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Indonesian puffed beef skin curry (Sambal goreng krecek)

I was staying at the fabulous Amata Boutique Resort and had the opportunity to try this sambal on the elaborate breakfast buffet. I love the textures and flavours and had to ask Chef Cornel to teach me the recipe.

The curry is made with very traditional Javanese ingredients found mostly in the Eastern part of the island, including krecek, a puffy fried beef skin. The skin is dried and then deep-fried into soft pillows that are delicious. You can also substitute puffy fried tofu for a vegetarian version or chicken livers for another local variant.

This is a lovely, vibrant, and spicy curry. The flavours pop, and the curry is filled with delicious soft, puffy beef skin pieces.

For more recipes from Zafar, click here.


2 tablespoons oil

6 garlic cloves

12-14 shallots, kept whole

5-6 candlenuts or hazelnuts

12-18 red chillies, or to taste

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon oil

4 2-inch stems lemongrass, lightlt=y bruised

1 tablespoon ginger paste

1 tablespoon galangal, slivered

4 cups water

Salt, to taste

3 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon white pepper

1 teaspoon MSG

2 teaspoons mushroom powder or 3 dried shiitake mushrooms ground finely

2 teaspoons palm sugar

1/2cup coconut milk

1 packed (1/2 lb) pre-fried beef skin

20 sugar snap peas

Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the garlic, shallots, candlenuts, and chillies. Fry on low until the onions are soft but not coloured. Cool and grind to a very smooth paste in a blender with the water. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a pot or wok. Add the paste, lemongrass, ginger, and galangal. Fry until the paste is thickened and the oil begins to float to the surface. The paste will turn a nice red colour.

Add the water and bring it to a boil. Add the rest of the ingredients except the beef skins and snow peas and cook for 20 minutes on a slow simmer until you have a thick curry with oil floating on the surface in small pools.

Add the beef skins and mix well. Simmer for 10 minutes until the skins have absorbed the curry and turned soft. Adjust the water as needed. Add the sugar snap peas.

Serve hot with rice.

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