INDONESIAN LABU SIAM TUMIS (CHAYOTES IN COCONUT MILK)
Although you love coconut milk, it's too rich to enjoy by itself. It's why there are Pina Coladas, and that's why you'll love labu Siam tumis, which translates into "chayotes in coconut milk." Chayotes absorb the rich coconut taste and seasonings for a luscious-tasting side dish. There are some ingredients that are tough to find, but the substitutes will work and still delight.*
1 16 oz can coconut milk
1 tofu block, chopped into half-inch cubes
6 shallots, trimmed and chopped
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Thai or bird's-eye chilies
1/8 cup macadamia nuts, chopped (or candlenuts,
if you can find them)
3 tbs cooking oil
1 bay leaf
1 tbs ginger, minced (or galangal, if you can find it)
2 tsp sugar (palm sugar, if you can find it)
salt and pepper to taste
Yield: 6 servings.
Prep time: 30 minutes plus an additional 30 minutes of cooking/baking
1. Put tofu cubes in a large bowl and cover with coconut milk. Put aside.
*Asian recipes will often allow recipes to be more "watery" in order to flavor the rice that they are topping.
**Try the chayote seed before discarding. You may like its nutlike taste.