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Gastronomic Journey

Cirebon railway station

I’ve heard people said that Cirebon was one of the must visit destinations in Java Island, especially if you were searching for great local dishes. This small port city is only three hours from Jakarta by train and located in the middle of Jakarta and Yogyakarta. I’ve been to Yogyakarta so many times yet I hadn’t had a chance to visit this city until I and my husband decided to go to Cirebon on our way home to Jakarta from Yogyakarta last June.

I went to Cirebon by train from Yogyakarta for about four and a half hours. I bought two executive seats via KAI Access application with the price around USD 18 each. I’ve read somewhere that so many taxi drivers would offer you a ride once you stepped out of the Cirebon station and that was true. They offered me a ride with a fixed and expensive cost (no meter!) even though the distance from the station to my hotel was actually quite close. So I walked out a little bit out of the Cirebon station, found Bhinneka Taxi, and used them because they charged us based on the meter.

I spent three days in Cirebon and, in my opinion, that was enough because this city still needs a lot of improvement if they want to keep tourists stay longer. The first thing my husband and I searched for when we arrived in Cirebon was no other than its local cuisine. Here’s the summary of our culinary trip:

Food was great, but not that great. I was more exciting to find new local dishes in Yogyakarta rather than in Cirebon. As a first timer, of course I tried some dishes that have been recommended by my friends and most blogs/media.

Nasi Jamblang Ibu Nur

The stingray was delish!

Most blogs I read suggested their readers to try this place, so I tried. Nasi jamblang is actually white rice served on a teakwood leaf that you can combine with various side dishes. It is like a all-you-can-eat buffet, but in here is you-pay-what-you-eat buffet. The restaurant is very big and you have plenty of dishes to choose. I ate stingray fish, sautéed soybean, fritter, and sambal while my husband ate stingray fish, sautéed small squid, and fritter. Frankly speaking, the stingray fish was delicious but the rest was just okay. Unfortunately, my husband didn’t really like it because most of the dishes were spicy (he was sweating a lot!).

Address: Jl. Cangkring 2 No.34, Kejaksan

Nasi Jamblang Mang Dul

Another nasi jamblang

Since nasi jamblang is one of Cirebon’s specialties, I didn’t want to try just one place. As far as I know, Nasi Jamblang Mang Dul is known to be the second famous nasi jamblang in Cirebon, so I went to this place too! The place was smaller compared to Nasi Jamblang Ibu Nur, but to me it felt more local (not too touristy). The price was half cheaper than that of Nasi Jamblang Ibu Nur, unfortunately the side dishes were just so-so.

Address: Jl. DR. Cipto Mangunkusumo No.8, Pekiringan, Kesambi

Empal Gentong & Empal Asem H Apud

The highlight of my culinary trip

Empal gentong is one of Cirebon’s typical foods and I very recommend you to try this one. This dish is a coconut milk meat soup boiled in a huge pot we called gentong. I tried one of the most famous empal gentong restaurants in Cirebon named Empal Gentong & Empal Asem H Apud. Just like its name, I ordered empal gentong and empal asem (sour empal). The meat chunks were so soft like it melted in my mouth. The soups were very tasty and rich in flavor. I could eat a lot in here!

Address: Jl. Raya Ir. H. Djuanda No. 24, Battembat, Tengah Tani, Battembat, Tengah Tani

Panggang Babi Apun

Yummy durian, happy face!

Honestly, I couldn’t find other restaurants in Cirebon that served pork than Panggang Babi Apun. The restaurant was located just outside of Kanoman traditional market. I visited Panggang Babi Apun on the first day I arrived in Cirebon and the food was already sold out (it was around 3 or 4 pm). Luckily, there was a roadside durian stall right in front of Panggang Babi Apun to ease our disappointment. It was actually my husband’s idea since I’m not really fond of this fruit but apparently I quite liked it because the fruit chosen by the seller was quite sweet and very creamy.

The one and only pork dish in town

And wait, I didn’t give up just yet. On the next day I visited Panggang Babi Apun (at around 12.30 pm) and they were still open, yeay! I ordered their roasted pork and crispy skin pork with rice. It tasted delicious and the sauce was quite different than the ones I’ve tried in Jakarta. The owner also mentioned that she delivered the roasted pork to Jakarta and Bandung regularly. Wow, I wonder where…

Address: Jalan Kanoman No. 1, Kanoman, Pekalipan

Petik Merah Coffee Roaster

I never forget to try local coffee shops whenever I visited a place. It is a great way to spend an afternoon or evening after hopping tirelessly from one tourism spot to another. I went to Petik Merah Coffee Roaster and had a short chitchat with one of the baristas there. The coffee was good and the place was quite nice. It was quite difficult to find at the beginning because the place was located inside a cafe named Adipati. However, the barista told me that they were planning to move somewhere not too far in a few months.

Address: Jl. Wahidin No.81, Sukapura, Kejaksan

Baraja Coffee

I found this 24-hour coffee shop after chitchat with the Petik Merah’s barista. He said this coffee shop was one of the pioneers in Cirebon and very popular amongst young people. I was there at around 10 pm (I went there after paying a visit to Petik Merah Coffee Roaster because the location was near) and the space was still quite pack. My husband ordered black coffee with coffee beans from Garut and the barista made the coffee using V60 on our table. It was quite interesting to watch while waiting for him to brew the coffee.

Address: Jl. Tentara Pelajar No.107, Pekiringan, Kejaksan

There were actually two more coffee shops that I wanted to try but too bad they were closed during my visit to Cirebon. Just in case you’re interested, here they are:

  • Coffeelieur (located next to Cirebon railway station)
  • Blind Bottle Coffee Store (Ruko Harjamulia Indah Lt.2 Blok AU 6, Jalan Brigjen Haji Darsono, Tuk, Kedawung, Tuk, Kedawung)

Price wise most foods in Cirebon were quite affordable so you won’t spend so much. However, the variation was less compared to dishes you’ll find in Bali or even Yogyakarta. If you happen to be in Cirebon, just don’t forget to try its empal gentong. I’d like to taste this dish in any other restaurants in Cirebon, just to compare.

Oh, someday!

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I’m a big fan of coconut water. For us who live in a tropical country, we can get it fresh on a daily basis. It is a life-saver for a very tiring day, especially after an all-day swimming in open water on summer. Coconut water is no stranger to us. But coconut butter? I’ve never heard of it until one day I wanted to make a homemade spread for snacks and coconut butter was one of the ingredients. Apparently coconut butter is a huge buzz, especially in foreign countries.

After tons of searching on how to make coconut butter (including the benefits of it!), I found two ways to make it (and both are stupidly easy):

  1. Shredded coconut and a little bit of sea salt.
  2. Shrreded coconut, a little bit of coconut oil, and a little bit of sea salt. The use of coconut oil is simply to make it easier to blend in a blender. But I found it easy even without using coconut oil.

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I chose to make the first way because I wanted to know the original taste without coconut oil, and the result was amazing. It tasted really, really great. The texture was quite grainy, perhaps because I didn’t try to blend it twice: I only blended it once until I got the desired consistency. Some people strain the mixture until they can divide the solid and the liquid, and blend the solid once again to get softer texture. Well, for me the grainy texture is fine. I put the coconut butter on top of a cracker and couldn’t get enough of it!

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Homemade Coconut Butter

Ingredients:

  • Shredded coconut, I bought it at Titan Baking in Cikajang
  • Sea salt to taste

Directions:

  • Put the shredded coconut and the sea salt in a blender. Mix it on high speed until you get a thick paste form. Store it in a small jar in a room temperature.

Almond milk is overrated. I know. This is a very hip drink, especially amongst vegans, to replace the benefits of cow’s milk. I saw a lot of information about almond milk everywhere, from social media to blogs, since long ago. I am curious about the taste but never interested to buy one, because, you know, it is quite pricey. Since the drink is easy to make, I decided to make one at home.

The method is very simple. You just have to own a blender and prepare a bag of almonds, water, and vanilla extract (I used vanilla powder because I don’t have vanilla extract). If you prefer a plain almond milk you just have to prepare the almonds and water. That’s it.

First you have to soak the almonds at least overnight (mine was two nights, because I had not had a chance to make one the day after I soaked the almond) to make it softer and less stiff. Softer almonds are also easier to digest, which increase the amount of nutrients your body can absorb from the nut. Then prepare the blender and put the almonds, vanilla extract, and water there. Blend it for about 1 minute. The resulting milky liquid is strained using cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer, up to you. Put it in a refrigerator until it is cold and drink it later.

Easy peasy. But, how does it taste?

It tastes like nut, obviously, with a hint of sweetness. It doesn’t taste like sweet almonds you chew when you are eating a bar of chocolate, because almond milk is made of raw almonds. Without any other sweetener, almond milk tastes plain and subtle, and I don’t know why I also taste a hint of meaty flavour at the end. It has the body, but it depends on the almonds vs water ratio. I had two experiments the other day: one was 1 cup of almonds vs 4 cups of water; then 1 cup of almonds vs 2 cups of water. The 1:2 ratio was great because I can feel the body and the milk was rich and creamy.

Will I drink it regularly? Unlikely, but I’m definitely going to use it as one of the ingredients of desserts.

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Homemade Almond Milk

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of almonds
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Directions:

  • Soaked the almonds overnight, then rinse with filtered water
  • Blend the almonds, water, and vanilla extract in blender for about 1 minute
  • Strain the liquid using cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer into a jar
  • Refrigerate if desire, and drink it!

Beberapa waktu lalu saya sempat bertemu dengan Kushandari Arfanidewi, pemilik katering Ays Healthy As Can Be yang akrab dipanggil Ay, untuk wawancara urusan pekerjaan yang topiknya berhubungan dengan balanced diet, mayo diet, dan clean eating. Bagi saya, pertemuan dengan Ay ini sangat menyenangkan. Dia tidak segan untuk membagikan ilmunya, apalagi setelah saya memberi tahu dia kalau saya sedang mulai untuk semakin aware dengan apa yang masuk ke dalam tubuh.

Saat pertemuan itu, Ay berbagi resep untuk membuat green juice yang enak. Mendengar kata green juice, atau jus sayur, pasti kebanyakan dari kita akan merenggut kan? Memangnya sayur enak dibikin jus? Apparently, the answer is absolutely yes! Jadi, begini persentasenya:

  1. Sayuran 70%
  2. Buah 30%
  3. Air kelapa secukupnya (hanya bila perlu saja, untuk pemanis)

Buat para pemula seperti kita, ternyata ada sayuran yang ketika dijus itu rasanya tetap manis, seperti bayam merah dan pakchoy. Jadi, waktu ke supermarket saya langsung deh memilih bayam merah, pakchoy, dan apel untuk komposisi bikin jus.

Karena ini merupakan pengalaman pertama saya membuat green juice, tentu saja saya penasaran dengan rasa masing-masing bahan baku. Setelah dicoba, ternyata bayam merah dan pakchoy mempunyai rasa yang mirip seperti apel. Seriously! Bedanya ya pasti rasa apel lebih manis dari kedua sayur ini, dan ada sedikit rasa pahit di pakchoy.

Tadinya saya ingin mencampur jus ini dengan air kepala, tapi ternyata apelnya sudah cukup memberi rasa manis. Ingin mencoba? Yuk!

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Bahan:

  1. Bayam merah
  2. Pakchoy
  3. Apel

Cara membuat: saya membuat jus ini menggunakan blender, jadi pertama semua sayuran dipotong kecil-kecil dulu, lalu di-blend hingga menjadi puree. Tambahkan air matang jika terlalu kering. Hasilnya diperas dengan kain saring dan tuang ke dalam gelas.

*cheers*

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Looking for a restaurant that provides salsa sauce in Jakarta is not difficult. There are some good Mexican restaurants in the city. However, I always love to make one at home. It is tasty and super easy! Nothing beats the homemade and fresh salsa sauce, right?

I got the recipe from a friend of mine and I’ve been addicted to it since the first time I try. It tastes the combination of sweet and sour, with the fragrance of fresh coriander leaves that will blow your senses. Perfect for any time, breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even snack!

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Ingredients

  • Fresh coriander leaves, diced
  • Fresh tomatoes, finely diced
  • Shallots, chopped
  • Onions, chopped
  • Lemon zest
  • Honey
  • Sesame oil
  • A dash of mint leaves
  • Chili padi (if you want it to be spicy), diced

Preparation

  • Mix the diced coriander leaves, tomatoes, shallots, and onions in a bowl
  • Add 2-3 tbsp of lemon zest
  • Add 1 tbsp of honey
  • Pour just a little bit of sesame oil
  • Add the mint leaves
  • Mix all of the ingredients together

I don’t really pay attention to the proportion of the ingredients, because actually it depends on the preference.

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Enjoy!

PS: Mind the tortilla, it was homemade but it was not properly made; hence I don’t share the recipe. 😛