Thursday, April 10, 2008

Going To Pantai Kenjeran ( Kenjeran Beach )

Can you figure out what are those colorful thing at the above picture? Can you guess? Those are raw fish cracker. Indonesian people loves to eat any kind of crunchy fried fish cracker. We called them krupuk. Krupuk is a popular snack in parts of Southeast Asia. It consists of deep-fried crackers made of flour (usually tapioca flour or potato flour ) and flavoured with fish, prawns, squid, or vegetables. Now a days we even have them in fruity flavor.

When you deep-fry these raw krupuk, use a lot of oil on medium-high heat and drop several of them at a time, they will start to expand into twice of their original size. Use your spatula to press them downward so they will be submerse in the oil or you can flip them around to make sure that all side will be soaked by the oil. Then once they are done ( it's quite fast, a minute ! ) place them on newspaper or some other paper ( have to be large ) so that the paper can help to absorb some of the oil. Place them in a airtight container and they can stay crunchy for the next a week or so. There is another type of krupuk that you can "fried" them in the microwave. My mom always brought this type every time she came to visit me in Canada before because she knew I am too lazy to fried them. I rarely cook Indonesian dishes at home before since my family taste bud is more for Chinese and western food. But off course the more fat the better it taste. So the traditional deep-frying krupuk still taste better than the microwave krupuk. But in my opinion. I still chose the microwave type one because I get about 75% of the flavor of the original one but with only 20% of the guilt. I think it's worth it.

In Indonesia you can buy them still raw ( dried and hard and pretty much can last a long time ) or already fried in every stores and every Indonesian restaurants. We eat them as a snack, side dish, on a soup, on a fruit salad ( rojak/rujak ), or we grind them into almost like an almond meal consistency then sprinkle them on our soup. Or if your fridge is totally empty of anything good to eat ( shame on you! ), then you can just dip this crackers into your chili sauce ( sambal ) and eat them with rice. Sambal is another Indonesian staple food. A must have. To make sambal you will need shrimp paste ( terasi/trasi/belacan ). Another ingredient to make sambal is petis. If terasi / belacan is a staple food in Southeast Asia, petis is really indigenous food to Indonesian cuisine
only, that is why I can't find the description in English on Wikipedia.

Petis adalah komponen dalam masakan Indonesia yang dibuat dari produk sampingan pengolahan makanan berkuah (biasanya dari pindang, kupang atau udang) yang dipanasi hingga cairan kuah menjadi kental seperti saus yang lebih padat. Dalam pengolahan selanjutnya, petis ditambah karamel gula batok. Ini menyebabkan warnanya menjadi coklat pekat dan rasanya manis.
Translation :
" Petis is a component in Indonesian cuisine that is made from the by product from making another type of food, seafood soup mostly that is boiled until all the liquid almost evaporate and leaving behind a very thick ( like peanut butter but stickier and harder to handle ) sauce. Then on the next step they add caramelized palm sugar in it. That is why the color become dark brown and it taste mildly sweet. "

To buy petis you really have to go to a very specialty Indonesian grocery store or maybe you can asked your Indonesian friend to bring you some next time. I have to warn you though. It's an acquire taste to like it.

Pic: More kerupuk/krupuk

On Monday a week ago my mom brought me and my son to the dried seafood market in Kenjeran beach for 2 reasons. One is to introduce my son to our city , and second my mom wants to shop for some ingredients. You can buy all those things that I just mention, the fish crackers, petis, and terasi in this place too or at any grocery stores. It just for some thing you can find them here cheaper but in order to get them at a cheaper rate, you have to bargain and bargain and bargain like your life depend on it with those sellers !!!

Warning readers..... those sellers are not for the beginner bargainer. This is for the advance level !!! Only my mom dared to bargain with them and to be honest even my mom is at the loosing side here .....

According to the sellers most of the wet market sellers bought their goods from them. They said that their price is the lowest because they said they are the source of any dried seafood products. Don't believe that because at the end my mom paid higher price than what I paid at the Chinese wet market that I frequently visited ( Pasar Pabean ).

If you are good at bargaining you sure are welcome to buy stuff from here, I think they are not bad.

If you look more carefully you will notice that we were the only customers that day and that's because we went there on a weekdays. If you come here on a weekend, this place will be jammed by people and all of the sellers will open their stores, unlike today, only a handful of sellers open their stores. So it is harder to bargain as well.

Pic: Salted fish
Pic: Dried shrimp's skins
Pic: Salted squids
Pic: So many fried seafood crackers .

Pic: Salted baby belt fish.

Pic: Assorted of salted fishes.
Pic: Deep-fried fish skin, crunchy and ready to eat.
Pic: The pink little boxes and the one with the yellow sticker on top are the petis and terasi that I mention above.

Beside shopping for snack and all kind of salted seafood products, the other reason for me to bring my son here is to find beautiful seashells, and all kind of already treated / preserved / dried sea creatures.

What gives me the idea to come here was because I read an article about a week ago about this place have many sellers that sells beautiful seashells and even live hermit crabs that their shells were painted in many color. Today is not weekend, we couldn't find any sellers that sell that live hermit crabs. Too bad.

But even without the hermit crabs, my son still happy because he can buy a lot of many different seashells, even crabs and lobsters . It's cool. I don't know how much they cost because my mom who bargained for us. Hahaha ...

Pic: My son posed with the shell curtains

Pic: Dried baby lobsters

Pic: Dried crabs.

Pic: beautiful seashells !

Pic : For the smaller seashells, you can buy them in a bunch

If you want to see the beach itself, here are the photos ...

There are many food vendors that will open on weekend, but I strongly not recommended you to eat anything at all there !

So just do like I do. Go there, get some beautiful seashells for your children or for your craft, then get some dried or salted food and those crackers and go home.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

My Newspaper Clipping About My Recipe Books Collection

On February our local newspaper, Jawa Pos posted an article about my still growing recipe book collection. On previous month or two they also posted a story about my education and my company background too.

Since the time they print my story until now, my recipe collection has been added with at least 20 more books. I lost count to be honest.

A Short Trip To Taiwan To Praise The Lord And To EAT !!

Pic: You can say that this is our second honeymoon.

If you wonder why we went to Taipei on February by ourselves , minus our children, and then we only stayed there for a week. You can read the incredible story on my diary. If you are interested to find out more about it, click here.

To find out more about the new places where we ate this time and what do we eat keep on reading ...

This is the first time for my husband to come home to his own hometown and became a tourist. Quite funny actually but guess what? It's fun too !

Taipei is a big city and it is a city that keep on growing and that's means it's impossible for even local Taipei people themselves to know every new restaurants the just keep on sprouting open every where. Even if they eat out 3 times a day, everyday, I don't think they can keep up with the growth of food business in Taipei.

So this is our chance to try new restaurant that we don't know but yet a lot of people know that the food there is good. If they are not how can the tour company keep coming to that place?

Due to the real reason on why we go to Taipei in the first place ( we came with 60 other people for a crusade ) I don't take the liberty of taking shot after shots of food photos like usual. Sometimes yes I do off course. But mostly not. I was busy to get to know the many new friends that I met on this group.

Pic: The door of Chiang Kai-Shek's Memorial Hall
Pic: The door knocker and handle

Pic: Beautiful decorative plate at Chiang Kai-Shek's Memorial Hall

Right after the crusade ended, with some of our new found friends we took of to Kaoshiung by using High Speed Rail train. We were curious to find out for ourselves how good is this train. Enough to say, I wish we have that in my hometown too!

The only different was, while others are interested with other thingy ( I don't know what ), I was very curious to see what they serve on this train. I know that the trip will be short, even the trip from Taipei to Kaoshiung is only taking 1.5 hrs.

I found out soon enough that we only have 2 choices of food. I chose to eat this finger sandwich because I saw that inside that box, there are 3 flavors, and one of them is one of my favorite cucumber-cream cheese sandwich. I was pleasantly surprise because the sandwich is in good condition, not soggy, not overly cold. They look freshly made. They taste good too. Then I also ordered their coffee, and again, not bad ....

The sandwich portion is just right for a nibble. With a fresh salad and fruit slices for the side dish. This bento is just perfect. Light meal for a short trip.

On another occasion, we went to Raohe night market again. Since I already did a report on that market, I won't bother you with it for now, unlessss.... they come out with something new.
But, if you want to find out about Raohe, you can read it on my previous entry in August 2006. You can click here.

We also went to see Danshui Fisherman Wharf. Get the chance to buy some snack there too. What's interesting to eat around that area is when the tour bus took us to eat at the Red Castle 1899. The building is very cool, it's very very old and I happen to love old houses! They serve both Taiwanese cuisine and western food because that building originally was built for Dutch government who at one time occupied Taiwan. It doesn't hurt as well to know that the view from that restaurant is very good because that old castle was built on top of a hill that face the sea. It's a good place to take your girlfriend or boyfriend there. The atmosphere is very relaxing and romantic too.

Pic: The view of the sea

Pic: Drunken shrimps
Pic: Shrimps and fruits with mayonnaise

Pic : Red Castle 1899 (達觀樓), 6, Lane 2, Sanmin Street, Tel: +886 2 8631-1168, [4]. A colonial building sits on the hillside, built in 1899. This is the best view cafe in Danshui. They serves both Western and Chinese dishes. The entrance is just east of the Mackay statue, atop a hill reached by 106 stone steps

We also went to see Qingguang open-air market that we never went to before. It's location is near the Danshui Fisherman Wharf.

Pic: This is my first time to see an octopus legs this many for sale on sticks. Each stick is about 40 cm in length.
Pic: A more close up of those tentacles ....

More information on Qingguang Open-Air Market ...

Qingguang Open-air Market
pictures of market
pictures of market
pictures of market
pictures of market
Location: Lane 2, Nongan St. and Lane 12, Shuangcheng St., Zhongshan District, Taipei City
Danshui Line, alight at Minquan W. Rd Station, walk towards Zhongshan N. Rd. for about 10 minutes.
203, 218, 220, 247, 260, 277, 279, 287, 310 and alight at “Tatung Company” bus stop.


Bus Stop:
“Tatung Company” bus stop.
The Qingguang Open-air Market located at the Zhongshan District was distinctively famous for the wide varieties of foreign goods sold in the shops in the earlier years. However, in recent years, Taiwanese travel to overseas frequently, hence the demands for foreign goods in Qingguang Open-air Market have gradually decreased and this causes to the change of the business style. Nowadays, the Qingguang Open-air Market from Nongan St. to Shuangcheng St. is a small but modern shopping district, with well organized shops and a food court full of delicacies.
Other attractions that differentiate Qingguang Open-air Market to other night markets are the everlasting boutiques. Other than the shops, this night market also has delicacies that people praise about and will definitely fulfill one’s taste buds. For examples, the Qingguang Glutinous Oil Rice, Qingguang Wonton, Cai’s Tempura (a type of fish cake), Qingguang Yi-Noodel, Florida Bakery, Grandma’s Yi-Noodle.

The tour bus also brought us to this traditional Nanmen market in Taipei area. R told me that at this market I can find a lot of hard to get ingredients for my cooking experiments. He was right, we were the only one in our tour group that carried so many shopping bags loaded with goods such as fresh Zechuan peppercorns that is so fresh until my nose felt tingly even though I smell them through several layers of plastic and paper box. Then Chin hua ham. Ground red rice that is good for making the stewed pork hock looks red and shiny and much much more ... R should have brought me here long time ago !!!! I did asked him why he did not take me here before if he knew I will have such a great time like this. He told me the area around this market is not safe, and that's one of his main concern. He never took me to an unsafe area ever.

Pic: Making fresh egg roll skins ( Lumpia skin ) that you can buy then at home all you need to do is just make the fillings.

I will show you how they make it on this video :

Egg Roll Skins

Makes 24

6 Cups. high protein flour, sifted
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 cups water

Put the water and salt in a bowl; allow the salt to dissolve. Add the flour and mix until the batter is thick and smooth. Pour 1/4 cup water on top of the batter to keep it from drying; let it stand for 30 minutes or until bubbles form on the surface.

Use hands to pick up some batter from the edge of the bowl and drop it into the center of the batter. Continue to take batter from the edges and drop it in the center until all batter from the edges has been dropped into the center; repeat this process until the dough is smooth and elastic. Sprinkle a little water on top of the dough to keep it moist.

Evenly heat a heavy grill over medium . Clean the grill, use an oil-soaked cloth to oil a 6-inch round surface on the grill.

Take a handful of batter and lightly "wipe" the grill with it in a circular motion to make a 6-inch thin pancake. Remove the excess batter immediately. Lightly pop any bubbles on the skin. When the edges of the skin begin to curl, peel off the skin and place it on a serving plate. Repeat step to make more skins.

NOTE: The skin will stick to the grill if it is too hot; to cool the grill, lightly wipe it with a moistened cloth. Oil the grill again with the oil soaked cloth.

Nanmen Market
pictures of market
pictures of market
pictures of market
pictures of market
Location: No.8, Sec. 1, Roosevelt Rd. ,Zhongzheng District
Danshui Line, Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall station "
241, 235 , 5, 630 , 235, 204, 295, 623 , 236, 10, 15, 251, 214, 291, 252, 295, East. 0, 208, 297, 3, 18
It has a long history of 100 years. The dried goods on the 1st floor, including holiday foods, such as sausages, preserved hams and hams, and various cooked foods, snacks, cookies, steamed stuffed buns and steamed bread with the traditional flavor as well as various Chinese foods, are very popular.


This video clip has nothing to do with my trip to Taiwan but I thought I would like to share it with you because after you saw how a Taiwanese makes their Egg Roll skins, maybe you would like to compare it with how a Vietnamese makes their Banh Trang ( Spring roll skin ).