25 September 2017Last updated

Food | Recipes

Flavours of the Far East

Travel to the sun-kissed islands of Oriental Asia through its cuisine with these authentic recipes

27 Jun 2016 | 01:16 pm
  • Javanese sweet curry


Javanese sweet curry

Prep time 15 mins
Cooking time 10 mins
Serves 4

600g pitted dates
2 tbsp tamarind pulp
80g brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon powder
3 tbsp butter
6 medium bananas, peeled
4 tbsp roughly chopped almond flakes
Raspberries and mint sprig, to serve

Soak dates, tamarind pulp, sugar and cinnamon in 250ml hot water for 10 minutes, then pulse in a food processor pulse until the dates are finely chopped up.

Melt butter in a large pan over moderate heat and add bananas and one-third of the date mixture. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, until the bananas are golden and starting to colour.

Plate the bananas and top with the remaining date mixture. Garnish with almonds, raspberries and mint sprig and serve.

Ikan rica-rica


Prep time 15 mins
Cooking time 25 mins
Serves 4

5 red chillies
5 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp Indonesian shrimp paste
2 shallots, chopped
½ vine tomato, cored and diced
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp lime juice
7 tbsp groundnut oil
10cm long lemongrass stalk, split
8 small snapper fillets, skinned, pin-boned
350g green beans, trimmed
2 tbsp finely chopped peanuts
Thai basil, to garnish

Blend chillies, four garlic cloves, shrimp paste, shallots, tomato, sugar, and lime juice in a food processor until it’s paste-like. Season with salt.

Heat 2 tbsp groundnut oil in a pan over medium. Add lemongrass and fry until fragrant, then add the paste and fry for two minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in 240ml warm water, stir well, and bring to a simmer. Season to taste and keep warm over low heat.

Preheat the grill to hot. Brush the snapper fillets with 4 tbsp oil and season with salt and pepper.

Grill the fish for four minutes, turning once half-way through, then add to the sauce. Keep warm.

Heat the remaining oil in another pan set over medium and stir-fry beans, garlic and peanuts for two minutes. Cover and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes until the beans are soft.

Plate the beans and top with fish fillets and sauce. Garnish with the lemongrass from the curry and basil and serve hot.

Wingko tape ketan


Prep time 30 mins, plus cooling time
Cooking time 1 hour
Serves 4

Icing sugar, for dusting
60g ready-made shortcrust pastry
1 tbsp vegetable oil
200g glutinous rice flour
200g desiccated coconut
150g caster sugar, plus 4 tbsp extra
400ml coconut milk
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
50g uncooked red tapioca pearls
60g shelled pistachios, powdered
70g pudding rice
150g mango purée, chilled
4 rose petals

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Dust a work surface with some icing sugar. Roll out the pastry to ½ cm thickness, then using a knife, cut out K shapes. Arrange on a baking tray and bake for 12-16 minutes until golden-brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Grease four pudding moulds with a little oil. In a bowl, whisk together rice flour, coconut and caster sugar until well combined, then slowly whisk in 150ml coconut milk, 2 tbsp warm water, egg and vanilla extract to make a batter. Divide the mixture between the moulds and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden on top. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile, boil 300ml water in a saucepan and add tapioca pearls and 1 tbsp sugar, stirring briefly. Simmer for three minutes, stirring until the pearls are soft and chewy to the bite, about 5-7 minutes. Season with salt, then add the remaining sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, mixing until it dissolves.

Remove the tapioca from the cooking water and cool to room temperature. Then, cover and chill.

In a small pan, bring the remaining coconut milk and pistachios to a simmer, stirring consistently. Add rice and cook over low heat, mixing occasionally until the rice is tender. Remove from heat and leave to cool.

Turn out the coconut cakes from the moulds. Hollow out one-third of their centres and fill with the chilled tapioca and pistachio rice. Garnish with pastry shapes, mango purée and rose petals to serve.

Coconut soup



Prep time 10 mins, plus chilling time
Cooking time 15 mins
Serves 4

100g raw red tapioca pearls
120g caster sugar
400ml coconut milk at room temperature
300g silken black tofu, cubed
240g crushed or shaved ice
Banana leaves, to garnish

Bring 600ml water to a boil over moderate heat, then add tapioca pearls and 1 tbsp sugar, stirring briefly. Simmer and cook for about eight minutes, stirring well until the pearls are soft and chewy to the bite.

Pour in coconut milk, add ½ tsp salt and stir well. Remove from the heat, then add sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, stirring until it dissolves.

Remove the tapioca from the soup and cool to room temperature. Cover and chill the soup for two hours.

To serve, stir the cooled tapioca back into the chilled soup along with tofu. Ladle into bowls and garnish with ice and banana leaves.