Armed with culinary skills honed during a trip to Indonesia, a home chef recreates flavours from the vibrant Asian country for a pop-up at her Versova residence
Ayam Goreng Kalasan with Sambal Kacang
Last October, when Priyadarshini Gupta travelled for a three-week trip to Indonesia, she signed up for a day-long cooking class with a local chef in Yogyakarta, a culturally rich city on the island of Java. She learnt to identify native produce, whip up traditional Indonesian fare - including sambal, a hot sauce of Javanese origin - and even noted the substitutes for ingredients not available in Mumbai. "One example is tempeh [a traditional product made from fermented soy], which is cut into thin slices and fried till crisp and served as an accompaniment with many dishes. The chef suggested tapioca or potato slices for a similar crunch," says the 46-year-old corporate consultant.
Priyadarshini Gupta at a cooking class in Indonesia
This weekend, if you drop in at Gupta's Versova home, you'll find the crunchy potato slices accompanying two dishes - Soto Ayam and Gado Gado - that are part of The Indonesian Kitchen, a dinner pop-up presented by Commeat. While the home chef and former Masterchef India contestant has been hosting meals of regional cuisines like Bengali and Oriya for over a year, this will be her first international meal pop-up.
"The menu features dishes from across Indonesia," says Gupta. For instance, Gado Gado is a salad packed with steamed vegetables, prawns or chicken and the traditional dressing of sambal kacang, a cooked version of the condiment with a peanut base. It's a prominent feature on the menus of warungs, or mom-and-pop establishments that dot Indonesia. Meanwhile, Ayam Goreng Kalasan (fried chicken marinated in coconut milk), a starter, is a popular street snack across the Southeast Asian nation. The starters also include Pisang Goreng (fried bananas coated with rice flour) and Rempeyek Kacang, a snack that Gupta calls 'Indonesian mathri' since it's made in a manner similar to the Indian snack, but with peanuts and rice flour.
Spicy Steamed Tofu
The mains feature Soto Ayam, a one-bowl dish with poached chicken or prawns, flavoured with macadamia nuts, light soy and Balinese egg noodles, and Gule Kambing, an aromatic lamb curry laced with macadamia nuts and spices like cinnamon, galangal and lemongrass. If you're a vegetarian, try Soto Ayam with tofu and shiitake mushrooms, or opt for Sayur Nangka, a gravy dish starring jackfruit soaked in coconut milk. The menu includes Spicy Steamed Tofu, a baked tofu dish made with shiitake mushrooms. "This is a contemporary version. Traditionally, it is steamed in a banana leaf," she says.
The accompaniments include Longtong (compressed and steamed rice cakes) and steamed rice. "While Thais use sticky rice, Indonesians prefer the long-grained jasmine rice. Indonesian cuisine also features tamarind, jaggery and nuts like almond and peanuts - all ground - in the gravies. They might sound similar to Indian dishes but their taste is distinct," says Gupta.
End the meal with Nagasari, banana-based steamed rice flour cakes.
On: September 9, 7 pm to 10 pm
At: Versova, Andheri West.
Log on to: bit.ly/2iNSGdF
Cost: Rs 1,400
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