Typical Malay Raya spread. Clockwise: Lodeh (Vegetables, tofu, and tempeh is spiced coconut soup, usually eaten with Nasi Impit/Compressed rice), Rendang (Meat braised-until-dry in spiced sauce), Pulut Kuning (Yellow Sticky Rice), Sambal Kacang (Peanut Sauce, usually eaten with Nasi Impit too).
There is a saying "Time flies when you are having fun." But, time just flies. Regardless whether or not you are having fun. What do you know? It is already September. My last post was a few days before Hari Raya, and now we are at the end of Raya season.
So, how was my Hari Raya? It was great. It's my 10th Raya away from my biological family, but it is becoming more and more my celebration. I take ownership over it. Hari Raya is all about food. Well, it is about people too. And what better way to connect to people than through food?
Raya Cookies on the left. Raya savories on the right (from top: Rendang & Chicken Curry, Roti Jala (savory crepe), and Nasi Impit (compressed rice/rice cube).
The fact that I didn't host any Raya party at my place did not stop me from showcasing my attempt at Malay Raya food twice this year. I felt so honored that my friends trusted me to contribute to their Raya party.
The first party was at my friend's place, 7 hours away from here. So, my main contributions were the Raya cookies I wrote about in the last post. I also made lodeh and sambal kacang while I was there. But compliment had to go to the main cook--my friend's mother. She made Biryani, Rendang, Chicken Curry, Stir-Fried Mushroom, Roti Jala, and more food than I could remember. It was quite a party and everyone left with full stomach.
The second party was last weekend (not this weekend that is just about to end). It was five minutes away from where I live; so, I got to experiment with more Raya food. I made Lodeh and Sambal Kacang, obviously. The Sambal Kacang at the second party tasted so much better, that I felt bad the one at the first party wasn't that good. Oh well. Live and learn. And learn I did. For this party, I made a few traditional Malay dishes, using non-traditional methods.
For the Rendang, instead of cooking it for hours on the stove top, I decided to put them in the oven instead. I found a recipe that suggests to braise Beef Rendang in warm oven for six hours. I changed the method a bit. I started with 400F oven in the first hour because I was using cold meat and didn't really preheat the oven. After that, I lowered it to 350F and baked it longer, and I kept lowering the temperature until about 250F. I even turned the oven off while I was sleeping, and turned it back on again to warm before the party. By the time I was done, the Rendang was fairly dry, as intended. No one could tell that difference between my method and the hour-long method over the stove top. So, this is how I will continue to make Rendang in the future.
The other non-traditional method I applied was to make a full use of my microwave. It cut down the time to make Pulut Kuning (Yellow Sticky Rice) and Dodol. I didn't even have to transfer the Pulut Kuning to another dish to serve, I simply microwaved it using the serving dish. And just like that, less stuff to wash. As for the dodol… It took me 15 minutes for what typically would have taken hours to make.
Credit to the guests at the Raya Lunch Party
Talking about the end of a season, Summer is almost over too. The morning breeze is colder now. The next thing I know, it would be colder all day long. Nonetheless, I look forward for the new season. I look forward for the soup season.
How to Make Rendang from Serious Eats - Three types of Rendang available with stove top and oven version available.
Beef Rendang from Fine Cooking.com (stove top version)
Dodol using Microwave by Lily Wai Sek Hong
Lodeh by Kak Fida from MyResipi.com - (In Malay)
Sambal Kacang from Almaraz of My Kitchen Diary - (In Malay)
p.s. not related to food: between the two Raya party, I managed to squeezed in two Broadway musicals. I was (still am) so psyched.