Ikan Pepes (Grilled Fish in Banana Leaves)

Ikan Pepes (Grilled Fish in Banana Leaves)

Hello Everyone! Tonight’s recipe is actually also a national fish dish in East Timor. As we’ve covered back in March when we travelled through East Timor on our Flavours of Southeast Asia journey, the country was invaded and colonised by Indonesia after they gained their independence from Portugal. Therefore a lot of their cuisine is also inspired by Indonesian culture.

I’ve actually never had Ikan Pepes before; I guess the closest I’ve had that’s similar to this dish is Ikan Bakar, which in English literally means ‘burn fish’. The main difference between the two is how the banana leaves are used.

Pepes is an Indonesian cooking method using banana leaves as a food wrapping and secured with a fastener made from the central ribs of a coconut leaf (known as lidi seumat). The banana leaf package containing the food is then steamed or grilled over charcoal. Bakar on the other hand is a charcoal-grilling method where sometimes a sheet of banana leaf placed between the food and grill to prevent it from sticking to the grill and breaking into pieces.

Ikan Pepes (Grilled Fish in Banana Leaves)

Ikan Pepes is made by generously smothering the fish in a spice mixture. The mixture may vary among regions and places, but usually consists of a combination of shallots, garlic, chillies, coriander, tamarind paste, candlenuts, turmeric, galangal, and salt; all pounded together using a mortar and pestle, or blitzed in a food processor to create a paste. The fish is then wrapped in banana leaves to not only protect the fish from excessive charring, but also to add a subtle touch of fragrance to the dish as a whole. The fish is then typically eaten with rice for a complete meal.

You can use any type of fish for this dish as you prefer, such as snapper, perch, bream, or tilapia, and you may also opt to use fish fillets rather than cooking with a whole fish especially for those who don’t like struggling with fish bones. Likewise, while the method of pepes is commonly used to prepare fish, other ingredients such as shrimp, squid, chicken, beef, tofu, tempeh, mushrooms, or other vegetables are also available to be prepared using this method.

Ikan Pepes (Grilled Fish in Banana Leaves) Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 25 MINS | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 red snappers (about 500g each in weight), descaled, gutted, and cleaned
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season

For the spice mixture

  • 3 red chillies, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 small red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 stalk lemongrass (white part only), finely chopped
  • 1 thumb-sized turmeric, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp raw peanuts
  • 7 cherry tomatoes*, halved
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Fresh banana leaves

To garnish

  • Lemon wedges
  • Red chillies, chopped
  • Spring onion (green parts), chopped

*Or use one small tomato and roughly chop. I used cherry tomatoes because I had some lying around that were getting soft.

METHOD

  1. Spice Mixture: Using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic, onion, lemongrass, turmeric, and peanuts together until it forms into a rough paste. Add the tomatoes and continue to pound until they start to break down.
  2. Add in the shrimp paste, coconut sugar, tamarind paste, and season with salt. Use a spoon to mix them all together until well combined.

If using a food processor, add all the ingredients together and blend into a rough paste.

  1. Ikan Pepes: Place the prepared fish, that has been seasoned with a touch of salt and freshly ground black pepper, on top of a piece of banana leaf, on top of a piece of aluminium foil.
  2. Stuff the cavity of the snapper fish with the green parts of the lemongrass and white part of the spring onion. This is optional as I didn’t want to put these parts to waste so I decided to use them in the dish as well.
  3. Generously cover both sides of the fish with the spice mixture and enclose it in the banana leaf, and aluminium foil.
  4. Place the fish over a grill and cook on medium-high heat for 15 minutes on one side, and 10 minutes on the other; a total of 25 minutes, or until cooked through depending on the size of your fish or method of cooking.
  5. Once done, remove from the grill and transfer to a serving plate. Garnish with some spring onions, extra chillies, and lemon wedges on the side. Serve immediately while hot with rice. Enjoy!

1898

Ikan Pepes (Grilled Fish in Banana Leaves)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Vegan Turmeric, Chickpea, and Sweet Potato Stew

Vegan Turmeric, Chickpea, and Sweet Potato Stew

Hello Everyone! I’ll keep tonight’s introduction short, and so, on to the recipe! This glowing Turmeric, Chickpea, and Sweet Potato Stew is hearty, spicy, creamy, nutrient-rich, and delicious! The addition of pineapple juice in the stew adds a hint of sweetness and slightly enhances the flavour of the overall dish that pairs nicely with the coconut milk.

It’s the perfect comfort food for the cold weather months. Having said that, it’s probably not an ideal dish to whip up in the tropics, especially during the summer time *cheeky grin*

Vegan Turmeric, Chickpea, and Sweet Potato Stew

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original recipe I followed for reference, over on Yup, it’s Vegan by Shannon. It’s dairy-free, gluten-free, grain-free, and vegan/vegetarian altogether (that is if you skip the garlic-malunggay toast on the side)!

Vegan Turmeric, Chickpea, and Sweet Potato Stew Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

3 garlic cloves, minced
2 pcs dried bay leaves
2 small-sized sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 small red bird’s eye chilli, finely minced
1 small red onion, diced
2 cups water or vegetable stock
1 & 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 & 1/2 cups full-fat coconut milk
1/2 cup pineapple juice (fresh or if store-bought, with no added sugar)
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 & 1/2 tbsp fresh turmeric, grated
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tbsp yellow curry powder
2 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp turmeric powder
Blanched kale leaves, roughly chopped to garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

METHOD

  1. Add the coconut oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the minced garlic and sauté until golden brown and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Be careful to not burn the garlic. Then add in the diced onions, chillies, ginger, turmeric, and dried bay leaves, stirring often, until they soften, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add the sweet potatoes into the pot, together with the curry and turmeric powder. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste, and then give it a good mix, cooking for about a minute or two.
  3. Add the water or vegetable stock and bring to a gentle boiling. Once boiling, add in the pineapple juice, and half of the coconut milk and bring back to a gentle boil before reducing the heat to a steady simmer. Cover the pot and leave to cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are cooked through.
  4. If desired, use a fork to mash up some of the sweet potatoes to thicken the stew slightly. Stir in the cooked chickpeas, lime juice, soy sauce, and the remaining coconut milk. Let it simmer, partially covered, for 5 to 10 more minutes.
  5. Check and taste to see if the stew needs additional seasoning. If so, season with a touch more salt, freshly ground black pepper, and lime juice.
  6. Once done, top with some blanched kale and fresh chillies. Serve hot with some garlic-malunggay bread slices on the side (optional). Enjoy!

Vegan Turmeric, Chickpea, and Sweet Potato Stew

Note: The sweet potatoes in this stew makes it nice and hearty on its own, but it is also lovely served with jasmine rice. Feel free to add other stew-friendly vegetables too, such as cauliflower or other leafy greens like how I added kale to mine.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Golden Turmeric Chai Smoothie Bowl

Golden Turmeric Chai Smoothie Bowl

Hello Everyone! It’s been a quiet and boring week to be honest, and I having a serious holiday withdrawal syndrome. I miss the lush greenery of Temburong, crystal clear waters, physical activities, and the sun piercing through your skin – giving you a tan that you’re proud to wear for the next couple of months because it reminds you of the fun times you had. But in all honesty, I just miss going on weekly adventures; a new hike trail every weekend to rejuvenate from the work week. It doesn’t even need to be a holiday, just a 2-day weekend where one of them can be spent going out and exploring, and the other to do chores, cook up a storm for Amcarmen’s Kitchen, and basically recover from the working week. Back in Australia, this was easy to do because there were plenty of trails to explore. Here in Brunei, not so much – and not much of great views too, and the fact that I only have a 1-day weekend.

All that aside, I have a bit of a unique smoothie bowl to share with you guys tonight; and I say unique because I’ve never thought of using these flavours (and spices) in a smoothie before. I mean, besides using spicy chai tea leaves and cinnamon in my Spicy Chai & Banana Cinnamon Smoothie from a while back, that’s pretty much the extent of me using spices in my smoothies.

The link to the original recipe can be found over on My Life Cookbook by Denise. She drew inspiration from ‘Golden Milk’ which, for those of you who don’t know, is basically a combination of turmeric, coconut milk (or oil), and black pepper. This Golden Turmeric Chai Smoothie Bowl is an aromatic, flavour-popping combination of golden milk and chai tea – perfect for an immune system boost if you’re feeling a bit under the weather, but also a quick, easy, and healthy breakfast to go!

Golden Turmeric Chai Smoothie Bowl Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME  | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

For the smoothie mixture

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 large bananas
  • 1-2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
  • 1/2 tsp cardamon, ground
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg, grated

Toppings

  • Chia Seeds – contains omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, antioxidants, iron, and calcium
  • Goji Berries – excellent source of antioxidants and nutrients that help boost the immune system and protect the body from high levels of inflammation
  • Raspberriesgood source of vitamin C, E, K, manganese, dietary fibre, copper pantothenic acid, biotin, magnesium, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, and potassium
  • Desiccated Coconut

METHOD

  1. Blend the bananas, coconut milk, honey, ginger, and spices altogether until smooth.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and top with the raspberries, chia seeds, goji berries, and desiccated coconut. Enjoy for breakfast or an immune-boosting afternoon snack!

Golden Turmeric Chai Smoothie Bowl

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Honey-Roasted Chicken

Honey-Roasted Chicken

Honey-Roasted Chicken

Hello Everyone! Before I begin with this post, I just want to say that I just realised that two Sunday’s ago was quite possibly the last Sunday that I had off and I probably won’t see another relaxed Sunday at home until the beginning of June. Yes, you read that right! Last Sunday I got up at the wee hours of 3:55am to get ready for work. WORK! Last Sunday we kicked off our month-long sporting event with a 2km and 10km Run that started at around 7am. Our team had to be there by 5am to help set up, prepare, and do a lot more things in order to ensure a smooth event. I was also event photographer that morning so I was constantly moving here and there for a good 5 hours. Though it wasn’t a whole day/night event, it was still tiring – I mean, getting up at 4 in the morning is tiring enough especially when I couldn’t sleep well the few hours before. Anyway, so this Friday will be another opening ceremony, this time for Badminton, and then on Sunday again for Basketball.

Besides my 7-day working months from now until June, I’m thrilled to say that my blog will be turning 2 years old on Saturday! I’ll be posting a recipe up on that day to celebrate 2 years of not giving up on this blog – which I believe is a first! I’ve started up many blogs before (but mainly diary-style) and so far I’ve been able to keep up with this one! I won’t say anymore and save the rest of my tangents for Saturday’s post. Anyway, it’s week 2 of delicious yummy roast chicken and I’ve got a classic recipe to share with you. To be honest, whenI first came across this recipe, I found it weird how it had a hint of ground cinnamon and turmeric in it which in my opinion dominated the honey flavour just a bit. I’ll admit that I much preferred the taste of last week’s roast, but this one is alright too. You can eat it with a whole load of roast veggies and fresh greens, or steamed rice. Don’t forget to check out the original recipe over on SBS.

Honey-Roasted Chicken Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS* | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR 35 MINS | SERVES 6

*plus 4-6 hours of marination, or preferably overnight

INGREDIENTS

  • 2kg whole chicken, washed and cleaned thoroughly
  • 8 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp ground tumeric
  • Thumb-sized ginger, minced
  • Butter, for basting
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Assorted veggies, for roasting
  • Cooking twine

METHOD

  1. Combine all the ingredients, except for the butter, in a large mixing bowl. Mix well until combined. Coat your chicken in the marinade and then leave in the fridge to marinate for about 4-6 hours (or preferably overnight). Remove chicken from the fridge 45-60 minutes before roasting to bring it back to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 230C (450F or gas mark 8). Line a baking tray with aluminium foil and place a rack above it.
  3. Start by making a loop with the twine and fastening it around the stub of the neck. Bring it around the sides and tie a knot at the cavity, then pull it tight around the breast. Now, loop the twine around the drumsticks and tie another knot, tightening it until the legs cross.
  4. Place the chicken on the rack and into the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes. The lover the heat down to 175C (350F or gas mark 4) and continue roasting for an hour and 20 minutes more. Baste the chicken with a little bit of butter at every 20 minute intervals.
  5. Once done, remove the oven and set aside to rest for about 10 minutes before serving with seasonal roast veggies, or steamed rice. Enjoy!

Honey-Roasted Chicken

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com