Today was a lazy day for me. Usually on the weekend I would be busy volunteering, but this week they gave us a break, so I spent some time at the bank, and a lot of time just resting. I try to use my weekends to read and write (not blogging, I don’t qualify my blogging as ‘writing’) but nothing too serious and I don’t mathematisize those activities.
In Singapore last week, a lot of Malays were upset when a Peranakan restaurant used the term ‘Nyonya’ in front of the words Nasi Ambeng because nasi ambeng (food, look it up) is not Peranakan at all. It is in fact, Javanese. The backlash pressured the restaurant rename it to ‘Family Trays’ and issue an apology across all its social media accounts.
The episode made me think about my heritage; after all I am half-Javanese. I am not exactly a proud half (I used to be annoyed when my grandma would teach me to speak the language), not even a practising half, but when I spoke to my Javanese cousins (in Malay haha) we too thought it was cultural appropriation, although we’d never join the discussion with a pitchfork on social media (we love our non-Malay, non-Javanese friends enough to not incite hate/divide).
While I’m not a very cultural person (it’s something I am extremely self-conscious about as I get older), I truly enjoy Indonesian food because it is my staple. I grew up eating food prepared that way. I wouldn’t say I ate Indonesian food, I think the more proper way to explain it is: because my mom was second generation Singaporean Javanese, a lot of the food she prepared were contemporaries of Indonesian food, and those were usually a mix of Malay and Javanese food.
Because I am diabetic I try not to eat a lot of rice (it is a big deal because we love rice!). I totally stopped drinking sweetened drinks, and I don’t eat desserts most days. I do want to speak to a nutritionist soon, but I think my appointment for diabetes is all the way in August.
Today I made chicken soto/soto ayam (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soto_(food)) and I cheated a bit using ready made paste. My cousin recommended these two brands:
I used Wahyu because it was the only thing available in the shop downstairs and I didn’t feel like taking a taxi to other places.
When we eat soto with compressed rice (lontong) it is just called soto, but when you eat it with bee hoon or yellow noodles they’re called mee/bee hoon soto or mee soto respectively.
I don’t like potatoes usually so I never add bergedil, but that’s what people usually add to complete the dish. Garnish is usually fried shallots, and there is a sweet and spicy sauce to accompany it, too (which I could not be arsed to make).
I sprinkled bottled parsley 😛😛 but I am sure you can chop up coriander as well.
This makes it to my comfort food list, but I generally don’t eat it outside if they serve it with shredded chicken. 😛😛😛
Steps to make it (my way):
1) If you already have lontong (compressed rice) ready you can just prepare the soto (soup)
2) I boil my chicken (mid-joint wings) for about 20 minutes on medium heat
3) Take the chicken and most of the water out, leaving only about half of the water in
4) Dump your sliced shallots/onions in with a bit of garlic, two chilis, and lemon grass and about five lime leaves
5) Season with salt and pepper. Do not over-salt because the paste usually has MSG and a lot of salt
6) After about 10 minutes dump the paste in
7) Add about 2-3 litres of water
8) Taste. If it’s bland add more salt
9) Add the chicken from earlier and close the lid
10) When it comes to a boil about 10 – 15 minutes later stir the pot
11) Add some tamarind juice (I just dumped bits of tamarind)
12) Switch off the stove after about 10 minutes
13) Serve it with the compressed rice and garnish
My ancestors are all rolling in their graves right now because I don’t use oil when I cook and when I do I use too little but I just don’t like oily food!!
Bon Appétit! ♥️