitely softer than Class 302’s shaved snow. The flavor was mild. It wasn’t bitter, as you may find with most matcha dishes. It wasn’t too sweet either. It was nicely balanced by the sweetness of the toppings.
The owner of the dessert place brought over to us our own bottle of condense milk in case we wanted more. Definitely a big plus for me! If you’ve been to Guppy Tea House, then you know that they make you pay extra for condense milk and it’s a rip off.
Overall, I really enjoyed the dessert that they served and their service was really great. I will definitely come back here regularly.
*all photos taken by Calvin*
- 1 packet of nasi goreng seasoning
- 2 cups of day old rice
- 1 chopped green onion
- 1 egg
I made this for lunch the other day. I was craving something yummy and fast.
Nasi goreng is an Indonesian version of fried rice. nasi means rice and goreng means fried. It’s not like other types of fried rice, because the seasoning is very different. It has more of a garlic, chili and spices kind of taste. Also the texture is very different, since it’s a more wet kind of rice rather than a drier one, that you would get in other places. There’s a lot of different types of nasi goreng in Indonesia, but I don’t eat this kind that often. Most of the time, my mom almost never makes this for me.
Anyway, typically for nasi goreng you would garnish the dish with some fresh cold vegetables. Typically you would garnish it with sliced tomatoes and also sliced cucumbers. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any cucumbers.
We also tend to garnish it with bawang goreng which is a very fried green onion. Just a nice crunch of texture.
Much love. This is a quick meal you could make for yourself.
And this packet of seasoning can be found in your Asian supermarket, in the Indonesian food row (well it’s more like half a row). It’s very affordable. It’s only about $2-3 from what I remembered.
Try it out.
- 1-2 cups of bean sprouts
- 2 roma tomatoes (diced)
- 2 green onions (sliced)
- 1/4 cup salted fish
- 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
- soy sauce, fish sauce, chili oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper
- Pour a little bit of vegetable oil into a sauce pan. When the pan is hot, put the chopped garlic into the pan and fry until it starts turning a little brown. Add the salted fish into the pan and fry for a few minutes.
- Add the bean sprouts, chopped tomatoes, and the green onions to the pan.
- Add soy sauce, fish sauce, salt and pepper, garlic powder, and chili oil to taste.
I made this for Justin on Monday, to eat with the chicken noodles my mom packed for me. Yum! I haven’t had this in a while.. it’s one of the simplest and lightest vegetable dishes my mom used to always make for me. I really love the taste of it especially mixed with salted fish. Justin told me that there’s a dish similar to this in Burmese cuisine. Love it! I like things a bit spicier, so I added some chili powder, but if you’re not a big fan of spice, then you can make this minus the chili oil and the chili powder. BTW, Togeh Goreng is the Indonesian name of this. I don’t know if this is truly an Indonesian dish, but this is what my mom calls it.
Resto Review: Alhambra’s Yazmin
Now that I’ve actually had Malaysian food in Malaysia, Yazmin can’t compare. Before, it was one of the better M’sian joints in the 626 and it’s still decent. My friend and I agreed that the waiter creeped us out, but it was nice seeing a family operation unfolding before us, with the sons constantly asking us if we needed anything and the father behind them.
As for the food, the Malaysian fried rice was seriously bland. Nothing complex about the taste but the fish chips were decent. The ayam panggang kecum, crispy chicken with coconut rice and a side of preserved veggies was a lot more interesting. I loved the chicken’s texture and the fragrant rice was a good complement.
In sum, it was a decently priced and filling meal made cheaper by a 20% Main Street coupon that works on many restaurants on the street.
- green beans
This is definitely one of my all-time favorite Indonesian pastries/meat pies. I’ve had this since I was kid, and my mom or grandma would make it for us. It’s so good, I swear I can eat like 10 of these and never get sick of it. It’s usually paired with a spicy peanut sauce. It was the first time for me making it by hand today. It’s a lot harder than it looks! Making the pattern that closes up the filling was terribly difficult, but practice makes perfect. After the 4th or 5th one, I was finally able to get it down (somewhat), but I have yet to master the folds. MmMmMm…happiness!! Usually at the Saturday food bazaars these things would cost $1.50 a piece. So glad my mom made it from scratch for us <3333
w00t ❤ josie
Es Cendol and Ayam Bakar
Today a friend of mine came to visit. He took me to Malibu, where I had to do a project for my EEB100 class. Afterwards we went to Simpang Asia, and Indonesian Restaurant and mini food mart. I had ayam bakar, which is sort of like a grilled chicken in a sweet sauce, with chili sauce on the side. It was really great! They also served a side of saur asem, which is like a sour veggie soup (one of my favorites). It was really authentic! The dessert drink I ordered was es cendol. It’s made from this starchy rice flour thing, with coconut milk and a type of sugar. It’s pretty sweet, but I love it!
It was such a yummy dinner!! I would love to come back here again.
eaten on Oct. 6, 2009
My mom packed me some food, so I decided to eat these noodles before they go bad. This soup/noodle dish is made of chicken, noodles, sliced hard boiled eggs, chopped celery and cabbage, and a lot of spices that I can’t name. It’s reallly really goooooddddd. I always love eating this spicy… but of course, I love eating all things spicy. Yum yum!
food and love
Nasi Uduk and Otak Otak
Tonight’s dinner, I did not make. My mom packed me some food from the weekend that I have been trying to finish over these 3 days. Nasi Uduk is rice made with coconut milk and lemongrass and other spices. Otak Otak is like fish cake with green onions. I also had a side of krupuk which is like the asian shrimp crackers, but a little different.
I really love nasi uduk, because it’s easy to make… but after eating it 3 days in a row..I’m slowly getting sick of it.
I want boba =( but sadly… no boba. hopefully tomorrow i’ll be able to tackle the noodles my mom packed for me, but man… it’s hard to get through all of this food.
food and love