Chef Wina’s Gulai Ikan

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Homecooking lover Chef Wina Bissett shares with us a recipe for an easy yet amazingly tasty Indonesian classic dish of gulai ikan or fish curry to share with family and friends.

Gulai is everyone’s favorite dish because it has a lot of spice and goes very well with a plate of fluffy warm rice. The aroma alone is enough to bring people together, with plates in their hands.

“For this recipe, I use white snapper because it’s a common fish that would be easy to get wherever you are,” said Chef Wina. She also replaced some of the spices with simpler ones, so people can easily get them anywhere.

“As with any other gulai, the broth is an important element. For a perfect broth, coconut milk is crucial,” she said. Wina has successfully transformed herself from a passionate foodie to a kitchen professional and self-made cookbook author. From her point of view, everyone can, and should, cook.

Wina never had any formal culinary education, but she does have a deep love for food. When she lived in Australia and the UK, she spent most of her money on food. She had also went backpacking around Europe and explored the rich variety of cuisines there. From cheap eateries to Michelin-star restaurants, she wanted to get the experience of the best places to eat.

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Wina started cooking after she got married. After giving birth to her first child in 2011, she decided to become a full-time housewife. One day, she was bored and went to a kitchenware shop in Kemang, bought a mixer and started to bake. That’s how it all started.

The next year, she wrote her first cookbook about home food, Masakan Rumah Wina Bissett; the book was published in 2013. She continued with her second book about cookies and cakes and a third one about Indonesian home cooking recipes.

With three cookbooks under her belt, she is preparing her fourth one as well as her own cooking studio in Cikajang in South Jakarta.

Wina describe her food as honest with simple and easy-to- follow cooking techniques.

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WHITE SNAPPER CURRY

INGREDIENTS:

400 gr Whole white snapper
2 tbs Olive oil
1 tsp Coriander
4 cm Turmeric
4 cm Ginger
3 Garlic cloves
4 Shallots
3 Candlenuts
4 Red chilies
3 Jalapeno chilies
2 Bay leaves
4 Kaffir lime leaves
1 Lemongrass stalk, bruised
750 ml Water
250 ml Coconut milk
1 Tomato, cut into wedges
To taste Salt, sugar, kemangi leaf

STEPS

• In food processor, grind shallots, garlic, ginger, turmeric, red chilies, candlenuts, and water until smooth.

• Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into cast iron pan on high heat. Once the oil is hot, turn it down to medium heat. Fry the spice paste, bay

leaves, kaffir lime leaves, and lemongrass until cooked but not burned.

• Add the water, mix well, bring to the boil. Add the fish. Add coconut milk, keep stirring. Add salt and sugar. Close the lid to cook.

• Open the lid and stir it until the sauce has thickened. There is no need to flip the fish. Add red jalapeno chilies, tomato, and kemangi leaves, stir. Serve hot.

 

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Written by Andre Arditya Photographs by Dennie Ramon June 20, 2017.

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