Yesterday, I experienced an impulsive longing for home. Yes, even after 7 years of living here in Seattle, the home to my guts is still Indonesia. I miss street vendors selling snacks, while it might be unhygienic, it was cheap and satisfying. My dad used to say, whatever food that is sold in a kaki lima, it’s gotta be good. It’s like the fast food of Indonesia, minus the trans fat.
I especially miss Padang food, where they’d take out several dishes at once upon your arrival. So you just pick which dishes you want. You don’t even have to wait to order. There’s a saying, hit the ground running. This is “hit the chair eating”. Or if you decide to get a take-out, they’ll wrap your food in banana leaves. Hot food + banana leaves = heaven. I think the hot food helps permeate its fragrance.
I usually like their rendang, cooked brains and cassava leaves in coconut broth. But since it was an impromptu lunch, and I didn’t have cassava leaves in hands, I tried using collard green. It has the pleasant bitterness that cassava leaves offer, I didn’t expect it to work this well. Served over hot rice, it felt almost like home.
- 1 bunch collard greens, cut into 1-inch strips and boiled until softens
- 1 can coconut milk (I use Chaokoh coconut milk)
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 3 cloves garlic
- 5 shallots
- 1 inch ginger
- 5 candlenuts
- 2 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp trasi
- 2 tsp turmeric powder
- Chilies, as much as you can handle
- 1 stalk lemongrass
- Salt and pepper
- Crush garlic, shallots, ginger, coriander seeds, candlenuts, chilies and trasi together.
- Saute the ground mixture until fragrant, add in the coconut milk, chicken stock and the turmeric powder. Once it’s boiling, stir in collard greens.
- Add the lemongrass, then season with salt and pepper.
- Cook until the collard greens is really soft. Serve over hot rice.
Now I wonder if I open a Padang hut in Seattle, would people come?