Open lentil burger with guacamole and tomato salsa

Healthy lentil burger with guacamole and salsa

One thing I will always remember my aunt for is her lentil and bean burgers. I used to love them as a kid, so lentil burgers are a big part of my diet and definitely in my top favorite things to eat. The great thing about lentil burgers is that you can make the patties and then freeze them for another day, week, month, maybe even year.

The other day my girlfriend was dreaming of lentil burgers so I made lentil burgers with guacamole and tomato salsa. It was so divine. The soft crunch from the lentil burgers combined with the creamy-sweet guacamole and zesty tomato salsa – perfection. Usually my girlfriend makes the lentil burgers and she goes by feeling, so we never write the recipe down. But this time, she gave me the ingredients and basic recipe out of memory and  I tried to make them while recording down the recipe.

I don’t like using canned lentils because of the stabilizers and preservatives used as well as the BPA that is released from the plastic lining that coats the inside of the cans. BPA behaves like estrogen and other hormones in the body – like we need that!  I always soak my lentils for a few hours first, but you can do without. Start by cooking the lentils and prepare everything else while it’s cooking.  You can choose to use white buns, whole grain or gluten free. Or you can cut out the buns all together.

— Makes 6 burger paddies —

Lentil burgers

  • ¾ cup lentils (I use green lentils), soaked for 4 hours
  • ½ cube bullion
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • Handful fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 med-small carrot, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 3 tsp smoked/sweet paprika
  • 1 tbsp Worchester sauce (optional)
  • 3 burger buns (optional) cut in two

Put the soaked lentils in a small pan and put just enough water to cover the lentils, add the bullion, put the lid on and bring to a boil. Turn the heat on low and cook for about 20 min or until they are soft and falling apart. You may need to add a bit more water if they dry up, and if you have a bit too much water in the end, just drain them.

While the lentils are cooking, sauté the onion, carrot and garlic till soft. This should take 3-5 min on medium heat. When the lentils are ready, combine all the ingredients except the eggs in a mixing bowl. At this stage you should taste for seasoning and you can adjust the flavors in any way you like. When you are happy, add the eggs and mash it all up.

Put a pan on med-high heat and add a couple of tbsp of oil. Shape the lentil mixture into paddies about 1.5 cm (1/2 inch) thick in your hands and place them in the hot pan. Cook for 3-4 min on each side or until crispy and brown.

Vegetarian open lentil burger with guacamole and salsa

Tomato Salsa

  • 2 medium tomatoes, soft watery bits removed, and chopped small
  • Handful basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1.5 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, adjust as you go

Mix everything together in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, taste and adjust to your liking. You might want more lemon juice or want to add chili, have fun with it and make it your recipe.

Guacamole

  • 1 large, ripe avocado, peeled and seed removed.
  • ½ small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ Chili, finely chopped (optional)
  • Salt, pepper and fresh to taste

Mash up the avocado in a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients, season with salt and pepper, taste and adjust to your liking.

To serve, put the lentil burger on top of a toasted bun, and top with guacamole and salsa. YUM!

My Perfected Indonesian Mie Goreng

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One of the dishes I have had the hardest time trying to recreate while living away form Bali is mie goreng. As a kid my sisters favorite and only place to go eat mie goreng was at Casa Luna restaurant in Ubud, I
on the other hand was less picky and happy to eat mie goreng form almost anywhere as all the different versions are almost like a mini tasting adventure. Until today, I can’t really say I have a favorite, but I definitely have a strong fondness of the mie goreng Ibu Nila serves out of her restaurant she runs with Oded, Sari Organik, hidden away in the rice fields behind Ubud.

Over the years, my search for a mie goreng recipe that melts my heart and teleports my soul to Bali has turned into somewhat of a mission. Of course while living in Bali, I never actually made mie goreng, so, the search began with me using the only one place I could easily find recipes, the WWW. I found a lot of simple recipes that I tried out, none of which brought me satisfaction, even when I tweaked them to try to improve the flavors. Something was never quite right.  I continued my search by asking friends, even the daughter of Janet, owner of Casa Luna, if she’d give me her mum’s recipe. With no luck, I continued on my own…

I have now, through trial and error, incrementally developed a recipe for mie goreng that I am happy with and excited to share with everyone. Here goes…

Feeds 2 people.

Ingredients for mie goreng:

- Asian leafy greens (e.g. bok choy, choy sum, water spinach, sayur hijau), roughly sliced into 3 cm strips. I use approximately half a plate full or the equivalent to one bok choy.
– 1 carrot, julienned
– 2 spring onions, sliced roughly 1 cm  (or half a leek, finely sliced)
– 1 large chili (lombok), finely sliced
– 1 egg
– 1.5 tblsp oyster suace
– 1.5 tblsp kecap manis (sweet soya sauace)
– 1 tblsp tomato ketchup (or tomato puree + pinch of sugar)
– 50 ml chicken stock
– 1/5 teasp crushed white pepper
– 150 g dried egg noodles (slightly under cooked and then blanched, this is critical)

Spice paste:

- 3 shallots
– 2 garlic cloves
– 2 candlenuts
– 1 small chili (cabe rawit)

cooking_mie_goreng

First steps in cooking mie goreng

Instructions:

1. Blitz the spice paste ingredients in a food processor or use a mortar and pestle to ground into a paste.

2. On medium heat, add 3 tblsp of oil to a wok. Add the spice paste and fry till fragrant and you can feel the spices slightly tear up your eyes and open up your sinuses (~2 min).

3. Throw in the carrots, spring onions or leek and chili. Toss around to coat with the paste. Add the chicken stock and allow to cook till carrots are soft and almost all the stock has evaporated.  At this point, crack the egg into the wok and scramble; turn heat on lowest.

4. When the egg has  slightly cooked and obtained a texture, throw in the leafy greens, the blanched egg noodles, oyster sauce, kecap manis, tomato ketchup and pepper. Stir around till well combined (~2 min).

Notes and variations:

1. For mie goreng with chicken, add 150 g chicken (0.5 cm chunks/pcs) a couple of min before adding the carrots, spring onions or leek and chili.

2. For mie goreng with beef, cook up a steak and serve sliced on top of the mie goreng –>looks  awesome

Mie goreng with a beef steak

Mie goreng with a beef steak

Pindang Goreng Sambal or Fried Mackarel in Sambal

Pindang Goreng Sambal

Pindang Goreng Sambal

When I was a little kid growing up in Bali, I used to go to my best friends house to eat just this. It is actually a poor mans dish that traditionally uses smaller salted fish from the tuna family, e.g. small bonito. The fish is salted to preserve it for longer and often enough someone would get sick form a bad batch. Regardless, It was one of my favorites and is a general local favorite in Bali.

The other week I was missing this dish, I had sambal in the fridge and mackerel fresh from the market, it was meant to happen. Here though I have adjustable this childhood recipe to use fresh mackerel fillets and the fine sambal goreng tomat recipe I have put up. This recipe should feed 2 hungry people and is well complemented with my tempe manis recipe.

This dish is an absolute culinary wonder that is so simple to make and so yummy in the tummy.

Ingredients:

2 mackerel fish (fillets and cut into half, you can get your fish monger to do this for you, but I prefer to do it all myself, it can be a fun challenge).
1 cup of sambal goreng (recipe here)
1-2 tablespoons of kecap manis (sweet soy sauce).
enough vegetable or coconut oil to fry the fish

Instructions:

In a non-stick pan, fry the mackerel fillets in just enough oil to partially submerge the fish. I always fry the skin side down first. You want the fish to fry till crispy and dark brown on the outside.

Once fried, remove from the pan and place on a plate with kitchen paper to help get rid of the oil. Get rid of the oil and reserve a tablespoon.

Heat up the tablespoon of oil in the same pan and add the sambal goreng. Once hot add the fried mackarel and coat. Allow this to cook for 3-5 min, turning and re-coating the fish regularly.

Put onto a serving plate and pour on top the kecap manis.

Enjoy!

The Best Sambal Goreng Tomat

Sambal Goreng

Sambal Goreng

So many people now have asked me for my sambal recipe and how I do it. If you have not tried it then all I can say is make it, because unless you have been to Bali, there is nothing that can prepare you for this. Nothing you have ever bought in the supermarket will taste like this.

This sambal can be made very spicy or less spicy, depending on the amount of the small spicy chilies used. I usually make it as a mild sambal (that is how it was intended) to be used as a dip for krupuk (shrimp or vegetable crackers) or to accompany any asian rice dish requiring sambal. If you like spicy sambal, just add more chilies.

The great thing about this sambal is it will last weeks (I’d say up to 2 weeks) in the fridge and you can just warm it up when you want to use some.

 

Ingredients:

4 candlenuts
6 garlic cloves
3 red shallots (quartered)
3 small red chilies (use 5 or 6 if you want it very spicy)
4 long red chilies, deseeded and roughly chopped
1/2  teaspoon of shrimp paste
3 tomatoes (diced)
80 ml  coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
2 lime leaves or a squeeze of lime
1 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

Put the candlenuts, garlic cloves, red shallots, small and long chillies, and shrimp paste in a food processor or using a hand blender, turn to a coarse paste.

Add the mixture to a hot pan with 1/3rd of the oil. Add the lime leaves (if using lime, add it last, before serving). Fry till fragrant and throw in the tomatoes. Add the salt (you will need to adjust seasoning at the end) and the rest of the oil. Cook on low so it just simmers away for about 30 min or till the tomatoes have pretty mush broken up and the oil has risen to the surface. Stir it up occasionally.  Do not worry about the amount of oil, the oil is critical in a good sambal.

Once it is all ready, I like to adjust for salt. A sambal should be just over seasoned slightly, you want to taste the salt, so go slow and taste at every step.

And that’s it.

You can serve it with a bit of lime and fried shallots to reach perfection. Or put it into a jar and let it cool before storing in the fridge for later.

My Home Made Tempe Manis

One of the dishes I always miss from home is tempe manis. I remember fighting over this with my sister a lot. There are many versions of tempe manis out there, some are much simpler than this one, but this recipe truly brings me back to my childhood.  It’s a little sweet, it’s a little bit spicy and has all the right flavors of spice and the goodness of Indonesia.

Tempe is essentially partially fermented soya bean cake. It’s all vegetarian and in the western world it has establish itself as a meat substitute. Usually we eat tempe manis as a side dish in a nasi campur but you can eat it as it is as a snack or with rice. Tonight we had it with a tempe and bean curry. Picture at the bottom.

Feeds 2 as a large side dish, make twice as much for a main. If it’s too much, it can be easily stored in the fridge and reheated.

My Home Made Tempe Manis

My home made tempe manis, goodness and spice!

Ingredients:

250 gr tempe
2 shallots, halved and finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 long red chilies(or 2 if youlike it hot) , deseeded and finely sliced
1.5 cm ginger root, very finely chopped
3 tablespoons kecap manis (sweet soya sauce)
1 heaped teaspoon, ground coriander seeds
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
50 ml water

 

Instructions:

1. Fry the tempe in enough oil (just submerged) till golden, not too dark. When golden brown, take the tempe out, throw off most of the oil, keep 2-3 tablespoons.

Most of the ingredients

Most of the ingredients, fried tempe on the left, shallots, chili, garlic and ginger on the right.

2. In 2-3  tablespoons of oil, fry up the shallots, garlic, chili, ginger, and ground coriander seeds, until soft and fragrant. Do not let it brown.

3. Add the water, kecap manis, sugar and salt. Let it simmer till it reduces by half.

4. Add the fried tempe, toss to coat with the sauce. Continue cooking till the tempe is nicely glazed.

5. Don’t forget, taste and season with salt to your liking.

6. Eat and bask in heavenly satisfaction. ;)

Diner

Dinner: tempe manis and a Balinese tempe and bean curry.

Vietnamese Inspired Mussels In a Fragrant Coconut Broth

Last week I was at the market. When I passed by the fish monger I saw they were selling Blue Mussels. These are a favorite in the Netherlands and most of North Western Europe. I bought them, not knowing how I would cook them, and was very excited by the challenge they presented. It just so happened that I remembered on Hell’s Kitchen, there was one episode where one of the competitors who had won a challenge was given a surprise trip to a restaurant that is famous for their mussels cooked in coconut milk. I liked this idea and went with it.

This recipe is a synthesis of all the inspiration I could gather in the short time I had. It turned out Heavenly. Best Mussels I have ever had, and I’m crazy for them. In the spur of the moment, I did not take any pictures. I will however take some for the blog next time I make this dish.

Feeds 2 for a main dish, 3-4 for a starter.

Picking and cooking mussels:

Buy fresh mussels in their shells and only cook ones that are still alive. When you bring them home, put them in the fridge until cooking. Before cooking, put them into a large bowl, remove the one with broken shells. Clean the mussels and remove the beards if not already done. During cleaning, look out for overly heavy mussels, these may be dead and full of sand or mud. At this stage you can rinse the mussels in fresh water and then submerge them. Mussels do not like freshwater. They will immediately close up. The ones that do not, are dead. Discard them. This is a pretty good way of ensuring your mussels are alive and fresh. Cook your mussels in a hot pan for no longer than 5 min. Later, after cooking, discard and do not eat any of the mussels that have not opened.

Ingredients:

1 kg mussels
5 coriander springs, leaves and stems separated. Stems chopped up and crushed. Leaves roughly chopped.
400 ml coconut milk
2 lemongrass stalks (white parts only, about 15 cm long from the bottom part). Finely slice up the top part into small rings (about 5 cm off the tops), halve the rest of the stalks and lightly crush.
Thumb sized piece of galangal (or ginger), roughly chopped up and lightly crushed.
6 lime leaves, bruised
2 large green chilies, lombok hijau, very finely sliced up
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 lime, or if you love lime, like me, a whole one
2 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper (much less if finely ground black pepper)
1 good handful of mint leaves, chopped

Directions:

1. In a large and/or deep pot, fry up the finely sliced lemongrass in 2 tablespoons of oil, till fragrant, or roughly 2 min. Add the chopped galangal, shallots, and garlic and fry till shallots are soft.

2. Pour in the coconut milk. If your coconut milk is very thick, add some water to get it to the consistency you want. add a bit of salt or chicken bullion (very little) to season. Mussels are naturally salty, so be careful.

3. Add the coriander stalks, halved lemongrass stalks, lime leaves, half the green chili (or all if you like hotter food), fish sauce and black pepper.  Bring to a boil and when you are happy with the consistency, taste, and throw in the mussels, mint, and coriander leaves. Make sure the heat is on high, cover the pot with a lid,  and let it simmer or boil. Shake the pot around every minute. Let this cook for 3-5 min.

4. Pour the mussels and the broth into a nice glass bowl and sprinkle with the remainder of the  green chili and some extra mint on top.

5. Show off to your guests, and squeeze the lime on top.

6. Serve with some rice  if you are going to make this a main meal, or just eat it like that.

Fried sardines, pan seared spicy prawns with cherry tomatoes and easy garlic bread

Fried sardines, pan seared spicy prawns and easy garlic bread

Fried sardines, pan seared spicy prawns and easy garlic bread

If you are a fan of shrimp and sardines or like seafood in general, this recipe will delight your taste buds. You can serve it as a snack, tapas style, or as a meal. I got the recipe for the fried sardines from an Italian friend of mine who comes from Venice. I asked him what they typically cooked when he visited me and he gave me this recipe and another I might feature soon.  The pan seared prawns is my creation, the cherry tomatoes add a wonderful freshness to the dish.

Feeds about 3-4 people.

Ingredients: 

For the sardines:

  1. 600-700 grams sardines, cleaned-descaled, heads and guts removed (6-8 sardines, can be frozen, but preferably not canned)
  2. 1 cup flour
  3. 1 cup breadcrumbs
  4. 2 eggs (beaten very well)
  5. salt
  6. lime or lemon slices to serve
For the spicy prawns with cherry tomatoes:
  1. 500 grams prawns (I usually use black tiger prawns)
  2. juice of 1/2 lime or 1/3rd lemon
  3. 1/2 tea-spoon paprika powder
  4. 2 large chilies or lombok (sliced)
  5. 1 small chili (chopped in 2)
  6. 2 shallots (sliced)
  7. 2/3 teaspoon dried coriander
  8. 5 cloves garlic (chopped)
  9. bunch of parsley (roughly chopped)
  10. slices of fresh ginger
  11. large handful or two of cherry tomatoes (partially slit down the middle or cut in half)
  12. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  13. 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  14. some olive oil to fry
For the easy garlic bread:
  1. 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  2. loaf of nice hearty bread, any bread will do but the nicer the bread, the nicer this will turnout, look for a brown bread or a rustic bread
  3. 50-75  millilitres olive oil
  4. dried oregano
  5. salt
Cooking Guidelines:

For the sardines:

Put the flour, breadcrumbs and beaten eggs in separate bowls.

Once the sardines are cleaned, sprinkle the sardines with some salt, toss into the flour, make sure it’s coated. Then roll them around in the egg to coat the floured fish in egg and finally toss them in the breadcrumbs till they are sealed.

Coat the sardines in flour, egg and breadcrumbs

Coat the sardines in  flour, egg and breadcrumbs

Fry the sardines in a pan of olive oil or vegetable oil at medium heat for 10 minutes.  The hotter the heat the faster the breaded sardine coating will brown. If the temperature is too high the sardines will come out looking very dark brown.

For the spicy prawns with cherry tomatoes:

Ingredients for the spicy prawns with cherry tomatoes

Ingredients for the spicy prawns with cherry tomatoes

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl

Throw in all the ingredients for the spicy prawns with cherry tomatoes into a bowl (except the fresh chopped parsley and tomatoes). Mix it up till the prawns are well coated.

Heat a grill pan or skillet on high and when hot, add some olive oil and the prawns. Cook the prawns for 2 min on one side. Add the cherry tomatoes and season with salt, toss around and make sure every prawn is turned over. Cook for another 2 minutes. Throw in the fresh chopped parsley and stir a coupe of times.   Taste for seasoning and serve.

For the easy garlic bread:

Chop the loaf of bread into large slices, put on  baking tray, drizzle with olive oil (you can use as much as you fancy really) and garlic. Sprinkle with oregano and add a couple of turns of salt.Throw it in the oven at 200 degrees C or under the grill until it gets slightly toasted (5-10 min).

An Authentic Balinese Curry

Balinese Curry

This recipe, my first on this blog, one I guarantee will BLOW YOUR MIND… It is something you should definitely try. Anyone will love this recipe. This recipe will knock your socks off.

Actually… this recipe will most certainly KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF!!!

This curry recipe  comes from Janet De Neefe’s book: Bali, The Food Of My Island Home. Janet is a wonderful woman who along with her Balinese husband , Ketut Suardana , run several fantastic restaurants in Ubud, Bali.

This curry never fails to warm my heart with memories of home and a burning hot mouth. You may have troubles getting all the fresh ingredients, but I promise you an unimaginable  taste bud culinary experience. Any good local Asian store should have the ingredients. Of course this recipe is best made with all the individual ingredients, but  I have given some substitutable options for the lessor common ingredients that will still pull off a great curry. Good luck!

Ingredients:

For the spice paste:

  • 4 candlenuts
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper corns
  • 6 red shallots, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 6 long red chilies, seeded and roughly sliced (we call them cabe lombok, they are commonly 10-15 cm in length and on the milder side of “hotness”)
  • 2 small chilies (3 if you are REALLY into spice), roughly sliced (these are what we call cabe rawit, you can use pretty much any small red, spicy chilly such as the Thai chill)
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, white parts only, roughly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped galangal (substitutable  with 2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh turmeric (substitutable  with 1 teaspoon turmeric powder)
  • 1 tablespoon grated palm sugar (substitutable  brown sugar is an acceptable substitute)
The other ingredients:
  • large dash of vegetable oil (or about the equivalent of 5 tablespoons of vegetable oil)
  • 2 lemongrass talks, bruised (hammer them lightly)
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves (substitutable  with half a squeeze of lime)
  • 2 salam leaves
  • 600 g chicken (filet or boned, cut into large pcs)
  • 250 ml water
  • 2 teaspoons tamarind pulp
  • sea salt
  • 250 ml coconut milk
  • steamed rice (to serve)
  • fried shallots (to garnish)
Cooking Guidelines:
  1. Put the spice paste ingredients into a food processor, blender or mortar and pound/blend into a paste (add a splash of water to get things moving if it resists the force).

    Blitz the spices
  2. In a wok or a deep pan, heat the oil and add the spice paste. Stir till fragrant, about a minute on high heat. turn down the heat, add the lemongrass, lime leaves and salam leaves. Stir for a minute and add the chicken. Season with salt. Toss around for a couple of minutes before adding the water. Allow to cook for 20-30 min with the lid on, stirring once in  a while.
    Add the coconut milk
  3. Add the coconut milk and simmer for 3 minutes. Do another seasoning taste… and serve with rice and fried shallots.

Feeds 4 people, or three large hungry male students.

Hello…

I have decided to start my own blog on my home cooking. To share with you my passion and love for cooking.

I work on the week days from 9 to 5 where I sit in front of a computer, modeling salt and freshwater transport in coastal aquifers. When I get home, I cook… I wind down and I cook something that fills my heart with warmth and makes my senses tingle, it helps me relax and forget about the stresses from the day.

I don’t really know yet how this blog will turn out, but my idea is that once in a while I’ll post a recipe or two and add some nice pictures of what I cook and share the experience with you. I hope you find something interesting.

What will I be cooking? Well, if you have read the ‘about me’ part of the blog, then you will not be surprised if I tell you I’ll be cooking European and Asian cuisine. I have added a few pictures of some of my coking for a quick peek into what may be coming up.

Enjoy…

Bon appetit or as we say in Indonesia, selamat makan.

Image

Pan seared salmon and tomatoes with spiced baked potatoes and spinach

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