Sidoarjo, East Java; My Hometown
The first week at home.
After our brief trip in HongKong, we’re home at last. It’s very relieving to be at home. Surrounded by familiar smells, furniture, and of course my two lovely mongrels.
Coming home has its consequences. Since the air in
Beside the polluted air, I don’t have much complaint about anything else.
Traditionally, upon arrival we are to visit our grandparents who live right across the street. They would greet us with a wealth of foods, both Indonesian and Chinese. They did not specially prepare that for us, though. It’s just they are used to having a lot of foods available. Here is a glance at some Indonesian foods found in my grandparents’ house. They are specifically Javanese foods.
The first of the three is called “Kue Lemper” in Indonesian. It is one of hundreds of traditional street snacks wrapped in banana leaf. The savoury sandwich is made of glutinuous rice boiled in rich coconut milk. Once the blocks of glutinuous rice are made, some shredded chicken is stuffed in the middle, similar to a sandwich. However, due to the high content of glutinous rice, this food remains a snack since it’s not good for the digestion to eat glutinuous rice on an empty stomach. They are best eaten on the same day of production because the coconut makes them go bad quickly.
Next up is a partially eaten “Pecel Sayur” that can be easily found in any street vendors or small Indonesian restaurants. There is one popular “warung” [food sellers on the sidewalk] near my old high-school that only opens in the morning. You can find a lot of people as early as , lining up for the pecel and nasi campur [rice with assorted sides].
The preparation is made easy with the availability of ready-made blocks of peanut sauce. This is no ordinary peanut sauce since it consists of a lot of complicated spices that my tongue can’t detect. After asking my mom, I discovered that the peanut sauce is a mixture of a block of palm sugar [brown sugar], dry-roasted peanuts, lime leaf, kencur [Kaempferia galanga], and chilies for hotness.
There is no rule on which vegetable should be included in the platter. We normally put chayote, bean sprouts, long beans, watercress, and kangkoong; all blanched in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Additional foods that normally goes with this are fried tofu and tempeh, “kemangi” leaves [lemon basil], and flour crackers. All these are eaten with rice. Modest, yet delicious.
The last one on the picture is called “Pecel Lele”, deep-fried catfish placed on top of freshly made “sambal oeleg”. The “sambal” itself is quite simple to make. Garlic, shallots, big red chilies, small chilies [if you like it HOT], red tomato and shrimp paste; all fried briefly in hot oil. Then they are smashed with sugar and salt on a stone grinder [on “uleg-uleg” using “cobek”]. This is soooo delicious! The catfish is deep-fried till crispy that you can eat the bones. The “kemangi” leaves on top are not only for garnish but they refresh the mouth from the heat of the chili. “Kemangi” often accompanies anything that has “sambal”, they also freshen your breath =)
We ate this “pecel lele” at our favorite restaurant in Pandaan, which is south of my city, Sidoarjo. In a place called “Ayam Goreng Sri”. “Ayam goreng” means fried chicken, and this place is famous for their sweet fried chicken.
Apparently, the journey of my food has brought all of your to
I was amused by the Kumquat tree. I’ve never tried these orange sunset colored fruits and if anyone knows how they taste like, please do tell me.
It was refreshing to see so many greens surrounded by the fresh air of the countryside.
Later on in the evening, after having a satisfying meal to cure our homesick, we headed to an outdoor fruit market. Some of the pictures are cropped together below…
There were a lot of interesting fruits that are not available in
I hope you all enjoy this first post about Indonesian foods and fruits. There are still more to come although mostly will be in review-style instead of a step-by-step of a recipe.
See you next time!