It started when I read about food photo contest for ACMI 1st anniversary. We had to submit one or more pictures of traditional Indonesian food through the Instagram, FB or Twitter.
Just a day after that I received Deppa Tori, a traditional cookies from my sister who just came back from Toraja, South Sulawesi. So I grabbed some props and did some quick shots before ate them.
Later I submitted the picture to the ACMI photo contest through the Instagram. That was the only picture that I submitted.
pic : (L) the picture of Deppa Tori that won the photo contest, (R) one of prize I got; the recipe book '30 Traditional Indonesian Culinary Icon'. I recommend you to have this recipe book.
Then about 1-2 weeks later, when I just got cellular signal after returning from the camping and trekking at Papandayan Mountain, I received the good news, that I was one of the photo contest winners.
...ohhh, you can imagine how happy I was.
And later on, I got the complete news that I won the grand prize; to join the Cooking Clinic coached by Pak William Wongso, Indonesia's most famous culinary expert, renowned restaurateur, food consultant, critique and hosts his own very popular television series. One more, he is an amazing photographer.
At this point, you can imagine how nervous I was.
One of the Cooking Clinic's agenda was that all the 5 lucky winners had to cook one most difficult dish that we have problem with it, probably we failed for many times or not familiar with some ingredients or method, etc. I had no idea what should I cook in front of the master.
A couple of days before the Cooking Clinic, my husband asked me to cook Sayur Lodeh; mixed vegetables in coconut milk, one of the popular side dish in Indonesia.
It's a common dish that come from most of Indonesian Kitchens, but for me... hmm, cooking coconut milk made my forehead wrinkling.
But later on... I decided to give it a try, hmm... why not?
Just two days before the cooking clinic, I tried to cook Sayur Lodeh for our dinner. Unbelievable, it turned out as a very good dish. I had only little problem; the eggplant was too soft, a bit soggy. We got a very good texture in other vegetables with very tasty coconut milk soup.
On the first week of November, at the Cooking Clinic, I decided to cook Sayur Lodeh, just to make sure that I cook it using the right method and hoping to get some tips to produce the perfect dish.
The Cooking Clinic was a hands-on cooking class, that each of us had to cook our own choice dish and some other dishes (the famous Rendang, the aromatic Asam Padeh, my favorite dish Ikan Acar Kuning), learned together and ate the results together. Awesome.
Six hours, including cooking, learning, watching the cooking demo, ...
Seriously, I got lots of new knowledge (that never written anywhere !), tips and made me more confident to mix and match other cooking ingredients in my kitchen. Precious.
I'm so lucky.
And for the soggy eggplant in my previous Sayur Lodeh, hmm... just add chopped eggplant after most of other vegetables are soft, the soup is cooked well.
I confidently added Ebi (dried small shrimp) to give an aromatic flavor to the dish and skipped the young jack fruit to this dish.
Here, the recipe below is my version of Sayur Lodeh:
Mix Vegetables in Coconut Milk
1500 ml thin coconut milk
300 ml thick coconut milk
3 salam leaves
2 cm galangal, bruised
150 gr string beans, cuti into 2 cm pieces
50 gr melinjo leaves
200 gr chayote, peel & cut into 1x1x2 cm
150 gr tempe, cut into 1x1x2 cm
10 snake gourd, halved
5 green chillies, sliced
2 red chillies, sliced
150 gr eggplant, halved then cut into 2 cm
1 tbsp palm sugar
5 cloves garlic
4 candle-nuts, roasted
1 tsp coriander, roasted
2 tsp salt
1 tsp tamarind
Cook the thin coconut milk together with salam leaves, galangal, and ground spices. Let it boil, then simmering over low heat, stirring occasionally until it is cooked and the fragrant aroma come out.
Add string beans, chayote, melinjo leaves, snake gourd and tempe. Cook until all the vegetables are cooked well, before adding the eggplants and chilies. Let all the ingredients are cooked well.
Add thick coconut milk, season with sugar and additional salt, if needed.
Let it boil again and turn off the heat, stirring occasionally.