Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Maybe some of you is asking what is Gudeg? Or absolutely have no idea or never even heard about Gudeg. Well, let me tell you. Gudeg is one of traditional Indonesian food. Maybe it is not as famous as Beef Rendang or Nasi Goreng, but I guarantee you that Gudeg is as delicious as both of them.

Gudeg is Javanese cuisine from Central Java and is made from young or unripe jack fruits boiled together with palm sugar, coconut milk, many of spices, and teak leaves (to make its color become brown). Basially, it is a stew unripe jack fruits. Because the jack fruit is cooked together with a lot of palm sugar, Gudeg is not spicy at all. It tastes sweet and rich. But wait for it. Before you ask where you can get the spicy taste from this cuisine, I will tell you that Gudeg is usually served together with hot steam rice, Opor ayam (chicken boiled in coconut milk), hard boiled egg, fried tofu and tempeh, and sambal goreng krecek (cattle skin spicy stew). See, there is a sambal on it. Gudeg itself is really delicious. But try to eat Gudeg komplit (complete served Gudeg with the opor, fried tofu and tempeh, sambal krecek, boiled egg, and hot steamed rice). It's heaven!! (God. I'm drooling right now)

I really love Gudeg. I could eat a lot of it only with hot steamed rice and krupuk (starch crackers). But too bad, when I was In Indonesia, there were not many places that sell Gudeg. It was not really common in East Java. Even if there were, it was not really cheap and sometime, it was too spicy. I prefer a sweet style Gudeg. (East Java cuisine is more spicy than Central Java cuisine meanwhile, Central Java cuisine is sweeter than East Java cuisine). Years later, I accidentally found a Gudeg recipe from internet. It surprisingly easy to make. And what made me more surprised, that I found out that I could use tea leaves instead of teak leaves. Of course tea leaves is much more easy to get instead of teak leaves. I never even saw the teak trees.

Some people doubt me because I was going to make Gudeg with canned unripe jackfruit (not fresh jack fruit), tea leaves, and canned coconut milk. They said the result would not as good as if I were using fresh ingredients like in Indonesia. But hey! Show must go on. I gave it a try, and I really really satisfied with the result. It was sweet, and rich like I the Gudeg that I wanted. No one will never ever realized if I was using canned ingredients and tea bag instead of teak leaves.

Canned Unripe Jackfruit
The down side for making this cuisine is I needed more than 4 hours to cook it into perfection. Well, it's ok. I can make it once or two times a year is enough for me. I just have to double the recipe and I can enjoy Gudeg for at least 3 days.

Ingredients :
  • 3 cans (about 500 grams net for each can) unripe jack fruit, drain the water. 
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 english tea bags or black tea bags
  • 5 bayleaves
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 120 grams palm sugar, cut into small pieces
  • 1 can (450 ml) coconut milk
  • 4 medium shallots (or about 10 Indonesian shallots)
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 10 candlenuts
  • 1 1/2 tbs ground coriander seeds
  • 1 inch fresh galangal
  • 1 tsp salt
  • water
Preparation :
  1. First, boil the eggs until you get a nice hard boiled eggs. Once the egg is cooked, drain the water and rinse them with a cold water and peel the skin.
  2. Blend or ground together shallots, garlic, candlenuts, coriander, fresh galangal, and salt until you get a paste form.
  3. Put all the unripe jackfruit and tea bags into a big pot. Add some water until almost all of the jackfruit are covered and let it boil. 
  4. Once the water is boiled, reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Add hard boiled egg, tamarind paste, palm sugar, and spices paste into the pot. 
  6. Turn back the heat to medium and let it cook for about 1 hours.
  7. Add bayleaves and coconut milk into the pot.
  8. Reduce the heat into medium-low, cover the pot (don't forget to leave a small gap between the pot and the lid), and cook it for another 3-4 hours or until most of the liquid are gone and the spices and sugar are being absorbed by the jackfruits.