Last September 10 and 11, we celebrated Eid ul-Fitr often abbreviated to Eid, a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. Eid is an Arabic word meaning “festivity”, while Fiṭr means “conclusion of the fast”; and so the holiday celebrates the conclusion of the thirty days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan.
As the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, Eid is known in Indonesia as Idul Fitri (or more informally as Lebaran) and is a national holiday. It is common during this period for people to engage in “mudik” activity. It is an annual tradition that people in big cities such as Jakarta (where I live), Surabaya or elsewhere, travel to their hometowns or other cities to visit relatives, to request forgiveness, or just to celebrate Eid with the whole family.
One common menu during Idulfitri is Ketupat (please see the picture above). Ketupat or packed rice is a type of dumpling from Indonesia. It is made from rice that has been wrapped in a woven palm leaf pouch and boiled. As the rice cooks, the grains expand to fill the pouch and the rice becomes compressed. During Idul Fitri in Indonesia, ketupat is often served with chicken curry, accompanied with spicy soy powder
During the recent Eid holiday, I enjoyed a full week holiday and had plenty of time to try out recipes in my kitchen. One of the interesting recipes I tried was the famously hot and spicy Manado (also known as Minahasa) cuisine called Cakalang Rabe Rica which can be translated to ‘Hot Spicy Shredded Tuna’.
As the chili lover, I cannot resist to try hot spicy recipes. Since I started my cooking journey, I have tried cooking many hot spicy recipes from different areas in Indonesia but so far have not tried any recipe of Manado cuisine which are known to be bloody hot and spicy.
Manado is the capital of the North Sulawesi province of Indonesia. It is located at the Bay of Manado, and is surrounded by a mountainous area and is famous for its Bunaken Sea Garden, one of the most beautiful sea gardens in the world. And this is the picture of Bunaken:
Manado is famous with its cakalang fish which is also known as flying fish. Cakalang is from the same family (Scombridae) with tuna fish.
Tuna fish are truly a nutrient-dense food. An excellent source of high quality protein, tuna are rich in a variety of important nutrients including the minerals selenium, magnesium, and potassium; the B vitamins niacin, B1 and B6; and perhaps most important, the beneficial omega-3 essential fatty acids .
Speaking of tuna, guess who’s waiting faithfully in the kitchen when I was busy preparing to cook the Hot Spicy Shredded Tuna?
It was Miu Miu…our beloved FatCat (note: her weight is 6 kg).
Yeah, Miu Miu was there with me in the kitchen, waiting patiently hoping to get a little bite of her favorite fish (note: her favorite cat food is chicken and tuna).
By the way, I just found out that there’s a difference between ‘cat tuna’ and ‘people tuna’. The cat version has all the necessary ingredients added to it to make it healthy for the cat to eat it. Giving ‘people tuna’ to cat as a very rare treat will be okay, but not as part of cat’s daily diet. Why? Human-grade tuna can be high in phosphorous and other metals that could harm a cat if fed regularly.
Well, enough about Miu Miu the FatCat and let’s go back to my cooking Hot Spicy Shredded Tuna or ‘Tuna Rabe Rica’.
Here is my version of Tuna Rabe Rica
- 500 gram fresh tuna fish meat (the original recipe used smoked Cakalang fish)
- Grill the tuna meat until dry, then shredded
- 10 Kaffir lime leaves, take out the hard part, thinly sliced
- 2 cm ginger, bruised
- 2 cm galangal, bruised
- 5 stalks of lemongrass, take only the white part, bruised
- 5 pandan leaves, tie into a knot
- 2 teaspoon of lime juice
- 10 tablespoons vegetable oil
Grind the spice ingredients into a paste:
- 20 finger-length red chili peppers, chopped
- 10 red bird’s eye chilies, chopped
- 20 shallots or 3 big size onions, chopped
- salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar (optional)
How to make:
- Heat the oil on medium heat
- Stir fry the spice paste
- Add in the Kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, ginger, galangal, pandan leaves and stir fry until fragrant
- Add in the shredded tuna meat, stir and mix well with the spice
- Add in the lime juice, salt, pepper and sugar (if used)
- Continue to stir fry around 10 – 15 minutes until the tuna is really mix well with the spice
- Remove from heat
- Discard the pandan leaves, galangal, ginger and lemon grass
Serve warm with rice