kitty litter.

I'm catsitting at the moment, though so differently from the way I was catsitting back in August that one of the two should be called something different (the latter, I'm guessing). One of my charges this time around is Loki the Destroyer, and she plies her trade with truly exceptional craft. Things I wouldn't have guessed were movable at all have been strewn around the apartment as if by high winds. I no longer remember what the apartment looked like when I showed up, it's been madeover in the style of a feline monkey launching pad.

One of the books littering the floor this morning was Sri Owen's Indonesian Regional Cooking (in Dutch). It would've been downright cinematic if my stumbling across this "randomly" placed object would then lead me on a series of unexpected and (of course) humorous adventures having to do with Sri Owen, Indonesian cooking, catsitting, monkey launching, etc.

But instead I just took the book down to our apartment, put on my miner's hat (is there really not another word for these?) and tried to learn something from an Indonesian about Indonesian cooking. It's a good easy read for my Dutch, but who knows what it really sounds like to someone who speaks the language.

The first thing that my carbide lamp revealed was a rich seam of duck dishes, which was completely unexpected and great news: we do love us some duck (speaking of which, maybe someday I'll get around to writing about this lovely specimen [the duck]).

I'll come back to finish this entry with a duck recipe, but until then, Ms. Owen has an informative piece on rijsttafel here, complaining (justifiably) about advertisements for "traditional Indonesian rijsttafels" by restaurants in Indonesia (rijsttafel being a completely Dutch fabrication and not traditionally Indonesian at all).


gulai itik (sumatran duck with green chiles).

4 duck breasts, thinly sliced
3/4 cup hot water

2 large green chiles, de-seeded and chopped
5 shallots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 candlenuts, chopped
2 tsp chopped ginger
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp chopped galangal or 1/2 tsp laos powder
2 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
1-inch stem of lemongrass, outer leaves discarded, chopped
4 whole black peppercorns
4 tbsp thinned tamarind concentrate
2 tbsp peanut oil
salt to taste

Blend paste ingredients until smooth. Transfer the paste into a saucepan and simmer, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Then add the slices of duck, and continue cooking, stirring often, for 5 more minutes. Add the hot water, and bring the sauce to a boil. Continue cooking on high heat for 5 minutes. Salt to taste, and serve at once with rice.


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