Friday, January 25, 2008

Tobogganing down Rigi + Ripping Rendang!

Downhill skiing seems dangerous and too fast, and requires clunky equipment. Whereas snow-shoe walking would involve a lot of uphill trudging -- my heart will not go on and on (unlike Celine Dion's).

Now how about sledding? It looks relatively safe and fun. I had always thought tobogganing was a tame sport for lily-livered wussies like me.



How wrong I was.

The tobogganing path on Mount Rigi, near where I live in Switzerland, was twisty with requisite speed bumps, which meant bumping along at hair-raising speeds while my other half tried to steer us away from the steep precipice on the left of the lane. There was no railing, just an itty-bitty bit of a snow bank, between us and the blankety-blank yonder way below. 'Braking' meant putting your heels in, and 'steering' was merely putting down your right heel if you wanted to go right.

After one particularly vicious bump, both of us fell off and my right shoulder joint was dislocated (old tennis injury, happens once in a while). After it clicked back in, we rested at the side for a bit before we continued our slip-sliding journey down the mountain.

I'm amazed Swiss parents let their wee children go down on their own toboggans. No doubt their light weight meant less momentum (unlike the hefty combined weight of my other half and me, ahem! Maybe we shouldn't have shared a toboggan, but the rental ain't cheap) but the steep bank on the left is always threatening to swallow up a few delicious, winter-fattened mortals.



Here are lovely diamonds. Bet you didn't know they grew on twigs, huh? ;-)












Anyhow, after coming down a snowy mountain, what's a welcome sight and taste is Rip-roaring Rendang. I've adapted Rohani Jelani's recipe in her 'Homestyle Malay Cooking' booklet to what's available here:

Had no dried chillies, so this Rendang Veal looks less reddish-brown (aside from unsuitable kitchen lighting).


500g lamb, veal, duck or chicken, sliced into bite-size pieces (I found beef too tough or took too long to soften)
3 tbs dessicated coconut, dry-fried on medium-low heat till golden brown
3-8 shallots (depending how big they are; they're HUGE here!), sliced (substitute: 2 onions)
2cm ginger root, sliced
2 (or more if you like it hot!) big red chillies, seeded and sliced
4 dried chillies, softened in hot water for 10 minutes (substitute: 1 tsp chilli powder)
150ml coconut cream
1 tbs sunflower seed oil or corn oil
2/3 tsp turmeric powder
3 stalks lemongrass, the fat part sliced, the remaining stalk trimmed and smashed lightly
1 small fennel, sliced or julienned (this is untraditional - for added flavour, bulk and texture)
3 kaffir lime leaves, torn
1 tbs dark brown sugar
sea salt to taste (about 1 to 1 1/2 tsp)

1. Pulse the shallots, ginger, chillies and sliced lemongrass, adding enough of coconut cream to make a thick paste.
2. Heat oil in a thick-bottomed non-stick saucepan till medium hot. Stirfry the shallot paste for 2 minutes. Add turmeric and smashed lemongrass stalks. Cook for 2 minutes.
3. Add sliced meat. Stir-fry for 5 minutes. Add sliced fennel.
4. Add rest of coconut cream. Cook on medium-low heat till meat is done and quite tender, and curry sauce is very thick (you're lucky if the timing of both coincide!). If curry is getting dry before meat is tender, add a bit of water.
5. When curry is thick and almost dry, add fried dessicated coconut, brown sugar, salt and kaffir lime leaves. Cook for another 5 minutes.
Serve hot with plain white rice. Mmmm!

:)

32 comments:

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

My goodness! You're such a brave, brave girl!! I don't have the guts to go tobogganing!!

Why no pics of rendang? :-D

Argus Lou said...

Not brave at all. I mistakenly thought it was tame, not being familiar with the steep paths of Mount Rigi. After the dislocation, I wouldn't sit in front -- no confidence to face another fall. Heh heh.

Voraciously ate up the not-so-dark-brown rendang before I remembered the darn camera! ;-P

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

You gotta hang out more often with me, girl! Will teach you the virtues of eating cold food. :-)

Kenny Mah said...

Oooh... I had the same experience (sorta) skiing in Austria. Nearly knocked my ski instructor (Manuel, you've met him, LL) and myself off the edge of the cliff completely.

And as for cold foods... bad, bad, bad LL. I'll take you out for a hot supper anytime. Don't listen to her, Argus. She's a bad influence.

*spanks the notty girl*

LOL

Argus Lou said...

Haha, Lyrical, I don't fancy eating cold food; get mad if the other half takes his time coming to the dining table. And if I'm paying good $ for restaurant cuisine, I sure would not wait till it's cold. ;-) Excepting sashimi and sushi, of course.

Kenny, to think we could've lost you to snowy canyons! The 'competition' around these here parts is how young the kids are who are knocked into by beginner foreigner-skiers. And, no, I won't listen to your fav fragrant 'bad girl'.

Xeus said...

He heh, I'm coming to visit you Argie baby, already booked my ticket to arrive Apr 14 and to go back Apr 17 on SIA. Hope I can get enough time off to come to your town.

Argus Lou said...

Ah, Xeus, only Monday to Thursday. No weekend to show you around. Hope your work doesn't take up too much time. Will you fly in and out of Zurich or Basel?

wonda said...

Dessicated coconut is one item I couldn't find on the shelves of the local supermarket here. I tried makingkerabu bee hoon but it tasted different without the dessicated coconut.
Anything to do with slopes whether hiking or skiing or tobogganning, no thanks, after I got rescued from being stuck between two high rocks once.

SteamyKitchen said...

LOVE the story and how it led to Rip Roaring Rendang! You are so gifted with words.

Argus Lou said...

Wonda, did you try looking at the baking ingredients shelf for dessicated coconut?

Thanks, Mrs Steamy. You're very kind.

bigfish_chin said...

Hi came over from Steamy Kitchen... You have a really nice blog!
Rip-roaring Rendang sounds great eh~

Argus Lou said...

Thanks, Bigfish. Your blog is pretty nice, too. Pity I can't find fresh Turmeric Root, Torch Ginger or Galangal here. Only dried curry leaves.

Xeus said...

Zurich, Argus. So far booked the KLM flight to Amsterdam, then connect to Zurich. Did you know MAS doesn't fly straight to Zurich anymore?

Argus Lou said...

Yep, it has fewer and fewer flights. And from Zurich you fly to Basel or take a train? I'm 15 minutes' drive from Lucerne and 35 minutes' train ride from Zurich.

WokandSpoon said...

I love tobogganing but I can't ski! That snow looks beautiful and yeah, where are the photos of the rendang!!!!

Argus Lou said...

WokandSpoon, thanks for coming by despite your busy schedule. I know a few Asian other halves here who are urged to learn to ski by their European partners, but they find progress hard-going.
My nieces can ski like cats though. :-)
Rendang picture when I make it again, this time using lamb or veal.

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Kenny's spreading vicious rumours about me. I have never heard of Manuel. :-P

We should put Kenny in a sushi roll and eat him up.

Argus Lou said...

You two, ah. Cannot leave you guys alone for several months.
Don't forget to cut the Kenny sushi roll with a sharp knife before digging in.
(Oh, you bad gurl, now you've set me off craving sushi!)

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

We don't need to dig into Kenny with a sharp knife. *wink wink*

Argus Lou said...

LL, hah? What ah? This type of food must be 'cordon blur'... since I don't get it.

Cynthia said...

"...lily-livered wussies like me." - had me on the floor! :D

Argus Lou said...

Hi, Cynthia! Glad to sport some entertainment value. ;-)
The other day, I met a young woman from Guyana who looks Indian but whose great-grandfather was Chinese.

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Argus, you need a twisted mangled mind like mine to be able to get it. Or maybe it's becoz I dunno how to tell a joke. Sigh.

Argus Lou said...

No, I'm merely blur like calamari, Lemongrass. ;-)

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Wah lau...your rendang looks damn cun lar. No need to come back to Malaysia lar. You stay put where you are. :-P

Argus Lou said...

Thanks. But, but, but I wanna eat dark-brown-looking rendang, Lyrical.

wonda said...

Oooooh, sedap! I cepat-cepat mari. I always use the instant Maggi rendang powder and go without the dessicated coconut. Must go back to replenish the rendang powder. The local supermarkets nearby my place don't sell dessicated coconut. Maybe people here hardly use them for cakes, etc... You'll be surprised that I can hardly get baked beans here too. Only recently I saw a supermarket selling it (Tesco brand) but quite expensive. There are only a handful of hypermarkets here due to land shortage.

Argus Lou said...

Wonda, you don't need 'rendang powder' if you follow this recipe and you have fresh kaffir lime leaves.
^_^

WokandSpoon said...

YUM! The rendang looks good!!! How did your raspberry white choc muffins turn out????

Argus Lou said...

Thanks, W&S. Made 'Ugly White Choc, Leftover Orange Choc, Cranberry' soft cookies instead, adapted from Sour Cream Hermits from the book 'Big, Soft, Chewy Cookies' coz I had some sour cream in the fridge. ;-)
Kitchen is unpredictable!

wonda said...

Happy Chinese New Year, Argus! Eh, masak apa untuk tahun baru Cina?

Argus Lou said...

Thanks. Happy Chinese New Year to you, too, Wonda.
Will probably make Fish, Prawn & Pineapple Curry, biryani rice, pickled julienned carrots and celery head with scallions and chilli.
Might turn out a bit different -- let's see what's fresh in the supermarket. ^_^

My old living-room

My old living-room
In Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

A cherished dream

A cherished dream
To live on a pale beach by a crystal clear sea. (This was taken on the east coast of Johor state, Malaysia.)

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