Archive for the ‘Kaffir lime leaves’ Category

* Sate Lilit – Balinese Seafood Sate

Posted on September 6th, 2014 by Linda. Filed under Appetizer, Calamari, Cooking Method, Course, Cuisine, Galangal, Grill, Indonesian, Kaffir lime leaves, Lemongrass, Seafood, Shrimp, Turmeric.



Lilit means “wrap” and in this case, it’s a meatball of calamari, shrimp and halibut packed over a lemongrass stalk.  Call it the Balinese corn dog.

Chef’s tip: To remove the flesh off a fish, scrape it with a spoon.  Also, here we are using the top green part of the lemongrass which is usually discarded.  I find a broiler makes the skewers a lot easier to handle.


Spice paste

1 stalk lemon grass, white part only

1/2 inch galangal, sliced

1/2 inch ginger, sliced

3 red fresno chilies, seeded

2 shallots, sliced

1 clove garlic

1 inch fresh turmeric

3 candlenuts


1 teaspoon trassi

1 teaspoon coriander, ground

1/2 teaspoon fennel, ground

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon tamarind paste

2 tablespoons oil



8 oz calamari, cleaned

8 oz shrimp, shelled, cleaned

8 oz snapper fillet, or other firm white fish, skinned, bones removed
1 1/2 cups dried unsweetened coconut, rehydrated

5 kaffir lime leaves, chiffonade

1 teaspoon black peppercorns, freshly ground

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 bird eyes chilies, very fine chopped (use Serrano)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

12 Lemongrass, cut into 6 in (15-cm) lengths

3 tablespoons canola oil

Preparing the spice paste: Grind the lemongrass, galangal and ginger until fine in a food processor. Add chilies, shallots, garlic, turmeric and candlenut and grind fine. Add trassi, sugar, coriander and tamarind paste and pulse to combine. Add a little water if needed. Heat oil on medium high. Add spice paste, and fry till fragrant, red and oil has separated, about 5-7 minutes. Let cool.


Make the skewers:

Put calamari in a food processor and mince roughly. Add shrimp and pulse to mince. Lastly, add fish and mince to a rough paste. Transfer to a bowl, add the cooled spice paste, rehydrated coconut, kaffir, peppercorns, salt, chilies and sugar and mix to combine.

Cut lemongrass into 8 inch lengths. Mount two tablespoons of meat mixture around a stalk of lemongrass and pack tightly, about 3 inches in length and 1 inch width. Brush the skewers with some canola oil. Place on a sheet pan.
Preheat a grill or broiler. Oil the grill racks.

Grill or broil till skewers until the sate is nicely grilled. About 3 minutes on each side.

Serves: 6

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* Fish Otak-Otak

Posted on February 16th, 2014 by Linda. Filed under Appetizer, Cooking Method, Course, Cuisine, Fish, Grill, Kaffir lime leaves, Malaysian, Nyonya, Snack, Steam, Street Foods, Tumeric.

I got this recipe from my grandmother, whom I only recently found out is part Indonesian.   That’s the grandmother who made curry powder as a trade.  My grandfather’s mother, Ah Chor, used to wear sarong kebayas, and cooked great curries.  I don’t have ancestry proof for sure, but I can swear my family is probably part Nyonya.  My grandmother’s recipe was from the 1970’s and it was written in the economies of those days.  Instead of oz ad grams, it was 10 cents of this, 5 cents of that.

Chef’s tip: Daun Kadok (wild betelnut leaves) grows wild in Malaysia.  It is getting harder and harder to find them.  When we were growing up, we would stop the car mid traffic if we spotted a bunch of daun kadok and jump out of the car to pick them.  I guess that’s what you call “foraging”? It gives a minty, distinctively otak-otak flavor to the dish.


6 pieces banana leaves, spine removed, blanched, 5 X 8 inches, long edge along the grain
Sharp toothpicks or staple

Spice paste:

3 dried long Asian chilies, rehydrated in water or fresh Fresno chilies, seeded
1 stalk lemon grass, white parts only, sliced thinly
3 slices fresh galangal, peeled
4 medium shallots, sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 piece fresh turmeric, about 1 Tablespoon
3 candlenuts
1 Tablespoon belachan


1/4 cup coconut milk
1 egg
2 Tablespoons rice flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
1/4 teaspoon white pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon sugar

1 lb white fish fillet (turbot, mackerel, cod..)
3 pieces of kaffir lime leaves, chiffonade

2 cups wild betel leaves (daun kadok, la lot), optional


Prepare the banana leaves: Bring a big pot of water to boil, with steamer rack.  Removed spine of banana leaves.  Blanched leaves in hot water.  Pat dry.  Set aside.

In a food processor or blender, grind chilies, lemongrass and galangal till fine.  Add remaining spice paste ingredients and process till smooth.   Next add custard ingredients and pulse to mix.

Filet fish and give it a few rough chops to cut into small pieces, transfer to a bowl.  Pour in the spice mix, kaffir and betelnut leaves and toss to combine.  On a work surface, place a sheet of banana leaf.   Place 3 Tablespoons of the fish mixture along the middle part of the leave, leaving about 1.5 inch on the left and right edge.  Fold the two long edge of the leave over the fish mixture and secure edge with a toothpick.

Heat a grill pan and grill for 15 mins, or place in 450F oven and  bake 10-12  mins.  You can also steam 10 minutes over medium boiling water.

Serves: 8

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* Thai-Style Salmon Cakes with Kaffir Aioli and Cucumber Pineapple Achar

Posted on March 16th, 2012 by Linda. Filed under Appetizer, Cilantro, Cuisine, Kaffir lime leaves, Rau Ram, Salmon, Snack, Thai.

This salmon cake is made the way one makes a succulent crabcake, but uses Thai flavors.  Poaching the salmon in wine eliminates the fishiness, and the cream adds moisture to the otherwise leaner, but more flavorful sockeye salmon.

Chef’s tip: To remove the skin off the salmon, lay a half fillet of salmon on a cutting board.  From the tail end, about 2 inches from the end, cut halfway into the fish, making sure not to cut all the way to the skin.  Next grab the small end with your left hand, and holding the knife with your right, position knife at a 45 degree angle to the skin and start pulling the fish with your left hand while the knife slices through the fish between the flesh and skin.  To remove any bones, turn a stainless steel bowl upside down and place the fish fillet over the top of the inverted bowl skin down.  Run your finger along the middle of the fish to feel any bones and remove with a fish pin.

Salmon cakes:6 cups water

3 inches galangal, sliced into rounds
6 pieces kaffir leaves, torn
1 cup white wine
2 Tablespoons kosher salt
3 lbs boneless skinless sockeye salmon filet, bones removed

2 Tablespoons canola / grapeseed oil
1 large yellow onion, finely minced
1 red chili, deseeded, minced
1 1/2 Tablespoons Thai red curry
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup heavy cream

3 cups panko breadcrumbs (more if needed)
1 Tablespoon rau ram leaves, finely chiffonade into fine ribbons
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
3 Tablespoons fish sauce
1 lime, juice
Zest from 2 limes
3 eggs, beaten

2 cups bread crumb for breading
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Canola oil for frying

1.     Combine water and galangal and torn kaffir, in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove galangal and kaffir.  Add wine and salt.  Bring to a boil.  Add salmon, cover and remove from heat. Let salmon poach in the hot liquid for 10 minutes. Using a metal perforated spatula, transfer salmon to baking sheet and let cool.
2.     Break salmon into small pieces, ensure any removing bones are removed, and transfer pieces in a large bowl.  Chill.
3.     In a small saute pan, heat olive oil and sweat the onions till translucent, about 10 minutes.  Stir in chili, curry paste and salt and pepper. Add cream and cook till mixture is thick. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool.
4.     Stir together onion mixture with salmon.  Add breadcrumbs,, rauram, cilantro, green onions, fish sauce, lime juice, zest and eggs.  You may need additional breadcrumbs in order to create a mix that isn’t too wet and will hold together in a cake form. Stir ingredients until just combined and refrigerate for 1/2 hour.  Test for seasoning.
5.     Place additional bread crumbs and salt on a breading pan. Using a large ice cream scoop to scoop, gently pack salmon into golf size balls.  Roll each ball gently in the bread crumbs.  Transfer into a round 2.5 inch pastry cutter and gently flatten to make a thick patty.  Remove from cuter.  Transfer patty to a parchment paper–lined baking sheet.
6.     Coat a non stick frying pan with oil over medium heat.   Gently add the salmon cakes, fry until golden, flipping once with a spatula, until golden brown. Transfer cakes to a cookie sheet.  When ready to serve, bake 5 minutes at 350F until hot throughout.
7.     Serve with kaffir aioli and cucumber pineapple achar.

Makes 40 pieces

Kaffir Aoili

2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup canola oil
2 clove garlic, finely minced
2 Tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1 Tablespoon kaffir leaves, veins removed, finely chiffonade into fine ribbons
2 Tablespoons coriander leaves, minced
2 Tablespoons warm water

To make the Kaffir Aioli

8.     In a medium bowl, whisk the yolks, mustard and 1 Tablespoon olive oil together until an emulsion is formed.
9.     Combine the olive oil and the canola oil in a measuring cup with a pouring spout.  While whisking the egg emulsion, add the oil mixture in a steady, THIN stream, almost to the point of droplets.  Make sure not to add the oil too quickly – add enough to the emulsion and make sure it is blended smoothly before adding more oil.  Continue to add the oil in a steady stream, whisking, until all of the oil has been added.
10.  Add finely mashed garlic and lime juice and salt.  Stir in the chopped kaffir, and coriander,.
11.  Add enough warm water to the aioli until a smooth, ketchup-like consistency is formed.

Makes 1 cup


Cucumber Pineapple Achar:

3 Japanese / Persian cucumbers, halved then thinly slice
1 cup pineapple cubes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 red chili, seeded very thinly sliced, to taste (use Thai birds eye chili, if preferred)
1 Tablespoon ginger, peeled, thinly julienned
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
2 Tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped


To make the Cucumber Pineapple Archar

12.  Toss together the cucumber, pineapples, shallot, chile and ginger in a non reactive glass bowl
13.  In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar and fish sauce and heat till the sugar is dissolved.
14.  Pour the vinaigrette over the cucumber pineapple mixture and toss to coat.  Let sit for 10 minutes for the flavors to come together.
15.  Stir in cilantro just before serving.

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