All posts for the day February 22nd, 2011

Vegetables with Peanut Sauce (Pecel)_Indonesia

Published February 22, 2011 by lily191

Pecel is a traditional meal from one town in East Java, Madiun. It made from different vegetables and serve with peanut sauce and warm plain rice (nasi putih). And usually accompany with some rice flour cracker (rempeyek). In reality Pecel has a lot of version such as pecel Blitar, Nganjuk, Kediri, Ponorogo, and Madiun. Although the substance has no difference with others, but each has its uniqueness.

Category: Vegetables
Difficulty: Medium
Cooking time: 45 – 60 minutes
Ingredients :
200 g peanut, peeled and fried (or you can use peanut butter)

Spice Paste :
– 2 cloves of garlic

– 2 red chillies, seeded and fried

– 5 eye’s bird chillies, seeded and fried (you can add more if you wish to)

– 5 cm kencur (also known as kaempferia galangal), peel off the skin

– 1 tablespoon dried prawn paste (terasi)

– 7 kaffir lime leafs

– 2 tablespoon tamarind mixed and squeeze with 100 ml lukewarm water and drain.

– 50 g palm sugar or more if you like more sweet taste

– 1 tsp sugar

Additional Ingredients
– 100 g bean sprouts, cleaned

– 100 g spinach, cut

– 100 cabbage, shredded

Directions Nasi Pecel
1. Fry garlic and the chillies. Set aside. And then grind or blend together with the rest of ingredients of spice paste. Add the fried peanut. Continue blending to make it smooth.

2. Add some of warm water to make the sauce thicken

3. Cook all the vegetables. Set aside.

4. Serve: Arrange the vegetables, and then pour with the peanut sauce. Serve with plain rice (nasi putih), crispy rice flour cracker (rempeyek), fried egg, fried soyabean cake (tahu & tempe) and cucumber.

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Published February 22, 2011 by lily191

Gamelan is a term for various types of orchestra played in Indonesia. It is the main element of the Indonesian traditional music. Each gamelan is slightly different from the other; however, they all have the same organization, which based on different instrumental groups with specific orchestral functions. The instruments in a gamelan are composed of sets of tuned bronze gongs, gong-chimes, metallophones, drums, one or more flute, bowed and plucked string instruments, and sometimes singers. In some village gamelan, bronze is sometimes replaced by iron, wood, or bamboo. The most popular gamelan can be found in Java, and Bali.

The Beliefs
In Indonesian traditional thinking, the gamelan is sacred and is believed to have supernatural power. Both musician and non-musicians are humble and respectful to the gamelan. Incense and flowers are often offered to the gamelan. It is believed that each instrument in the gamelan is guided by spirits. Thus, the musician have to take off their shoes when they play the gamelan. It is also forbidden to step over any instrument in a gamelan, because it might offend the spirit by doing so. Some gamelan are believed to have so much powers that playing them may exert power over nature. Others may be touched only by persons who are ritually qualified. In Javanese gamelan, the most important instrument is the Gong Ageng. The Javanese musicians believe that Gong Ageng is the main spirit of the entire gamelan.

Functions of Gamelan
Gamelan is a way of linking individuals in social groups. Gamelan music is performed as a group effort, and so there is no place for an individual showoff. Traditionally, gamelan is only played at certain occasions such as ritual ceremonies, special community celebrations, shadow puppet shows, and for the royal family. Gamelan is also used to accompany dances in court, temple, and village rituals. Besides providing music for social functional ceremonies, gamelan also provides a livelihood for many professional musicians, and for specialized craftsmen who manufacture gamelan.

Today, although gamelan music is still used for ritual ceremonies and the royal family, it is also performed as concert music at social and cultural gatherings to welcome guests and audiences. Gamelan is also used to accompany many kinds of both traditional and modern dances, drama, theatrical and puppetry. In modern days, gamelan can be kept in places such as courts, temples, museums, schools, or even private homes.

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Picture Credit: Dr. George (Jim) Henry (above)