I don’t know why I start this blog. I just feel an urge to write something about my journey into the joy of cooking.
It started in early 2005, after I came home from visiting my sister in Switzerland. She was the one who inspired me to cook, because she cooked for me everyday during my stay in Bern, and her cooking reminded me of my mom’s. My mom was an excellent cook. It’s a shame I never had the desire to learn how to cook when my mom was still alive.
At the time, I only knew one recipe that my mom taught me. It was “Bumbu Rujak Chicken Grill”, a kind of spicy chicken grill dish. I remember when I was in my early twenties and had just gotten married, I cooked the dish for my husband and he loved it and told me that it was really good. Being in my twenties, young and impressionable, after getting that one compliment I kept cooking him the same dish for five days in a row. Bless his heart, it took him 5 days before he turned to me and said, “Sweetheart, as much as I loved your chicken, but after eating the same dish for 5 days in a row, it kind of lost its appeal on me.”
The man had a point there, but still, it discouraged me a bit from cooking and I never cooked anymore because I felt that I wasn’t the cooking type of person, and that was the reason why I never bothered to learn any of my mom’s other recipes.
But coming back from Switzerland, it felt like I was bitten by ‘cooking bug’. Suddenly, I have a burning desire in my heart to cook. So I started.
I bought some cooking books, the pocket series from Periplus Mini Cookbooks because they were cheap (around $ 2 per book). I was determined to learn how to cook, and soon I discovered my passion.
I began by cooking the “Bumbu Rujak Chicken” for my children (only this time I made sure that I didn’t cook it five days in a row) . Now this is important: never cook the same thing over and over again) and just like my husband did a few decades prior, my children loved it as well.
Thus started the beginning of my journey into the “joy of cooking”. I don’t know if you are just starting or if you’re already a pro, but in any case, I thought I’d share with you the recipe that started it all. Enjoy!
MY MOM’S SIGNATURE RECIPE OF BUMBU RUJAK CHICKEN
Bumbu Rujak Chicken is traditionally roasted in a special clay oven but in modern kitchen the closest and easiest way to imitate this is to cook it under charcoal, electric or gas grill.
- 2 whole chicken legs
- 2 whole chicken breast
Ingredients to marinate the chicken
- 5 fresh finger-length chilies
- 10 gram roasted dry shrimp-paste
- 10 gram palm sugar, shaved or dark brown sugar
- 1-2 teaspoons of tamarind paste
- 300 ml coconut milk
Cut each chicken leg into 2 pieces (separate the thigh and drum stick)
Cut the chicken breast into 2 pieces
Make a few diagonal cuts on the thicker parts to allow the marinade to penetrate
- Cut the fresh chili into small cuts.
- Put the chilies, roasted shrimp paste, tamarind juice and shaved palm sugar in a mortar.
- Pound and pestle or grate finely.
- Coat the chicken pieces with this mixture, ensuring that they are well covered with the marinade.
- Transfer the chicken coated with the marinade into a pan.
- Pour in the coconut milk.
- Cook on low heat stove until the chicken pieces are tender and the sauce thickened.
- Pre heat the grill to medium heat.
- Arrange the chicken on a wire rack, leaving a little space in between each piece and grill fairly close to the source of heat.
- Cook for 10 minutes on each side or until the chicken is well browned and cooked through.
Serve Hot with steamed Rice..
Notes and Tips
Test the chicken by inserting a skewer or tip of knife into the thigh – the juices should not be pink or tinged with blood.