Friday, November 4, 2011

Today, we are embarking on an adventure I never would have dreamed of doing when I was younger.

Southeast Asia seemed a million miles away from small-town life in the Midwest, United States. But now, living in a different part of the world makes me feel like nearly anything is possible.

This is a big trip for us! We've used many connections to make this trip possible.

Today, we are heading to Singapore where we will spend part of the Kurban Bayramı ** as well as four days in Bali, Indonesia. I am behind ecstatic! I’ve been planning our itinerary for weeks down to the specific hawker stalls I plan to eat at in Singapore.

Yes, I’m that anal when it comes to planning our trips, but if something would deter us from my detailed plan, I wouldn’t be devastated either. Adventures...mishaps....sometimes lead to even better discoveries or at least provide great travel stories! (See: Strangers, Stranded in Samos.)

While we are in Bali, we are taking a Balinese cooking class and market tour. I’m always looking for ways to expand my skills in the kitchen and this was right up my alley.

A couple years ago, Jason bought me a cookbook called “Bali Unveiled: The Secrets of Balinese Cuisine” by Chef Heinz von Holzen. I had hoped to take a cooking class from von Holzen, but his classes were full.

Because many of the ingredients are difficult to find or don’t even exist in Istanbul, I’ve had to heavily substitute for the original recipe so this is definitely an expat fusion recipe. On this trip, I plan to stock up on exotic ingredients such as lemongrass, coconut oil, galangal, palm sugar and fresh tumeric.

Earlier this year, I learned what galangal was when I took a Thai cooking class here from another expat. Galangal is a rhizone similar to fresh ginger root but has a delicate pine, ginger-like aroma. I had a small stash here thanks to one of my British friends whom travels often to London.
Galangal does look like ginger, doesn't it?
This is another one of those recipes that requires quite a bit of prep time because of all the chopping and measuring that’s necessary. If you have the time and the ingredients, you will be rewarded with a spicy and aromatic broth for the noodles. Delicious!

Afiyet Olsun!
A bowl full of my Balinese-inspired chicken noodle soup. This should help ward off any winter colds! =)
Balinese Spice Paste for Chicken (Base de Siap)
(Heavily adapted from von Holzen’s cookbook)

25 g. (2 ea.) aci Turkish chilies or hot peppers, finely sliced
110 g. (3/4 c.) shallots, chopped small
60 g. (1/2 c.) garlic, chopped small
25 g. (1 ½-inch piece) fresh ginger, chopped small
30 g. (1/3 c.) galangal, chopped small (or omit)
1 ¾ tsp. ground tumeric powder (subbed for fresh tumeric)
50 g. (3.5 T.) blanched almonds (subbed for candlenuts)
25 g. (2 T.) brown sugar (subbed for palm sugar)
75 ml. (-1/3 c.) sunflower oil (subbed for coconut oil)
2 ea. lemongrass stalks, crushed and chopped small
125 ml. (1/2 c.) water
1 tsp. salt
Many ingredients! Thank goodness, I even found these peeled shallots here!
Combine all ingredients except the lemongrass, water and salt, in a stone mortar or food processor and pulse until coarsely ground.

In a medium-sized pot, add all the ingredients and cook over medium heat for about 1 hour or until all the water has evaporated and the paste takes on a golden hue. 
This is what the spice paste looks like as it is cooking down.
Balinese-Inspired Chicken Noodle Soup
Serves: 4

1 T. sunflower oil
125 g. (1/2c.) spice paste from above recipe (Reserve the extra paste in a glass jar in the refrigerator and use a spoonful whenever you want to jazz up future noodle/soup dishes.)
500 g. (1#) chicken, chopped small
2 ea. carrots, cut into 1-inch matchstick pieces
1 L. (1 qt.) chicken stock
TT salt and freshly ground black pepper

Garnish: fresh green onions and cilantro

In a large stock pot, add the oil and spice paste and sauté until fragrant. Add the chicken and cook for about 10 minutes until the meat is evenly coated and partially cooked.

Add the stock and remaining ingredients. Simmer the soup for about 30 minutes. Ladle the soup over your favorite cooked noodles - rice noodles or even spaghetti noodles work great! Garnish the soup with chopped green onions and cilantro.

** The Kurban Bayramı, also known as the Feast of Sacrifice or Eid el-Adha, is the most important Islamic religious festival of the year and lasts for several days, Nov. 5-9, 2011. The festival celebrates the Biblical and Kur’anic account of Abraham’s near-sacrifice of his son, proving Abraham’s complete trust in God. In the story, a ram is provided for the sacrifice instead. Following this tradition, the head of each Turkish household hopes to sacrifice a sheep on the morning of the first day of the holiday period and the meat is shared among family, friends and the poor.

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Julia said...

Looks great Joy. Can tell from your writing how excited you are about your trip. I would be, too! I'm sure you'll have an amazing time. Iyi tatiller!! :)

Cuisine de Provence said...

Singapore - I am jealous! It's a fabulos city, Bon voyage!

jaz@octoberfarm said...

hi joy! have a great time on the trip. i can't wait to see your adventure! thanks for this recipe. i will be making it as soon as i pick up the ingredients!

jaz@octoberfarm said...

just returned from the store with all of the ingredients except the galangal. i have to run to another place to get it and then i will make this tomorrow! i can't wait!

Kim, Living to Seas the Moment said...

The soup looks amazing but I have a deadly allergy to tumeric so this won't be one that I try! Have an amazing trip!

Anonymous said...

I have via October Farm, I feel like I just watched the travel channel,, how exciting,,this soups sounds amazing,,

Joy said...

Thanks all! Wifi access has been spotty, so will touch base with trip reports as I can.

If u try the soup, please let me know! :) Also, I'm sure you could easily omit the turmeric.

It's beautiful over here!