Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Scrumptious Java

Have you ever noticed how prettier a place is, the yummier their cuisine? Not trying to be provocative here, but take Kashmir and its Wazwan or Kerala and its Sadhya for examples. To me, the food of a region always reflects the personality of the region. No place illustrates this better than Yogyakarta in Indonesia.
Javanese food is a harmonious combination of all the possible influences of the South East of Asia and India as well. The noodles are a little bit of Malaysian street food. The Padang chicken curry that peeks out from the window of the Padang eateries reminds me of mum’s chicken curry from back home. Wedang Ronde, that is all about the luscious rice balls soaked in a ginger soup reminds me of the Philippines Halo Halo and the Chinese teas. And then there is the Pergedel Goreng, which is all Indonesia and leaves your tongue gasping for more. And also giving you that special high that balances out the spiciness is Indonesia’s very own Bintang beer.
And all this for less than 100’000 Indonesian Rupiah! No, there is no need to faint! That converts to less than 500 Indian rupees or PHP.
So anyway, many of my friends wrote in saying that I was making their tummies ache with the pictures of all the yummy food that I had polished off while I was in Yogyakarta. Some of them wanted to know whether it was really that good or whether it just looked good. Well, to prove that I indeed enjoyed the food, loved it in fact and so that you guys can try for yourself, here are few of my favourite recipes from the trip.
Ayam Goreng Kalasan - The first dish my taste buds feasted on. Chicken drumsticks that were fried to perfection yet were succulent. Eaten with white rice and fresh raw vegetables, the plate is completed with a large shrimp cracker. If you’re in India, I would suggest going with a Pappdam instead. Here’s an authentic recipe you can try out.
Pergedel Goreng – As complicated as the name sounds, this is actually nothing but fried potato. But the kind of fried potato that you just cannot have enough off!  As you eat it with rice, you realize that it is mashed and that it melts in your mouth. Made with meats ranging from mutton to beef, the dish is very, very simple to make! Don’t believe me? Check this recipe out.
Wedang Ronde – A dish that many tourists miss out on, as mainly street vendors sell it. And not a lot of tourists have locals that guide them in the right direction. We were fortunate enough to be taken to Alun-Alun or Yogyakarta’s South Square where we tasted this delicacy. Was it a soup? Was it a drink? Hard to tell! Delectable rice balls steeped in a ginger and lemon liquid that opens up your throat as you devour it! If you don’t see yourself sitting cross-legged on a pavement eating/drinking this, make it at home with this recipe.
Enjoy you guys! And if you don’t get Bintang as an accompaniment, remember that a fresh lime soda will do just as well!
So till next time, here's wishing that you all get your share of lip-smacking treats!