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Picnic Report -- Cooking Demo

Joan Kureczka | Oct 14, 200408:53 AM

I’m sure these things have already been described before I had the chance to post, but that’s what happens when one needs to hop a plane the next morning. In any case, this year’s cooking demonstration was both entertaining and practical, providing hounds with an easy-to-make and yummy appetizer that is the base recipe for many adaptations.

Called Martabak, the dish was an Indonesian take on spring rolls that were flat, rather than rolled. The dish involved the use of the largest spring roll wrappers, which produced a still fairly large final product. Jesse and I shared one of these which was easily cut with kitchen shears.

The dish began with about a pound of ground beef, which was mixed with copious green onion slices, three beaten eggs, and salt and pepper. We were told this was the simplest version, which could have additional seasonings such as curry. Illustrating a great simple cooking tip, the mixture was combined in a plastic bag and mixed quickly without getting one’s hands into the meat by squeezing the bag. The goal was to have a mixture that could be spread quite thinly onto the middle of the spring roll wrappers.

Once spread with about two spoonfuls of the seasoned beef, the wrapper was folded like an envelope and quickly fried to golden brown in hot oil. The completed Martabak was then served hot with a sweet pickle dish that was just as easy to make, although requiring advance preparation.

The pickles, called Achar, consisted of large dice of cucumber, carrots and onions, mixed with a few very hot thai chilis for spice and color contrast. The cut vegetables were first mixed with a small amount of salt, which helped firm up the veggies rather than contribute to the flavor. The vegetables were placed in a jar or other sealable container, which was then filled with white rice vinegar and several spoons of sugar. The jar was then sealed, shaken to mix the sugar and vinegar throughout and kept in the refrigerator at least overnight, but the longer the better. The pickles were tasted had been refrigerated 24 hours or less and were mildly sweet and refreshing.

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