BABI KECAP UIT “BASISBOEK INDONESISCH”
The last few weeks I regularly receive invitations to review a book from Goodcook publishers. It would be crazy to reviewall of the booksthey publish. But when the “Basisboek Indonesisch” by Francis Kuijk appeared, I was immediately enthusiastic. The Indonesian kitchen is relatively unknown to me although there are a lot of delicious recipes from it. Think of the Babi Kecap that I will share with you here. But also the Seroendeng which I often use to pimp some ribs or a portion of wings. An ideal book to get to know this kitchen I thought. But is it?
The book “Basiboek Indonesisch” was donated by Goodcook.nl in exchange for a review. This post contains affiliate links. All opinions expressed are personal and sincere.
What makes a cookbook a successful? The good recipes, the structure, a thorough explanation, … ? All important but for me personally a good cookbook does not only consist of a good structure with clear recipes. Above all, it has to be inspiring. And that can be done in 3 ways for me personally. It can teach you something new with a thorough explanation and a good basis, share inspiring personal experiences and / or make use of interesting food photography. A combination of these factors makes a book the absolute top even though not all of them are represented. I can already say that this book is rather limited in sharing personal experiences. Except for some references to childhood, this part of the book is not very elaborate.
The “Indonesian Basic Book” focuses mainly on a thorough introduction to Indonesian cuisine. Whatever you can expect from a basic book of course. Somewhere you might expect a simple book with accessible recipes because this is how a basic book is often built up. Fortunately this is not the case here. Basic does not mean incomplete. In the first part of the book the core of the Indonesian kitchen is extensively discussed and a thorough explanation is given of a wide selection of typical products and tools that characterize this kitchen. If you don’t know anything about this kitchen yet, this part might be a bit overwhelming as terms like: Cabe hijau, Ketoembar, Jeruk limau, … Fortunately there is always a translation and picture with the product followed by a detailed explanation how and what the product can be used for. Perfect to fall back on later in the book because where the original names are used. As a result, it sometimes takes a bit of browsing and some research to be able to add the right ingredients to the recipe. But anyway… that way you learn quickly. In a similar way, the specific kitchen utensils are explained and some cooking techniques.
After this rather technical introduction which radiates little experience but on the other hand is very thorough follows a piece in which the construction of a party table is discussed with suggestions for some dishes and then over 130 recipes to take you into the core of this kitchen. From “Soups and Sajoer” to “sweet” and “savory” desserts and everything in between from rice dishes to meat, fish and shellfish. The structure of the book is very clear. On the first page you get the Indonesian name with it’s Dutch translation, a short introduction to the dish and underneath a frame with ingredients and preparation instructions illustrated by two small action pictures. The sheet next to it you get a photo with the final result over the entire page. Although the cover and layout of the book have a somewhat “older” look, the food photography turns out to be very thorough. Sober, sleek but with a lot of charm and experience. A bit of a pitty they used the least interesting picture on the cover, I personally find it less appealing than a lot of other photos inside.
More than 130 Recipes
As I leafed through the book, I soon felt like getting to work. Many of my favorites “Chinese recipes” turn out to have Indonesian or related roots. “Babi Kecap” is a nice example of this. Hence my choice to write this recipe in BBQ variant. As a BBQ lover you don’t have to buy BBQ books only. You can adapt a lot of recipes to a real barbecue party. With the “Basic Book Indonesian” it’s not even necessary in many of the recipes shared. Where nowadays in the West technological progress threatens to undermine the traditional way of cooking (if that hasn’t happened yet), people stay true (sometimes forced) to keep the traditional fires as a power source for cooking in Asia. Just think of the many Saté dishes that come from Indonesia. But there are also many other techniques represented. Think of deep-frying, drying, steaming, … enough variety to get started with. Moreover, I find the storage tips provided a nice added value that is not quite often mentioned in other cookbooks. Frances Kuijk very occasionally leaves the traditions where she deems it necessary (and it also seems justified to me). For example, the use of dyes in the desserts are replaced by natural products or omitted.
Then, of course, one thing remains to subject a cookbook to its value. Preparing a dish. Or in this case making a small party table. Although I limited it to one dish. My eye quickly catched “Babi Kecap”. I make a simple bowl of rice. As extra seasoning I make some “Bubuk Kedelai” (a spicy soy litter) and “Sambal” from the chapter sauces and sprinkles. Though I still have to choose from 8 sambal varieties. Finally I go for a variant of the “sambal Jeruk Limau”. It’s a bit of a quest to find all ingredients. The Kaffir lime for example was not immediately available in the Asian supermarket so I used a combination of lime and kaffir leaves. The other ingredients, however, were easy to find. Most of them are even available in the regular supermarket. The instructions are clear and nicely structured so that these sometimes complex looking recipes are very easy to imitate.
BABI KECAP WITH A SMOKY TWIST
I choose to prepare the Babi Kecap on the Kamado Joe and add an extra smoky touch. Instead of scorching the meat into cubes in the pan I do this on the seargrate I recently bought. With some extra smoke wood in between the coals I slowly smokeroast the pork chops so they can absorb some smoky flavors. Then I let them simmer a little longer so they can caramelize nicely in the delicious sweet “Babi Kecap” sauce. Babi means pig (often roasted) and kecap refers to the traditional “Ketjap” sauce. A soy sauce with added flavourings. In the book it is recommended to use the saltier “Ketjap asin” and to add sugar to get the same taste but with a somewhat syrupy structure. With success! The taste is sublime and with “a touch of lemon juice” completely finished! The Sambal and Bubuk Kedelai also taste superb.
In short: the “Basisboek Indonesisch” certainly lives up to it’s expectations! Although it loses the personal experience of the author, it excels in other areas. I think of completeness, clarity and the beautiful pictures that accompany the dishes. It is certainly inspiring and the book will probably be picked out of the bookshelf over and over again. The Babi Kecap was already very promising and makes me long for more delicious Indonesian dishes. Another favourite when eating Chinese takeaway for instance “Babi Panggang” might be one of my next sessions. My own version can be found on this page. I am curious about the difference between the two. Are you a fan of Indonesian cuisine?
- 900 gr. pork chops
- sunflower oil
- 3 cloves garlic squeezed out
- 5 slices of ginger root +-1cm
- salt and pepper
- 125 ml soy sauce asin
- 1 cube of beef stock originally 1 cube of chicken stock
- 50 gr. sugar originally 75 gr.
- 1 slice of gula djawa 1/2 cm thick palm sugar
- 125 ml water
- juice of 1/2 lemon
Prepare your BBQ for a direct high temperature grilling session (+200°C) and place a cast iron grid or cast iron griddle plate on top of the fire so that it can become glowing hot.
Cut the pork chops into rags approximately 2 cm thick and rub with sunflower oil, garlic and salt.
Sear the pork chops on the cast iron grid until they have a nice crispy crust.
Place a piece of smoked wood between the coals and place the platesetter in your Kamado. Or if you use a Pellet Smoker like the Traeger: lower the temperature and put on supersmoke.
Let the pork chops smoke for half an hour at a lower temperature (+-100°C) while you collect the other ingredients. After half an hour, cut 2 by 2 cm cubes from the smoked pork chops and add them to the sauce (see below).
Place a heat-resistant pan on the direct side of your BBQ (or increase the temperature to about 150°C) and fry the ginger in sunflower oil for about two minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients and let it simmer gently. Add the smoked pork after half an hour of smoking and cook gently until the sauce has boiled and becomes a little syrupy. In the meantime, the pork chops should already have become tender.
Unexpected guests? No problem Frances Kuijk gives as a tip to add cubes of fried potato to the sauce to be able to feed more mouths.