Friday, May 7, 2010

My Latest Kitchen Adventure

Veronica who writes Of Mice and  Ramen talked to us about Rendang two weeks ago and I thought it looked really good.  I promised to try it myself and to tell you the results. 

It was fun shopping for the recipe ingredients, but unfortunately, I am not in Malaysia and could not find certain things.  Neither me, nor my grocer, had ever heard of "Galangal".  I do not know anything about curries and "curry leaves" are not sold in my grocery store either.  Coconuts were there.  I bought two.

Now I have to say, when preparing a meal for my family begins in the garage, working with electric drills, hammers and chisels, I already begin to wonder how things are going to work out.

I collected the coconut water after the holes were drilled into the top of the tough nuts, only because it was there.  In the end, it was a good thing I did, as you will soon read.  Did you know that according to recent magazine articles, coconut water is the newest, hottest dietary aid?  It is high is potassium, is good for bowel cleansing among other things, and can even be used as an isotonic solution to replenish fluids intravenously if needed in emergencies.  Surprise!

Back in the kitchen, the hard work began.  Would my paring knife snap in half as I determined to extricate the pulp from the stone-like shell?  How was I supposed to grate the small, broken pulp pieces without grating my fingers too?  Two coconuts gave me almost enough pulp to grate into the 1 1/2 cups called for in the recipe.

Next, I attempted to make "coconut milk" from the gratings.  A futile attempt.  This is when I was happy to have saved the coconut water from the garage.  Who would know the difference????

Those who have watched me in the kitchen know all too well my philosophy on recipes--almost the same as the one that goes:  "Rules were made to be broken."

For potatoes, I substituted Acorn Squash.  It's a pretty orange colour and has a nice flavor, and I really do not like mushy potatoes.

Instead of tomato sauce, I used ketchup.  It was open, and besides, who wants to only use 2 Tbsp. of tomato sauce out of a 28 ounce jar?

By the time I had the finished product in the oven in its bean pot/aka: clay pot, I was sweating.  This recipe is hard work.  Maybe Veronica's mother taught her the correct ways to deal with coconuts.  Maybe she has designated tools for the task.  I can't imagine she has as much trouble as I did with this, because she says she makes it all the time.

What an amazingly flavourful meal this recipe (with my few omissions and additions) made.  I really loved the lemon grass and ginger, together with the chili paste and scallions. 

Remember the picture of my husband's face when I gave him the beats?  Well, this time he tried hard to look positive, but.....    We do not live in Malaysia and we do not eat hot, spicy foods.  Veronica would have probably thought my version was very bland, but for our palates, this meal was a challenge.

Thank you, Veronica, for the kitchen adventure.  It was fun, it was good to eat, but it is one I will not do again anytime soon.

Here it is Friday again and the Friday Follow Blog Hop sponsored by our hostesses from Hearts Make Families, Midday Escapades and One 2 Try.  Come along and join the fun.
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