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·         2 kg Braising steak

·         8 shallots

·         5 garlic cloves

·         6 large red chillies

·         4 cm fresh ginger

·         1 lemongrass stalk

·         1 tbsp coriander seeds

·         1 tsp white pepper

·         5 cloves

·         3 bay leaves

·         ½ tsp cumin

·         1 tsp salt

·         2 cm tamarind

·          50 g Coconut sugar

·          500 ml coconut milk

·          5-10 tbsp Grated coconut

·          Vegetable oil

·         2 litres of Water

1. Cut braising steak into 5 cm pieces, put shallots, garlic, chillies, ginger into food processor, blend to make a paste, then set aside until ready to cook.

2.Heat the oil in the large non stick casserole dish, add lemongrass stalk and cloves, add the paste and braising steak and  water then cook over low heat for about an hour. Add ground white pepper, tamarind, salt, coconut sugar, bay leaves and coconut milk .

3. Fry grated coconut, cumin and coriander seeds until they look golden brown, then grind, add into the pan and let it cook for another two hours on a really low heat, stirring occasionally.

*serve with steamed fragrant rice… yummiiiii x x x

A tip from Mom:

”If you cook Rendang Daging don’t ever use too many cumin seeds or if you like You can replace cumin seeds with fresh turmeric and extra lemongrass.




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March 2000, Its about 9.30 pm I am on the bus that took me from Denpasar (Bali) to Solo (central Java) to board the ferry in  Gilimanuk.  I just happened to  look at the guy sitting beside me, I found it very strange because he was putting a lemongrass stalk  into his nose. He took a deep breath and almost immediately I could see his face go very calm. He realized I was looking at him and we started to have a conversation.

The man        : I do apologize do I look strange with this lemongrass up my nose?

Me                  :No, but I just wondered why you are using lemongrass?

The man        :It’s a long story, but I am on my way back home from Central Kalimantan, and while I was there I had such a bad experience, and I saw so many terrible situations,  that if I think about it, I would be sick, and the aroma of this lemongrass just cools me down and keeps me calm.

Me                  : Ahh, sorry about that.

I didn’t want to make anymore conversation with the man, because I knew that he wanted to talk and to tell me the whole story, I didn’t want to hear more, I was just worried that if I heard all of the story I would pass out  ( I already knew that in 1999 in central Borneo they were having violent ethnic riots. I didn’t want to be rude, so I just nodded and pretended I knew everything. I put on my headphones and sat  listening to “fixing the broken heart” by Indecent obsession.

I’dlike to talk about my Mom for a bit, she has a very strange relationship with fish!!. Her family came from Rembang a which is small city on the coast in north Central Java. I can remember us all going to visit my Mom’s family in a place call Pandangan, the house is so close to the Java sea, about a 5 minute walk away we come to the fisherman’s boat’s and the fish auction, I can  still remember everything being so cheap.

But… this is the problem, fish isn’t my Mom’s favourite food, she still often cook’s fish for all the family, but she has to have a secret weapon when she is cooking the fish (she hate the smell).. “yup you can guess .. Its lemongrass”.. or sometimes  when her family came to visit,  she asks them to bring ready smoked fish. (The smoked fish that my mom’s family always brought is the stingray barb fish, the creature that killed Steve Irwin).

So, I have two fish recipes that my mother always cook’s for the family and they both use lemongrass.



  • 500g fish fillet, cut into 2 pieces (any fish)
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 8 spring onions
  • 2  kaffier lime leaves
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt and sugar to taste
  • aluminium foil to wrap

Ingredients to blend:

  • 10 cm Ginger
  • 5 Lemongrass stalks
  • 10 fresh red chilies
  • 1 big onion
  • 6 candlenuts


1.  Slice the tomatoes and cut the spring onions into 2 cm lengths.

2.  Place the ingredients that need blending into a bowl.  Add in oil, lime juice, spring onions and salt and sugar to taste.

3.  Rub the pieces of fish with salt.

4.  Take a piece of aluminium foil , place a piece of fish on it.  Cover the fish with half of the blended mixture and top with a kaffier lime leaf.

5.  Wrap the fish and secure the ends.  Do the same as for the other piece of fish.

6.  Bake in preheated oven at 190 deg C for 25 minutes or until fish is cooked

Serve with steamed fragrant rice…..




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One of my friends said to me, “we should try fish, what will you cook if I buy some fish? I said “lets see, if they have a big fresh Tuna on that stall”.

The biggest Tuna in there cost £6.99, “hmm.. a bargain” as I love a bargain and even my friends said Ohh my God, we will cook Harry,(as she call the Tuna), so in my friend’s kitchen, I started preparing “Harry” the Tuna.



  • Fresh large Tuna ( approx 2 kg)
  • 10 big red chillies
  • 6 birds eye chillies
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 8 shallots
  • 3 lemongrass stalks
  • 3 cm galangal
  • 5 cm fresh ginger
  • Juice of 3 limes or lemons
  • ½ tsp shrimp paste (terasi)
  • 3 Kaffir lime leaves
  • ½ tsp salt

 1. Thoroughly clean the fish (or you can ask fishmonger to clean it for you)

2. Put chillies, garlic, shallots, lemongrass, galangal, ginger, salt, shrimp paste and kaffir lime leaves into food processor to make a paste.

3. Place the fish on the kitchen foil, add lemon juice and spread the spice paste evenly over it, rubbing it inside the fish and where the skin has been slashed.

Wrap the fish with kitchen foil , put in the oven or BBQ  220 degrees for 45 minutes.Image


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150 grams egg noodles, or 250 grams fresh egg noodles
3 garlic cloves
2 candlenuts
1/2 tablespoon white pepper
100 grams chicken breast, cut into cubes
100 grams shrimp,
50 grams cabbage, cut thinly
100 grams bean sprouts
3 stalks spring onion, chopped
1 stalks Chinese celery, chopped, more for garnishing
4 tablespoons Indonesian sweet soy sauce
150 milliliters chicken stock

If using dried noodles, prepare noodles as direction but reduce the time called for by half. Grind garlic, candlenuts and pepper using mortar and pestle, or electric grinder, to smooth paste. Heat cooking oil in a wok. Stir-fry spice paste till fragrant over medium heat for 30 seconds or less.

Toss in chicken and prawns. Cook quickly by stirring using a spatula. Add sweet soy sauce. Mix well.

Pour chicken stock in the wok. Toss in cabbage. Reduce heat slightly and let boil, about 2-3 minutes.

When the liquid slightly reduced, add the noodles. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook the noodles and sauce until desired consistency. For dry noodles, cook longer. For wet noodles, cook briefly.


Add bean sprouts and chopped greens. Mix well. Serve the Mie Goreng warm. Sprinkle some shallot flakes and chopped celery on top for garnish on individual plates.


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The man that sell’s it said to me.. “sorry.. Do you know this is Pork?… and I said.. Thank you for your concern.. can I have two portions pleaseeee…


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Here you go, my favourite Warung Bakmi in Solo, Surakarta Hadiningrat,  Pork or no Pork??


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Pasar Gede literally means Big Market, build in era Sri Susuhunan Pakubuwono X, designed by Thomas Karsten, completed construction and opened 12 January 1930.