Sunday, August 24, 2008

I'm back, with ketoprak!

Sorry, I just couldn't resist the cheesy rhyme. ;-) I'm finally back in Columbus after having been gone for over two weeks, and I missed my kitchen terribly. Now don't get me wrong, I love eating out, especially when decadent desserts are involved. Which reminds me, if you haven't tried the chocolate lava cake at Morton's Steakhouse, you must (I repeat, must!) at some point in your life. Even BFFT admits that it's amazing. I had it for the first time at a New Year's Eve dinner with family a few years ago, and when I went back with a group of girlfriends during my "visit" to California - in quotes because I still can't fathom the fact that I'm a tourist in a state I never thought I'd leave - I insisted that we get two of them to share. Even despite our being traumatized by the live lobster that the waiter paraded around our table as he described the menu items (or shall I say introduced them in person! it reminded me a little of that scene in "The Little Mermaid" where the crazy chef chases Sebastian around the restaurant with a knife while singing at the top of his lungs), we devoured the cakes. And funnily enough, none of us ordered meat that night. I wonder if Morton's realizes that their lobster beauty pageant is actually counterproductive for some customers.

Anyway, I'm happy to be in cooking mode again, and the first recipe I made this week was one of BFFT's old favorites. The dish is called ketoprak, and it originated in Indonesia as a street food, although some sit-down restaurants are starting to serve it as well. The "real" version is apparently rolled into a banana leaf and boiled, but I'm not that adventurous - yet! I was introduced to ketoprak one evening when I visited BFFT for dinner at his old stomping ground (otherwise known as Google), and they happened to have it on the menu. It was so delicious that I looked up the best ketoprak recipe I could find on the Internet, adapted it to suit BFFT's and my taste, and tried my best to reproduce it at home. Below is the end product; similar to the lentil burritos, BFFT never gets tired of it and has claimed he could eat it every night!

Ingredients (for 2 servings):

2 T peanut oil
1 egg, beaten
1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced (sometimes I like to substitute 1/3 c scallion white parts)
1 small jalapeno (or crushed red pepper flakes to taste)
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 lb firm tofu, well drained and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
4 oz wide rice noodles (fettucine works fine too)
1/2 lb green beans (sometimes I do snow peas instead)
3/4 t lemon juice
1/4 c soy sauce
1/4 c peanut butter (crunchy is best)
Parsley leaves for garnish


1. Put 1/2 T oil into nonstick skillet and heat over medium-high. Pour in beaten egg, reduce heat to medium, and cook without disturbing a few minutes until well set. Turn and cook other side briefly. Slide out onto a plate to cool, then roll into tube and cut into long thin strips.

2. Wipe out skillet and heat 1 T oil over medium-high. Saute onion until tender, about 5-7 minutes. During the last minute of cooking, add garlic and jalapeno, being careful not to burn them.

3. Wipe out skillet again and heat 1 T oil until hot but not smoking. Stir-fry green beans over high heat for 5 minutes, or until crisp-tender. (If using snow peas, 2-3 minutes will suffice.)

4. "Fry" tofu using my method (see "Betcha can't tell this tofu isn't fried!" post). Alternatively, you can deep fry the tofu in oil for 5 minutes, until golden brown.

5. Boil noodles in water for 10 minutes (or cooking time indicated on package), and drain.

6. To make sauce, mix lemon juice and soy sauce in a bowl. Gradually stir in peanut butter.

7. To serve, toss tofu, noodles, and green beans with peanut sauce. Garnish with slivered egg, onion/garlic/jalapeno mix, and parsley.

I have no idea how well this recipe conforms to traditional ketoprak (or whether the Google recipe even did, for that matter). But I do know that it's tasty and, as BFFT was quick to point out, better than it looks! He managed to take this picture just before Claude lunged at the plate in a last-ditch attempt to burgle some human food.


Anonymous said...
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Gabe said...

awww morton's! twas fun with you! next time we should ask them to not bring the lobster to the table- what if they brought cows as well? ernhhhhh.

Kim said...

Haha... hearing about the Colby lobster cook-off was traumatizing enough! And after all this time I *still* have "Rock Lobster" stuck in my head. :-\