Saturday, March 30, 2013

Vegan Indonesian Salad with Spicy Grated Coconut Dry Dressing- Urap

Traditional Javanese Salad - Urap
I am blogging Indonesian food again.  My DGH (my dear gringo husband) likes Indonesian dishes so I continue with this trend to make more veganized Javanese dishes. He loves this Javanese traditional dish called Urap! This one is a dish that Indonesians make for community celebrations such as birthdays, house warming parties, baby showers, weddings, bridal showers, etc. etc.  It's great for potlucks or picnics since it can be served in a room temperature.  Just like the Koreans who bring Japchae into potlucks or picnics, Indonesians bring Urap.  One reason this dish is great for potluck is that it is easy to make as long as the fresh (can be frozen and then thawed) grated coconut can be obtained. This dish is similar to Indian Kale-CabbageThoran that I blogged back in 2012.

The title says 'Dry Dressing'.  Yep, it is not like the Western salad dressing with oil and vinegar, emulsified.  This dish uses thinly grated coconut, the thinner or smaller the better, as dry dressing.  Usually, it is also spicy hot like sambal. However, the level of heat can be reduced by using my tip below(about the level of heat).  I have trained DGH to eat spicy hot food but his is not at the level of heat I can take and I always make it less spicy for him.

About the coconut:
OMG, coconut became so popular in the US.  The natural market in my neighborhood I go to sells coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut juice, fresh young coconuts, etc.   Wow!  I remember about 20 years ago I had to hunt down coconut juice or coconut milk in Chinatown when I wanted to make Indonesian dishes.  For this dish, I buy the frozen grated coconut(from fresh and not dried) at an Indian market/store.  Actually, the guy at the Indian market sells fresh coconuts (not the young coconut) and is willing to break the coconut for the customers.  I am just too lazy to peel and grate the fresh coconut.  I could have done it with a fine spice Microplane grater.  I am also hoping that my readers can find this kind of frozen grated coconut at a nearby Indian market.  I haven't yet tried to prepare this dish with unsweetened dried grated coconut and reconstitute it with warm water. It may work, however, the taste is better if it is made with fresh coconut. Below are pictures of 2 different brands of frozen grated coconut in the Indian markets.

About the level of heat:
Big chili is not hot! The smaller chili is hotter than the big one, that's for sure. The red small chili(fresh Chili Arbol) is SUPER hot (about 15000-30000 Scoville unit). Chili Arbol is not as hot as Habanero but it is pretty hot.  I usually use 2-3 of this red chili per dish and it can be omitted altogether.  The next level is the medium size chili such as red Jalapeno (basically, it is jalapeno that is ripened) which is medium hot.  The mildest is the dried New Mexico(dried Anaheim pepper) that is reconstituted in warm water after the stem and seeds removed.  New Mexico chili is readily available in most market, especially, Hispanic market.  Therefore, it really depends how you like the heat.  I combine the red small chili with 3-4 large New Mexico chili in my dishes.  Sometime I combine the red Jalapeno with New Mexico chili.  I always use the New Mexico chili since I like the taste(a bit sweet) and how it makes the dish red but not hot.  If fresh small red chili is not available, the dried chili called Chili Arbol can be used.  They also need to be reconstituted in warm water.  I have used this kind of dried Chili Arbol when the fresh ones are not available.  Warning: always use gloves when handling chili or wash hands immediately and don't rub face or eyes.

From lower right, clockwise: hot fresh chili arbol, medium red jalapeno, reconstituted New Mexico chili, hot red dried chili arbol.

Vegan Indonesian Salad with Spicy Grated Coconut Dry Dressing- Urap
Serve 6 
Printable Recipe

Vegetable Ingredients: (they will shrink after steaming)
6-8 cups kale, cut into julienne or shreds
1 cabbage, cut into julienne or shreds (about 6 cups)
4 cups cut green beans (fresh), either julienne cut or about 1 inch
2 cups bean sprouts, optional

Dry dressing ingredients:
1 ½ cup fresh grated coconut or frozen and then thawed
4 garlic cloves
4-5 shallot cloves
1 tsp. salt
3-4 large New Mexico chili, reconstituted in warm water after seeds and stem removed
2-3 hot red chili or serrano chili, use less for less hot and see 'About the level of heat' how to make this dish spicy or less spicy, can be omitted completely for mild spicyness
1 Tbsp. miso (light brown or white mellow)
Note:  traditionally, this dish is made with terasi or shrimp paste.  I replaced it with miso.
1 Tbsp. palm sugar/gula jawa/brown sugar
New Mexico chili soaking water or plain water

Preparing the dry dressing:
  1. Using a food processor or mortar and pestle, grind garlic, shallot, salt, New Mexico chili, red hot chili/serrano chili until smooth. Add a little water or chili soaking water, a little at a time, until this mixture come into a paste.
  2. Combine the spice paste with the grated coconut, miso, and sugar thoroughly with hands or a large fork.
  3. Steam this dressing for 15-20 minutes. Set aside and let it cool.
Preparing steam vegetables:
Note: the veggies are supposed to be lightly steamed, don’t overkill in the steaming process.

  1. Use a large steamer such as a large wok with bamboo steamer on top. Boil 4-5 cups of water.
  2. Once the water is boiling, pile in shredded kale, steam for 5-6 minutes.
  3. Take out the steamed kale and spread onto a cookie sheet for a quick cooling.
  4. Repeat step 2 and 3 for cabbage, green beans, and bean sprouts. Bean sprouts takes only 3-4 minutes. Each time spread steamed vegetables on a cookie sheet for a quick cooling.
Mix the salad:
  1. Mix the lightly steamed vegetables and dry dressing when everything is COOL.
  2. Combine dressing and veggies thoroughly and serve in a room temperature.  Add salt if necessary.
  3. Store in the fridge but let it out on a room temperature or heat up in a microwave for 1 minute before serving.
Just like Indian Kale-Cabbage Thoran, this dish is usually better accompanied with somekind of fish dish.  The Lemongrass Soy Fish is a great companion.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Vegan Indonesian 'Lamb' Curry - Gule or Gulai

Indonesian 'Lamb' Curry - Gule or Gulai
The Indonesian food cravings still exist in my system.  I crave Indonesian ethnic dish such as this one Indonesian Lamb Curry or called Gule or Gulai.  I think I am craving the spices and not craving to eat the lamb/goat or meat.  The curry taste is pretty unique.  I can't really compare it with Indian curries since the spices are similar to Indian but we, Indonesians, add fresh herbs to it like galanga, kaffir lime leaves, bay leaves, and lemon grass.  It doesn't taste like Thai curry either since spices like cloves, coriander, cardamom,  and cumin are used.  Is it a fusion between Indian and Thai curry?  Maybe, that's the only thing I can describe it.

Herbs used in Indonesian dishes(from left to right, clockwise):  galanga, shallots, garlic, ginger, kaffir lime leaves, and lemon grass.

I opted to use fresh herbs as much as possible.  Living in Southern California makes it easier to do that since I can find them easily in Asian markets.  In fact, if you read my previous posts, I grow my own lemon grass and kaffir lime.  These plants are thriving all year long in my backyard and I just pluck them whenever I need to cook Southeast Asian dishes.

In the past, I often cook Indonesian dishes by buying store-bought spice paste like Bamboe, Munik, or Indo Food.  It is supposed to be easy.  I can just stir fry the spices, add other ingredients, add coconut milk if needed, and voila, an Indonesian dish is done.  However, lately, I found out that these spice companies started adding MSG although sometimes it is not listed in the ingredients list.  In fact, they started to do that on Indonesian snacks and chips, too. Urrrgh!  I am not sure either if terasi or shrimp paste is included but not listed.  Therefore, I decided to make my own spices and learn to cook it from scratch which is more elaborate but believe me the taste is better homemade.

Tools needed:  mini chopper/spice grinder, a food processor or a mortar and pestle as shown in my previous post.

Vegan Indonesian 'Lamb' Curry - Gule or Gulai
Serve 6

2 pkgs. Gardein Beefless Tips  or 3-4 cups cubed super firm tofu or 3-4 cups cubed tempeh
Note:  The Gardein Beefless Tips are the best for this dish.  A friend of mine said 'I can fool a meat eater using these'.
1 cup coconut milk or light coconut milk
1 cup water or vegetable broth
1 Tsp. salt or more to taste
2 Tbsp. palm sugar or brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
Oil, non-flavor such as canola or safflower oil

2-3 slices fresh ginger
2-3 slices fresh galanga or baby ginger
2 stalks lemon grass, sliced (use white part only)
3 bay leaves, dried
3 kaffir lime leaves, crushed with your hands to releace aroma

Spices to blend in a spice grinder or mortar:
1 Tbsp, coriander seeds
1 tsp. black peppercorns
1/4  of a nutmeg or 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
5 whole cloves or 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. cumin seeds
2 cardamom seeds
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
Note:  I suppose you can use all ground spices to start with.  However,  I prefer to temper my spices on a hot cast iron and then cool them before grinding. 

Spice paste:
6 candlenuts or kemiri(see picture below)
6 shallot cloves

Fried shallots for topping
Lalapan or fresh cut tomatoes, cucumber, lettuces, green beans, etc.
Note: Lalapan means eating rice, meaty dish, and fresh vegetables with sambal.
Sambal Tomat from my previous post

  1. If using firm tofu or tempeh, pan fry cubes in oil or sprayed with oil and baked them in 400F oven for 15 minutes to brown them.  Set aside.  This step is to firm up the tofu or tempeh as they will be simmered in curry sauce.
  2. Combine all spices and blend until smooth in a spice grinder or in a mortar and pestle.
  3. Into a mini chopper or a food processer or the mortar, add candlenuts, shallots, and spices above (no. 2) and blend into a spice paste.  Add a little water if necessary to make the paste.
  4. In a heavy bottom pot or a wok, add 2 tbsp. oil on a medium high heat.  Add spice paste and pan fry for 5  minutes until fragrant.  Be patient to stir fry the spice paste since this step release the aroma for the curry. 
  5. Add fresh herbs: ginger, galanga, kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass.  Also add the cinnamon sticks.  Combine them with the stir fried spice paste for another 3 minutes.
  6. Add Gardein Beefless Tips or cubed tofu or tempeh.  Combine the spices and herbs with this ingredient for another 3-4 minutes.
  7. Add coconut milk, water, salt, and palm or brown sugar.  Add more salt or sugar to taste.
  8. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  9. Serve with rice and accompaniments.
Indonesian dishes often use dark palm sugar or gula jawa, tamarind paste, and candlenuts or kemiri.

This is how I served this dish to my husband today, from top left, clockwise: Sambal TomatMy Perfect Brown Rice, and fresh cut vegetables. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Vegan Yeast Doughnuts

This is a long post.  Also, I am going to the dark side with this post, to the unhealthy world:  Vegan Doughnuts!  Is it spelled doughnut or donut?  Does it matter?  I will use both spellings.   I posted some pictures of these doughnuts in fb a while back and my vegan friend asked me to blog the recipes.  I don't usually eat doughnut and haven't been for a long long time since it is not available readily for us vegans.  I really try to eat healthy vegan food so it is good that it is not easy to get this unhealthy but delicious morsel.
I am talking about yeast doughnut instead of the cake doughnut.  You know that there is a difference, right?  My favorite is the yeast kind.  I've been to Ronald's Donut and Voodo Doughnut , shops who sell this kind of donuts. They are really really good but thank goodness they are really really far away. I also prefer the deep fried kind.  Sorry, if it is not deep fried it is not a doughnut to me.   I don't usually eat deep fried food, not daily, but once a while I will eat deep fried food and enjoy it.   If it is baked, the yeast doughnut is called bread in the shape of doughnut.  For the cake doughnut, if it is baked, then, it is really cake in the shape of doughnut.  This is just my opinion.  If I want to eat doughnut then I prefer the deep fried one.  Someone will ask me if these can be baked.  Yes, but then it is bread.   They can be baked in 375F for 25 minutes until golden brown.  The sugar will not stick to the baked doughnut so I sprayed or dipped the doughnuts into coconut oil or vegan butter before I sprinkle them with sugar.  Below is a picture of baked Bombolini, an Italian donut filled with vegan custard and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.

Baked Bombolini, an Italian donut style

This recipe came about after I learned making bread recently.  I perused many different sweet bread recipes and tried to imagine which one would be good for doughnuts.   I also tried different ways of replacing eggs in sweet bread and this one seems to be the perfect way for doughnuts. After trying and changing a few ingredients and measurements, I came up with this recipe below.  I have been really satisfied with the result.  The doughnuts melt in my mouth and so very soft and light.

I would like to share some tips and suggestions about the ingredients first so you'll know what I use:

  1. About the yeast: After learning baking bread, I have been using SAF Instant Yeast and bought it in 1 lb package from Amazon.  The instant yeast is easy to use because it doesn't need to be activated with warm water.  Basically, I just throw in the instant yeast, flour, salt, liquid together and then knead it.  No fuss with mixing it with warm water at all.
  2. About the flour:  I use Unbleached All Purpose flour.  King Arthur is supposed to be the best for making bread but it is hard to find in my area and if I find it, it is very expensive.  I use Bob's Red Mill organic kind and it's good.  After learning making bread, please, please, weigh the flour for measuring instead of using a cup measuring.  For accuracy, this is the way to do it since measuring flour by cup-measuring tool is not as accurate due to your environment (dry or humid air, etc.).
  3. About the coconut oil:  I am trying not to use products with palm oil in it so I came up with this Organic Virgin Coconut oil from Trader Joe's.  I love it.
  4. About temperature:  Please make sure that all ingredients are at room temperature.  Do not refridgerate ingredients before hand.  If it is cold, let it out at a room temperature before mixing.
  5. Planning:  It takes about 12 hours or more to develop the dough.  Planning is really important.  I  prepared the dough on a weekend day and shape the doughnut early in the morning the next day.  Meanwhile while waiting for the dough to be ready, I prepared the glazes, the filling, and the topping ingredients.
Vegan Yeast Doughnut
Makes 1 dozen doughnuts and more than 1 dozen doughnut holes

280g or 10 oz. Unbleached All Purpose Flour (about 2 cups, but please use a food scale to weigh the flour)
3 Tbsp. vegan sugar
1/2 tsp. sea salt (fine texture)
1 Tbsp. Instant Yeast
1/2 cup coconut milk  (from a can or fresh)
3 Tbsp. Organic Virgin Coconut Oil (it is solid kind)

Egg replacement:
1 Tbsp. Cornstarch
1/2 cup water (at room temperature)

Grapeseed oil or Safflower oil for high heat for deep frying (abou 6-9 cups, depending on the size of the pot)

  1. Mix the cornstarch and water in a small pot (2-cup) and use a whisk, combine it together, vigorously, until all the cornstarch is mixed and not lumpy.  It will be smooth and the color of milk (opague).
  2. Cook it on top of medium high heat.  Use the whisk, keep stirring, until the mixture is thickened and bubbly.  When it starts to boil, turn down the heat to simmer and let it simmered for about 1-2 minuts until the color is not chalky or opague anymore but resembles the texture and color of glue.
  3. Let it cool in the pot.
Kneading the dough:
I prefer to use a mixer with a dough hook.
  1. Into a mixer bowl (with the dough hooks attached), add the cooled cornstarch mixure above, coconut milk, flour, sugar, sea salt,  and instant yeast.  Turn on the machine to knead for about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the solid coconut oil and let the machine knead and mix for another 7 minutes.  The dough should be smooth and not sticking to the side of the bowl.  If there are remnants of dough sticking to the side, it means that there is not enough flour, add a little bit more flour until the dough is combined and kneaded.
  3. The dough should be smooth to the touch and NOT STICKY but soft.
  4. Shape the dough into a ball and put it in an oily bowl (use oil spray lightly on the inside of the bowl).  Cover with a saran wrap to prevent drying out and let it sit at a room temperature for about 1 hour.
  5. After 1 hour,  the dough should rise a little bit.
  6. Refridgerate the dough in the bowl, covered, for at least 12 hours (or up to 18 hours) before starting to shape doughnuts. 
Shaping doughnuts:
  1. Prepare several sheet pans covered with silpat, parchment paper, or saran wrap and dust lightly with flour.
  2. Take out dough from the fridge.  At this time, the dough is firm and cold, almost the same as pie pastry.  Use warm hands to knead it on a floured cutting board and then use a rolling pin to flatten it and rolled it down to 12-inch diameter and about 1/4-inch thick (just like preparing pie crust).  Using a doughnut cutter or your own invention of a cutter(see picture below), cut the dough into doughnut shape, saving the holes, lay the doughnuts onto the prepared sheet pans.
  3. Re-knead the dough scraps by shaping them into a ball and use the rolling pin to flatten again. Roll it down to a smaller diameter and about 1/4 inch thick.  Repeat again until finish.
  4. Another option is to cut the dough into bars.
  5. Let the doughnut dough rise for about 1 1/2 hour in a warm place.  Cover with linen towels to prevent drying out.
Using a drink shaker, I cut the dough for the large circle.

Then, use the top for the small circle.  Voila!

Frying the doughnuts:
  1. Prepare sheet pans with a lot of paper towel on it (may use brown supermarket bag underneath it to absorb more oil).
  2. Using a heavy cast iron pot, heat oil into 375F (use a frying thermometer).
  3. Deep fry each donut about 1 minute, flipping to the other side, until golden brown.  Do not over crowd it by frying 2-3 doughnuts at a time.  Deep fry doughnut holes about 5 at a time.
  4. Keep oil heated up to 375F at all time.  If the temperature goes down, wait a few minutes until it goes up again.
  5. Place the fried doughnuts on the the prepared sheet pans and let the oil absorbed.
  6. Glaze, fill, top, and enjoy!  Unfortunately, these doughnuts will not keep for the next day.  They are best to be consumed in the same day.  Donut shops make donuts everyday.
Glazing, filling, and topping doughnuts:
The glaze, filling, and toppings make doughnuts better, for sure.  It is best to glaze, sprinkle with sugar, and top the doughnuts while they are still warm.  However, it is best to insert the filling when they are already sprinkled with sugar and that they are cooled.  For custard filled chocolate bars, it is best to fill first then glaze the donuts.   Below are a few tips and recipes.  Each type of glaze and filling are good for 1 dozen donuts so please select one type of glaze for the recipe above or make half a recipe.

Sugar Glaze (enough to glaze 1 dozen donuts and their holes):
1 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 to 3 Tbsp. non-dairy milk
1 tsp. clear almond or vanilla extract, optional
Mix powdered sugar with non-dairy milk 1 tablesspoon at a time.  Add the extract, if using.  After 2 tablespoon of liquid, check the consistency, it should be thick and coat a spoon.  If it is too thick, add more liquid 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency.

Maple Glaze(enough to glaze 1 dozen donuts and their holes):
1 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 to 3 Tbsp. non-dairy milk
1/4 - 1/2  tsp. maple extract
Mix powdered sugar with non-dairy milk 1 tablesspoon at a time. Add the extract.  After 2 tablespoon of liquid, check the consistency, it should be thick and coat a spoon. If it is too thick, add more liquid 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency.

Chocolate Glaze(enough to glaze 1 dozen donuts and their holes):
3 Tbsp. Organic Virgin Coconut oil
1/2 Tbsp. Light Corn Syrup
2 Tbsp. non-dairy milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips
1 cup powdered sugar
Melt coconut oil and corn syrup in a small pot (2-cups size).  Add chocolate chips.  Use a whisk, melt and combine the ingredients together until it becomes a warm liquid.  Add the extract.  Then, add powdered sugar. Whisk and combine until it is smooth.  It is best to keep this glaze warm so I suggest to make it right before the frying of the donut.  Put it in a microwave for 30 seconds if it is drying out.

Custard Filling(enough to fill 1 dozen donut bars):
2 1/2 Tbsp. Bird's Custard Powder
3 Tbsp. vegan sugar
1 1/2 cup soy milk creamer
1 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. Mix custard powder, sugar, and 1/2 cup of the creamer(cold) in a small pot.  Use a whisk to combine them together until mixture is not lumpy and smooth.
  2. Heat the rest of the creamer in another small pot until it is hot.  Add the combined mixture from no. 1 above.  Keep stirring with a whisk until it starts to simmer and bubbly.  Turn the heat down and let it simmered while keep stirring for anothe 3-4 minutes until the mixture is thickened.
  3. Take it off heat and add the extract.  Put wax or parchment paper on top and let it cool.  Refridgerate for 1-2 hours before using.
  4. To fill doughnuts, pour custard into a piping bag with a large tip.  Insert a chopstick or small knife into the side of the donut to make a hole.  Pipe the custard into the donut then glaze with the chocolate glaze if making custard filled chocolate donut bars. 
Another filling suggestion:  strawberry jam and raspberry jam (without seeds).

Toppings and sprinkles:  sugar, colorful sprinkles, chopped nuts, shredded coconut, coconut bacon (homemade or Phoney Baloney Coconut Bacon), chocolate sprinkles, etc.

See my creation and combination below.  Which one is your favorite?

Chocolate frosted and topped with nuts and pearl sugar.

Maple glazed, sugar glazed, and sprinkled with sugar.
Doughnut bars: maple glazed topped with coconut bacon and chocolate glazed filled with vegan custard.
Round shaped:  sprinkled with sugar, jam filled or vegan custard filled.
Don't forget the donut holes:  glazed or sprinkled with sugar.