Pandan Durian Crepes

Instagram Post 11/21/2019

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Durian, as you may know, is that much maligned fruit whose reputation is “Smells like hell, tastes like heaven!” But if you’ve never actually tried it, you should, and you might discover that you actually like it; a number of folks I’ve introduced it to on ethnojunkets have experienced that epiphany. Sweet and creamy, you could think of it as the fruit that makes its own custard.

These plush pillows are pandan crepes, filled with durian and cream and might well be another gateway drug to durian devotion: no unpleasant aroma, just a delicious tropical fruit flavor. (IMHO, pandan and durian have an affinity for each other.) I found these at last Sunday’s Elmhurst bazaar presented by the Indonesian Gastronomy Association.

IGA-USA is a non-profit organization whose mission it is to introduce Indonesian culture to people in the US, particularly in New York City. They stage this event which is as much about the culture as it is about the cuisine approximately monthly, so follow them on Facebook or on Instagram @iga_newyork to stay apprised of their schedule. Maybe you’ll get to try these emerald treats too.

(And perhaps this post will satisfy those of you who complain that I don’t post enough greens! 😉)
 
 

Rendang Telur

Instagram Post 11/19/2019

One of Indonesia’s national dishes is rendang, and if you’ve ever sampled the cuisine, you’ve probably enjoyed it with beef as the main ingredient, although there are numerous variations including jackfruit, chicken, and egg. In my experience, egg rendang looks a little like a hard-boiled egg curry so I was surprised to see a package labeled Rendang Telur (telur means egg) at Sunday’s Elmhurst bazaar sponsored by the Indonesian Gastronomy Association looking exactly like a bag of well-seasoned chips.

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Crispy, crunchy, spicy, and tasting of eggs and coconut milk, they’re nearly impossible to stop eating. Trust me. I tracked down a recipe which, greatly simplified, involves making a flour and egg crepe, cutting it into chips, frying/baking the pieces to dry them out, then combining coconut milk, herbs, and spices, cooking that mixture down and adding it to the chips followed by more long cooking to achieve maximum crispitude.


Close-up shot.


The aforementioned package.

IGA-USA is a non-profit organization whose mission it is to introduce Indonesian culture to people in the US, particularly in New York City. They stage this event which is as much about the culture as it is about the cuisine approximately monthly, so follow them on Facebook or on Instagram @iga_newyork to stay apprised of their schedule.
 
 

Indonesian Street Festival – 2019

Instagram Post 8/29/2019

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I always have high praise for the New York Indonesian Food Bazaar (IFB) not only for the innumerable menu possibilities, but for the quality of the cooking. The event happens monthly at the parish hall of St. James Episcopal Church, 84-07 Broadway in Elmhurst, but if you aren’t of a mind to head Queensward, here’s a chance to sample this superb cuisine in Manhattan at this year’s Indonesian Street Festival. It takes place this Saturday, August 31, outside the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia, 5 East 68th Street, from noon until 5pm.

The dish pictured here was prepared by my friend Fefe, owner of Taste of Surabaya, a regular at IFB. I had two new friends with me, both vegetarians, and since the array of options was overwhelming, I asked Fefe if she would put together a plate for us. A wise choice. Taste of Surabaya will be a participating vendor at the upcoming Indonesian Street Festival where you’ll enjoy excellent food along with cultural performances, fashion, and more. Definitely check it out.
 
 

New York Indonesian Food Bazaar

Instagram Post 7/5/2019

Ever tried Indonesian cuisine? It’s one of my absolute favorites and I always recommend this event not only for the innumerable possibilities, but for the quality of the cooking. Whether you know and love the food or you’re a first-timer, I urge you to head out to Elmhurst, Queens on Saturday, July 6th, for the New York Indonesian Food Bazaar, an event that’s held monthly at the parish hall of St. James Episcopal Church, 84-07 Broadway. I suggest that you arrive close to the starting time, 11am, to catch the greatest variety of options. From two of my favorite vendors:

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Kantin Rica Rica’s Ayam Rica Bumbu Manado, a signature dish from Manado, North Sulawesi: chicken with chilies, scallions, shallots, lemongrass and turmeric was delicious.

If you like your pork on the sweet side, try their Sate Garo with peanut sauce: pork shoulder, peanuts, chilies, scallions, shallots, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, galangal, and ketjap manis (sweet soy sauce).

Three treats provided by my friend (full disclosure) Fefe at Taste of Surabaya. From the top, clockwise: Dadar Gulung, a sweet coconut kue (snack) that gets its green color from pandan; Wingko Babat a Javanese coconut pancake; and a savory corn fritter – each was wonderful. Hope to see you there!
 
 

Indonesian Bazaar at Masjid al-Hikmah

Instagram Post 7/2/2019

You can always find something delicious at the (approximately) monthly Indonesian Bazaar at Masjid al-Hikmah, 48-01 31st Ave, in Astoria; the first bazaar since the conclusion of Ramadan was held this past weekend.

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This is Batagor Bandung. The word batagor is actually a portmanteau of Bakso (a meatball or fishball, in this case a paste of kingfish) Tahu (tofu) and Goreng (fried); Bandung is the capital of West Java in Indonesia. It’s deep fried (the second photo shows why I was attracted to it) and doused in a sweet peanut sauce.


On the left, sweet Pisang Goreng (fried banana), on the right, savory Bala-Bala (deep fried vegetable fritters). Both were certainly delicious, but I wish they had just emerged from the deep fryer like the batagor.


Lontong Sayur with crispy pink Krupuk (deep fried crackers); green jackfruit, bamboo shoots, and lontong (compressed rice cubes) in perfectly seasoned coconut milk. And a hard-boiled egg.

Check @masjid__al_hikmah_ny on Instagram or their Facebook page, Masjid Al-Hikmah New York / Indonesian Muslim Community inc, for an announcement about their next scheduled event.
 
 

2019 World’s Fare Preview

Instagram Post 5/15/2019

 
If you’re a hardcore international food freak like me, you know that The World’s Fare is happening for the second year on May 18th and 19th at Citi Field in Queens. Check out their website for information and a complete rundown on the more than 100 participating vendors from as many cultures. I’ve tasted scores of wonderful dishes from dozens of these folks throughout the year at weekly events and pop-ups as well as at last year’s World’s Fare and I can attest to the fact that this is an expertly curated show. But today, I want to give a special shout-out to three vendors who not only do amazing work but are actually friends of mine IRL.

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What can I say about Moon Man’s unique Indonesian treats that I haven’t already said? A regular at the Queens International Night Market, my friend Nigel Sielegar crafts authentic delectable Indonesian desserts like coconut pancakes, cassava cake, steamed pandan cake and much more – and they taste as good as they look. Don’t miss Moon Man’s booth!
 
If you’re not from Spain, you probably think of paella as Spain’s national dish; if you do hail from Spain, you know it’s the heart and soul of Valencia. Not merely a rice dish, it requires know-how, special equipment, and the passion to do it right, and the folks from In Patella score points for all three. Specialists in authentic paella catering, this weekend they’ll reinforce their mission to dispel myths about what paella is and isn’t.
 
Dua Divas is a collaboration of two of my favorite vendors from the New York International Food Bazaar held monthly at St. James Parish House, 84-07 Broadway in Elmhurst: Taste of Surabaya and Pecel Ndeso. They’ll be offering nasi kuning, klepon, satay, and martabak telur. Don’t know what those are? Head over to their booth and find out! (For now, I’ll just tell you that they’re all delicious. 😉)

See you this weekend!
 
 

NY Indonesian Food Bazaar

Instagram Post 5/14/2019

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Two treats from the New York Indonesian Food Bazaar held approximately monthly at St. James Parish House, 84-07 Broadway in Elmhurst.
Pempek are Indonesian fish cakes (you might see empek-empek) made from ground fish (usually mackerel) and tapioca flour. This dish is pempek kulit which includes minced fish skin in the dough (kulit means skin); it’s customarily served with a spicy sweet and sour sauce and chopped cucumber for balance. Don’t let the idea of fish skin put you off – just try it!


Mie Tek-Tek – stir fried noodles with onion and egg; tek-tek is the onomatopoeic word for the sound the wok chan (spatula) makes as the chef taps it against the wok while preparing this dish. On the side, just above the spicy peppers, are krupuk, colorful deep fried crackers that provide a crispy counterpoint to the supple noodles.

The next NYIFB event will take place on June 8, but if you can’t wait until then to taste this delicious cuisine, check out Dua Divas at the World’s Fare, May 18th and 19th at Citi Field in Queens.
 
 

NY Indonesian Food Bazaar

Instagram Post 1/25/2019

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A reminder about tomorrow’s NY Indonesian Food Bazaar (Saturday, January 26) at St James Episcopal Church, 84-07 Broadway in Elmhurst, Queens. It feels like each time I go, there’s something different to taste – and everything I’ve tasted has been wonderful. Here are a few treats from previous monthly events.

[1] Ikan Mujair Pepes – Ikan means fish, Mujair refers to the Javanese inventor who experimented with raising freshwater tilapia, and pepes is a method of cooking that uses banana leaves to seal in flavors. This savory fish was coated with shallots, scallions, lemongrass, garlic, chili, turmeric, and candlenuts.

[2] Babi Rica, a delicious pork (babi) dish hailing from Manado, the capital city of the Indonesian province of North Sulawesi from Kantin Rica Rica’s table.

[3] One of the happiest aspects of the bazaar is the opportunity to pick and choose a bit of this and a bite of that; this plate featured fried tofu, shrimp, mussels, and jengkol, the outsized seeds of a legume tree that taste like a tender, meaty bean served over yellow rice with two spicy sambals because 🌶️ is the name of the game.

[4] My Indonesian dessert weakness from the folks at Enak Iki: Martabak Manis (manis means sweet). This kind of martabak has the texture of a soft crumpet; the mixed version (shown here) is folded around chocolate, peanuts, grated fresh cheese, and sesame seeds. So good!
 
 

The Indonesian Gastronomy Association

Instagram Post 12/12/2018

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The Indonesian Gastronomy Association (IGA) is a collective of Indonesian expats who share a passionate interest in nourishing and promoting Indonesian culture and businesses in New York City and beyond. They foster their mission through monthly events, each with its own distinct focus, the annual Independence Day celebration and an Indonesian fashion show as recent examples. Fortunately for those of us who crave the cuisine, the principal spotlight always shines on a wide assortment of small batch and homemade authentic food from a variety of regions in Indonesia. Two standouts from last weekend’s event:

[1] Delicious handmade noodles with a perfect chew and ideal thickness, spicy chicken, bouncy meatballs swimming in a light broth, crispy crunchiness on the side (and don’t forget the egg!) from Rebecca at Mamika’s Homemade Cuisine, her Indonesian catering service in NYC. @mamika.etc

[2] Bertha from IGA offered up this Bubur Kampiun, a porridge (bubur) with a base layer of rice flour pudding, topped with plantains in coconut milk, glutinous rice balls and palm sugar custard. She told me this is sometimes served as a sweet to break the Ramadan fast and sometimes simply served as breakfast. Since kampiun means champion in Indonesian, I guess this is the Breakfast of Champions!

I attend these events regularly, so expect to see more posts soon. Follow IGA on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/IGAUSA2018/ to learn when their next event will take place. You don’t want to miss it.
 
 

Putri Mandi

Instagram Post 10/24/2018

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As long as I’m on a sweet roll, here’s one more from the monthly NY Indonesian Food Bazaar at St. James Episcopal Church, 84-07 Broadway in Elmhurst, Queens: a thick, creamy cloud of coconut pudding, not too sweet (why does everybody I know insist that’s somehow a good thing?) with a glutinous rice flour pandan-fortified spheroid floating atop.

The second photo shows the bisected ball revealing its grated coconut/palm sugar core. The orb was hard before I warmed it up after which it surrendered into a more palatable chewiness that worked nicely with the bed of coconut fluff.

It’s called Putri Mandi which means Bathing Princess.

I didn’t ask.