This is a wonderful book and I’m so happy to finally be cooking from it. I got ages ago but I’ve been a little busy for the past year or so cooking beans for the Heirloom Bean Book. (Co-written with Steve Sando of Rancho Gordo, the book will be out in the fall.) 50-60 pounds of beans later, I’m finally able to cook whatever I want. And I want to cook Southeast Asian food. My dear friend is moving away to New Zealand, so she deserved a memorable send-off. I made 3 recipes from the book:
Chopped Vegetable Salad with Coconut and Lime Leaf Dressing
Imagine, if you can, the taste of fresh grated coconut, ginger, garlic, chilies, kaffir lime leaves, palm sugar, and lime juice combined together in a chunky mixture that is tossed with crunchy, barely blanched vegetables. I’d call it a drug.
Lemongrass-scented Coconut Rice
The two dishes went together beautifully and we topped it all off with Warm Spiced Limeade from the book. Even though the salad is cold and it was a rainy day, the creamy rice and the warm drink made the lunch as a whole a comforting, cold-day meal.
The recipes were all quite easy and not too time-consuming. The difficult part, surprisingly, was finding the ingredients. You’d think that the East Bay would be well stocked with Indonesian ingredients. I tried Ranch 99, Tuk Tuk market, and the store at Vic’s Chaat House. I struck out on Indonesian palm sugar (which is different than Thai palm sugar) and also daun salam leaves. And none of these stores carry regular coconuts, only young coconuts. Luckily Mi Tierra on San Pablo had them. Does anyone have a Bay Area source for Indonesian ingredients? I need to cook from this book a lot more often.