Auntie Ruby's Chicken Rendang

Chicken Rendang (wet variety)
Rendang is a dry type of curry, which my Mum cooked often. I have many memories of eating her  Beef Rendang (check her recipe here) and Chicken Rendang.

According to tradition, it is an Indonesian dish. As the meat is cooked for a long time ("merandang") till the curry is dried out, it can keep for a long time. This explains why the recipe was popular during pre-refrigeration times. There are two types of Rendang, the dry and wet variety. The dry one can keep very well, even in room temperature. In fact, dry beef rendang is almost like dry beef jerky.

Glazed Carrots


I have started a "Christmas" category for recipes that are suited for the season.

If you have cooked long enough, like me, you will realise that side dishes need effort and time to prepare well. Sometimes veg dishes can be harder to get right compared to the meat ones and demand more cooking attention.

I have a few favourite veg recipes which I like because they are easy to do and delicious. For these recipes I turned to my cookbooks.

Roasting a crisped Chicken and making a good Sauce


Editorial: This post was first written a year ago but it has been revised and reposted.

With Christmas round the corner, you may want to start thinking about some dishes you may want to cook.

I am not partial to roast turkey as those we have here are cooked from frozen ones. But I love roast chicken and I think it is a great fit for any home Christmas meal. I have been experimenting with the best way to come up with a tasty roast chicken and sauce which is a convenient by-product of the roasting process.

In the Origins of Gravy theory set forth by Walter Matthau in the film of Neil Simon's The Odd Couple, he explained that, when you cook a roast, "it comes." This method that I use makes it convenient to retain the "it comes"and turns it into a beautiful sauce - by just using one carrot and one large white onion.

By tasty roast chicken,  I am looking for a crisped flavorful skin and succulent meat (not dried out). Like Cantonese Roast Pork, the chicken skin when roasted adds flavour.

All About that Paste ( trouble)

These are some of the herbs and spices you need to cook rendang. 
Many curries and Asian dishes come down to one thing: it is all about the paste.

For Chinese, Malay and especially Thai, it really is all about the paste. 

In modern times, convenient pre-mixes have become big business to cater for busy housewives. We have to use the phrase "make it from scratch" to indicate authentic or good food (but not always the case). But traditionally in Asian homes, pastes were made from fresh ingredients.  

If you know how to, it is just about the spices, herbs and sauces.

No trouble, as my Mama would say.

Planning and Hosting a BBQ Party


Char-grilling foods is a great way of cooking.

As old as humanity, this must be one of the earliest forms of cooking. Burn some wood. Warm yourself up in the cold. And hang some meat over the fire.

My earlier experiences of BBQ are in my youth camping days. It was almost always chicken wings and sausages galore. In part it is because these are cheap. The wings were of course mostly "chow tar" (burnt) from the sugar or honey in the marinade. We did not know any better. Even then, grilled chicken wings always excite. Somehow.

Cooking for the Pleasure of it


One of the highlights of the year is the opportunity to cook fine dining Western cuisine for the larger family gatherings. Someone else is always sponsoring the bill. All I need to do is to plan and prepare the meal.

The chefs like what they are doing. The diners like the food. And the one who sponsors believes that he is getting a good bang for the buck. Everyone is happy.  There is nothing like the atmosphere of a home which feels like a restaurant, with food plated to each guest.

Family, food and friends. I am not sure I got the order right but these are always special and anticipated gatherings.