Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Spiced Beef and Bali Salad

Decided to abandon cold weather food and go instead for the hot clean spiciness of Asia for a few days. My sweet pea is susceptible to the winter blues. He blossomed into cheerfulness in the tropical paradise that is Bali but we are both a bit flat now that we're back in London so, in addition to lovely hot porridge for Sunday breakfast which is guaranteed to put a smile on anyone's face, I thought I'd try some of the newly learned Bali dishes. Maybe get a little sparkle back.

The spiced beef wasn't something I'd had before but we ate the salad both at Bumbu and Desak made it for us a couple of times at the villa and every time it was wonderful. It is hot with chilli and sweet with grated coconut and sour with bean sprouts and cabbage and generally amazing and utterly unlike anything I've made before.

Attending the cooking class meant that I knew where I was headed before I started - such knowledge is valuable. The most direct thing I could apply for this meal was the correct way to use shrimp paste. It is a common Asian condiment and is known as terasi (also spelled trassi, terasie) in Indonesian, kapi (กะปิ) in Thai, belacan (also spelled belachan, blachang, balachong) in Malay, mam tom in Vietnamese and bagoong alamang/aramang in Filipino.If you've never used it you will be astounded by the smell - it is very very pungent. Imagine the smell of prawns that have gone off - then imagine the smell if, instead of immediately getting rid of them you left them in the sun for a few more weeks to rot beyond recognition. That is like the smell that greets you when you unwrap the little brick of shrimp paste from its many layers of paper and plastic. For the Malay version, rather than rot them in the sun, they pound them with salt and bury them for a couple of months, then dig them up again and make them into bricks to sell. Mmmm.

Anyway, the proper way to treat shrimp paste before adding it to a dish is to put it into a hot dry pan and break it up with a wooden spoon and then continue cooking it till it is smoking - and smelling even stronger! This process takes about ten minutes - it becomes crumbly and then it is ready to be used. It adds a deep savouriness to the dish without being identifiable - amazing given its aroma.


Don’t be misled by the rather uninteresting appearance and name of this beef dish. It is wonderfully flavored and generally so popular that it’s worth making a large amount. Cook as directed below, then if you have leftovers after a meal, deep fry the beef until very crisp. Drain thoroughly and store in an airtight container. This crisp beef is excellent as a finger food with cocktails, and also makes a tasty accompaniment to rice-based meals.

1 kg beef topside, cut in 4 steaks 250g each
8 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
1 tbsp chopped palm sugar
2 large red chilies, seeded
2 tbsp laos peeled and sliced
2 tsp dried shrimp paste
2 cloves ground
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black peppercorns, coarsely ground
2 tbsp oil
2 tsp freshly squeezed limejuice

PREPARATIONS :Bring 5 liters (20 cups) of lightly salted water to the boil in stockpot. Add beef and simmer for approximately 1 hour, until very tender. Remove from stock. Meat must be so tender that its fibers separate very easily. Pound meat until flat and shred by hand into fine fibers. Do not be tempted to use a food processor to shred the meat - you will end up with paste.

Place garlic, coriander, palm sugar, red chilies, Laos, dried shrimp paste, cloves, salt and peppercorns in food processor and puree coarsely, or grind in a stone mortar. Heat oil in a heavy saucepan and sauté the marinade for 2 minutes over medium heat. Add shredded beef, mix well and sauté until dry. Season with limejuice.Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Serve at room temperature.

Bali Salad - Jukut Urab

100 gr (3 ½ oz) blanched cabbage
100 gr (3 ½ oz) spinach, blanched
100 gr (3 ½ oz) long beans cut in 32,5 cm (line) pieces, blanched
100 gr (3 ½ oz) bean sprouts, blanched
1 large red chili, sliced
1 tbsp grated coconut
2 tbsp fried shallots

2 tbsp fried shallots
2 tbsp sliced garlic clove
1 large red chili, seeded and sliced
2 tsp fried chili (Sambal Sereh Tabia)
3 fragrant lime leaves, very finely sliced
4 cm (1½ in) kencur, peeled & chopped
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon crushed black pepper
½ teaspoon white sugar
1 tablespoon oil

Cut cabbage into pieces about 2,5 cm by 1 cm (1 in by ½ in). Combine all vegetables, chili, grated coconut and fried shallots in salad bowl and mix well.

For the dressing: Crush the garlic and fry very briefly in the oil. Combine all ingredients and mix well in separate bowl. Mix the dressing thoroughly with the vegetables; season to taste with salt, pepper and limejuice. Serve at room temperature.

Easy peasy and the result is a little bit of Bali bliss.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

how taste of jukut urab so delicious taste i want back to bali to try,i been have experiece for that all food ,all that the best