Both of us just love Pondok Laguna to death the first time we step our foot there for Alex's birthday. It a place with a wonderful atmosphere & it serves Indonesian food. We cannot comment on the authenticity as that was the first time we had a full spread of Indonesian meal. Prior to that, we only had Indonesian style curry and rendang cooked by Mum's friend, Aunty Ratna.
I seriously think that Indonesians are very good cooks and their dishes are always very strong in flavour. Even their cookies and cakes are generally very rich and tasty. If ever there is a chance, I would love to go there and learn how to cook and bake Indonesian style.
Most Indonesian dishes are spicy with a nice tinge of sweetness. This recipe is originally for chicken but pork is very sweet, so I usually do this with spare ribs. This is a very good dish to cook for a dinner get together. Ingredients are generally simple and it packs a punch especially with rice.
1kg or so or spare ribs, cut to finger lengths
1/3 cup of vegie oil
2 heaped tbsp of lemongrass*
1 stalk of fresh lemon grass
1 heaped tbsp of chilli paste, Indian paste or add water to grind chilli powder
1 tbsp of garlic
2 tbsp of red onion
2 tbsp of sweet bean paste (tau pang jang)
1 tbsp of ketumbar powder (coriander powder)*
2 heaped tbsp of asam + 2 cups of water
3-5 tbsp of sugar
1)Season spare ribs with a little salt and pepper.
2)Heat up wok with 1/2 of the oil and stir fry chilli paste. Paste usually suck up oil quite fast and stick to the wok. Dont worry about the burnt effect. Adding a little of remaining oil and keep on stir frying till oil start appearing on the side of chilli paste.
3) Add garlic, onion and remaining oil. Stir fry till fragrant. Add 2 tbsp of lemon grass, bean paste and ketumbar powder. Continue stir frying till ingredients are well mixed and paste like.
4) Add spare ribs/meat. Continue stir frying. Add strained asam water to cover up to at least half of the meat. Mixture will look very watery and redish as chilli oil float upwards. Simmer, lid closed, in small fire for at least an hour or till meat is very soft but still attached to bone. Stir occasionally to prevent bottom from burning.
5) Finally add sugar to taste. Open the lid and turn the fire up and let the juice boil till thick and half of its original amount.
Serve 5-6 with rice.
* I normally lightly pan fry the ketumbar seeds without oil and grind my own ketumbar powder with a blender/grinder. Lemongrass, if bought, usually comes in a bunch and I would only use a few. Instead of wasting it, I normally get the maid to cut them up, pound and blend them to fine pieces. Keeping ingredients such as this in fridge is very handy and avoid wastages.