It has been two months I live in Surabaya. How does it feel? As we know, Surabaya has hot temperature. I am still not accustomed to that. Sometimes, I miss Bandung temperature. It is chill, so I do not have to use the fan all the time.
Different region, different culture, different temperature, different culinary too. I have tried some Surabaya culinary. Except kupang lontong, I do not have any problem with those. But if I do have, it does not matter because I can cook. I am not a chef. I am just a woman who wants to cook, not for myself, but also for my family.
I miss Sundanese food. Like steamed goldfish (pepes ikan mas in local name). It is pretty hard to find goldfish here. I must order first before having it a day after. The good news is, the ingredients are easy to find:
- Banana leaf
- Laurel leaves
- Basil leaves
- Hot chili pepper or red chili (if you like)
- Large yellow union
- Brown sugar
Maybe you ask about the recipe measurement. Well, I never use it, except for making cookies. I always use instinct. The taste depends of each other tongue or needs. For example, if you have hypertension, do not put the salt too much. Or, if you do not like the sweet taste, do not put any sugar. Okay. Now, let us start to cook:
- Remove the scales, gills, and the belly contents of the fish. Wash it and scatter the salt on it. If you want to remove the putrid smell, squirt the lemon or lime on the fish. Leave it for about two hours.
- Crush the garlic, union, turmeric, brown sugar and salt until they are finely pounded. Smear it to the fish. If you like, let it soaked for about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the banana leaf. Put it on the fire, but you must move it around to avoid the leaf from get burn. The procedure has purpose to make the leaf flexible and sterilized. Wipe it with a clean towel, after.
- Wash other ingredients. Slice the ginger, tomato, and large yellow union. Bruise and chop the citronella. Prepare the laurel and basil leaves, and hot chili pepper.
- Spread the processed banana leaf. Scatter a half of ginger, citronella, laurel and basil leaves, tomato, hot chili pepper, and large yellow union. Put the goldfish on it. Then scatter one more time the other ingredients.
- Wrap the fish. Tie it or pin it so it won’t open.
- Steam the fish for about four hours. Or, if you have an autoclave, you just need about 20 minutes.
- Steamed Goldfish is ready. Serve while it hot.
If you do not finish it up in once, no need to worry. Just put it in the refrigerator. And before you eat the fish again, heat it on the roasting. Or, after it is taken from the autoclave when you were cooking, roast it a while to avoid it get spoiled too soon.
There are many fishes in Surabaya water. But they are all sea fish (correct me if I am wrong). I do not really like it. Besides, I miss my mom’s cook. Okay, my plan if I go to Bandung someday, I will ask my mom to cook a steamed goldfish. Or if she cannot, let me do it. [Photo from KacangBandung.blogspot.com]