Indonesian Rice Tamales & Asian Romaine Spring Rolls

Anytime I reach for The Millennium Cookbook I know it’s going to be a long day in the kitchen. For this reason, it has been one of the least used cookbooks in the collection Jaime and I have amassed over the years. With the last recipe I made coming out pretty good without too much trouble, I picked it up again. This time, the recipes I picked out were a bit more complicated. Jaime thought I was crazy to even attempt these, but suffered through the cooking with me and enjoyed the results.

For a starter, we tried to make Asian Romaine Spring Rolls with Sesame-Lime Dressing. We used mango instead of papaya  (just because it’s far better) and oranges in place of kumquats (not available). Also, we were in the kitchen for probably four hours before we remembered the lotus root garnish, so that was skipped. The results were not so much “rolls” as they appear in the picture in the book. It was more like a really delicious salad made into some sort of burrito. If you are going to make this recipe,  just make it into a salad and save yourself the trouble of even trying the rolls.

For the main course,  Indonesian Rice Tamales with Carrot-Lemongrass Sauce and Caramelized Pineapple Salsa. These were pretty much made as the recipe instructed. The “fermented” black beans we used were found in the Asian market. They were labeled as “5 Spice Black Beans,” despite having only 3 spices and no mention of being fermented. Not 100% sure they were the same thing, but they definitely had a fermented, miso-like taste and seemed to do the trick. If you can’t find them, you could probably use miso. The construction of the tamales was quite a bit of work:

Very tasty stuff. I was a little skeptical about the carrot sauce, but we followed through and it worked very well. Probably the best piece was the Caramelized Pineapple Salsa. DO NOT skip this. If you’re going through the trouble to make this meal, go all out.  Make the effort – you won’t regret it. The flavors were all over the place – earthy sweet carrots, slightly spicy and tropical favors coming from the salsa and wonderful toasty sesame-lime flavors in the tamales. So what to drink with this? Wandering through the the local beer store, Jaime spotted this. The lime blossoms and Belgian spices seemed a perfect match.  I think it was an awesome complement to the meal, but probably a little weird on its own. It has some of the traditional Belgian strong ale spicy, phenolic flavor that I am not a huge fan of, but it has a lighter body and a more complex fruity flavor than similar Belgian ales. Overall, I think this all came together incredibly well.

3 Responses

  1. Jaime

    Brett left out details regarding the venue where this was eaten. It was hot as &*%$ in our house all summer. Our window a/c unit sat forlornly on our guest room floor. Brett decided that putting it in the window was too much effort, so we just sweated to death and laid awake for nights on end. He is that stubborn. Finally, on a saturday morning in late August, Brett announces, “hey, want to put in the AC?” It took two seconds. So we finally had one room in our house that didn’t induce heat stroke, and we ate this meal picnic-style on the bedroom floor. To think we could have been comfortable all summer long….

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