I have a confession.
I can’t do Asian food. I don’t know why, but I just can’t get my head around it. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Asian food but I can’t seem to be able to achieve that delicate balance of flavours that the cuisine is known for. Lets not even begin on some of the techniques and skills involved with preparing Asian food…
And that’s why I decided to buy a cook book by Chef Wan, Malaysia’s answer to Jamie Oliver. It’s called “Simply Sedap!” and it contains apparently all of Chef Wan’s favourite recipes. The recipes, are not all local, but there are enough of them of which I would love to learn how to cook.
While flipping through the book, I realised that I have yet to acquire a lot of spices needed for some of the recipes. There I was…stupidly thinking that I had an awesome spice collection, but yet, I still did not have in my possession spices like fennel powder, cumin powder, candlenuts, mustard seeds and garam masala.
I believe there will be more to come. I can actually think of one more now…coriander powder! Arghh!
I believe I need more spice jars.
Oh gawd, stop me!
I need help!
/give myself a good slap to the side of the head/
Anyway, the first recipe that I tried from Chef Wan’s book is called “Daging Puteri Manis” in Malay or Sweet Princess Beef in English. Don’t ask me why Chef Wan named the dish as such, but you got to admit…it’s a pretty catchy name.
# – “Daging Puteri Manis” or Sweet Princess Beef.
It was STUPENDOUS. Yeah, sorry I really do use words like that in my household. Sometimes, ‘delicious’ just doesn’t cut it, you know. The thick sauce was a perfect balance of sweet, sour and spicy. The knuckle steak was surprisingly tender thanks to an hour long of simmering.
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges then fried
- 3 cardamom pods
- 4 cloves
- 3 sprigs of curry leaves
- 2 inches of cinnamon stick
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely diced
- 10 shallots, finely diced (actually I used only 1 large red onion cause that’s all I had :P)
- 1/2 inch of ginger, finely diced
- 3 tablespoons of chilli paste (original recipe called for 4 but I think mine was quite spicy, so go easy…you can add more if you want later)
- 1 tablespoon of coriander powder (I used the seeds cause I didn’t have powder)
- 2 teaspoons of cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon of fennel powder
- 500 grams of cubed beef (I used knuckle steak)
- 250 ml of water (if you’re only cooking for 30 minutes, I did add a dash more later on to prevent drying as I cooked for 60 minutes)
- 60 ml of tamarind juice (derived from 60ml of water + 2 tablespoon of tamarind paste)
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 2 large tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 1 onion, peeled and sliced into rings
There are loads of ingredients but the steps are really simple so it helps to prepare all the ingredients beforehand to avoid confusion.
# – First, you heat up enough oil to cover the bottom of the saucepan.
# – Chuck in the potato wedges to brown (I’ve already nuked them in the microwave to ensure they cooked through, you can boil or steam them first if you like)
# – When potatoes are browned, set aside.
# – With the same saucepan and leftover oil, throw in the cinnamon sticks, curry leaves, cardamom pods and cloves and stir around till fragrant.
# – Then, throw in the finely diced garlic, ginger and shallots.
# – When the shallots have turned translucent, throw in 2 teaspoons of cumin powder.
# – Followed by a teaspoon of fennel powder.
# – And a tablespoon of coriander seeds (original recipe called for powdered coriander seeds but I had none).
# – Next, 3 tablespoons of chili paste. Stir to combine.
# – Now, throw in the beef!
# – Then the water.
# – Stir and let it simmer uncovered for 30-60 minutes (I did 60 minutes, beef got more tender!)
# – 5 minutes before serving, pour in the tamarind juice.
# – Followed by 3 tablespoons of sugar.
# – And not to forget, a sprinkling of salt.
# – Almost done now….stir in the sliced onion.
# – As well as the tomatoes.
# – Most importantly, the divine potatoes prepared earlier. Stir till everything’s covered in the awesomesauce.
# – Then cover and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
# – 5 minutes later, Sweet Princess Beef, DONE!
# – Serve with piping hot rice for a STUPENDOUS dinner. Sorry, I did it again..
We cleared it.
Just short of licking the saucepan.
# – Only because I couldn’t fit my head inside :(
Have fun cooking!