Wednesday, June 3, 2009

WFWW Giveaway!!!: International Cooking (the easy way)

I grew up in Indonesia, and Isaac and I eat a lot of Indonesian, Indian, Chinese, and Thai food. In fact, several times recently I've heard Isaac tell people how much Asian food I cook, and often the response is a request for recipes, because most people would love to add some variety to their stash of recipesbut have no idea where to start.

Well. I'll let you in on a little secret.

I still have no idea how to REALLY make most of the fun international dishes that I make. I really learned very little Indonesian cooking in my growing up years except how to enjoy it.

See, other than a few recipes that I've made my own, for the most part my ethnic cooking sprees consist of finding fun packets of spices or pastes or cans of sauces and following the directions to produce a fun meal of thai curry or chicken tikka masala or good Indonesian nasi goreng (fried rice). Best of all, these are some of the easiest things I make because they usually just take simmering or stir frying the packet with whatever meat and veges I have on hand, and then serving with rice or noodles.

I took this photo two weeks ago of the spice packets and pastes that I had on hand:

So. Last week when I hit up a local Vietnamese grocery store (Saigon Mall, for those of you in Dallas) to get myself some rice and sambal (chili sauce). While I was there, I picked up some spice packets and sauces, and I am going to do my very first GIVEAWAY!

The Rules: Leave a comment. I don't care if you're a real-life friend, a blog friend, or a stranger, feel free to leave a comment. You can comment anonymously if you don't have a blog, just leave your email address in this form john(dot)doe(at)gmail(dot)com. This weekend I will use the random number generator to come up a with a winner, and then I will contact you to get your address.

One caveat - I'll only mail within the US.
Oh - another caveat - I have medium spice tolerance and some of these are pretty hot for me. If you have low spice tolerance, I'd recommend you stick to bland Western food! :)

Here's what you'll get if you win:

One can of Maesri yellow curry paste. I'm told that Maesri is authentic Thai curry paste and I've been using it for years now to make curry for Isaac. Directions are on the can but I often use less of the paste than the directions call for to cut down on the spice a little.

One packet of Asian Home Gourmet Mee Goreng: Mee Goreng is just fried noodles, and just like a good American corner deli will serve burgers and b.l.t's, every self-respecting Indonesian restaurant always has fried rice (nasi goreng) and fried noodles (mie goreng) on hand. I tried this brand a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed it.

One packet of Indofood Nasi Goreng: Indofood is a real Indonesian brand, and my mom used these packets to cook fried rice all through my growing up years, so it just tastes like home to me. It cooks up well with leftover rice and any veges you have on hand. Too bad you probably won't have shrimp chips to go along with it, but you could try to be authentic and fry an egg to top the dish with!

One jar of Tandoori Paste: Okay, I gotta admit I haven't actually used this one, mostly because I have it in a different brand and it lasts forever, so I've never needed a new one. For those looking for Indian recommendations, you can find Patak's in most grocery stores in the ethnic food section (I buy mine in Kroger). I follow the directions to make tikka masala, rogan josh, and all sorts of other Indian food. Delicious.


Niamh Griffin said...

Great:) I'm not trawling for a freebie cause I'm out of your postal range, but what a funny idea! I do exactly the same when I'm cooking - couldn't do it without the pastes. But it really impresses people, I think because they're so in awe of 'exotic food'? But I reckon anything those ladies outside my old apartment in BKK can throw up in 30 seconds can't be that hard!

Jaimie said...


Yesssssssss. Food.

Lauren said...

I loooove shopping at the local International Store. I get all my asian sauces, rice vinegars and random ethnic spices there. So much better then the local chain grocery.
I have a rule I have to buy one thing I've never tried before leaving. Sometimes I've found yummy things and sometimes...not so much. I also look for the oddest thing - once I found Silk Worm Puppa's in a can. My question is, how does one cook them?
I admit I've only tried Japanese, Indian and Chinese cooking. I shall have to give Thai and Indonesian a whirl. I have to go to the market anyway for more instant miso soup, so I shall look for the good stuff.
Shrimp chips - are those like, potato chips, but made out of shrimp? Cause I've had shrimp-flavored chips, which were rather yummy. ~ L

debbielynne said...

I live in the sticks nowhere near an international food store so this would be great for me! My kitchen could use some spicing up! Thanks for the chance to win!

Sarah Eliza @ devastateboredom said...

Sweeeet... looks delicious! I love Indian and Thai but haven't taken my kitchen much in that direction yet beyond curries (man oh man I love curry...)... glad to know shortcuts are allowed!

Thanks for hosting a giveaway! ;) Hope you're feeling more settled in now post-move...

PS Just realized I wasn't following your blog. Heinous oversight! ;P Following now...

The Bookworm said...

The spices sound great! Growing up in Hawaii, I have a hard time finding good international spices here in Virginia. :-) Thanks for doing this!


Jay said...

Have no exp. cooking this type of food but a coworker offered to show me last week. He is from Thailand.

Anonymous said...

what a fun idea! don't know if i'm too late for the giveaway, but that's ok! :) i'll have to look for some of these at the store to spice things up a bit!

andrew said...

I hope im not too late. good spices are hard to come by: