I love the internet. If you are interested in culinary anthropology, for lack of a better way to put being interested in exploring other cultures’ cuisines, the internet provides a wealth of information. Sure I can read a book an American traveling in Indonesia has written about Indonesian food–I have those books, I love those books, and often they can help an American figure out how to go about replicating Indonesian food at home. I can also read a book written by an Indonesian chef with a restaurant in America–and the same applies. But reading a food blog written by an Indonesian home cook living in North Sumatra? That is just double the excitement.
It does present more of a challenge of course, when trying to replicate their dish. Some things you have to kind of guess at–maybe there is a language barrier, or maybe there is an ingredient barrier. Or equipment. For example, in this dish I made do without a wok. I realize that it is crazy that an Asian food lover such as myself does not have a wok, but what can I say, it is on my list of things to acquire and figure out (the seasoning, how to use on gas stove, etc). In the meantime I just try to make do.
So yes there was some “winging” involved, but I think my Claypot Pork Rice came out fantastically. A lot of said winging was on the fly, so I linked you to Jun’s recipe over at Indochine Kitchen, one of my favorite blogs, but alas her blog has disappeared. [After months of waiting to see if it would come back, I have finally removed the links.] I’ve had the dish pinned for a while, and I chose it for John’s birthday dinner this year (yay! nobody was sick for the first time in years!) where it was a huge hit, especially with the birthday boy. I used a stainless steel saute pan, loads of fresh mushrooms in place of dried, and arrowroot starch in place of tapioca. It was not until I read through the comments that I realized that Jun’s conical mold was not just for looks, but also for the actual steaming of the rice. So I made do with a pot with a lid, a steamer insert, and a bowl, and steamed it separately from the pork. I used my mom’s pickled red chile peppers for garnish, and I served a cucumber salad on the side.
We loved this dish and I am definitely going to start being braver about trying more recipes off of blogs written in other countries.
Chris and Amy says
That sounds really good! It feels good to leave your comfort zone now and then!