Sunday, 2 August 2015


If you love traveling and eating, I am sure this question has crossed your mind. Why does the same food in one place taste different in another? And I’m not talking about variation of one food, but the exact same food. Having lived in Vancouver for several years, which is arguably one of the most multi-cultural city in the world, I often hear my friends complain, “Nah, the Korean food here is nothing compared to the Korean food in Korea” or something along those lines.
Spekkeok Lapis
Now of course, there could be many reasons for that, to name a few: The cooks’ expertise, taste assimilation, alterations made intentionally to cater to the locals, accessibility to certain ingredients etc.
I always attributed the main reason to be the competency of a chef… until my one-month stay in Jakarta with Grandma just this past month (I’m half Indonesian.. and half Singaporean). Since I began baking, the supermarkets and grocery stores have become my “Happy Place”. Visiting the Indonesian grocery stores made me realize one thing. Everything is so drastically different! The flour is different, the butter is different, and even the EGGS are different! But come to think of it, I would probably find it more bizarre if they were the same. After all, if people from one place differ so much from another, I’m sure chicken and eggs would too! Perhaps this factor contributes to why some things will never taste the same in other places.


    • 225 gr butter, softened.
    • 230 gr sugar.
    • 10 large eggs, separated.
    • pinch of salt.
    • 150 gr flour.
    • 2 tablespoons icing sugar.

Spice mixture:

    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon.
    • 1 teaspoon ginger.
    • 1 teaspoon aniseed.
    • ½ teaspoon nutmeg.
    • ½ teaspoon cardamon.
    • ¼ teaspoon cloves.
( all spices are ground )


Cream butter and sugar together with an electric mixer. Beat in eggs yolks a few at a time.
In another bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites with the salt until stiff. Fold into yolk mixture. Fold in sieved flour.
Divide batter between two bowls. Add the spice mixture to one bowl and mix in well. Line the bottom of a buttered 9″ (25 cm) round cake pan (or springform pan) with wax paper and butter the wax paper. Pour about ½ cup of the spiced batter into the pan, spreading to form a thin (about pancake thickness) layer.
Place pan under a preheated broiler (oven grill) for 2 minutes, or until the layer is firm and very lightly browned. Spread ½ cup of the plain batter over the top and broil until firm. Repeat layering and broiling until all batter is used. Leave cake to cool, then remove from pan. Sprinkle top with icing (confectioners) sugar. Serve in thin slices.

How To Make Indonesian Beef Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Popular throughout Southeast Asia and Indonesia, satay is strips of skewered, grilled meat eaten with a fragrant dipping sauce. Here we serve seasoned marinated steak with a spicy peanut sauce for dipping. A simple cucumber salad is a cooling counterpoint to the beef satay.

Indonesian Beef Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Makes: 6 servings
Active Time: 
Total Time: 



  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped lemongrass, tender inner stalk only (see Notes), or 2 teaspoons freshly grated lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (see Notes)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds skirt steak, flank or other beef steak, trimmed


  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons peanut oil or canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped lemongrass, tender inner stalk only, or freshly grated lime zest
  • 1/2 cup “lite” coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup unsalted natural peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Asian chile sauce, such as Sriracha, or other hot sauce, or to taste


  • 1 English cucumber, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
  • Pinch of salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
    1. To marinate steak: Combine lime juice, lemongrass (or lime zest), soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, turmeric, coriander, cumin and pepper in a small bowl. Cut steak on the bias across the grain (see Tip) into thin, 1- to 2-inch-wide strips. Place in a sealable gallon-size plastic bag, add the marinade and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours.
    2. To prepare dipping sauce: Combine onion and oil in a small saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, ginger and lemongrass (or lime zest); cook, stirring frequently and reducing the heat as necessary to prevent overbrowning, 2 minutes more. Add coconut milk, peanut butter, fish sauce, ketchup, lime juice, brown sugar and hot sauce; cook, stirring, until well blended. If necessary, thin with a little water to the desired consistency. Adjust seasoning with lime juice, brown sugar and/or hot sauce. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
    3. To prepare cucumbers: Combine cucumber, vinegar, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in cilantro (if using). Taste and add more sugar and/or salt if desired. Set aside.
    4. To prepare satays: Preheat a gas grill to medium heat or prepare a medium-heat fire in a charcoal grill. (No grill? See Broiler Variation.)
    5. Remove the steak from the marinade (discard marinade). Thread onto skewers, 1 strip per skewer. Grill, turning once, 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium. (If necessary, grill the satays in two batches.)
    6. Warm the dipping sauce, if desired. Serve the satays with the sauce and the cucumbers.


    • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the peanut sauce for up to 3 days; cover and refrigerate the marinated cucumbers for up to 1 day; marinate steak (Step 1) for up to 12 hours. | Equipment: 20 to 30 (6-inch) bamboo skewers
    • Notes: Look for lemongrass—a woody, scallion-shaped herb with an aromatic lemon flavor—in the produce department of well-stocked supermarkets. To use, trim off the root end and grassy top. Peel off the woody outer leaves. Thinly slice the softer inner stalk, then finely chop.
    • Fish sauce is a pungent Southeast Asian condiment made from salted, fermented fish. Find it in the Asian-food section of well-stocked supermarkets and at Asian specialty markets. We use Thai Kitchen fish sauce, lower in sodium than other brands (1,190 mg per tablespoon), in our recipe testing and nutritional analyses.
    • Tip: Depending on your region, skirt steak may not be something your supermarket regularly carries—call ahead to make sure it’s available or ask your butcher to order it for you. It’s usually sold in about 1-pound cuts up to 18 inches long and 5 inches wide, but just 1/4 inch thick. Before cooking, cut the steak with the grain into several portions to make the long piece more manageable on the grill or in a skillet. Once cooked, be sure to slice it across the grain for maximum tenderness. Hanger steak, flat-iron and flank steak can all be used as substitutes for skirt steak in most recipes.
    • Broiler Variation: Position a rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler. Coat a broiler pan (or a wire rack set on a large baking sheet) with cooking spray. Broil the skewers, turning once, 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium.


    Per serving: 296 calories; 17 g fat (6 g sat, 7 g mono); 65 mg cholesterol; 12 g carbohydrates; 1 g added sugars; 25 g protein; 1 g fiber; 588 mg sodium; 588 mg potassium.
    Nutrition Bonus: Zinc (36% daily value), Iron & Potassium (17% dv)
    Carbohydrate Servings: 1
    Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 3 lean meat, 2 fat