Sweet Strings of Crystal Ribbon

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Cellophane noodle. It has been a part of our local cuisine ever since the Chinese immigrants came to Indonesia. And when you talk about noodle, you talk about Indonesia ( you must have heard the well known Indomie ). You can easily find a type of noodle dish in any place you visit in Indonesia. And for many people, noodle , especially from the hawker’s trolley who walks around selling it, it’s an enjoyable midnight supper.

I came up with the title as they have a translucent appearance when cooked. This is my own kind of recipe, a simple bowl of cellophane noodles for lunch .We call it , Soun Goreng ( fried cellophane noodle ).

Ingredients :

75 gram dry cellophane noodle
5 cloves shallot
3 cloves garlic
A medium piece of chicken breast, cut into small bites
1 medium carrot, cut into small size
10 strings of green bean, cut into small size
½ small onion, thinly sliced
1 stalk of green onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons of sweet soy sauce
¼ tablespoons of Maggi seasoning, ground one (or substitute with salt and white pepper)
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon cooking oil
4 pieces of chili padi ( *optional )

Directions :

Soak the cellophane noodle in a bowl or warm water for about ten minutes, take out then put it into a clean bowl. Set aside.

Blend the shallot and garlic in a food processor . Pay attention not to make it a smooth paste. You have to see some rough pieces of it. I only have a traditional “stone processor “ ( I enclose the picture here ) so I blend them by hand.

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my traditional stone processor

Heat the cooking oil in a pan and stir-fry the minced shallot and garlic for about 2 minutes. Add the onion. Stir for a minute.

Add the chicken breast. Cook until it changes color.. Then add the carrot and green bean. Continue cooking them until softened. I pour in 2 tablespoons water to speed up soften the vegetables.

Add the cellophane noodle in the pan, pour in the sweet soy sauce and Maggi. Add the chili padi ( optional ). Cook the noodle for about 2 minutes. Not overcook it , otherwise you’ll get a mushy cellophane noodle, not nice.

Before transfer the noodle on a plate, stir in the green onion just for a few seconds.

Selamat Menikmati ( bon appétit ).

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Colors In The Morning

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I had been thinking of making these awesome crepes for a few days. Last night I decided to make the batter then cooked it for breakfast this morning. Looking at the food coloring I had, my fun spirit was triggered. Well, that would be fun yummy to play with those colors, I thought. I sprinkled some local M&M on them. So here they are. After taking the pictures, I ate them . What a beautiful day to start with.

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Ingredients :

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup milk

3 egg yolks

2 tbsp. granulated sugar

5 tbsp. butter, melted

a pinch of salt

Directions :

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor ( I just use hand-whisk ) till they are well combined.

Let the batter sit for about 20 minutes  or if you make it for breakfast, just refrigerate in an airtight container. Whisk it before using .

If you want to make colored crepes, divide the batter evenly and use any food coloring as you desire.

Heat a nonstick skillet ( I use 8 inch skillet ) over medium. Lightly coat with butter or vegetable oil.

Pour 3 tablespoon batter and swirl to completely cover the skillet. Cook until underside of crepe is golden brown,2 minutes. Turn crepe over and cook for 30 seconds  or until the centre is set. Repeat with the remaining batter ( coat pan with butter or vegetable oil as needed ).

Serve with your favorite filling. I used nutella, strawberry jam and shredded cheese.

A New Journey

Soft breeze has blown its last
The sweet smell of flowers ,grass and leaves melt into dust
The air turns into crystal light

Pain ceases
Fear is no more

Pearl gate opens
The angels hum heavenly melody
Stars take a bow for an endless dance
Glowing dawn embraces the soul
Riding the sun and flying East

I am alive.
A new life, a new journey

Have Yourself Some Corn-men

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We don’t have snow to build  a snowman, so I think I’ll have fun with corns, and besides , they are yummy, hehehe… It’s not supposed to be a corn-man. They are normally normal in round shape. But I just wanted to play some fun with my cooking so I did this.

This snack is one of many kinds that is popular in Indonesia. We call it Bakwan Jagung or Corn fritters.  You may find a various recipe for this Bakwan jagung. The one I share here is my own created recipe.

These are the ordinary looking Corn fritters :

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And this is how to make them :

Ingredients :

2 ears fresh corn

2 stalks green onion, thinly sliced

2 eggs

4 tbsp. corn starch

3 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1/4 ground white pepper

a pinch of salt

Oil for deep frying

Directions :

* Use a knife to scrape off the kernels. Throw away the cobs

* Add the rest of the ingredients and mix them well. You may have a light-not-so-thick batter. ( some other recipe may result in thick batter as they use more flour and rice flour. Mine is just not thick )

* Heat oil for the deep frying

* With a ladle , drop a spoonful of the batter and fry till the batter turn golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Drain and cool on paper towel or a wire rack. Repeat the process till the batter has been used up.

* Serve while still hot. You may eat it with tomato or chili sauce. But I just eat them straight away.

Enjoy !

Tori Kurozu-An

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Weekends are a great time to cook, pampering my own craving of new recipes. Today I went with Nami’s Ootoya’s sweet and sour chicken  ( http://www.justonecookbook.com ) or Tori Kurozu-An in Japanese’s menu. Chicken is always my favorite. And this morning I cooked joyfully. Then lunch was amazing, a plate of hot cooked rice and the delicious chicken. I am delightfully full.

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I quote here Nami’s recipe .

2  chicken thighs

3 small tomatoes ( I used 2 big ones )

1 medium carrot

1 medium eggplant

1/2 onion

1/2 green pepper

1/2 cup corn starch

3 cups deep frying oil

Marinade :

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 Tbsp. sake

1 tsp.grated ginger with juice

1 clove garlic

Black vinegar sauce :

4 Tbsp. sugar

3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 Tbsp. black vinegar ( I used Balsamic )

1 Tbsp. mirin

1 Tbsp. water

1 Tbsp. sake

2 tsp. corn starch

Instructions

1. Make the marinade. Grate the ginger and garlic. Combine with soy sauce and sake in a bowl. Add the chicken in the marinade after you cut the meat into bite size pieces. Cover and refrigerate for 10 minutes.

2. Combine all the ingredients for Black vinegar sauce . Put aside.

3. Cut all the vegetables into small pieces. Deep  fry the vegetables until they are tender. When they are done, drain the oil on a wire rack or paper towel.

4. As potato and carrot take long to deep fry, boil them first for 10 minutes until they are tender.

5. Coat the chicken in corn starch and deep fry for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure the chicken is cooked through. Drain the oil well on a wire rack or paper towel.

6. Heat the wok and toss the deep fried vegetables and chicken together. When they are re-heated evenly, pour the Black vinegar sauce over the chicken and vegetables, toss and combine. Transfer to a plate and serve.

Itadakimasu !

Do we need tomatoes ? – A journey with different eyes and new mind

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Sometimes I forgot that my mother is walking into her own world of having a condition of memory loss.
One day I was looking for some basil in the fridge and found two plastic bags full of tomatoes. I was surprised. There are always one or two tomatoes in the fridge but not these many. What was my mother going to cook ?

I asked her. She looked at the tomatoes and seemed surprised herself. She said ; “ Did you buy     these?”

I was in a hurry to prepare my lunch before going to the office so I hastily answered , “I didn’t. You bought some a few days ago. Why didn’t you check the fridge before you buy it ? Now we have lots of them and we are not cooking anything with those tomatoes.”

My mother still looked confused.

“I didn’t buy them. Why would I buy lots of them ?” she looked at me.

Then I knew she had forgotten all about the tomatoes. I looked at her sadly.

She mumbled to herself about the tomatoes.

Still busy preparing the ingredients for my cooking, I said lightly. “So what should we do about it .”

She immediately smiled and said “ Give them away. Camay, Mrs. Dodi, and Narti would love to receive it. Perhaps they are in need with the tomato, we never know. I’ll leave three for us.”
Camay, and Mrs. Dodi are our closest neighbors. And Narti is a day-helper lady at our house.

In a minute , she was busy wrapping the tomatoes.

“We’d never know when we could be a blessing for others. Sometimes, we don’t realize that we are having plenty and others have not. We should not forget to share our abundant blessings,” she said.

“Yes, I know , Ma. But still you have to check the fridge , please ?”

She nodded and smiled.

I was not sure if she would remember to do it when the veggie-cart seller comes by in the morning, but that day I was being reminded what a blessed life we have that we should share it with others in any way we can, even for some tomatoes.

Bollebuisjes

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Well known as the Poffertjes or the classic Dutch Pancake or baby pancake. They are babies indeed ; tiny , sweet and cute all together. And they are delicious as well. I must say, we have to add ‘fun’ to its name . Making those little ones is  real fun. I really enjoyed the time baking it. One good reason, this was the second time I used the pan and it came out well. First one was not good, I wasn’t satisfied with the result. Anyway, it was months months ago.

We’d better get right to the way how they become the little delicious ones.

Please Have :

1 cup warm milk

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 eggs

Pinch salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoon butter, melted

1 tablespoon sugar

Now get to work :

Whisk the eggs and sugar till well combined. Add the milk and butter, stir thoroughly . Mix the flour, baking powder and salt into the egg mixture. Beating well and make sure there are no lumps. Put aside  the batter for ten minutes .

Heat the pan and lightly grease with each dimple  butter . Pour a small amount of batter into each dimple. You can use spoon or fill the batter into a squeeze bottle to easier pouring the batter. When the sides are dry up and bubbles appear on the surface, use the tin of a fork to flip the poffertjes over. Watch carefully for one minute max.

Serve them hot , sprinkle with powdered sugar or shredded cheese or strawberry jam or cinnamon sugar mixture. Anything will do. The topping will go well with the poffertjes. They are friendly (lol).

Have fun making it !

The little ones are transforming their beauty

The little ones are transforming their beauty

Nice looking and tempting poffetjes

Nice looking and tempting poffertjes

Red Roses – A Journey with a different eyes and new mind

My mother, taken early this year. Now she has left her hair almost grey

My mother, taken early this year. Now she  let her hair almost grey

My mother is 80 years old, going 81 in a few months . She loves to say she’s 81 now. I don’t know why. She is a petite lady, comparing to my tall figure. She is about 150 cm tall. She likes to ask me taking things from a high shelf where I could reach without using a chair, then she would say “ Wow, you’re so tall apparently.” I guess she’s still amazed to know I am much taller than she is.

Lately, there are many things that amaze her, as if she sees it for the first time ever. It has been going on for few months now and I have had a talk with her that she should be more aware about things around her as I think she is journeying into the old age’s stage of life ; forgetfulness.

I am just thinking to myself that she is getting a mild dementia . Talking into her to see a doctor about this is useless . She knows that this happens to all the old people in the world and she has seen some of her families experienced this stage. She is aware of her condition and she tries to do daily routine , move around a lot, walking our two dogs every morning and afternoon around the neighborhood, and cooking.

She is a great cook and I love everything that she cooks. But she is worse in baking (lol). Never in her life she’s ever baked a cake, though I know my grandmother and many of my aunts are great bakers, but not my mother. Thank God that she still cooks well and has not forgotten yet all the complicated spices used in a dish.

I remember about a quote saying, often a good will come out from a bad. Deep deep in my heart I am worried and sad about my mother, but the way she joyfully enjoys her days, eases my worry. And like the quote, I learn something good on how my mother forgets things.

Around our neighborhood, there are many plant and flower street sellers, occupy empty lands along the streets that have not been used for house building. On Sundays when we go to church or sometimes we just drive to a hypermart in the shopping centre of the area ,we will pass through the street sellers.

One day, my mother spotted some blooming red roses and exclaimed happily, “ Look, they are beautiful , aren’t they ?” Then she eagerly talked about how the roses were so gorgeous and what the nurseryman did to have that kind of roses. She said she was not good in gardening.

Since I drive slowly, I could spot the roses, too. Yes, they are beautiful. I didn’t think about that event till the next time we drove through the area again and my mother said the same thing about the red roses, which they were still there and still blossomed. I said lightly that she had seen the roses few days before but my mother insisted that this was the first time she saw them. First, I tried to argue her and explained to her when was the last time we drove through the street and saw the roses , but in her vivid look, she defended her logic.

I thought, well, it’s not a good thing to argue about. So I left my mother with her own thought. By the time, she was forgetting other things as well. And she would repeatedly say things she just said minutes before.

It happened again and again every time we drove through the area where the roses were still there. I could see that every time my mother spotted the roses , it’s like it’s the first time she saw them. Then it came to my mind. Why should I be annoyed at the way she sees things nowadays. Why should not I do the same, see things as it’s my first ; eagerly, be amazed, find a secret surprise in them , get the spirit pumped out with excitement of knowing something new , like my mother does.

And from that new perceiving , an appreciation arises . I value more to things around me, refresh my mind that I can encounter a new thing every day, things that I might have taken for granted previously, like that red roses.

My mother might have been walking into her own world, a world where one day I could not get into and be with her, but for today, I take hold her hands and let her eyes be mine, to look at the world around differently.

Forgiveness

 The daunting look .
 Those once was filled with constant fury,
 has no sparks.
 Gazing drearily to nowhere.

 The trembling hands, wrinkled fingers.
 Those once kept a vigorous strength,
 smashed things within his grip.
 Trying hard to get a soft grip on a cup of tea.

 The parched sealed lips.
 Those once threw out rude and abusive words,
 tore delicate heart apart.
 Speaking slowly, haltingly ,almost whispering to     utter a word.

 The limp feet .
 Once the sound of the footstep,
 raised a chilling fear .
 Carries no sound at all
 when it takes a gigantic effort to step forward.

 The weary and powerless figure.
 Display a deep pity.
 Those hollow eyes.
 Pleading for a heartfelt forgiveness
 for all the hurts.

 You have been forgiven, Dad.
 Long long time ago.
 On the day I decided not to become
 Another you to the ones I love.

Miss B in the snow

Winter is coming to the town. Ok, not in my part of the world where I can do the sun bathing every day. This is not about the weather I am speaking of. This is merely about the sweet little Miss B who loves to wear her winter coat, even in the Summer.

I am talking nonsense ( I know ). I just like to make up stories about the cakes I make. Imagining what they are journeying into (hehehe).

About Miss B. Hmm… she’s the sweet simple one. The petite no one canever resist of; from the one year old to the hundred years old. With or without teeth, seriously. I chose to make over Miss B, using the method from http://www.frenchfood.about.com, the wonderful country where Miss B came from. Besides, this oneis simple, they don’t use yeast so you can make it anytime you likewithout spending time much waiting.

Miss B has changed in so many different styles where you can find her with delightful taste in many parts of the world . In Indonesia, she is known as roti goreng ( fried dough ) because we use yeast. Still she is well known as the one from New Orleans, the soulful city of music and dance and food and party… I guess Miss B fits it all           ( LOL ).

So, here I present you my one and only, Miss B(eignet).

Looking gorgeous, isn’t she ?

the heart of Miss B, looks very soft

the heart of Miss B, looks very soft

Covered with confectioner sugar and shredded cheese

Covered with confectioner sugar and shredded cheese

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Irresistible Miss B(eignet)

Ingredients :

* 1/4 cup butter

* 1 cup water

* 4 eggs

* 1 cup all-purpose flour

* 1/4 teaspoon salt

* Oil for deep frying

* Confectioner sugar at your taste

Preparation :

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter in the water. Add salt and flour, and stir until a sticky batter is formed. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until the batter is smooth.

Heat the oil to 375F. Fry mounded teaspoons of dough, several at a time, for about 6 minutes. They are done when they are light, golden brown on each side. Drain them for a few minutes on a clean kitchen towel and served warm, dusted with the confectioners sugar. ( or shredded cheese or strawberry jam or anything you love ).