Had a great time cooking out of the Fire Islands - Recipes from Indonesia Cookbook. I traveled to Bali for the first time last year and fell in love with the food there. I was happy to have a cookbook to teach me how to cook the recipes at home, quite easily!
This cookbook is gorgeously shot, with easy to follow recipes, there are 200 photos and 100 recipes. Also, everyone needs to spend more time exploring the rest of Indonesia more instead of just focusing on Bali! Did you know that it is made up of 17,000 islands?
If you want to take a deep dive into Indonesian cuisine and learn more about the culture and history of this beautiful destination, this book is it!
It's authored by Eleanor Ford, an award winning cookbook author and she has previous authored the book "Samarkand: Recipes & Stories from Central Asian & The Caucasus". I love that both books have the same style of cover.
I cooked two recipes out of the book, the Potato Tuturuga and Coconut Milk Chicken. Both were beyond delicious! Also, if you can't find all the ingredients, not to worry I had to omit some ingredients and the recipes were still stellar.
It was really sad actually, I went to my local Thai grocery store to shop for all the ingredients. While in the store, I thought, how strange that so many of the vegetables are out. I thought to myself, next time I shouldn't come in on a Sunday, because it seems that all the groceries run out by the end of the week.
Once I got to the register, I heard the customer say that he was so sad that the grocery store was closing tomorrow. Oh no! This grocery store is the closest one to me that is fully stocked with Asian ingredients and vegetables. I was so sad that I was not able to visit this one last time. I wasn't able to buy lime leaves, Asian shallots, or galangal for my recipes.
I completely omitted lime leaves and galangal from the recipes below and substituted a regular onion for the Asian shallots and the recipes were still so good!
Coconut Milk Chicken
This recipe is similar in style to many of my favorite recipes such as Chinese red cooked pork, which involved first browning and sautéing the meat, and then braising in liquid for 30 minutes or more.
I actually forgot to put the lemongrass in the bot and omitted the galangal and lime leaves but it still tasted great! The chicken was fall of the bone and the broth was so savory.
Wow what unexpected flavors in the Potato Tuturuga! This recipe comes from the Minahasen people of the North Sulawesi and this recipe was traditionally made in the past with turtle. The recipe in the book is meatless and no meat is needed in this recipe, it's a total flavor bomb!
The dish looked nice but I didn't expect it to deliver such as delicious, deep and rich flavor. I totally fell in love with this recipe.
All in all, I will be cooking both of these recipes again and can't wait to try new ones from the book. The main thing that I learned from both these recipes is how much I love using coconut milk as a base for recipes! It's not as commonly used in Chinese cooking so I was glad to get more experience working with it!