Monthly Archives: July 2011

Indonesian Chicken Wings

My mother and her family are from Jakarta and one of the most cherished things that they brought here to America was their Indonesian influence on food.  The burn of fiery hot chilies, the smell of pungent shrimp paste, and the comfort of warm fluffy rice all brings back fond memories of a childhood long gone.  Fortunately, at a young age I was able to observe the kitchen matriarchs prepare the most amazing dishes that anyone could imagine.  Regrettably, so many of the recipes that those sweet women prepared are forgotten for no one bothered to write them down.  However, their techniques, flavors, and love of Indonesian cuisine are shared with my family today.

My chicken wings are baked and then tossed in a sweet, sour and spicy glaze.  The flavors of ginger, garlic and sambal oeleck make these wings a definite winner.  Enjoy my Indonesian Chicken Wings!  – Tessa


4 pounds chicken wings, split and tips removed
1/4 c. Indonesian soy sauce (medium)
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. tomato ketchup
1/4 c. lime juice
2 tsp . garlic paste
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 Tbls. sambal oeleck (chili pepper paste) or to taste
1 tsp. seasoning salt
1 tsp. black pepper

Let’s begin.  Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray.  Sprinkle wings with salt and pepper.  Place wings on baking sheets and bake for about 40 minutes, turning the wings over after about 20 minutes.  In a large mixing bowl, mix together the Indonesian soy sauce, honey, ketchup, lime juice, garlic paste, ginger, and sambal oeleck.  When wings are done, remove from oven and toss in bowl with sauce.  Put back on baking sheets and bake for about 5 more minutes or until glazed.  Serves 6  – 8 people.  Enjoy!

Indonesian Chicken Soft Tacos


My husband Bruce calls me everyday at work at about 4:30 in the afternoon and wants to know what we are having for dinner.  Nearly every time, for the past seven years, I answer him with, “I dunno”.  The problem is that I am totally serious and you would think after all this time, he would realize he is not getting the answer that he needs.  I hope by now that he knows that I am terrible about planning dinner on busy weeknights and would rather cook what I want and when I want it.  Fortunately for Bruce, he may not always know what is for dinner but he can count on eating pretty well when he gets it.

My Indonesian Chicken Soft Tacos were inspired by my love for Indonesian food and the ease and simplicity of cooking soft tacos.  These Indonesian Chicken Soft Tacos are filled with tender chicken, bright orange carrots, crunchy cucumber, and peanut sauce.  I then garnish the tacos with fresh cilantro, fresh lime wedges and fiery sambal oeleck.

My Indonesian Chicken Soft Tacos are perfect for a weekday dinner and are so good that I just might quit my day job and sell these out of a food cart.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (sliced)
  • 2 Tbls Indonesian Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbls fresh minced ginger
  • 2 tsp fresh minced garlic
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • garnish with peanut sauce, thin sliced cucumbers, shredded carrots, green onions, cilantro and sambal oeleck.
  • 1 lime (cut into wedges)
  • 6 small flour tortillas

In a hot frying pan or wok add canola oil and chicken.  Cook about 10 minutes or until almost cooked through.  Add the Indonesian soy sauce, ginger, garlic, coriander, fish sauce and salt.  Cook for an additional 3 – 4 minutes.  Add chicken mixture to heated tortillas and fill with peanut sauce, cucumbers, shredded carrots, green onions, cilantro and sambal oeleck.  Serve with lime wedges.  Makes 6 tasty Indonesian Chicken Soft Tacos.

Indonesian Wontons (Pangsit Goreng)

Pangsit Goreng or Indonesian Wontons are one of my favorite Indonesian appetizers.  There are so many variations of this appetizer for some are made with chicken, shrimp, pork or beef.  The recipe that I am sharing with you is a version of a recipe that has been in my family for years and is a combination of both pork and beef.  I was taught to dip them in a sweet and sour sauce with sambal oeleck but I prefer to dip them in Thai sweet chili sauce.  Be sure to serve these crunchy and savory little Indonesian Wontons at your next get together or dinner party.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 bunch of green onions (finely chopped)
  • 6 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup celery leaves (finely chopped)
  • 4 eggs (beaten)
  • 1 1/2 Tbls. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp. white pepper
  • 6 dozen wonton wrappers
  • water
  • canola oil for frying

Let’s begin.  Grab a medium sized mixing bowl and mix together the first 10 ingredients until well incorporated.  Using a small scoop (1/2- 3/4 ounce) put filling in wonton wrappers.  Fold and seal into what ever shape that you like.  The easiest shape is the simple triangle.  Put your filling in the middle of the wonton wrapper, slightly moisten the edges with water, fold once and seal.  (See below for example) Fry in canola oil until golden and drain well.   Serve with a hot sweet and sour sauce or sweet chili sauce.  Makes about 6 dozen.  Recipe can be cut in half or even doubled.

Little triangles…

Chocolate Black Rice Pudding

In all the years that my family or myself have prepared Indonesian food, we never once had black sticky rice pudding for breakfast or dessert.  I don’t remember my grandmother or my mother making it or even talking about it.  I don’t know if it was because they did not have access to the black sticky rice where we lived in the United States at the time or they simply just weren’t dessert people.  Well, I gotta tell you… our family missed out.  Missed out big time.  Once I discovered that black sticky rice existed I am now lead to believe that I grew up a deprived child…

It all started with my love for chocolate and a five pound bag of Thai black glutinous rice that I found at a local Asian market.  My Chocolate Black Rice Pudding is a twist on the traditional dish, black sticky rice in sweet coconut milk,  a common dessert found in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.  I began making it with the basic ingredients and then decided to shake it up with the addition of Dutch cocoa and a splash of orange liquor (Grand Marnier).  Of course, I had to finish it with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, a sprinkling of Dutch cocoa and an orange peel spiral for garnish.

Black Sticky Rice + Dutch Cocoa+ Orange Liquor = Absolutely Delightful

Be sure to try my non traditional black sticky rice pudding.  It’s fairly easy to make and it tastes fabulous!  Enjoy! – Tessa


  • 1 cup Thai black glutinous rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbls. Dutch cocoa
  • 2 Tbls orange liquor (Grand Marnier)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • garnish with whip cream, a sprinkle of cocoa and orange peel

Let’s begin.  Grab a sauce pan with a tight fitting lid.  Add your rice and water.  Bring to a boil, turn heat down to a simmer, cover and cook for about an hour.  Stir occasionally.   When rice has absorbed the liquid, add the remaining ingredients and cook for about a half an hour.  Stir the rice  to make sure that it does not burn.  Remove from burner and let cool.  Serve chilled with whipped cream or a splash of coconut milk.  Garnish with orange peel if desired.  Serves about 6.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Note:  I tried this by soaking the rice first and I was not happy with the outcome.  The pudding was too mushy and did not have the flavor that I was looking for.  Also, if you want traditional rice pudding, just omit the cocoa and the orange liquor and drizzle with coconut milk.


Lemon Zucchini Pineapple Bread

It’s summer here in Southern Oregon and in no time I will be dealing with the onslaught of fresh zucchini from my garden.  I learned from mistakes of prior years, and this year I planted only one zucchini plant.  There have been times that I had so much zucchini that I could not even give them away.  One of the things that I like to make with fresh zucchini from my garden is my Lemon Zucchini Pineapple Bread.  The fresh lemon zest and the flavor of the crushed pineapple make these little loaves of bread bright with flavor.  Make these and share with your coworkers at the office or for a quick breakfast on your way to work.  Can be frozen to be enjoyed at a later date.  Tessa


3 c. all purpose flour
1 1/4 c. sugar
4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4 eggs
2/3 c. canola oil
1 8 oz. can of crushed pineapple, drained well.
2 c. zucchini grated
1 Tbls. lemon zest

Let’s begin. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Grab 2- 4″ X 8″ baking pans and grease well.  In a medium sized bowl mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix well.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, pineapple, zucchini and lemon zest.  Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  Mix until moistened.  Do not over mix.  This will look like a thick cake batter, and that is okay, it’s supposed to be that way.  Add the mixture to the two baking pans and bake for 1 hour.  Cool on wire racks then remove loaves from pans.  Makes two fabulous loaves.  Enjoy!

Strawberry Chipotle Beef Ribs

Bruce and I have been married for over seven years.  I don’t think that he has decided to keep me because of my bubbly personality or my sweet smiling face.  Nope, it’s neither of those reasons….  I believe that it is all about the dishes that I make such as my Strawberry Chipotle Beef Ribs. These beef ribs are oven tender and smothered in an amazing homemade Strawberry Chipotle BBQ Sauce.  My Strawberry Chipotle BBQ Sauce is a crazy concoction of ingredients such as fresh strawberries, Dr. Pepper (yes, Dr. Pepper), Indonesian soy sauce and fiery chipotle peppers in adobo.  I figure that if I continue to make these ribs, Bruce just might keep me around for the rest of his life.  Make these ribs and prepare to be kept.  Makes about 4 servings.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 2 large racks beef ribs (about 7 pounds)
  • 1/4 c. Indonesian soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Strawberry Chipotle BBQ Sauce (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Wash, trim and cut into individual beef ribs.  Toss ribs in a large bowl and drizzle on Indonesian Soy Sauce and rub with salt and pepper.  On a foil lined pan (or large cookie sheet) place ribs.  Cover with more foil and put in the oven.  Bake for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until tender.  Remove foil and brush with sauce.  Turn on the broiler and broil until sauce is slightly caramelized.  Turn ribs over and brush with more sauce.  Broil again until caramelized.  Place on serving platter.

Note:  You can easily make these ribs on your outdoor barbecue.  Just bake the ribs first so they are tender then you can finish them on the BBQ for a an outdoor smoky flavor!

Strawberry Chipotle BBQ Sauce

  • 1 lb. strawberries (cleaned, hulled and quartered)
  • 1 can Dr. Pepper
  • 1 c. tomato ketchup
  • 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 3 Tbls. Indonesian Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tbls. chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 tsp. seasoning salt

Grab a medium saucepan and toss all the ingredients in.  Cook on low for about 45 minutes stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and cool.  Makes about 2 1/2 – 3 cups sauce.

Indonesian Spicy Eggs (Sambal Goreng Telor)

Indonesian Spicy Eggs

I love hot and spicy food and I love eggs.  My Indonesian Spicy Eggs (Sambal Goreng Telor) is the perfect marriage of the two.  This recipe is similar to my Grandmother’s but with a few little tweaks such as a bit more coconut milk and the addition of paprika.  The fire of the chili paste, the savory spices, creamy sweet coconut milk, garlic and onion makes this dish vibrant with flavor.  Serve with warm white rice and garnish with sliced green onion.  Drizzle with sambal oeleck if desired.  Makes 4 servings. Enjoy!

4 eggs boiled and peeled.
1/3 cup onion minced
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tsp. sambal oeleck (I like more)
1/2 tsp galangal powder
1/2 tsp. lemon grass powder
1 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. paprika
1 tsp butter
1/2 c. coconut milk
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/2 c. water

Boil and peel eggs.  In a wok or a fry pan add butter and fry eggs until golden.  Remove eggs, slice in half and put into a serving dish.  Add a bit more butter to the wok and then add the onion, garlic, sambal oeleck, galangal, lemon grass, sugar and paprika.  Cook until fragrant about 3 minutes.  Turn down heat and add coconut milk, chicken bouillon and water.  Cook and stir for about 15 minutes more or until slightly thickened.  Pour sauce over eggs and serve.  Enjoy!

Pacific Northwest Dungeness Crab Cakes

Crab cakes…  I don’t know many people who would pass on these.  Fresh caught dungeness crab from the Pacific Ocean.  Prepared with panko bread crumbs, savory herbs, and then pan fried until a gorgeous golden brown. These Pacific Northwest dungeness crab cakes are hands down an all time favorite in our home.  They are fairly simple to make and taste fabulous.  The fresh zested lemon and a dip of sriracha sauce make these crab cakes bright with flavor.  The crunch of the golden panko exterior and the flavor of the fresh dungeness crab will make you want to eat and make more! You can either serve them for a great weekend dinner or as elegant appetizers at your next party.  Enjoy! – Tessa


1 pound dungeness crab meat
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup minced green onions
1 large egg
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tbls. fresh cilantro chopped fine
1 Tbls. fresh tarragon chopped fine
1 Tbls. fresh dill chopped fine
1 Tbls. fresh parsley chopped fine
1 Tbls. dijon mustard
1 Tbls. finely grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
fresh cracked black pepper to taste
2 separate cups panko
1 cup canola oil for frying

Put the crab in a small bowl and pick over the meat to remove any shells.  Try not to tear apart the crab meat.  Grab a medium sized bowl.  Zest your lemon first, then juice it.  Add egg, mayo, fresh herbs, mustard and spices.  Mix well.  Now add the crab and 1 cup panko. Gently mix all ingredients together except for 1 cup of panko and the canola oil.  Be careful not to over mix. Let the crab mixture sit in refrigerator for at least a 1/2 hour before shaping into 3 ounce patties (use a 3 ounce scoop). Take the remaining 1 cup of panko and place on a plate. Take each crab patty and gently push into the panko forming a crust. Heat canola oil in frying pan. Fry crab cakes in oil until golden brown on both sides. Put crab cakes on paper lined plate to drain.  Serve immediately with lemon wedges or sriracha sauce.  Makes 10 crab cakes. Enjoy!

Itty Bitty Buffalo Burgers

Just imagine… Little itty bitty buffalo burgers, topped with smoked gouda cheese, lettuce, tomato, grilled onions, and a spankin smoked paprika aioli.  If you like avocado, toss that on top too.  Did you catch that?  I bet you did…  So now go to the store and gather your ingredients.  Make these little gems for your next backyard BBQ or serve them up while you watch your favorite sporting event.  Dang!  These burgers are awesome!  Makes 6 itty bitty burger gems.

Let’s begin by making the aioli.

Smoked Paprika Aioli ingredients:

1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
1-1/2 teaspoons finely minced garlic, or to taste

Note:  this smoked paprika aioli can be used on crab cakes, grilled fish, and even potato fries.

Now let’s pull the buffalo burgers together…

Burger ingredients:

1 pound ground buffalo (bison)
1 Tbls. Indonesian soy sauce
1/2 tsp. seasoning salt
fresh cracked black pepper about 1/4 tsp.
6 small french rolls

garnish with the following:

smoked paprika aioli (see above)
sliced smoked gouda cheese
grilled onions

In a medium sized mixing bowl, lightly mix the ground buffalo, Indonesian soy sauce, seasoning sauce and cracked black pepper. Shape into 6 patties.  Fire up your BBQ or indoor grill.  In the meantime, prepare your garnishes. Slice your french rolls in half and lightly butter.  Grill these until golden brown.  Remove from heat.  Toss your little burgers on the BBQ or grill.  Cook about 3 -4 minutes each side. Add the gouda cheese and melt.  Assemble your burgers.  Enjoy!

Sweet Chili Ham Salad Sandwich

While working my way through college I was a cook during the summer months at a local fishing resort.  One of the things I learned to make on the menu was ham salad sandwiches.  I served them with plain white bread, topped with iceberg lettuce, a scoop of potato salad, a handful of chips and a dill pickle. The ham salad that I was taught to make in the restaurant was with ground up leftover ham butts, miracle whip, celery and dill pickle relish.  Few people ordered them.  Quite frankly, I thought those sandwiches were freaking gross.  Each time I made one of those sandwiches, I always thought there should be a better way to make these.  At the time, I just didn’t know how.

It’s been many years since I finished college and I no longer work in a restaurant.  Just the other day I was thinking about my old job at the resort and just how much I love the taste of ham.  I thought of those little nasty ham salad sandwiches that I used to make and then I began the mission on how to improve upon that recipe.  After imagining different combination of flavors, I think I nailed it.  I call it my “Sweet Chili Ham Salad Sandwiches”.   It’s a mix of one of sweet chili sauce (my favorite), tossed with savory ham, crunchy celery, bright red bell peppers, thinly sliced green onion and a bit of light mayo.  I top it off with thin cucumber slices, red onion, tomato and fresh picked lettuce, and serve it on honey wheat berry bread.  It’s absolutely delicious!   This ham salad is tasty, colorful and is budget friendly.  This sweet chili ham salad can be served on French bread toasts or on the tips of endive spears for a quick appetizer.  Enjoy! – Tessa


3/4 lb. ham, cubed (approx. 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 c. light mayonnaise
2 Tbls. sweet chili sauce
2 Tbls. thinly sliced green onions
1/2 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. chopped red bell pepper
8 slices honey wheat berry bread
8 tomato slices
12 cucumber slices (thin)
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
8 lettuce leaves

Let’s begin.  Put your ham in a food processor.  Pulse until the ham is chopped (about 10 pulses).  Don’t puree it…  Put chopped ham in a medium sized mixing bowl.  Add mayo, sweet chili sauce, green onion, celery and red bell pepper.  Mix well.

Assemble the sandwiches by laying out 4 slices of bread.  Add a scoop of the Sweet Chili Ham Salad, layer on the tomato, cucumber, red onion and lettuce.  Top with remaining bread slice.  Cut in half.  Serve!  Makes 4 tasty sandwiches.