Sunday, 29 December 2013

German Potato Salad (From the Deutsche Supperclub kitchen)


For those who have attended the Deutsche Supperclub series at my humble abode, know the reputation of this German potato salad. From the time I remember serving it, I've only had pittance left to soothe my aching soul. Note, that this variation of a German potato salad was taken from the cookbook - Grandma's German Cookbook and added my little touches into it. Ordinarily, German potato salad only has potatoes. But different parts of Germany have different versions of it. But what makes it German anyway? The dill and chives. Here's mine:

Ingredients:

5 medium sized US russet potatoes
5 medium sized eggs
10 bacon rashers (can be pork or beef)
10 mini gherkins 
1 packet fresh dill
1 packet fresh chives
1/2 packet fresh Italian parsley
1 tub sour cream (210g)
1 tub fresh plain yoghurt (210g)
2 tbsp German mustard
salt and pepper

Method:
  1. First boil your potatoes by filling up half a pot of water and place the potatoes in there to boil together. Do not peel your potatoes yet. Boil them whole.
  2. Then boil your eggs by placing the eggs in a half pot of cold water and bring it up to a boil. Once the water is boiling, switch it off and close the lid and let it sit.
  3. Meanwhile, chop up your bacon rashers into bite size pieces (roughly 1cm thick) and dry fry. No added oil is needed because the bacon will naturally emit its oils and fries up the bacon til a crispy golden brown. Drain the oil to a bowl and set aside.
  4. Next, prepare another bowl of ice water for your eggs also to stop the eggs from continuous cooking. Let it sit in the ice bath for about 5 minutes. You will notice that your remove the egg shell a lot easier after this. Remove egg shells and slice the eggs however you want it - wedges or sliced into rounds.
  5. By this time (about 20 or so later) the potatoes would be ready. Use a knife or fork to pierce through the potatoes. As long as it slides easily into the potato and comes out as easily, then the potatoes are ready. Drain the hot water out of the pot and replace it with ice cold water to stop the potatoes from cooking. You can drain the first round of cold water as it would turn warm fast due to the hot pot. Then refill again with cold water and let it sit.
  6. Use a knife to remove the skin. It'll come off easily from the potato. Once done, slice them into rounds. Place them into a big salad bowl.
  7. Next chop the gherkins into rings as well and toss them in. Add in the cooled down bacon rashers. Chop the fresh herbs any which way you see fit but not too finely. You need to have a bit a bite! Add the chopped herbs into the bowl as well.
  8. Then add in the sour cream, yoghurt and german mustard together with the salt and pepper to taste. Toss it around. Finally add in the sliced eggs on top. Stir only at the end so that the eggs aren't too mushed up.
  9. Serve with...just about anything :-)
Something perfect to end the new year with maybe? But keep a look out for my German cheesecake recipe with a twist! In the meantime, I'm off to eat my German potato salad...

The Innovativebaker

Friday, 6 December 2013

Italy met Malaysia in the United Kingdom



15th November 2013 marked my first return supperclub in London by teaming up with the formidable Backdoor Kitchen. A collaboration waiting to happen since a year ago, it finally materialised with both Rob and I agreeing to the Italo-Malay supperclub. It was definitely a fun night as guests who came were very friendly, and included my parents and superb friends like @edible_exp and @erikme and Jeanette who brought along a team of superb friends and eaters.. Thank you.

The fact that the supperclub was remotely organised, me in KL and Rob in London, we were initially wondering whether it would take place since it was a slow start to the ticket sales. A week later and my prodding loads and offending others (sorry @john2man), we sold out. So all those jitters were confounded! Lol...

The menu? simple, using the same basic ingredient, we each came up with our own traditional dishes for the crowds to eat, savour and enjoy. Courtesy of Jeannette Ng, these are some photos that were taken that night:

That's me talking about what the supperclub is going to be like

Rob's Saltim Boca (i forgot the spelling)

The couscous

My nasi ulam

The Assam Fish

A baked version of the ayam percik

Bubur Cha Cha

One side of the dinner table

The experience of course was definitely fantastic. Two chefs, two ways of behaving in the kitchen but we worked like a well-oiled team I think. The difference was definitely in the tastebuds of our guests who enjoyed every morsel til a point that they were so full, they couldn't eat anymore.

I take away from that day a real sense of achievement. I always believed that cuisines can be matched and presented together for an enjoyable meal and Rob's mash up idea was simply fantastic. Who knew we'd play host to 13 wonderful guests, 2 photographers, one trusty and secret Malaysian assistant hailing from Finland and two insane chefs... lol!!

Would I do it again? Of course! I wouldn't trade this experience for anything else in the world :)

Hoping to kick ass again in London's supperclub scene,
The Innovativebaker

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Nasi Ulam (Malaysian Herb Rice Salad)


In my recent supperclub with BackDoor Kitchen in the Italy vs Malaysia Battle, I thought I'd try my hand at making something ultra traditional from Malaysia. (A second post on my experience cooking with Rob, the brains behind BackDoor Kitchen will follow). Nasi Ulam, is not one dish you'd think you'd find yourself making as it roughly consists of more than 20 ingredients, finely chopping almost 3/4 of the ingredients and prepping a ton of it way before hand. As the picture can tell you, it does have a ton load of traditional Asian ingredients that either you as an Asian (in this case South East Asian) can figure out or when you're typically Malaysian.

I for one have never made it before so exploring this really made my day. The comments I got was most certainly encouraging and of course super fantastic spurring me to write this post so that you too can also make nasi ulam. Quoting Wen from Edible Experiences:

"If no one wants the leftovers, I'll tapau (doggy bag) it home"

So ingredients:

The rice:
3 cups thai fragrant or basmati rice
1 - 2 cups coconut milk
2 cups water
4 to 5 screwpine leaves, tied into a knot
2 - 3 lemongrass, pounded
salt to taste
1 tsp turmeric powder (optional)

Everything else (finely sliced):

4 - 5 sprigs laksa leaves (vietnamese mint / daun kesum)
10 - 15 wild betel leaves (daun kaduk)
10 shallots
10 - 15 lemon basil leaves
1 - 2 torch ginger flower (bunga kantan)
30 mint leaves
1/2 cup pounded dried prawns
2 - 3 lemongrass 
3 heaping tbsp sambal belacan
1/2 cup pounded or minced salted fish
3 - 4 red chillies - finely diced
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup toasted desiccated coconut
5 long beans
2 medium sized limes
10 - 15 kaffir lime leaves
1 salted egg (optional)

Method:
  1. Firstly prepare the rice and cook it the night before for it to rest and dry over night.
  2. Simply add 1 1/2 cups coconut milk and 1 1/2 cups water to 3 cups thai fragrant rice. If you are using basmati rice, then 2 cups coconut milk and 2 cups water to 3 cups basmati rice.
  3. Add the screwpine leaves, pounded lemongrass and salt to the rice and cook over medium heat. If you are using a rice cooker, just flick the switch and don't worry about it. The turmeric powder is optional if you like your rice to have a yellow tinge.
  4. Next fry up the salted fish and let cool before mincing. Do the same with the dried prawns. This enhances the flavour to both ingredients.
  5. Toast 1/2 cup dessicated coconut til golden brown and leave it to cool.
  6. You can also make the sambal belacan the night before as the longer it sits, the better it tastes. The recipe is highlighted above.
  7. The next day, start to finely slice all the herbs. (do not do this the night before as the herbs will wilt in the fridge). If you cannot find the salted egg, it isn't a problem. Leave it out.
  8. Then combine everything in a bowl and toss as usual. Serve like a salad or as an accompaniment to a curry or dish with gravy.
This is one dish I'd definitely want to make again if not for its immense amount of preparations but also because the flavours and aromas that you get from the dish is simply heavenly.

Have fun making it!

Writing up my experience in the Italian-Malaysian mashup,
The Innovative Baker


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