Friday, March 27, 2009

Mom's Birthday Dinner: Indonesian Fried Chicken and Fries

The main reason I came home to Montréal was to celebrate my mother's birthday. My sister L and I wanted to make her a special dinner. A couple of issues arose. First of all, when my sister and I get together, sparks often fly. The second is that it's hard to figure out what to cook for someone who cooks so well.

After putting our heads together, we narrowed down our meal options. My mom likes fried food and she likes coconut. We didn't want to cook Vietnamese because she can cook it herself and we want her to try new things. She does not like any dairy. So we picked South East Asian dishes that she was not familiar with.

The Menu
* Shrimp Satay
* Green Papaya Salad (Tom Som)
* Fried Chicken with Lime and Coconut (Ayam Goreng Kalasan)
* Tropical Fries Basket
* Stir Fried Baby Bok Choy
* Pineapple upside down Coconut Cake with Coconut Sorbet

Shrimp Satay
After figuring out our main meal, shrimp satay seemed like the perfect appetizer. Everyone seemed to enjoy it since they went pretty fast. We used a recipe online (the first one that popped up on google actually).

Green Papaya Salad (Tom Som)
Again working around our main fried chicken dish, we decided to make a green papaya salad, as the equivalent of coleslaw, from my sister's Williams-Sonoma - Savoring Soups & Salads cookbook (a gift from me!). Vietnamese people also use green papaya for salads but we top it with beef jerky. Interestingly, this Laotian recipe called for the addition of yard long beans, something my sister and I have never cooked with. We really enjoyed the addition of the kaffir lime leaves that gave this salad a very nice flavour and aroma.

* 125 g yard long beans, cut into 1" sections and blanched
* 1 small green papaya (about 1 lb), julienned - my mom thinks this could be grated
* 1 small carrot, julienned
* 1 tomato, cut into thin wedges
* 2 kaffir lime leaves, spines removed and finely shredded
* 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
* 1-½ tbsp fish sauce
* 2 tbsp sugar
* 2 cloves garlic, minced finely
* 1 bird eye chili, sliced thinly
* coriander, for garnish
* roasted peanuts, for garnish

Place the beans, papaya and carrot in a large bowl and mix together.
Mix the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, garlic and chili.
Adjust to taste.
Pour over vegetables and mix thoroughly.
Garnish with coriander, lime leaves and peanuts.

The papaya should be peeled and seeded.

We bought our own papaya and sliced it thinly.

Fried Chicken (Ayam Goreng Kalasan)
We came up with our menu around this Indonesian fried chicken dish from Williams-Sonoma - Savoring Meat & Poultry. My mom LOVES fried chicken. This dish was intriguing since it required the chicken to be braised in coconut juice prior to frying. Braising the chicken allowed it to remain moist. The recipe called for a whole chicken cut into pieces but we replaced it with chicken legs.

* 6 chicken legs
* salt and pepper
* 6 peppercorns
* 2 jalapeno chilese, seeded and quartered
* 2 large shallots, quartered
* 3 garlic cloves, quartered
* 2 cups frozen coconut juice, thawed
* 1 lemongrass stalk, tender mid-section only, mashed
* 5 kaffir lime leaves, spines removed
* 1 bay leaf
* 2 tsp salt
* ground pepper
* oil for frying

Rub the chicken with salt and pepper.
In a blender, process the peppercorns, chiles, shallots and garlic to form a spice paste.
Place the spice paste in a large pot at medium heat.
Add the chicken pieces, coconut juice, lemongrass, lime leaves, bay leaf, salt and ground pepper.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium.
Cook for 20 minutes.
Remove and drain the chicken, and set aside.
Strain the liquid and return to pot.
Cook until it becomes a sauce like consistency and set aside.
Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels.
Heat up about 2" of oil in a large pot.
Deep fry each chicken until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side.
Transfer chicken pieces to paper towels or a wire rack to drain.
Serve with the sauce.

Tropical Fries Basket
My sister had the idea of frying different types of tropical potatoes, for lack of a better word. We fried five different types of root vegetables: sweet potato, taro root, lotus root, yuca (also known as cassava) and plantains. We had never done this before and learned a few things I'll share below.

Starting from the left and going clockwise are two brown yuca's, a large piece of taro root, a plantain, two small pieces of lotus roots and two larger (purple-y) sweet potatoes (with white flesh).

Yuca. My sister is showing that you can see a line in the cross-section and to just peel the yucca following that line.

Lotus Roots and Plantains. The lotus roots were simply peeled and sliced about ¼" thick. My sister realized she should have bought a green plantainto make patacones, twice fried Columbian plantains - our was too ripe. To make pacones, slice them about 1" thick and smash them. You can cook them in the microwave before deep frying.

We sliced the yuca and sweet potatoes into wedges.

L also made two homemade mayonaise for the fries: a lime/ginger one, and a chili/garlic one. She simply added lime juice and lime zest into her mayo, and chli and garlic into the second.

The taro root was sliced into triangles. We thought the lotus roots were the prettiest and that the yucca stayed crunchy the longest!

Stir Fried Baby Bok Choy
L simply stir fried some baby bok choy with a bit of oyster sauce as a vegetable dish.

Pineapple Upside Down Coconut Cake
My sister's boyfriend D was responsible for dessert. He followed a coconut cake recipe from Sugar on top of pineapple slices. The pineapple was supposed to be in caramel but there was an issue because brown sugar was used and it was hard to figure out when the sugar caramelized...

* sugar
* water
* pineapple slices
* 2-⅓ cups unsweetened flaked coconut
* ⅓ cup vegetable oil
* 1 cup coconut milk
* 2 large eggs, separated
* 2-¼ cups pastry flour
* 1 cup + ½ cup sugar
* 1 tbsp baking powder
* 1 tsp salt

Cook sugar in water until caramelized on high heat.
Add the pineapple slices and coat with the caramel sauce.
Preheat oven to 375 °F and grease and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper.
Place the pineapple slices and caramel at the bottom of the pan.
Whisk vegetable oil, 1 cup of coconut milk and egg yolks until evenly blended.
In a separate bowl, sift flour, 1 cup of sugar, baking powder and salt.
Add flour to coconut milk mixture and stir just until blended.
Stir in 1-⅓ cups toasted coconut.
In another bowl, whip egg whites with remaining ½ cup sugar until they hold a soft peak.
Fold a third of the whites into the cake mix until incorporated then fold in remaining whipped whites.
Spoon batter into prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until top turn light brown and spring back when touched.

L & D served the pinepple coconut cake with my mom's favourite: coconut sorbet from Le Bilboquet!


Wandering Chopsticks said...

Happy birthday to your mom! What a feast!

Miss.Adventure said...

Thanks WC!

Nhu said...

nice menu...your Mom must've felt so loved! :)

Blogger said...

3 Researches REVEAL How Coconut Oil Kills Waist Fat.

The meaning of this is that you actually burn fat by eating coconut fat (including coconut milk, coconut cream and coconut oil).

These 3 studies from large medicinal journals are sure to turn the conventional nutrition world around!