Thursday, December 17, 2009

Going To Pasar ( Wet Market ) In Citraland

It's been sometime that I am able to sit down and wrote entry to my blog. With my busy working schedule right now, I really appreciate even more this rare opportunity to share what I found lately.

Few weeks ago, I saw on the newspaper that Citraland ( a neighborhood in Surabaya ) just built a brand new wet market or "pasar" as Indonesian people call it.

First of all, let me educate you about Indonesian Pasar or wet market. Usually these kind of places will be super stinky, moist, no air circulation, dark. That is why in this neighborhood they are building a new pasar with different design. I think more eco-friendly too.

The first thing they do I guess it to built less wall. So this place has a good air circulation. For the first time I do not sweat in pasar!

Then because there are a lot of open side, the light can go through but without making this place too hot. I like that, so there is no need to turn on the light bulbs.

They also built fish pond in a rectangular shape, a long one. So they can keep the fish alive and fresh. This is why I came here today! For the fresh fish! I don't know if there is any pasar in Surabaya that has an area for live fish. I guess pasar Citraland is the first one.

Another think I like is that they paint this place white and that combine with a lot of sunlight really makes this place feel clean and cheerful. The good circulation really help also with the smell,this place isn't stinky.

This place also has an area for restaurant which feels clean too. I don't see too many flies flying around in this area.

This man is helping me choose a catfish.

This market is in the area where people with middle-upper level of income live.

In this photo, I want to show you, after watching many rich people buy fresh produce, then I saw this little boy, no more than 3 years old, already has to help his mom make money. He helps his mom by cutting the ugly spot out of the vegetable to make it more presentable. I can not believe that his mom let him use a sharp knife and work! From his hand movement, I can tell he has done this for at least a few months. Long enough. Too long.

His momma is very proud, telling me how well or how early her son start to be useful. I can't imagine my kids do that ...

In this market/pasar, because there are a lot of foreigner live nearby, the map and the information board are bilingual. It has English and Bahasa Indonesia.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fish Casserole With Mung Bean Sheet

I have been learning to cook Taiwanese dishes and other Chinese dishes for a while. There are many ingredients that I would like to try to cook, this is one of them. Mung bean sheet is made with mung bean starch. When I was in Taiwan I did eat it a couple of times, but I have never seen it in a raw state. I went to many supermarket but somehow this ingredient kept on eluding me. Until few months ago, on our last trip to Taipei, I finally asked my mother in law to help to find it for me and she did. Surprise...surprise also, I saw it at the supermarket this time but in different packaging than the one my mother in law bought for me from the wet market. But they are essentially the same thing. Mung bean sheet, based on the references from my recipe books, it can be used for casserole dishes, salad, hot pot, dessert, or even fried like a fried Kwei Tiao.

This casserole is really a blend of many texture. In it you have the hard texture from the bamboo shoot pieces. Soft texture from the fish meat. Chewy texture from the tofu. And the mung bean sheet gives you a surprise slippery yet chewy texture.

The recipe of this casserole actually is not originated from Taiwan. This dish is a Shanghainese dish. If you leave outside the Chinese world, you may have a difficulty to find this ingredient. I wonder if you can make it with mung bean starch like you make a rice sheet for Kwei Tiao.

Pic: After a gentle simmer for about an hour the casserole will look like this.
Pic: Shredding the green onions to replace the green garlic that I do not have.

Fish Casserole With Mung Bean Sheet


1 or 2 Fish
120 gr. pork ( belly part )
6 pieces black mushroom
2 bamboo shoots
1 piece bean curd
600gr Chinese Cabbage
2 pieces mung bean sheet
2 stalks green onion
2 slices ginger
1 red chili
1 green garlic or just garlic


2 T. rice wine
5 T. soy sauce
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

How To :

Soak fish with soy sauce and wine for 10 minutes. Cut pork, soaked black mushrooms and bamboo shoots into pieces.

Fry fish with 5 Tbs oil until the outside get brown, remove to the casserole. Fry green onion and ginger again, when fragrant, add pork, mushroom and bamboo shoot pieces, stir-fry for a while. Add remaining soy sauce, red chili, seasonings and 8 cups of water in, bring to a boil. Pour all ingredients to casserole, cook over low heat for about 1 hour.
Add boiled Chinese Cabbage and bean curd into casserole, cook until cabbage is soft enough. Add mung bean sheet ( cut into wide strips ), bring to a boil, sprinkle shredded green garlic on top, serve.

Pic: 2 different brands/packages of dried mung bean sheets. The one on the left needs to be cut into strips, but the one on the right is do not.

Pic: After soaking the dried mung bean sheet in the water for about 10 minutes it will turn soft and easier to be cut.

I did a little research and I found this website, you can inquire about buying this product here.
But if you can not find it, you can easily replace the mung bean sheet with Bean Thread Noodles, or noodles that is made with the same ingredient as mung bean sheet, which is mung bean starch. For Bean Thread Noodles, you can purchase this ingredient in almost every Asian grocery store, including in Indonesia too.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Recipe of Zucchini Bread For A Girl Name Luz

I think my blog is the best media for me to give you Zucchini Bread recipe that you request ....

Makes one 9-inch loaf


2 Cups ( 10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
1 pound zucchini, washed and dried, ends and stems removed, cut in half lengthwise and seeded if using large zucchini, each half cut into 1-inch pieces.
3/4 Cup ( 5 1/4 ounces ) sugar
1/2 Cup pecans or walnuts, chopped coarse
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 Cup plain yogurt ( whole-milk or low fat or nonfat plain yogurt , it's up to you )
2 large eggs, beaten slightly
1 Tbs juice from 1 lemon
6 Tbs ( 3/4 stick ) unsalted butter, melted and cooled.

how to:

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan; dust with flour, tapping out the excess.

2. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process the zucchini and 2 Tbs of the sugar until the zucchini is coarsely shredded, twelve to fifteen 1-second pulses. Transfer the mixture to a fine-mesh strainer set at least 2 inches over a bowl and allow to drain for 30 minutes.

Alternatively, you can shred the halved zucchini ( don't cut it into 1-inch pieces) on the large holes of a box grater. toss with the 2 Tbs of sugar and drain.

3. Meanwhile, spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a large bowl; add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and whisk until combined, set aside.

4. Whisk together the remaining 1/2 Cup plus 2 Tbs sugar, yogurt, eggs, lemon juice, and melted butter in a 2-cup glass measure until combined. Set aside.

5. After the zucchini has drained, squeeze the zucchini with several layers of paper towels to absorb excess moisture. Stir the zucchini and the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture until just moistened. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula.

6. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 55 to 60 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool for at least 1 hour before serving.

The bread can be wrapped with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Getting To Know Ubud, Bali's mountain side

The last time we went to Taipei, we spent most of the time to take care of business so I thought with the Muslim holiday is approaching, I want to take the kids for a vacation somewhere local, like Bali.

Soon enough when I sat inside my regular Bali travel agent I found out that maybe I should go before the rest of Indonesian will attack Bali. Not only cheaper but with Bali streets always jammed even during low season, during high season, I advise you to just walk instead of taking taxi because no matter how slow you walk, you are definitely will be faster than by car.

So quickly I took care of my travel plan. Within a week we were off to Bali for just a short visit. We left on Friday early morning and returned to Surabaya by Sunday night.

This time we want to try something different so instead of staying near the beach, we stayed up in the mountain area, Ubud. I want to get away from the heat wave that is attacking Surabaya even right now.


When ever we went to Bali, friends and family always asked me "Have you go to eat at Bebek Bengil yet? ". That question has haunted me in the past 3 years, so I make up my mind that no matter what we have to eat there ! Rain or shine, here we come!

How glad I am to find that Bebek Bengil is as good or maybe better than what people can describe it to me.

Yes, the food is delicious, yes the place is gorgeous. But what I did not expect is the peaceful and relax atmosphere is truly..... divine !

We went there after the normal lunch hour because in the morning we had a late and very fulfilling breakfast at our villa. This time we stayed at Furama Villas & Spas, in Ubud. Not that far from Bebek Bengil.

So when we arrived, it was around 3 - 4 PM. Most of the lunch crowd has left and the place become quieter. So we can get the nice spot that is the nearest to the rice field where we can enjoy the view of rice paddies and the hundreds of ducks that tried to find their food in the paddy.

Imagine how happy my 2 angels to see so many ducks !

And because the sun is not at the hottest anymore, the air is much much cooler. And the constant nice cool breeze really drove everybody sleepy even before the food arrived.

This is the heart of Balinese lifestyle at it's best!

This place really makes us don't mind at all to wait for the food, but soon enough the food came. They are delivered by 2 young girls wearing Balinese traditional clothes bringing delicious food one after another..... sigh..... life is soooo goood....

And now look at the food they brought to us .....

Pic: Sweet salty tangy and fell of the bones barbecue pork ribs...

Pic: The food comes with some sauces that you may want to eat or not depending on your taste. I prefer not because the food is already very tasty and they don't need any help even though the sauce is good too. The vegetables is traditional recipe. Vegetables cooked with shredded coconut.

Pic: This is their signature dish, crispy duck !

Pic: sweet and tangy chicken wings, grilled to perfection...

Pic: Ground meat mixed with spices then barbecued them. The waiter explained it to me that this type of satay used to be dedicated only for the high priest. But off course, now become a common food. I think the name is Sate Lilit. Unlike most sate that is made with beef, chicken, and pork, this one is a mixture of seafood. I posted the recipe at the bottom.

Under normal circumstances, when people placed delicious food in front of our face, we will automatically attack the food like a starving bunch that actually we are. But all this relaxing atmosphere really makes us become sloowww.....

Look at the picture below, see how relax we are? Richard is still busy with his Blackberry, and Kai Kai just laid down and day dreaming. La La is the same. She was busy playing with all the pillows there.

But soon enough we start enjoying our food. Who can resist all this food for too long? We are only human after all .....

So we eat... and eat.... and eat... and during eating we chat and laugh and joke and still manage to laid down to stretch and then back to eat again....

No wonder so many foreigners who come to Bali never want to leave Bali ...

At the end of the meal normally we will be rush to go home. But not this time also. We just sit there and yawn....

Then after half an hour. A thought come to my mind .... "Hey, how about dessert? ".....

So I asked the waiter what is the dessert that people like to order the most. He said I should try their Russian Chocolate Tart. He promised me that the tart will be spiked so much with liquer that I might as well drink a straight vodka, hahaha.

He wasn't kidding !!! Since I forgot to mention ( oops ) about the liquor in the tart. Richard got quite a jolt with his first spoonful of the tart, hahaha ...

This tart is best enjoyed with a cup of cappuccino or espresso .

So now, what should we do after we finish our dessert? Go back to our nap off course ....

Pic : I want this sink too.......

Pic: the gazebo
Pic: Balinese love affairs with flower petals ....


As long as your religion allow you to eat pork. If you go to Bali, don't ever miss out eating Balinese Roasted Suckling Pig.

It is one of their specialty food.

This time because we are in Ubud, we went to eat at Bu Oka Babi Guling Restaurant.

At that time I did not take a good shot, maybe because the shiny suckling pig skin is too tempting to eat that I forgot anything else.

What can I say when you see this crackling beauty right in front of you? I bet you will just start eating right away just like we did...

To read more about this Suckling Pig, you can also visit this Food Editor's blog at Eating Asia.


At one time when we were in Bird Park I picked up a brochure that tells me about a place where we can go fishing and eating too.

This quest to keep the kids happy so they can eat well is really getting tougher after Bebek Bengil because that place is so good. But I welcome the challenge.

To be honest I kind of taking a chance because I have never heard about this place. And the kids has never been to a fishing trip before so I do not know weather they will like to fish or not.

But soon after we arrived in this place I can tell the kids will have a great time. That partly because in this place, we can rent a gazebo that rested above the water and it is private. Only us will use this place. Not only that when we rented the gazebo, it automatically comes with an fishing assistant. He will take care of everything for us regarding the fishing part. So if I don't want to dirty my hands or worry that Kai Kai may hurt his fingers touching the hook than we just let the assistant take care all of that for us. But I have to admit, getting dirty while fishing is part of the fun.

To cut the story short, at that time the wind blows nonstop so none of us are sweating. And that's good, but on the other hand, it is difficult to cast the fishing line far when the wind keep blowing it back to the shore. So we only cought 4 fishes. 3 Milkfish and 1 Snapper.

Kai Kai that lucky boy caught the snapper. He is so proud that he get the best fish for his first catch ever !

Pic: The waiter suggest me to use the heads of the milkfish to make this yummy clear soup that I wish I know how to make it. It looks simple though, all I see in this soup is the fish head, a lot of ginger, green onion and tomatoes and a sprinkle of celery leaves. Maybe it taste great because the fishes are so fresh.

Pic: Kai Kai proudly showing off the sweet and sour snapper that he caught himself.

Pic: Totally fried until too hard to eat .... what a waste ...

Sate Lilit

Minced Seafood Satay

This is probably the most delicious satay you'll ever encounter.
The delicate flavours of the prawn and fish are greatly improved,
if you can find spears of fresh lemon grass to use as skewers,
and if you can cook them over a fire of coconut husks rather than charcoal.

Nonetheless, even when using wooden skewers and a normal charcoal grill
you'll have people coming back for more.


300 g (10 oz) skinned boneless snapper fillet
300 g (10 oz) raw prawns, peeled
2 cups freshly grated coconut, or 1 1/2 cups desiccated coconut, moistened
1/2 cup spice paste for seafood
5 fragrant lime leaves, cut in hair-like shreds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns, finely crushed
2 teaspoons salt
3-5 green bird's-eye chillies, very finely chopped
2 tablespoons brown sugar
lemon grass, cut in 15 cm (6 in) length, or satay skewers

Combine snapper fillet (or other firm white fish) with prawns and mince very finely in a food processor or with a chopper. Add all other ingredients and mix well.

Mould a heaped tablespoon of this mixture around over trimmed stalks of lemon grass or around a wooden skewer and grill over charcoal until golden brown.

Helpful hint:
It is important to use fresh prawns and fish for this dish as thawed frozen seafood exudes too much moisture. The brown sugar not only adds a touch of sweetness but helps give the slightly charred exterior typical of Balinese satay.

Selamat makan!

Celeng Guling (Babi Guling)

Balinese Suckling Pig

If there is just one dish people remember after a visit to Bali,
it's this famous delicacy, usually known by its Indonesian name, Babi Guling.


1 suckling pig, weighing about 6-8 kg (13-17 lb)
1 1/2 tablespoon salt
10 shallots, peeled and sliced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
5 cm (2 in) ginger, peeled and chopped
15 candlenuts, chopped
10 cm (4 in) fresh turmeric, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons coriander seeds, crushed
5 cm (2 in) laosfinely chopped
25-30 bird's-eye chillies
10 stalks lemon grass, sliced
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, crushed
1 teaspoon dried shrimp paste, roasted
5 fragrant lime leaves, finely shredded
2 salamleaves
2 1/2 tablespoons oil
4 tablespoons turmeric water

Ensure the inside of the suckling pig is completely cleaned out. Season inside and outside with salt.

Combine all other ingredients, except turmeric water, and mix thoroughly. Fill the inside of the suckling pig with this mixture, close the belly with string or thin satay skewers. Rub the outside of the pig with turmeric water until the skin is shiny yellow. Place the suckling pig on a roasting rack and roast in hot oven (220°C/425°F) for approximately one hour. Rest for 10 minutes in warm place before serving.

When serving, first remove the crisp skin with a strong carving knife, then loosen meat from the bones and cut into even dice or slices. Place a heaped tablespoon of stuffing on each serving plate, then top with meat and skin. Traditionally this dish is eaten with Jukut Nangka Mekuah and steamed rice.

Helpful hint:
If you have a large barbecue with a rotisserie or constantly turning spit, you can cook the pig over charcoal for an authentic Balinese flavour.

Selamat makan!


Pic: Somebody sells this pure honey on the street. Interesting ....