Spring Flowers and Bees

Friday, July 28, 2006

Indonesia Oh... Indonesia

Carrot Field
Carrot Field on the Way to Batu

Ramblings from Indonesia

Some things have changed in just one year. Little things, really. Maybe this transition from cool weather [or “pediding” in Indonesian] to hot and humid weather is making me more short-tempered; meaning easily get upset.

But, based on my observation, I have been feeling this change before the weather change. It’s the change in the way people trust one another. I look around, and all I see I that trust towards another human being has decreased, as seen in the increased amount of security. This is most notably in places like grocery stores, supermarket, and stores selling household equipments.

One example is when I visited Bali Deli in Jakarta, the security warned me not to take picture. Afterward, she would pry her eyes on every movement I made in that foreign-owned supermarket. It’s very uncomforting knowing how the increased security implies that the morale of this nation is on the lower side. Increased security illustrates that more shoplifting have been found, more crimes have been conducted. At least, that’s what I would think.

Also happened just yesterday. When we went to this baking equipment shop, we were asked even to check in our handbags at the front counter! It’s only handbags where we keep our valuables! Yet, they insisted! How do they expect me to do a smooth shopping if I had to carry my cell, bulky purse, and camera on my hands? Then, I just asked the counter guy casually if there had been more robberies lately and he just smiled dryly.

There are still a lot to complain from this obnoxious country but I won’t be too blunt because this is indeed the place where I was born. People here try their best indeed to survive and I have met and known some good people who use purely their own strength to achieve success.

The Food of Bitterness

Life is bitter, but sometimes spoiled girl like me don’t really feel its direct effect.

This recipe I’m about to share features bitter gourd [“pare” in Indonesian] and very simple to prepare. Rumor says that bitter gourd is useful in cleansing the bowel.

Stir-fried Bitter Gourd

Cah Pare [Sauteed Bitter Gourd]


2 medium bitter gourd [sliced very thinly with mandolin or sharp knife]
1 T vegetable oil
2 T shallots [sliced]
2 big green chilies [sliced, deseeded if can’t stand the heat]
salt and sugar [to taste]
2 T dried salted anchovies [fried in oil]


Sautee the shallots and green chilies in oil until fragrant.
Add the sliced bitter gourd, stir occasionally.
Cook for 5 minutes.
Add the salt and sugar.
Turn off the heat and add the fried anchovies.

Serve with steamed rice as a main dish or serve as a side dish :)


Anonymous Richard Manson said...

What no bawang putih? I cannot imagine Pare Tumis without at least a little garlic, it's also nice with a handfull of small shrimps tossed in towards the end of the cooking time. I have been watching your blog for a few days now and am really enjoying your travels and your views of life. Makes me long to be back in Indonesia, well only three weeks to go now before that happens.

Bye the way, what culinary ingredients do you miss most in Canada, and will take back with you from indonesia?

Best Wishes,

8:32 AM  
Blogger strawberry said...

Hi Richard,

Omg, you know Indonesian very well, don't you?
I guess you are right to add minced garlic in the "tumis". I usually like the combination of garlic and shallots.
I've never tried using shrimp before, is it the dried shrimp or fresh?
Btw, I have looked at your blog and it's quite amazing how you do the meat curing all the way from scratch!

I miss the markets in Canada. Since it's summer, berries are plentiful and I loveee raspberries! It's expensive here and very hard to get! I can't think of a specific ingredients/herbs/spices/vegies right now other than the berries!!
Ow.. I remember now. I miss the variety of flour available in Canada! Here, the commercially available ones are only whole wheat and wheat flour [with different levels of protein]. While in Canada I can easily get rye, whole grains, cornmeal, etc :)

10:28 AM  
Anonymous aeons said...

There are some new berries in summer, I forgot what is called =p

6:12 PM  
Anonymous Richard Manson said...

I know what you mean about the flour, the choice is somewhat limited even in Jakarta, if I want multigrain for baking bread, I just go to the health food shops and buy the wholegrains and mix with the regular flour! Luckily the flour from Bogasari Flour Mills is reasonably consistent quality!

Love your blog, great work!

1:02 AM  

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