Recipes for two versions of acar (pronounced ‘achar’). Acar is sort of versatile, Indonesian version of Branston pickle. Acar simply means ‘pickle’. Like Branston it’s made from chopped vegetables, including carrots and onions, pickled in vinegar sweetened with sugar, and zhooshed up with spices. The difference is that it is served as a side dish, and is eaten with just about any main dish you could imagine, including barbecued meat, satay, and grilled fish.
Aubergine has to be up there among my absolute favourite vegetables. And probably the most versatile. Here are two easy, delicious, aubergine recipes. One is a Chinese vegetable dish; the other a starter or snack from Georgia—as in the country on the Black Sea, not the US state. My first time making a Georgian recipe.
The quickest, easiest pasta dish of all. And one of the most delicious. The only cooking is to boil the water for the pasta. As soon as it starts to feel like winter is over, the sun is getting warmer, the evenings becoming longer—that’s when I think about making pasta primavera again.
The dish is all about the fresh flavours of the raw ingredients: tomatoes, basil, mozzarella cheese, garlic, olive oil (extra virgin of course), with a hit of salty umami from the black olives.
Rice is one of the defining elements of Indonesian cuisine—and of course most Asian cuisines. If you’d like to know a bit more about it, please do read the background section after the cooking tips.
I cook a lot of rice! Because of my catering business I calculate I’ve cooked over a tonne just in the last ten years. You probably have your own method. This is mine. It certainly seems to be reliable. It needs to be!
This is probably the best known Indonesian dish of all. Nasi goreng, like some of Italy’s tastiest dishes, was originally a way of using up cooked rice. Food is not wasted in Indonesia—particularly semi-sacred rice. Traditionally it would be served for breakfast, using what was left over from the previous day’s dinner. It is a dish that perfectly symbolises these times of scarcity and belt-tightening. As befits a dish designed to use up leftovers for breakfast, it is dead easy to make. Essentially, fry chopped ingredients in a pan, add the rice, stir, and serve. Ingredient quantities are not critical.