Batar Da’an (Pumpkin, Corn, and Mung Bean Stew)

Batar Da’an (Pumpkin, Corn, and Mung Bean Stew)

Hello Everyone! With only 28 calendar days, February flew by so quickly and it’s already the 3rd day of the 3rd month of 2021! In 13 days it’ll be a year since we (the Philippines) went into Enhanced Community Quarantine because of the global pandemic. Last week we shared our last recipe for local Cambodian delicacies; our second stop on our road to discover the Flavours of Southeast Asia for Amcarmen’s Kitchen. Our next stop for this month is a small Southeast Asian nation that is rarely heard of, a country that only gained its full independence in 2002 – East Timor! After centuries of Portuguese colonization, the state became independent in 1975 before being invaded by Indonesia. The country was finally able to restore its sovereignty in 2002.

This is why East Timorese Cuisine is heavily influenced by other Southeast Asian foods, Indonesian cuisine to be specific, and Portuguese cuisine. Since agriculture is one of the most important sectors in the country, the cuisine uses mainly rice (since its largely homegrown), sweet potatoes, corn, cassava, and taro. To add up to the base of every dish there is usually a vegetable component, also with homegrown products such as black-eyed peas, onions, spinach, and cabbage. Meat such as pork, chicken, goat, and fish are also common in East Timorese dishes.

Batar Da’an (Pumpkin, Corn, and Mung Bean Stew)

The first dish that we’re going to tackle for this month is known as Batar Da’an, or in English, Pumpkin, Corn, and Mung Bean Stew. Mung beans are very popular in Asia, particularly in Southeast Asia. Though having said that East Timorese cuisine is heavily influenced by other cultures, Batar Da’an is actually one of the few dishes that are authentic to the country. It is a simple, yet hearty and humble vegan dish (gluten-free too!) that is prepared with a combination of diced pumpkin, corn, and mung beans that are sautéed in garlic and onions, seasoned with just salt and pepper. There are also other variations of this dish, where squash is used instead of pumpkin, and kidney beans are used as an alternative to mung beans.

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original where I drew my inspiration from over on 196 Flavors by Vera and Mike. The original recipe uses water as the base for this stew. I replaced the water with my own homemade vegetable stock to really amplify the flavour of this dish. You may also use store-bought broth if you wish. Also, at the very last minute, I asked my maid to harvest some moringa (malunggay) leaves from our neighbour’s tree to not only add colour to the dish, but also an extra added nutrition!

Batar Da’an (Pumpkin, Corn, and Mung Bean Stew) Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS* | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | SERVES 6

*Allow for 6 hours to overnight to soak the mung beans.

INGREDIENTS

For the vegetable broth

  • 6 cups water
  • Carrot
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Celery
  • Leek
  • Long Green Chilli
  • Dried Rosemary
  • Dried Bay Leaves
  • Salt
  • Whole Black Peppercorns

Note: When making a basic vegetable broth, you want vegetables with neutral, but savoury flavours. Onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms are the ideal starter vegetables for stock, but feel free to swap any of these for leeks, tomatoes or parsnips. Avoid starchy vegetables like potatoes and turnips will make for a gummy, cloudy vegetable stock. Beets overpower their aromatic counterparts. Zucchini and green beans become bitter when slowly simmered for as long it takes to make this stock.

For the batar da’an

  • 600g pumpkin, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 4 & 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 3/4 cup dried mung beans, soaked for at least 6 hours to overnight
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Moringa (malunggay) leaves, optional

METHOD

You can choose to make your vegetable broth the day before to save time when actually cooking the Batar Da’an.

  1. Vegetable Broth: Combine all the ingredients in a large stock pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, turn the heat down low and leave to slowly simmer for an hour.

If you’re using your broth right away, skip ahead to step 3a.

  1. When done, turn the heat off and leave to cool down slightly for about half an hour.
  2. Strain the vegetables and spices from the broth, into a bowl and then:
    a) set aside until ready to use, or
    b) set aside to cool down completely before transferring into a jar/container to store in the fridge.
  3. Batar Da’an: Add the coconut oil to a large stockpot over medium-high heat and sauté the minced garlic until golden brown in colour and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Next, add the diced onions and cook until soft, a further 30 to 45 seconds.
  4. Add the pumpkin chunks and give it a good mix for about a minute and then add in the drained mun beans. Season with a touch of salt and freshly cracked black pepper and cook for about a minute to get some caramelisation happening.
  5. Pour in the vegetable broth, mix, and then turn the heat down to medium-low. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes.
  6. In the last 5 minutes, stir in the thawed corn and give it a good mix. At this point, you may taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Turn the heat off after 5 minutes and then serve immediately while hot and enjoy!

Optional: Once the heat is turned off, you may stir in some moringa (malunggay) leaves, or other choice of leafy greens, and let the residual heat cook them.

This dish is traditionally enjoyed as a main course, usually accompanied by rice, but it can also serve as an excellent side dish when paired with other meat or fish dishes.

Batar Da’an (Pumpkin, Corn, and Mung Bean Stew)

Batar Da’an (Pumpkin, Corn, and Mung Bean Stew)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Num Ansom Chek (Rolled Banana Rice Cake)

Num Ansom Chek (Rolled Banana Rice Cake)

Hello Everyone! February flew by in just the blink of an eye, and before we know it, in a couple of days it’ll be March already! This also means that this will be the last Cambodian recipe that I will be sharing on my blog, for now. There are still so many wonderful recipes that the country has to offer, and maybe one day I’ll revisit the cuisine and discover more dishes that’ll take a liking to my tastebuds.

For our last Cambodian cuisine, I’ll be sharing a popular street snack that is sold across the country, known as Num Ansom Chek, or in English, Rolled Banana Rice Cake. It is a traditional Cambodian snack that is low fat, healthy, and easy to make as it only requires a few ingredients to put together. In many Cambodian snacks, banana is used because of its abundance in the tropical region, and its ritual value. Of course, it is also delicious and sweet!

Num Ansom Chek (Rolled Banana Rice Cake)

Other than bananas, this snack also includes sticky rice and grated coconut. Sometimes, jackfruit is also added, but since I’m not a huge fan of jackfruit, I’ve replaced them with strips of mango instead. You may also add red mung beans or black beans and it can also be sweetened with palm sugar if desired. All of this is then carefully rolled and enclosed in a banana leaf. The resulting cylindrical-shaped snack is then steamed until tender and fragrant.

In Cambodia, this sweet delicacy is traditionally prepared for important celebrations such as Cambodian New Year and the religious festival Pchum Ben (Festival of Souls). With a culture that is heavily influenced by Hinduism and Buddhism, during a festival, it is common practice to offer food to the monks at the temple, and the ghosts of our ancestors, relatives, and friends. One of the foods that they offer is Num Ansom Chek because of their ability to be kept for days without being spoiled. This is due to them being wrapped and steamed in banana leaves.

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original where I drew my inspiration from over on Vanier Culinary by Thun-Carl Sieu.

Num Ansom Chek (Rolled Banana Rice Cake) Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS* | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | MAKES 6 ROLLS

*Allow for 6 hours to overnight to soak the glutinous rice.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 ripe mango (optional)
  • 1 & 1/2 cups sweet glutinous rice, soaked for at least 6 hours or overnight
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated coconut
  • Salt, to taste
  • Banana leaves, 6 of about 15cm x 20cm pieces

METHOD

  1. Drain the water from the soaked rice and mix the grated coconut in with the rice.
  2. Peel and cut the bananas in half and sprinkle a touch of salt over them.
  3. Take a piece of banana leaf and place a small portion of the rice and coconut mixture in a horizontal line along the longer side of the banana leaf. Place a banana half in the centre of the rice and strips of ripe mango if you wish. Top the fruits with more rice, there should be enough to fully surround them.

Num Ansom Chek (Rolled Banana Rice Cake)

  1. Roll the banana leaf tightly around the rice to form a log and fold both edges in to seal. Make sure that the leaf is not loose so that the mixture can use it as a mold. Use string to secure the banana leaf wrapping if needed. Repeat until all of the bananas have been wrapped.
  2. Stack the rolls in a steamer and steam over boiling water for about 60 minutes.
  3. Once done, allow to cool slightly before unwrapping and serving. Enjoy!

Num Ansom Chek (Rolled Banana Rice Cake)

Num Ansom Chek (Rolled Banana Rice Cake)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Num Banh Chok (Fish Noodle Soup)

Num Banh Chok (Fish Noodle Soup)

Hello Everyone! February is flying by so fast and I can’t believe that we’re already on our second last Cambodian recipe for the month! Tonight I will be sharing a Cambodian breakfast staple known as Num Banh Chok, or in English, Fish Noodle Soup. It’s a traditional breakfast dish that consists of rice noodles served with a fish gravy and freshly foraged wild grown Cambodian vegetables (some of which does not have an English name), and eaten with a few chilli peppers on the side.

In rural Cambodia, the rice vermicelli noodles used in this dish are all done and made by hand with a stone mill. They are then sold at the local markets where vendors would come early in the morning to purchase it, and then sold to the local residents. Rice is first boiled until soft and then grounded into a wet dough with a heavy stone mill. Once all the rice is ground, the wet dough is placed into a large cloth bag. Heavy mill parts are placed on top to squeeze out excess water. This is the beginning of the fermentation process. Once done, the result is a firm, dry but still sticky flour. To see just how labour intensive the noodle making process is, read this article here. Of course, ain’t nobody got time for that, so I just used store-bought rice vermicelli noodles from my local grocer.

Num Banh Chok (Fish Noodle Soup)

Like many other Cambodian food recipes, Num Banh Chok’s main ingredient, besides mudfish, is the yellow kroeung paste. I covered this in my blog two weeks ago when I made Amok Trei (Steamed Fish Curry). Instead of mudfish though, again I used tilapia fish because that is what I am familiar with. The other main ingredient that is definitely not optional and irreplaceable – rhizome or finger-roots in English, khchiey in Cambodia. Unlike ginger, turmeric, and galangal which are commonly used throughout the world, khchiey is relatively obscure and is mostly used for medical purposes in some Asian countries. When fresh, khchiey has an earthy, peppery, and much milder flavour than ginger and galangal. However, since I could not source any here in the Philippines, I used ginger instead for this my ‘not so authentic’ version of Num Banh Chok.

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original where I drew my inspiration from over on A Wandering Foodie.

Num Banh Chok (Fish Noodle Soup) Ingredients

PREP TIME 25 MINS | COOKING TIME 45 MINS | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

For the soup base

  • 4L water
  • Heads and bones from the reserved tilapia fish filets
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2-3 large dried bay leaves
  • 1 small red onion, quartered
  • 1 small thumb-sized piece of ginger, sliced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, white ends crushed
  • 1 tbsp shrimp paste
  • 2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp salt

For the kroeung paste mixture

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup kroeung paste
  • 2 tbsp peanuts, roasted
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, chopped
  • 2 small turmeric, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 small thumb-sized piece of ginger, sliced
  • 6 tilapia filets, or any other firm white fish
  • 1 pack rice vermicelli noodles
  • Assortment of greens (I used mustard leaves, water spinach, and mint leaves)
  • Banana blossoms

METHOD

  1. Soup Base: In a large stockpot, bring the 4 litres of water to a boil, over high heat, together with all the other ingredients for the soup base, except for the shrimp paste. Once the stock comes to a rapid boil, turn the heat down to bring it to a slow simmer. Simmer for about 30 minutes.
  2. Kroeung Mixture: Meanwhile, prepare the kroeung mixture. In a mortar and pestle, pound the kroeung paste together with the roasted peanuts, birds eye chillies, ginger, turmeric, and garlic. If you have a small-sized mortar, you can pound the mixture in batches and then combine them into a bowl.
  3. Add the fish sauce, sugar, and coconut milk into the bowl with the kroeung paste mixture, and mix thoroughly. Let it stand for at least 10 minutes to let all the flavour infuse together.
  4. Rice Vermicelli Noodles: Bring water to a boil in a separate pot. Add in the pack of rice vermicelli noodles and let it cook for about 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. While the noodles are cooking, prepare a large bowl filled with ice-cold water.
  6. Once the noodles are cooked and the texture is to your liking, strain and place the cooked noodles into the cold bowl of water to stop its cooking process. Start taking out equal handfuls of noodle and portion them into individual serving bowls and set aside.
  7. Num Bahn Chok: Once the soup base is done, strain and return the broth to the stockpot. Add the shrimp paste to the broth and let it come back to a boil over medium-high heat. It is important to add the paste first before any other flavouring ingredients in order to lessen its strong scent. Adjust the broth to taste with salt and sugar to your liking, if needed.
  8. Once boiled, turn the heat down and add the fish filets into the broth and cook for about 10 minutes. Once cooked through, remove from the broth and set aside.
  9. Cook the vegetables (mustard greens, water spinach, and banana blossoms) in the broth for a few minutes, then remove and set aside.
  10. Turn the heat back up and add the kroeung mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5-8 minutes.
  11. Carefully ladle the hot soup into the prepared bowls with noodles. Top with the cooked fish filets, vegetables, mint leaves, and more sliced chillies if you wish.
  12. Serve immediately while hot and enjoy!

Num Banh Chok (Fish Noodle Soup)

Num Banh Chok (Fish Noodle Soup)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Num Treap (Sticky Rice with Sesame Seeds)

Num Treap (Sticky Rice with Sesame Seeds)

Hello Everyone! Forget about brownie sundaes, forget about éclairs and chocolate cake; the real desserts, the sinfully sweet and decadent treats, can be found in one region: Southeast Asia. Ingredients in Southeast Asian treats are less traditional than the sweet flavours you typically see in Western desserts. Ingredients like cassava, mung beans, and lotus seeds paired with sticky sweet syrups like coconut cream, palm syrup, and condensed milk are common and no strangers to Cambodian treats. Beyond these ingredients you can also always expect to have at least one fresh fruit added to the mix. Look for favourites like mangoes, rambutan, durian and of course, bananas.

Just as Southeast Asian desserts, Cambodian treats are most frequently enjoyed mid-morning. Instead of being served to cap off a delicious meal, the treats are bought and enjoyed in markets as you are doing your shopping around town. Many of the most popular Khmer treats are sold from mobile street stands. Look out for the crowds of students outside universities and schools, flocked around a stand.

Traditional Cambodian treats, also known as Khmer sweets, also come in the form of custards and puddings; egg-based dishes that are spiced up with a variety of flavours (vanilla and cinnamon are typical favourites). Since rice remains a main staple in current day cuisine, being eaten as often as three times a day, rice-based cakes are also very popular.

Num Treap (Sticky Rice with Sesame Seeds)

Tonight, I will be sharing a Cambodian favoured treat that is simple and super easy to make at home. The best part? You’ll most likely have everything readily available to whip this up in your pantry. Num Treap, or in English, Sticky Rice with Sesame Seeds, is a treat that is basically as the name states, steamed sticky rice mixed in a warm coconut sauce. The mixture is then spread into a baking dish or pan, topped with sesame seeds, and then set aside to cool before cutting into squares and then served. You may serve it as it is, or with fruits on the side. Num in Cambodian means pastry, so it is essentially a sticky rice (bai damnaeb) pastry treat.

This dessert is very much similar to a sweet rice cake that we have here in the Philippines known as Biko. It is also made of coconut milk, brown sugar, and glutinous rice, that is topped with latik (coconut curds) instead of sesame seeds.

Num Treap (Sticky Rice with Sesame Seeds) Ingredients

PREP TIME 60 MINS* | COOKING TIME 45-60 MINS | MAKES 9 SLICES

*Allow for an additional 6 hours (or more) to soak the glutinous rice before cooking.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup sweet glutinous rice, soaked for at least 6 hours or overnight
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt

METHOD

  1. Rice: Drain the water (no need to shake off the excess water), and evenly arrange the soaked sticky rice in a steamer lined with a greased banana leaf.
  2. Cover and steam for 30-45 minutes. You can check the rice and increase the steaming time if need be. Once done, keep the rice in the steamer or covered to prevent it from drying out until you need to use it.
  3. Coconut Sauce: While the rice is cooking, add the coconut milk, coconut sugar, salt, and vanilla extract in a large saucepan and cook over medium-high heat. Stir frequently until it thickens, about 5 minutes.
  4. Num Treap: Fluff the cooked rice with a fork to separate the grains. With the heat off, add the rice to the saucepan with the coconut sauce and mix well.
  5. Spread the rice mixture into a shallow dish or baking pan, pressing them down with a spatula. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and cover with plastic wrap. Leave to set and cool for about an hour.
  6. Cut into squares, then serve and enjoy!

Num Treap (Sticky Rice with Sesame Seeds)

Num Treap (Sticky Rice with Sesame Seeds)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Amok Trei អាម៉ុកត្ (Steamed Fish Curry)

Amok Trei អាម៉ុកត្ (Steamed Fish Curry)

Hello Everyone! I can’t believe that January went by so quickly, and it’s already the 3rd day of the 2nd month of 2021! Last week we shared our last recipe for local Bruneian eats; our first stop on our road to discover the Flavours of Southeast Asia for Amcarmen’s Kitchen. Our next stop for the month is Cambodia! Cambodian cuisine must be Southeast Asia’s most under-appreciated and most misunderstood cuisines amongst the others, and there’s a whole article about it that you can read if you have the time – Dispelling Cambodian Cuisine Myths.

Now, before I proceed, due to the limitations of sourcing certain ingredients, you may find the dishes shared here over the course of the month a little on the unauthentic side and I do apologise to any of my Cambodian readers or passersby. I tried my best to get as close to the original and traditional recipes.

Moving forward, Amok Trei អាម៉ុកត្, or in English, Steamed Fish Curry is Cambodia’s national dish; a classic Khmer dish traditionally served during the Water Festival in Cambodia as a way to thank the Mekong River for providing Cambodia with abundant fish and fertile land. It is a fragrant and spicy coconut fish curry that is tenderly steamed in banana leaves. The flavour of the dish is quite reminiscent of a mild Thai red curry. The fish is soaked in a rich Khmer kroeung paste and placed in little steamer cups made from banana leaves, imparting their specific flavour into the dish. When cooked, it should have a texture that has been described as a mousse, mousseline, soufflé, and custard.

Amok Trei អាម៉ុកត្ (Steamed Fish Curry)

Locals prefer cooking with goby fish, snakehead fish, or catfish – all freshwater fish from the Tonle Sap or Great Lake, when preparing Amok Trei. Most cookbooks written in the West suggest a firm white fish such as cod or snapper. In cooking classes in Siem Reap, cooking instructors tell participants they can use anything from barramundi to salmon. I used tilapia for my take on Amok Trei and it’s really up to you to decide what fish you want to cook with and most importantly what is readily available in your local market.

Khmer kroeung paste is the basic kroeung or freshly pounded herb and spice paste in Cambodian cooking. It gets its yellow colour from the turmeric and lemongrass stems. The yellow kroeung is used for many classic Khmer and Cambodian dishes, including Amok Trei. Now, a traditional kroeung paste would use kaffir lime zest, but since I could not source any from my local vegetable stall, I went ahead and used lemon zest instead. I also used bottled galangal for the same reason of being unable to source fresh ones.

Amok Trei អាម៉ុកត្ (Steamed Fish Curry)

Older generations of cooks believe that if it’s not properly steamed, it’s not Amok Trei. Amok means to steam in banana leaves in Khmer and it is thought that this refined dish is a Royal Khmer specialty dating back to the Khmer Empire. If it’s not steamed, it’s not amok, it’s curry. Despite its regal origins, Amok Trei is a dish that you’ll see sold in banana baskets on trays in markets and on the street.

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original where I drew my inspiration from over on Grantourismo by Lara and Terence.

Amok Trei អាម៉ុកត្ (Steamed Fish Curry) Ingredients

PREP TIME 1 HOUR | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | MAKES 6-8

INGREDIENTS

For the kroeung paste

  • 5-6 lemongrass stalks, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 small-sized turmeric, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp crushed galangal
  • 1 tsp lemon zest

For the amok trei

  • 750g tilapia fish filets, cut into medium-sized chunks
  • 3 dried red chillies
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk*
  • 3 tbsp kroeung paste
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp palm or coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste
  • Pinch of salt

*I made my own coconut milk from grated mature coconut, but you can use store bought coconut milk if you wish.

To garnish

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, thinly sliced

For the banana leaf boats

  • Banana leaves
  • Toothpicks

METHOD

  1. Kroeung Paste: Using a mortar and pestle, pound the lemongrass until completely mashed and you can no longer see its rings. Add the galangal, turmeric, and lemon zest, and pound further until they’re incorporated into the mashed lemongrass. Lastly, add the garlic and onion, and continue to pound. Work in batches if needed. The finished paste will have some fibres from the lemongrass but should otherwise be quite smooth in texture.
  2. Amok Trei: In the same mortar, add the dried chillies and pound well into the kroeung paste.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the kroeung, fish chunks, and the other ingredients. Lightly combine to avoid breaking up the fish chunks. Adjust the seasoning by cooking a bit of the mixture to be able to taste. The Amok should be well balanced; a little fishy, a little salty, slightly sweet, a tad spicy, and rich and creamy. Adjust as necessary by adding a pinch of salt or sugar, fish sauce, or even a little chilli. Set aside to marinate for about half an hour before steaming.
  4. Banana Leaf Boats: Meanwhile, prepare the banana leaf boats. Wipe a fresh banana leaf with a damp towel to remove any dirt and debris. Cut out the centre stem from the leaf and cut further into smaller rectangular pieces, about 15cm x 20cm in size.
  5. Blanch the leaf pieces in boiling water for about 30 seconds, then dry and let it cool.
  6. Place the banana leaf piece with the shiny side down so it ends up on the outside. Fold the one of the short sides about an inch and a half over, do the same with the one of the longer sides. Pinch and fold the corner over onto the short side. Do the same with the other side and and fasten the folds with a toothpick. Repeat on the other side to form a banana leaf boat. For a picture guide, you can head on over to Table for 2 or More by WendyinKK.
  7. Steaming: Divide the fish amok mixture equally into 6 or 8 banana leaf boats, filling each boat almost to the top. Carefully place into the steamer basket and steam for 20 minutes. The fish amok should be cooked through and firm to touch but still retain moistness. It should not be dry.
  8. About 15 minutes into steaming, top each boat of fish amok with coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves, and chillies. Continue to steam for another 5 minutes.
  9. Once done, serve immediately with freshly steamed white rice and a side of vegetables of your choice. Enjoy!

Amok Trei អាម៉ុកត្ (Steamed Fish Curry)

Notes:

  • If you do not have a mortar and pestle, you may use a food processor to make your kroeung paste.
  • Other proteins such as chicken, tofu, and snails can also be used as a substitute for the fish in this dish (but note horrifies older generations).

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Kuih Koci Gula Kelapa (Glutinous Rice Cake with Coconut Filling)

Kuih Koci Gula Kelapa (Glutinous Rice Cake with Coconut Filling)

Hello Everyone! Tonight I will be sharing my last recipe from Brunei. As previously mentioned in a post I shared two weeks ago, I came across this Kuih Koci Gula Kelapa from the same website entitled ‘Brunei’s Traditional Sweet Treats You Must Try’.

To be honest, when I was still living in Brunei, this was a kuih that I barely saw sold in the night markets or road-side stalls – or maybe I was too focused on my favourite kuih-kuih that I failed to notice them amongst the pack. Nevertheless, as with most, if not all, kuih-kuih found in Brunei originate from a different country, and the Kuih Koci Gula Kelapa is no stranger to that. As it turns out, it is actually native to Indonesia.

Pronounced koh-chee, this is a snack/dessert made with a mix of white and black glutinous rice flour, stuffed with sweetened coconut and palm sugar filling, wrapped in banana leaves, and then steamed. The deep purple hue of the kuih comes from the black glutinous rice flour. There are also varieties of this kuih that do not require black glutinous rice flour, in fact a majority of it is made with white glutinous rice flour. The black glutinous rice flour is mainly used to colour the kuih.

Kuih Koci Gula Kelapa (Glutinous Rice Cake with Coconut Filling)

In fact, black glutinous rice flour may be quite difficult to source (depending on where you live). You can actually make your own too by grinding black glutinous rice grains. Place them in a coffee grinder or blender and then grind until really fine. Sieve the flour and then grind again. You need to grind several times until you get a really fine flour, so technically it’s a lot of work too. I managed to source mine online from Indonesia.

The Kuih Koci has a mochi-like texture and is sweet in flavour from the coconut filling inside. Though optional, a slightly salty coconut sauce cuts through the sweetness nicely. Other than just adding a dollop of it atop after the kuih has been steamed, you can also spoon the coconut sauce into the banana leaf, place the dough in, and then steam it with the coconut sauce.

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original where I drew my inspiration from over on What To Cook Today by Marvellina.

Kuih Koci Gula Kelapa (Glutinous Rice Cake with Coconut Filling) Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | MAKES 6 PCS

INGREDIENTS

For the dough

  • 1 & 1/2 cups white glutinous rice flour
  • 1/3 cup black glutinous rice flour
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk

For the coconut filling

  • 2 cups grated coconut
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar*
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar**
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt

*Gula Melaka (palm sugar) is the choice of sweetener used when it comes to traditional kuih like this, but if you can’t seem to source it, you can always substitute it for coconut sugar like I did.

**Also, I ran out of coconut sugar. It’s supposed to be 1 cup of coconut sugar but I only had half a cup left and therefore mixed it together with a quarter cup of white granulated sugar.

For the coconut sauce (optional)

  • 2/3 cup coconut cream
  • 1 tsp all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt, to taste

Wrapping

  • 6 pcs banana leaves (15cm x 20cm)
  • Coconut oil, for brushing

METHOD

  1. Prepare the Banana Leaves: Soak the banana leaves in warm water for 30 minutes. Wipe them dry and brush with coconut oil. Set aside.
  2. Coconut Filling: Meanwhile, add the coconut cream and sugars in a pan over medium heat. Mix until the sugars have melted, then stir in the grated coconut and salt. Mix until well incorporated and then sprinkle the cornstarch over the coconut-sugar mixture. Stir and cook until the mixture thickens. Once done, set aside and let it cool down completely.
  3. Coconut Sauce: Add the coconut cream and a pinch of salt to a small saucepan. Whisk in the all-purpose flour until smooth. Place on the stove and cook over medium heat, whisking continuously until the sauce thickens. Set aside.
  4. Dough: Heat the coconut milk in a small saucepan until it is hot, but not boiling. Add both flours to a large mixing bowl, together with the hot coconut milk. Stir to mix everything, until the dough comes together. It should be pliable and not sticky.
  5. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Flatten the dough with the palm of your hands and place the cool coconut filling in the middle. Wrap around it and roll the dough into a smooth ball. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  6. Wrapping: Take a piece of banana leaf and shape into a cone. Place a dough ball in the cone and gently push it into the leaf. Fold one side over, and then the adjacent side. Then fold the other two sides to make your cone-shaped Kuih Koci.

You may also choose to wrap them into a parcel, or steam them with no wrapping at all! Just place the balls onto a small sheet of banana leaf.

  1. Steaming: Place the wrapped Kuih Koci into a steamer and steam for about 10 -15 minutes.
  2. Serve: Once done, unwrap and serve immediately while hot, topped with the coconut sauce. Enjoy as a light mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack!

Kuih Koci Gula Kelapa (Glutinous Rice Cake with Coconut Filling)

Note: Steamed Kuih Koci can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Otherwise, you may freeze the uncooked kuih koci for later consumption. Steam, frozen for, 15-18 minutes.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Nasi Katok with Buttermilk Salmon

Nasi Katok with Buttermilk Salmon

Hello Everyone! We’re pushing on with more Bruneian favourites, and this month wouldn’t be complete without tackling the famous Nasi Katok, which in English literally means ‘knock rice’. It is a simple combination of white rice, sambal (a condiment made out of blended chillies and other spices), and a piece of fried chicken, traditionally served wrapped in a piece of waxed brown paper. A variety of secondary ingredients including but not limited to shrimp paste, garlic, ginger, shallot, scallion, palm sugar, lime juice, vinegar, and anchovies can also be served together with the fried chicken.

Nasi Katok is as quintessentially a Bruneian version of fast food, with many vendors running around the clock 24 hours a day selling this classic favourite. The roots of the term originated from the act of katok (knocking), on the window of this small flat in the country’s capital, to buy nasi (rice); the unofficial first Nasi Katok establishment since the 1980s. Naturally, the name stuck and today the dish is among the best national dishes.

Nasi Katok is one of Brunei’s most affordable staples that is priced at only BND$1.00. That’s right, one dollar for a piece of fried chicken, sambal, and steamed white rice. Over the decades the Nasi Katok has evolved into many versions – my favourite being the fusion of chicken and buttermilk.

Nasi Katok with Buttermilk Salmon

Bruneians love their buttermilk chicken, so when word got out that there was a place in Brunei that combines two of the country’s most loved foods, it caused a sensation! As of the majority of the dishes found in Brunei, the origins of buttermilk chicken is actually a Malaysian dish known as Lai Yao Kei 奶油鸡, or Malaysian Butter Chicken. It is about a million miles away from what most of us imagine when we think of Butter Chicken (and I’m talking about the Indian variety).

Other than chicken being the main source of protein for the dish, other meat varieties such as pork, fish, and prawns can be found too. I decided to keep mine pescatarian friendly for this recipe and so I used salmon belly for this dish. The buttermilk sauce is infused with the aroma of fresh curry leaves, and spiked with the heat from fresh chillies. It is actually very simple to make and comes together in just minutes. Though you’d think the butter would be the star of the show here, it is actually the evaporated milk that steals the limelight!

Nasi Katok with Buttermilk Salmon Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

For the salmon

  • 6 pcs salmon belly strip, scaled and cleaned
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 pcs calamansi, juiced
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • All-purpose flour

For the buttermilk sauce

  • 1 can (300ml) evaporated milk
  • 1 bunch (8-10 pcs) curry leaves
  • 2 pcs red bird’s eye chillies, chopped
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp white granulated sugar
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the sambal

  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 small red onions, peeled and quartered
  • 1 medium-sized brown onion, quartered
  • 1 long green chilli, chopped
  • 1/2 + 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tbsp blended red chillies
  • 1 tbsp white granulated sugar
  • Salt, to taste
  • Cooking oil

METHOD

  1. Salmon Belly: Add all the ingredients into a medium-sized bowl and mix well. Set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
  2. Lightly coat the salmon belly strips in flour and shallow fry until golden brown and crispy. Fry in batches if needed and once done, set aside. You can fry the salmon bellies just before serving so that they are hot and remain crispy.
  3. Sambal: Add the onions, garlic, green chilli, and half a cup of water into a food processor or blender. Blend until the ingredients are finely chopped.
  4. Add about 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Add the onion mixture and cook until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the blended red chillies and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt, add the sugar, and the remaining half cup of water. Give it a good mix and continue to cook until thickened. Once done, set aside.
  6. Buttermilk Sauce: Melt the butter to a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Once melted, add the red chillies together with the curry leaves and cook to infuse the flavours and aromas into the butter. Set aside a few curry leaves and chillies for decoration later.
  7. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the evaporated milk. Add the sugar and season with a touch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Taste and adjust to your liking. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 8 to 10 minutes altogether.

At this point, you can either add the fried salmon bellies to the sauce and simmer for a couple of minutes before serving, or top the bellies with the sauce. It’s completely up to you.

  1. Serve with rice and vegetables of choice, together with sambal. Enjoy!

Nasi Katok with Buttermilk Salmon

Nasi Katok with Buttermilk Salmon

Before I end tonight’s post, there’s something I want to share with everyone. So about two weeks ago I came across a post on Instagram regarding the price of Nasi Katok – should it be increased from BND$1.00 to BND$1.50? From a survey of almost 2000 people, 58% said that it should stay at BND$1.00. Small business owners usually sell Nasi Katok just to get through the day; it was never about profit for some. In fact, vendors would only make a profit of 20 cents per serving of Nasi Katok sold. In my honest opinion, if it’s just for a 50 cents price increase to help small businesses, I wouldn’t mind paying extra especially if I’m getting more in return. Think about it, you’re getting a serving of rice, a decent-sized piece of chicken and a spicy relish to bring it altogether. I think we can spare a little more out of our pockets to help them out.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Kuih Kosui (Rice Cakes with Grated Coconut)

Kuih Kosui (Rice Cakes with Grated Coconut)

Hello Everyone! The Bruneian traditional kuih (or kueh) is similar to many traditional cakes from around the region, such as in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Nobody knows where the true origins of each traditional kuih came from in Brunei, but we know it all started from the water village – Kampong Ayer many decades ago. Back in the day, due to limited supply of resources, Bruneian cake makers would make use of natural elements and materials to prepare the cakes, such as wrapping with leaves, and making use of all parts of a coconut or palm tree.

Today, Bruneian kuih-kuih (plural for kuih) are still as popular as ever due to the nostalgia and historical heritage that it carries with every bite. Upon researching traditional kuih-kuih native to Brunei, I came across a website entitled ‘Brunei’s Traditional Sweet Treats You Must Try’. Kuih Kosui was amongst the list, but as it turns out, it is actually native to Malaysia, as most kuih-kuih are.

Kuih Kosui is a saucer-shaped rice cake that is flavoured with either pandan (screwpine leaves) juice or gula melaka (palm sugar). It is also known as Kue Lumpang in native Indonesian language, and is actually very similar to what we have closer to home here in the Philippines, known as kutsinta.

Kuih Kosui (Rice Cakes with Grated Coconut)

Kuih Kosui is very economical to make. The kuih is characterised by its ‘dimple’ in the middle of the cake, lightly sweet taste, soft, yet wobbly and slightly bouncy in texture. They are then topped with a slightly salted, grated coconut topping to give that extra layer of flavour with the classic sweet-salty combination.

Unlike with a traditional kutsinta recipe, the soft, wobbly, and bouncy texture of Kuih Kosui can be achieved without having to add any alkaline water. You just need the right combination of flours and you can still achieve its distinct chewy texture and dimples.

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original where I drew my inspiration from over on What To Cook Today by Marvellina.

Kuih Kosui (Rice Cakes with Grated Coconut) Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 15-20 MINS | MAKES 14 CAKES

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp + 1 & 3/4 tsp rice flour
  • 2 tsp wheat starch
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For pandan flavour

  • 2/3 & 1/4 cup boiling water (cooled for 15 minutes)*
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup pandan-infused water**

For coconut sugar flavour

  • 1 & 1/4 cup boiling water (cooled for 15 minutes)*
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp white granulated sugar

For the topping

  • Freshly grated coconut
  • Pinch of salt

Notes:

  • *Bring water to a boil and let it cool down for 15 minutes so it should feel lukewarm after that. The warm water will stabilize the starch/flour and they won’t separate when you steam. Make sure not to use boiling hot water as this will cook the starch/flour into a dough.
  • **Place the pandan leaves and water into a blender. Blend until the leaves are chopped very finely. Pour contents through a fine sieve and press against it using a spoon to draw out any extra juice. Discard the leaves.
  • Flour and starch measurements are for one recipe per flavour. If you want to make both flavours at the same time, make sure to measure out another set of flour and starch ingredients.

METHOD

  1. Topping: Add the pinch of salt together with the grated coconut and give it a good mix. Steam over high heat for 10 minutes and set aside once done.
  2. Kuih Kosui: Bring the water in the steamer to a boil and place the empty cups in the steamer. Allow them to heat up for about 5 minutes while you are preparing the batter This step is important to prevent the starch/flour from separating when steaming your rice cakes.
  3. Add the three different types of flour and starches, together with the salt, into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Depending on your chosen flavour, add the sugars, (then the pandan-infused water if making pandan flavour Kuih Kosui), and then the lukewarm water. Stir into a smooth batter until the sugars have dissolved.
  4. Pour the batter into the preheated cups, about 3/4 of the wall full and steam over high heat for 12-15 minutes (18 minutes if your cups are larger).

If your steamer cannot fit all the cups/batter in at the same time, work in batches. Do not pour the mixture into the remaining cups ahead of time and let them sit. The flour and starch mixture tends to settle at the bottom after a while. This is important otherwise your Kuih Kosui won’t turn out right.

  1. After steaming, remove the cups from the steamer and let them cool down for about 5 minutes. They can be easily removed by running a small rubber spatula around the edges to lift them up.
  2. Repeat with the next batch of batter. Make sure the steaming water is back to a rolling boil before steaming. Stir the batter first before pouring into the preheated cups.
  3. Once done, sprinkle with the prepared grated coconut topping. Serve and enjoy as an afternoon snack! Should make around 14 kuih-kuih.

Kuih Kosui (Rice Cakes with Grated Coconut)

If you ever happen to find yourself travelling through Brunei on your next travel adventure, drop by any day or night markets and you’re bound to come across this kuih and many others. If you’re lucky enough, you can even catch the vendor making them fresh on the spot for you.

The best time to find all the local snacks and kuih-kuih in one place is during the holy month of Ramadhan at various food markets. You can find a plethora of local and traditional goodies for you to try. Alternatively, you can also get these at the Gadong Night Market or Tamu Kianggeh throughout the year and more often the vendors would be more than happy to describe each one to you!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Ambuyat (Sticky Sago)

Ambuyat (Sticky Sago)

Hello Everyone and cheers to 2021! Wishing you and your families a safe, healthy, and prosperous New Year! May the upcoming year be a time for healing, recovery, and reconnection.

For the loyal followers of Amcarmen’s Kitchen, you’ll know that a new year means a new theme on the blog. And so to kick off 2021, we’ll be sharing dishes inspired by the Flavours of Southeast Asian Cuisine! If you have an Instagram account, make sure you’re following me over on @amcarmenskitchen as I will be launching a challenge related to the theme to get everyone’s creative juices flowing for the upcoming year ahead.

We’re opening the new year with a Southeast Asian country very close to my heart; a country that I was born in and raised for 26 years of my life before moving back to my motherland a few years ago. A country none other than the Abode of Peace, Negara Brunei Darussalam.

Negara Brunei Darussalam - Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque

Brunei is a country located on the north coast of the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. Apart from its coastline with the South China Sea, the country is completely surrounded by the insular Malaysian state of Sarawak. It is separated into two parts by the Sarawak district of Limbang. Brunei is the only sovereign state completely on the island of Borneo; the remainder of the island’s territory is divided between the nations of Malaysia and Indonesia.

Bruneian cuisine is similar to, and heavily influenced by the cuisine of neighbouring countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. Additional influences from other countries such as India, China, Thailand, and Japan are also evident. As common in the region, staple dishes from Brunei are often spicy, and are eaten with either rice or noodles. Due to the predominance of the Islamic religion, the food is halal and pork is avoided. Alcohol is also banned in Brunei.

Because of the heavy influence of other cultures in Bruneian cuisine, it’s genuinely difficult to find dishes that are purely of Bruneian origin. Nevertheless, the recipe that I will be sharing today is known as the national dish of Brunei.

Ambuyat (Sticky Sago)

Ambuyat is a type of starch derived from the trunk of a sago palm and cooked as a delicacy in the country of Brunei. It is consumed with a two-pronged bamboo utensil known as chandas. Ambuyat is eaten with a variety of side dishes such as grilled prawns, fish, and an assortment of tropical sauces and vegetables. As the sago starch may be difficult to find outside of Brunei, it can be substituted with potato, tapioca, or cassava starch.

Before we dive into the recipe, there’s one more thing that I need to touch on. A popular tropical sauce dip that is always paired with Ambuyat is known as tempoyak, or in English, fermented durian. Now, if fresh durian is said to smell like putrid flesh, overripe armpits, and fermented gym socks, can you imagine what it smells like fermented? All I can say was that my kitchen was rancid. Imagine the smell of fermented durian, shrimp paste, and dried shrimp altogether…

Negara Brunei Darussalam - Fresh Durian

Nevertheless, it’s actually quite tasty for those with an acquired taste for durian. I’m probably 50-50 on this, and honestly leaning more towards the hate in this love-hate relationship. I never liked durian in the first place, but for the purpose of experimenting and experiencing the flavours of Brunei, I did it for the blog!

Fermented Durian Sauce (Tempoyak)

The flavour of tempoyak varies a lot and can be mildly sweet and sour or extremely pungent and a bit rank. You can alter the flavour by allowing the durian to ferment for different lengths of time and adding different amounts of salt. Less salt makes the tempoyak more sour, while more salt both makes the tempoyak more, well, salty, and allows it to keep for 3-6 months without being refrigerated.

Ambuyat (Sticky Sago) & Tempoyak Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

For the ambuyat

  • 3 cups cassava starch*
  • 2 & 1/2 cups water

For the tempoyak sauce

  • 50g fermented durian (tempoyak)**
  • 1 red bird’s eye chilli
  • 1 tbsp dried shrimp
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste
  • Pinch of salt

*Preferably use sago starch if available, otherwise substitute with potato or tapioca starch.

**How you make your tempoyak is up to you. The most basic ratio to get you started is for every cup of fresh deseeded and mashed durian, add 1 tablespoon of salt. Mix well and seal in an air-tight container and keep at room temperature. It can be consumed after 2 days, or allowed to ferment for as long as 2 weeks, depending on your preference.

METHOD

  1. Tempoyak Sauce: Add the dried shrimp to a mortar together with the red chilli and pound using the pestle until well combined. Add the shrimp paste and mix using a spoon. Season with a touch of salt, to taste.
  2. Pour a little bit of hot water into the mixture and then add the durian. Mix until well combined and adjust the flavours to your liking. Once done, transfer to a small bowl and set aside until ready to serve.
  3. Ambuyat: Combine the tapioca starch with a half cup of room temperature water, in a medium-sized heat-proof bowl, and set aside for a few minutes.
  4. Heat the remaining 2 cups of water, either in a kettle or on the stove. Slowly pour the hot, boiling water into the bowl with the starch while whisking continuously with a wooden spoon. The starch will appear sticky in texture. Continue to whisk the ambuyat until it is firm and starchy.
  5. Serve with the tempoyak sauce and various side dishes and enjoy!

Ambuyat (Sticky Sago)

The side dishes that we paired our ambuyat with are fish curry, fried fish, garlic butter prawns, sautéed kangkung (water spinach) in garlic and oyster sauce, sambal eggplant, and fresh vegetables. We decided to keep ours pescatarian, but you can serve it with other choices of meat as well, whatever tickles your fancy.

Ambuyat (Sticky Sago) Side Dishes

Note: Prepare all your sauces and side dishes before preparing the ambuyat.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Purple Sweet Potato ‘Hummus’

Purple Sweet Potato ‘Hummus’

Hello Everyone! Here’s my last recipe for the year 2020! Well, technically this was scheduled to go up earlier towards the beginning of the month, but with other commitments, both personal and work, and the festive season, I haven’t had the time to write this post and prepare the other recipes that I had wanted to share with everyone on the blog. I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas despite the circumstances, and I wish everyone a Happy New Year!

Purple Sweet Potato ‘Hummus’

Traditional hummus directly translates to chickpeas and is a dip, spread, or savoury dish made from cooked, mashed chickpeas blended with tahini, lemon juice, and garlic. It is popular in the Middle East and in Middle Eastern cuisines around the globe. It can also be found in most grocery stores in North America and Europe.

Although multiple claims of its origins exist in various parts of the Middle East, the earliest known written recipes for a dish resembling hummus are recorded in cookbooks written in Cairo, Egypt, in the 13th century. The full name of the prepared spread in Arabic is ḥummuṣ bi ṭaḥīna which means ‘chickpeas with tahini’.

But here’s a playful PURPLE alternative that’s perfect as a fun snack, appetizer, breakfast, or a light meal. This Purple Sweet Potato Hummus is a legume-free version of a traditional hummus for those who simply prefer it legume-free and/or because of allergies. Though chickpea-free, it still incorporates the flavours of tahini and spices in this ‘hummus’.

Purple Sweet Potato ‘Hummus’

Tahini is a condiment made from toasted ground hulled sesame. It is served by itself (as a dip) or as a major ingredient in hummus, baba ganoush, and halva. If you can’t find tahini in stores, don’t worry because you can easily make it at home, which is what I did. Even if you can find them on the shelves of your local grocer, I highly recommend making your own so that you won’t have a jar of tahini sitting in your fridge waiting for it to go off because you won’t ever use it again – maybe. Just make enough for a one-off recipe.

Also, have you ever tried sweet potato… on toast? Put a vibrant twist to your morning toast with this complex carbs on carbs combination! *cheeky grin* It’s one of those combinations that surprises you just how good it is, together. Aside from its vibrant colour, it’s gluten free, paleo, and comes together with less than ten ingredients you probably have on hand or have easy access to from your local grocer. You may also substitute the purple sweet potatoes for other colour variants such as orange, yellow, or white, whatever is available locally.

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original recipe where I drew my inspiration from over on Flora & Vino by Lauren.

Purple Sweet Potato ‘Hummus’ Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

For the homemade tahini

  • 1 cup sesame seeds, hulled
  • 2 to 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch of salt, optional

For the sweet potato hummus

  • 1 cup cooked and roughly mashed purple sweet potatoes*
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Filtered water or unsweetened almond milk, as needed
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Wholemeal bread slices
  • Fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • Ground paprika
  • Roasted pistachio nuts
  • Toasted cumin seeds

METHOD

  1. Homemade Tahini: Add the sesame seeds to a wide, dry saucepan over medium-low heat and toast, stirring constantly until the seeds become fragrant and lightly coloured (not brown), for 3 to 5 minutes. Sesame seeds can burn very quickly so keep an eye on them and be careful.
  2. Transfer the toasted sesame seeds to a baking sheet or large plate for them to cool down completely.
  3. Once cool, add the sesame seeds to the bowl of a food processor then process until a crumbly paste forms, about a minute.
  4. Add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil then process for 2 to 3 minutes more, stopping to scrape the bottom and sides of the food processor a couple times. Check the tahini’s consistency. It should be smooth, not gritty and should be pourable. You may need to process for another minute or add the additional tablespoon of oil.
  5. Taste the tahini for seasoning then add salt to taste. Process 5 to 10 seconds to mix it in. Set aside until ready to use.**
  6. Purple Sweet Potato ‘Hummus’: Add the mashed purple sweet potato, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and cumin to a high speed blender or food processor and pulse until well-combined and creamy, scraping down the sides as needed to recombine.
  7. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to the mixture. Taste and adjust if needed, i.e. add more lemon for brightness, cumin for spice, and tahini for creaminess. If the mixture is too thick, add filtered water or unsweetened almond milk in 1 tablespoon increments to reach your desired consistency.
  8. Serve with toast and top with your choice of toppings. I went with pistachio nuts, ground paprika, a sprinkle of toasted cumin seeds, and fresh parsley. Enjoy!

Purple Sweet Potato ‘Hummus’

Notes:

  • * To cook the sweet potatoes, scrub and peel them, then cut the flesh into large cubes. Fill a large pot with an inch of water and bring to a boil. Add the sweet potato cubes to a steamer basket and steam in the pot for about 7 to 10 minutes until the flesh is very tender when pierced with a fork. Drain, place the cooked sweet potato in a bowl and mash with a fork or potato masher.
  • ** Store any leftover tahini covered in the refrigerator for one month. You may notice that it separates over time, like a natural peanut butter would. If this happens, give the tahini a good stir before using.
  • Store leftover Purple Sweet Potato Hummus in the fridge for up to one week.

Purple Sweet Potato ‘Hummus’

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com