Sate Ikan (Fish Satays)

We are back in Indonesia for a month and one of the things we really love about Indonesia is the food! We are moored at Pulau Weh, actually we are moored off a smaller island call Pulau Rubiah. The snorkelling here is fantabulous, as is the food! We have discovered a local delicacy called sate gurita (sate octopus). Delicious and tender, it awoke memories of our time with our boys at Gili Air when we sailed there for Christmas 2014. I cooked sate ikan, using some marlin we caught in Australia. It was part of a feast that I cooked up on the boat for a friend who wanted to film it.

Sate Ikan
Sate Ikan

While anchored off Gili Air (Lombok Indonesia)  with our son’s Jedd, Alex, Kye and two of their girlfriends, we had a visit from Jackie and her son Alexander. Jacqui was interested in filming a short video of us cooking up a storm on Thorfinn.  I hadn’t had time to think about what to cook and therefore had not shopped in Bali before we left. So, before I could decide what to cook, I had to look at what I had on the boat and then I had to go ashore to see what I could purchase on the small island of Gili Air. In the tiny village I found a shop selling some fresh produce and a very limited array of other supermarket goods. I choose some things I love to cook with – limes, ginger, garlic, chillies, galangal – while I gradually formulate an idea of what I would cook.

Shopping for chillies, lime, galangal etc.

Back on the Thorfinn I fine-tuned my proposed menu. When in Indonesia, do as the Indo’s… I decided to cook some Indonesian favourites. Ikan Bakar (grilled fish), sambal and sate ikan (fish satays).

So, while the boys enjoyed the swimming and snorkelling, and the girls chilled out on the sun-beds with a cocktail, Dwayne and I cooked and Jacqui filmed. It was a lot of fun and when it was ready the kids joined us on Thorfinn for a feast. As we sat around Jedd’s surfboard, which had become our makeshift table for the day, we enjoyed the sunset and the company of family and friends… and I think we all privately reflected on how lucky we were.

For the sates …

I grated one onion into a sieve over a bowl. Using a spoon I then pressed down on the grated onion to squeeze out the onion juice. I set aside the the grated onion for using in the peanut sauce.

To the onion juice I added…

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 finely chopped garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon of grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoon of palm sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 kg of marlin fillet

I mixed it well, covered and refrigerated it until I was ready to skewer the marlin to grill.

For the peanut dipping sauce…

In a small saucepan, I sautéed the reserved grated onion for two minutes with –

  • 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sambal olek

I then added…

  • 3 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground turmeric
  • 1 Tablespoon of palm sugar

I stirred continually as I cooked for a minute and then added…

  • 1 1/4 cups coconut cream

I gently heated it until almost boiling, then removed the saucepan from the heat and stirred in…

  • 3 Tablespoons of peanut butter

Once the peanut butter was well blended I returned to a gentle heat and cooked for about 5 minutes while stirring and checking it often. (Add water if needed).

To serve

I skewered cubes of marlin onto small skewers and Dwayne cooked them on the BBQ. I then served them with the peanut sauce.

Sate Ikan served with peanut sauce on Jedd's surfboard!
Sate Ikan served with peanut sauce on Jedd’s surfboard!

I loved our Christmas on Gili Air!… and have welcomed the opportunity to reminisce about it. Hope you enjoy the recipe.

Christmas on Gili Air

Want to read about catching the marlin? Click on the photo below!

The Marlin

Tom Kha Gai

Sawadee Ka!

Tom Kha Gai, aka Thai Chicken Coconut Soup, is one of my absolute favourites! Now that we are back in Phuket I thought it was about time I made it. I first discovered this soup when Dwayne and I visited Phuket in 2007. I gotta say, I was a little reserved about trying a coconut soup… it didn’t look that appetising, but it was delicious! So flavoursome in fact, that I sat there tasting it and deciphering the flavours so I would be able to make it myself when I got back home. I think my tastebuds did a good job of recognising the ingredients and my Tom Kha Gai is delicious….. if I do say so myself! However, I don’t have a recipe to share with you as I cook it by taste every time I make it, and I forgot to write it down as I cooked it this time for the blog… doh! But I do remember what goes in it and what I did so I will explain it the best I can.

Tom Kha Gai
Tom Kha Gai

This is what I did….

I heated 1 cup of chicken stock and added about 8 kaffir lime leaves bruised and ripped apart, two sticks of lemon grass – the hard part remove and the inner white part bashed with a mallet; a couple of crushed garlic cloves, a 2cm piece of galangal, thinly sliced, a 2cm piece of ginger, thinly sliced and some chopped chilli.

I simmered it for 1/2 hour, then I added some chopped chicken and simmered for 10 minutes before adding the coconut milk (approx 250ml) and a handful of enoki mushrooms*. I simmered the soup for another 5 minutes and then added fish sauce, to taste, and a handful of coriander.

To serve, I ladled the soup into two large deep bowls and garnished with some more chopped coriander.

It is so easy to make and delicious!

Tom Kha Gai
Tom Kha Gai

 

Notes:

When I make Tom Kha Gai for Dwayne and I, I do not remove the chunks of ginger, galangal etc when I serve it, as this is how I have had it served to me most of the time in Thailand. However, when I have prepared this soup for guests I have strained the soup before I add the coconut milk, chicken, mushrooms, fish sauce and coriander.

*Shitake, or oyster mushrooms are more often used in Tom Kha Gai but enoki mushrooms were what I had at the time.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Huge Prawns Fresh From The Fishing Boat!

We were anchored in Thailand off a lovely island called Koh Phayam, just below the Myanmar (Burma) border. It was high season in Thailand at the time but even then Koh Phayam was a quiet, idyllic place. Nowhere was too busy. There are no cars on Koh Phayam, just motorbikes, bicycles and the odd tractor.

We spent our days watching the brahminy kites and white belly sea eagles soaring overhead in search for their dinner, and we  would catch sight of the hornbill birds as they flew amongst the trees on the nearby shoreline.  From the advantageous location of our comfy hammocks we watched the bait fish jumping out of the water as the predators close in on them. How peaceful… could it get any better than this?… Seafood lunch perhaps?

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On one of these “peaceful idyllic”  days Dwayne visited a local fishing boat that had dropped its anchor nearby. He returned with a large bag of school prawns and some baby squid. The fishermen wouldn’t accept any money, so Dwayne took some beers over to them. They must have been impressed with the beers as they then presented him with two good sized cuttlefish, some crabs and a pile of huge prawns!

Dwayne cooked the crabs and prawns in salt water. We then chilled them before we devoured them, for lunch, with a little homemade seafood sauce.

For the seafood sauce… I simply mixed Kewpie mayonnaise with tomato ketchup. I didn’t measure the ingredients, I just did it to taste. It’s simple but delicious and the prawns were sooooo fresh!

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Seafood Chowder with Goolwa Cockles!

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Seafood Chowder with Goolwa Cockles.

Goolwa cockles otherwise known as pipis are bivalve molluscs, similar in their two shelled structure to a clam or mussels. A popular place to gather pipis is Goolwa Beach in South Australia. They are not only, and exclusively, at this beach, but on a nice summer day Goolwa beach will often be busy with swimmers, surfers and people gathering cockles. Some people use them as bait but many others are now cooking them and making delicious meals of steamed cockles in white wine and garlic, rich marinara sauces or, like me, putting them in a creamy seafood chowder for that little touch of something different.

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Goolwa Cockles

We are currently visiting family and friends in Adelaide, South Australia, and really, what is more Australian, more South Australian and more Goolwanian than a day at the beach gathering cockles…. not much. Dwayne, myself and two of our boys were joined by friend’s Sarah and Phil May, and their children plus other friends and family.

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Middleton Beach – near Goolwa

While I found it difficult to get in the cold water like the rest of them, surfing and boogy boarding, I did manage to get in deep enough to start hunting for cockles. Collecting the cockles is really very simple. You simply dig your feet into the sand and as the water washes around your feet and the wave ebbs, the sand is washed away and your feet sink deeper into the sand. When you feel the cockles beneath your feet and bend down to scoop them up. Put the cockles into a bucket or esky (i.e. chilly bin, cooler, ice box). The cockles then need to be encouraged to purge or spit out all their sand. The purging occurs when the cockles are kept in the bucket or an esky with fresh clean seawater for at least 24 hours. This is easy if you are near a beach and can replenish and freshen the seawater regularly.

So once my cockles were purged I set about making a creamy seafood chowder which I then served in a toasted bread roll bowl. Yummo!

This is what you will need….

50g butter
2 slices bacon, finely chopped
1 large leek, finely sliced
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup plain flour
4 cups fish stock
500g white fish, chopped into cubes
400g prawns, peeled
1kg Goolwa cockles
250ml cream
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
Salt and cracked black pepper
4-6 bread rolls

And this is what I did…

To make a bread roll serving bowl I sliced the top off each bread roll and set it aside to use as the lid. Then I dug out the inner soft bread and baked the rolls, and their lids, in a moderate oven until they are hard & crispy (about 10-15 minutes).

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Crispy toasted bread roll… a perfect bowl and accompaniment  for this chowder!

For the chowder…

I heated the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.  Added the bacon and cooked over low heat for about 5 minutes. I then added onion, carrot, celery, potato and cooked for 5 minutes or until softened (do not brown).

Next I added the flour and cooked for one minute. Then I gradually added the fish stock and cooked while stirring for about five minutes or until mixture boiled and thickened. I let it simmer over low heat for another five minutes uncovered while I stirred occasionally.

I then added the seafood and simmered again while stirring occasionally.  I added the cream and simmered for another 5 minutes without letting it boil. I then seasoned with salt and cracked pepper and tossed in a handful of chopped parsley.

I ladled the soup between the toasted rolls and served immediately.

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Seconds? Hell Yeah!

Note: I have made this recipe with fish and lobster that we caught while camping at Canunda National Park, and I have used fish, scallops and squid that we caught at Stansbury while anchored there. At home I have used a marinara mix or a mix of prawns, fish, scallops and mussels. Any mix of seafood is great in this chowder.

 

 

Pork Stuff Squid Tubes

This is easily one of our favourite squid dishes. I have cooked them a couple of times during our sailing through SE Asia. The first time was in Indonesia when we bought some fresh squid from a local fisherman. The second time was recently in Thailand at a BBQ we put on at PSS Shipyard in Satun.

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Pork stuffed squid served with rice cakes and a simple salad.

Ingredients

25g Rice vermicelli noodles
3 spring onions
3 tablespoon of peanut oil
2 garlic, finely chopped
3cm ginger, peeled and grated
½ cup cabbage, finely shredded
325g pork mince
¼ teaspoon ground star anise
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
Several medium squid or 16 baby squid, cleaned and tentacles reserved

Dipping sauce

1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 small chilli, finely chopped
2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
4 tablespoons fish sauce
Freshly squeezed juice from ½ a lime

Method

To make dipping sauce, mix all ingredients well until sugar has dissolved. Taste and add more lime if needed. Transfer to a dipping bowl.

For the stuffing, pour boiling water over the noodles and allow to stand for 5 minutes until soft. Drain well, chop them into smaller pieces and place in a large bowl.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a fry pan and gently cook the garlic, ginger and spring onion until soft. Remove from heat and add to the bowl. Chop the squid tentacles and add to the bowl along with the pork, cabbage, star anise and fish sauce. Mix well.

Cooking Spicy Stuffed Squid
Cooking the stuffed squid

Stuff the squid tubes with the stuffing. Make sure to leave a little room at the top and close the top of the tube with a toothpick.

Heat the remaining oil in a fry pan and cook the tube for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through.

Pork Stuffed Squid
Slice the squid into rings with a sharp knife.

Slice the squid and serve with the dipping sauce.

Pork Stuffed Squid
Pork Stuffed Squid

At the PSS Shipyard, while painting and varnishing our boat for six weeks, we cooked a goat BBQ. For entree I served my stuffed squid. Dwayne built a four layer BBQ to cook all the food for the 23 people that were to join in on the feast. I used two different types of squid, which I bought from the local fish market down the road. In my opinion the squid are not as yummy when grilled on the BBQ, but everyone still enjoyed them. If you were to cook them on a BBQ use a hot plate instead of a grill.

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Dwayne’s four layer cooking contraption – squid cooked over the coals and there are potatoes cooking under the coals.

Mango Margarita

We absolutely loved these frozen margaritas. We made them while cruising Thailand. They were perfect sundowners, enjoyed on deck surrounded by the beauty of the islands, hongs and emerald seas.

This is what I did for two Mango Margaritas…

Mango Margarita

Ingredients

1 shot of tequila
1 shot of vodka
juice of a fresh lime
about 1 cup of frozen mango
about one cup of ice

Method

Blend it all in a blender, pour into two glasses, garnish with lime and enjoy!

Icy Mango Margaritas

Nasi Lemak

Nasi lemak is a fragrant rice dish cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf commonly found in Malaysia, where it is considered the national dish. This traditional Malaysian favourite offers sambal, ikan bilis (anchovies), peanuts and boiled egg. Nasi Lemak stalls can be found serving them with fried egg, chicken/beef rendang, sambal kerang (cockles) – a local favourite, sambal squid, sambal fish, squid fritters or even fried chicken or fish. It can be consumed for breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea, dinner and even supper. [Wikipedia]

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My nasi leak with sambal, ikan bills and a Chinese tea egg.

To make this traditional Malaysian nasi lemak this is what I did…..

For the steamed coconut rice

Ingredients
1 cup of rice
1 cup of coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 inch of ginger, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped

Note: nasi lemak coconut rice is usually cooked with pandan leaves or screwpine leaves tied in knots. I didn’t have any so did not use them. If you do have them use two in the above recipe.

Instructions
Rinse the rice twice and drain. Put in a saucepan with the coconut milk, water, ginger, garlic and onion (and pandanus leaves), cover with a lid and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid is absorbed (about 15 minutes). Remove from the heat and leave covered until serving.

For the sambal ikan bilis (Anchovy Sambal)

Ingredients
1/2 red onion
1/2 cup ikan bilis (dried anchovies)
1 clove garlic
4 shallots
10 dried chillies (deseeded)
1 teaspoon of belacan (prawn paste)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of sugar

Instructions
Rinse the dried anchovies and drain the water. Fry the anchovies until they turn light brown and put aside. Pound the prawn paste together with shallots, garlic, and dried chilies with a mortar and pestle. You can also grind them with a food processor.
Slice the red onion into rings.
Soak the tamarind pulp in water for 15 minutes. Squeeze the tamarind constantly to extract the flavor into the water. Drain the pulp and save the tamarind juice.
Heat some oil in a pan and fry the spice paste until fragrant.
Add in the onion rings.
Add in the ikan bilis and stir well.
Add tamarind juice, salt, and sugar to taste.
Simmer on low heat until the gravy thickens. Set aside.

Note: Original recipe uses 1 cup ikan bilis. I only used 1/2 cup of ikan bilis because I like to serve it with lots of crispy fried ikan bilis on the side.

Sambal recipe from – http://rasamalaysia.com/nasi-lemak-recipe/2

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To serve

slices of cucumber
roasted peanuts
deep fried crispy ikan bilis
grape tomatoes halved
hard boiled egg, halved

Note: I used a Chinese tea egg that I had made earlier hence the dark colour of egg in the photo. The Chinese tea egg recipe can be found at… https://boatiefood.wordpress.com/2015/07/02/chinese-tea-eggs/

Note:  l found the Belacan easily in Malaysia. I’m not sure how one would go in Australia or other western country. Try the Asian grocers. I think other shrimp paste would work fine in the recipe.

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Belacan
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