Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Ikan Bakar - Street Food Grilled Fish in Jakarta, Indonesia

Ikan bakar, or grilled fish, has been one of my favorite Indonesian foods to eat ever since I tried it for the first time years ago. To make ikan bakar, the fish is often butterfly cut, then a sauce is brushed onto the fish, and then it’s grilled over a very hot fire. The key is using a very hot charcoal fire. This way the fish cooks really fast and has a wonderful smoky flavor, but the flesh of the fish remains juicy and not overcooked. Ikan bakar is incredibly delicious.

Gebang Seafood 49 Restaurant

From the Mangga Besar area, we walked to a restaurant called Gebang Seafood 49 Restaurant to get some Indonesian seafood dishes, and to especially eat some ikan bakar. The menu was all in Bahasa Indonesia, but the menu was pretty simple - you could basically choose your different type of seafood - fish, squid, shrimp, or shells, and they would cook it for you in a number of different ways.

Ikan bakar can refer to any type of fish, but they had about six different types of fish to choose from, and so I ikan bawal, which after doing some research, I think is black pomfret. Again, the fish was butterfly cut, then brushed in a yellow sauce, and grilled over hot charcoal. The fish itself was delicious, nice and flaky and moist and the sauce was filled with turmeric and salty with a tinge of sweetness. 

In addition to ikan bakar, I also ordered cumi saus Padang (Padang sauce squid), squid with Padang sauce, which is a hot and sour sauce that’s very tangy. It was also delicious. And finally, I ordered kangkung cah (stir fried water morning glory), stir fried water morning glory with shrimp paste I think. The side dishes went well with the ikan bakar.

Gebang Seafood 49 Restaurant
Address: Jalan Hidup Baru / Kalimati, Jakarta Pusat, DKI Jakarta, Indonesia
Open hours: I think from about 5 pm - midnight daily, it’s a street food tent so hours may vary
Total price for everything - 180,000 IDR ($13.77)

Balinese Ikan Bakar (Balinese Grilled Fish)

1 large / 2 medium sized whole fish (about 600 g) – either Snapper, Tilapia, Seabass, etc (I’m using yellow tail)
Juice from 1 lime
3 candlenuts (buah keras)
4 shallots
3 garlic cloves
1 tbsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
Basting sauce:
¼ cup (60 ml) kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
1 tbsp (15 g) butter or margarine – melted
2 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
Serves 2 – 3 hungry persons
Recipe source:

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Thai Chicken Biryani - Khao Mok Gai and Muslim Food (ข้าวหมกไก่)

Rice biryani combined with any kind of meat, most often chicken, beef, goat, or fish, is one of the most comforting dishes that exists on the plantet.

Biryani is an amazing food, having origins in Middle Eastern Persia and eventually finding its way to the Indian subcontinent, Africa, and central Asia as well. 

Unlike pilaf (or pilau) rice where the meat and rice are cooked together, with biryani the rice and meat is cooked separately and then combined on a plate to be served. The rice is fragrantly cooked with meat stock, turmeric, and a host of other mouthwatering spices.

In Thailand, biryani is especially known throughout the country as most commonly a Thai Muslim food dish. The most common varieties are khao mok gai (chicken biryani), khao mok neua (beef biryani) and khao mok pa (goat biryani).

In Bangkok, though it's not as common as other cheap street dishes, biryani is not hard to find either - there are some great restaurants serving up the delicacy.

In today's video I head over to Bangkok's Aeesa Rot Dee (อาอีซะฮ์ รสดี), a long standing Thai Muslim food restaurant that has been serving their khao mok recipe for many years and pleasing their happy customers. Oddly, the restaurant itself is located in the midst of Khao San Road (the tourism backpacking headquarters of Bangkok), yet it remains a very local eatery.

There are quite a few things to choose from - fresh and fried spring rolls, beef satay skewers with peanut sauce, curry noodles, roti mataba, roti sweet, and of course the biryani.

I began my meal with fresh steaming bowl of chicken curry noodles (Kuay Teow Gaeng ก๋วยเตี๋ยวแกง), a dish made with blanched rice noodles swimming in a thick and creamy coconut chicken soup. It was hearty and the flavors were nicely balanced.

Next up was the khao mok gai (chicken biryani) the signature and probably the most famous dish from Aeesa Rot Dee (อาอีซะฮ์ รสดี). The rice was so intensely delicious - not over strong, but just comforting good and served with a nice minty fresh sauce.

To wash it down I ordered a bowl of soup gai (chicken soup), a wonderful chicken broth flavored with deep fried shallots, soured with lime juice and garnished with a handful of fresh herbs.

The por pia sot (fresh spring rolls) was an interesting combination that consisted of a variety of ingredients packed into a pancake like wrapper and topped with a variety of things and finally drizzled with lots of sweet syrup. The contrast of sweet and salty was great, but this wasn't my favorite dish of the meal.

Finally, saving the best for last, I dug into my plate of khao mok neua (beef biryani). It was everything I was expecting, fragrant rice mingled with tender stewed beef of exceptional flavor.

As a big fan of rice biryani from around the world and a lover of Thai Muslim food, Aeesa Rot Dee (อาอีซะฮ์ รสดี) is a restaurant in Bangkok that I just can't get enough of!