Sunday, August 8, 2010

Tales of A Female Nomad

This month, our book club goes on a nomadic tour. We traveled with Rita Golden Gelman, a writer who sold everything she owned after the shock of a divorce and became a nomad. Not a tourist, because Rita stays away from everything that a tourist does and instead, tries to live the lives of people she visits.

From Mexico to Israel to Galapago Islands, Rita goes the way least traveled, always preferring to stay as a boarder with natives. And sometimes, going to places not even locals will go, places so secluded yet beautiful that Rita's description takes your breath away, urges you to become a nomad yourself.

Yet even nomads sometimes find their roots. Rita found hers in Bali where she spent eight years. Starting as a boarder with a prince, she eventually became a part of the family. I instantly knew I wanted to cook something Indonesian. I picked Nasi Goreng, the Indonesian fried rice.



There are as many recipes for Nasi Goreng as there are cooks. Some use tomatoes, others tamarind. Almost all use shrimp paste and kecap manis, the sweet soy sauce from Indonesia. I had neither so I decided to go with the adapted recipe from BBC. I adapted it a bit further to go with what I had in my fridge. And to make nasi goreng, you should first have cooked rice in your fridge. The recipe is traditionally made with cold rice, so I cooked mine the night before for today's lunch.

First thing today, I made a spice paste by blending together 2 cloves of garlic, 2 peeled shallots, a tbsp of sunflower seeds, a tbsp of sesame seeds, 1 tsp salt, 2 bird's eye chillies that I deseeded, 2 tbsp soy sauce, a tbsp of brown sugar and a tbsp of vegetable oil.

Then, I finely chopped a handful of beans and 2-3 babycorns. Added a couple of tbsp of water and microwaved them for a minute. Separately, i chopped a spring onion.

In a pan, I heated a tbsp of vegetable oil. Added 2 tbsp of spice paste and the cooked rice, then stirred for a couple of minutes to mix well. The I added the steamed vegetables and stirred it all for 2-3 minutes. Finally stirred in the spring onions, mixed well and took the rice off the heat.

At the same time, I put the frying pan on to make my fried egg to serve with my nasi goreng. Topped the fried egg with a drizzle of spice paste and some chopped coriander.

Next month, This Book Makes Me Cook travels to the Channel Islands. We are reading one of my all time favorites - the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer. If you would like to read with us, please leave a comment here and I will get back to you with details.

8 comments:

Kitchen Flavours said...

Book sounds good....need to go in search for it....recipe is simple and indulging....

Siri said...

I am still reading the book. will post my review a little late this month. the recipe sounds so yummy. :)

Siri

The knife said...

Have you read a book called 'Following Fish' by Samanth Subramaniam? was lent to me by blogger Slogan Murugan. One of the best examples of Indian food and travel writing

RV said...

I would love to lead a life of Nomad, meeting new people understanding their culture and food and so on. This rice compliments the book and sounds delicious.

Marisa said...

The book sounds fascinating - I'm very sad I didn't get round to read it, but it is definitely still on my to-read list. Nasi Goreng is such a classic - lovely interpretation.

Saee Koranne-Khandekar said...

Hey, this is my first time here--lovely blog and good pictures!

Sayantani said...

a beautiful book indeed. I wanted to read along but the library dont have it. but my local Asian restaurant serves us excellent Nasi Goreng. you recreated it beautifully.

jayasri said...

Hi Simran, Glad to know you read that book, I am really interested in reading it now. I couldn't get hold of the book I have to buy it. when I think of Indonesia, they have some wonderful recipes, A few months back I made Nasi Goreng!! believe it or not, I need to search for the photo now :(, I too tweaked the recipe!, I forgot how I made it too.., when I read that Indonesian book as you said most of their basic cooking they use shrimp paste!, I wrote this recipe in my collection of cook book, someday soon I will post it, I will try your adaptation of Nasi Goreng, sounds very yummy, and the picture is really so beautiful!. I love it...