Red is our color

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Today is moslem new year’s day. It kinda remind me of what our family had during the last holiday of Ied Al Adh.

Our family from my husband’s side (The Bucharis) got special groove that always create dynamic interactions and palate sensations on any meet and greet events.

A few weeks ago, moslems around the world celebrate Ied Al Adh holiday. One of the main idea was about being grateful, living modest and share something to the unfortunate ones. That “something” could be “some meat”, on Islam world known as Qurban.

A goat / mutton or A cow or A water buffalo mercifully slaughtered in the name of Allah, and we give away the meat to people in need.

Since my blog is all about food and culture, you must be waiting for all delicious pictures. Okay, here we go.

In the Buchari family, like any large family, we have what we call “the family cook”. She is usually an aunt or a grandma blessed with magical hands. She made the best version of family’s favorite menus, although the other aunts and mothers practically good at it too. She is the best, period.

"Dok Mami" is what we called her, the cook in the family (left) with my mother in law (right)

“Dok Mami” is what we called her, the cook in the family (left) with my mother in law (right)

The Bucharis in holidays; everybody was catching up with the current what a bouts while waiting for the next rounds of eating

The Bucharis in holidays; everybody was catching up with the current what a bouts while waiting for the next rounds of eating

The Bucharis in holiday; talkative and cheery

The Bucharis in holiday; talkative and cheery

There was always somebody lingering near the table where plates of food on display

There were always somebody lingered near the table where plates of food on display

Red is the prominent color in Bucharis dining table; we sure love our chilies in heritage recipes

Red is the prominent color in Bucharis dining table; we sure love our chilies in heritage recipes

"Dendeng (kering) Balado" is the speciality of Dok Mami's. She's the expert making delicate thin and crunchy squares of beef jerky.

“Dendeng (kering) Balado” is the speciality of Dok Mami’s. She’s the expert in making delicate thin and crunchy squares of beef jerky with red chilly sambal. It is our family’s favorite savory dish.

"Balado Ikan Bilis" dried anchovy-like fish in red chili sambal with stinky bean

“Balado Ikan Bilis” dried anchovy-like fish in red chili sambal with stinky bean

Thinly sliced and crispy potato chips seasoned with special mix of sambal

Thinly sliced and crispy potato chips seasoned with special mix of sambal. Salty, spicy and crunchy as side dish with plain white rice

Not that pretty looking beef rendang but equally delicious

Not that pretty looking beef rendang but equally delicious

Delicate strings of cucumber in simple syrups with ice cubes. A soothing dessert after all those spicy dish.

Delicate strings of cucumber in simple syrups with ice cubes. A soothing dessert after all those spicy dish.

Or for the daring ones, a sweetened and fermented purple sticky rice as dessert

Or for the daring ones, a sweetened and fermented purple sticky rice as dessert

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Uda Denai (Jalan Tambak, Manggarai, Central Jakarta)

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This is, "a hole in the wall"- type restaurant. A step away from the main road Jalan Tambak.

This is, “a hole in the wall”- type restaurant. A step away from the main road Jalan Tambak.

No parking spaces at all, only fit for bicycle or motorcycle

No parking spaces at all, only fit for bicycle or motorcycle

The traffic noise, dust and smoke create "in a rush" and rustic ambiance

The flow of traffic create dynamic background for the plate display

Uni (Elder sister) Denai, preparing my rendang to go. The beef rendang is incredibly delicious, wholesome spiciness and rich taste of the rendang's sauce

Uni (Elder sister) Denai, preparing my rendang to go. The beef rendang is incredibly delicious, wholesome spiciness and rich taste of the rendang’s sauce

My lunch for that day; grilled chicken and fried lung with rice plus sambal ijo and sambal merah

My lunch for that day; grilled chicken and fried lung with rice plus sambal ijo and sambal merah

The grilled chicken taste perfectly balanced, not too salty like most cheap padangnese food. The fried lung cooked exactly the way I like it; crunchy with a little bit of chewiness, also seasoned with restraint.

The grilled chicken taste perfectly balanced, not too salty like most cheap padangnese food. The fried lung cooked exactly the way I like it; crunchy with a little bit of chewiness, also seasoned with restraint.

 

This is, intact the cheap food with expensive flavor.

Uni and Uda Denai have special hands that magically turn humble or cheap cut of meat into delicious cuisine. The balanced seasoning and restrain with enough punch to give you kick in the right spot are the strength of this restaurant.

If you come with a car, you can park in the Kelurahan office nearby. Just park and ask permission to the security guard there while slipping a five thousand rupiahs into his hand. And then you walk back to the joint about 200 meters.

After eating there, don’t forget bring some rendang to go. Put them in the fridge overnight. The next day, smash the meat into smaller pieces or strands. Then reheat the meat and sauces on non stick pan, add sambal merah or smashed chili. Cook them untill the color turn darker, or as you like. The perfect condiment for white rice or rice porridge or steamed bun or regular sandwich bread.

Guess what? This time I did it! (successful attempt deconstructing rendang flavor, my way)

Mi Kuah Sapi Poyah by Mayang
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If you are regular to norecipejuststory blog, then you must know that I can’t follow recipe to cook (hence the blog’s name).

My style of cooking is to wing it. No measurements, just follow my intuition and my taste buds. Most of the time, I produce average meal that eatable and suitable for daily menu. When holiday or ceremonial day come, I’m getting nervous badly. I know, I don’t have the patience to cook a whole set of feast meal. So, I winged it and this was what I came up with.

Ied day or Lebaran in bahasa in my family and the in laws require special set of menu that become tradition every year.

My mum’s menu for Lebaran day were: Sayur Pepaya Muda Ebi (Shredded unripe papaya in spicy coconut milk soup with dried shrimp), Gulai Ayam (Chicken curry with Sundanese twist), Rendang (her version of Beef Rendang) and Sambal goreng hati – udang – petai  (Shrimp-beef liver- stinky bean stir fry in chili sauce).

While my mother in law’s menu were: Gulai itik lado mudo (Padangnese version of green duck curry: green color came from green chili paste), Tauco Udang (Shrimp and tofu in salty fermented liquid been sauce and chilies), Gulai Pepaya Muda (Julienned unripe papaya in coconut milk and turmeric soup), Rendang kering (her version of Beef Rendang).

You can click on each text to access one version of it recipe. Not our family’s recipe, just to give better description. Oh, some of the recipe in bahasa, so you can use Google translator if needed.

So, whats the common dish between two family? Yes Beef Rendang. Although my mother’s style very different than my mother in law’s, beef rendang still a crowd pleaser. That’s why, I racked my brain out to make something very simple yet with the flavor of rendang.

The final result is, I make something I called Mi Siram Sapi Poyah.

Its basically boiled noodle or any other type of long pasta ( I made mine fresh by the way), with very-very beefy broth (extra shredded beef were added in the broth); tomato, celery and lime salsa, fried tofu and spicy toasted coconut sprinkles (made from freshly shredded coconut). Also a creamy peanut based chili sambal for extra heat.

I know it may look too simple to mimic the complex beef rendang, but somehow it worked. The flavor and fragrant of rendang came from the spicy toasted coconut.

I’m adding rendang wet paste (i winged my mother recipe) and the powdered ones to a freshly shredded coconut, mix them well on a non stick pan without using oil. It takes quite some time until all the coconut absorb the paste and toasted, change color, dried out and became sprinkleable.

English: Rendang, beef cooked in spices and co...

English: Rendang, beef cooked in spices and coconut milk. 日本語: ルンダン(牛肉とスパイスをココナッツミルクで2時間煮込む) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of my food critic is my husband. When he said my beefy noodle tasty and remind him with rendang, then he add more noodles to his bowl, I know I succeed this time. Ooh the sweet taste of victory…..

The unique fact is that the broth are so beefy and tasty, anyone who ate one portion keep adding more noodles to  the remains of the broth on the bottom of their bowl.

Deconstructed Rendang and Ketupat: Mi Kuah Sapi Poyah

Deconstructed Rendang and Ketupat: Mi Kuah Sapi Poyah

It tasted very beefy, light and fresh but also spicy and herby similar to rendang.

It so easy to make. I’m making this dish in my holiday menu.

“Warung Padang” spreading wisdom of spice, one small plate at a time

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Warung Padang, is a generic term for Padangnese style restaurant. In my opinion, this is one of Indonesia‘s authentic entrepreneurship in culinary. Traditionally, Warung Padang operates like a well oiled chained or franchise  restaurants. This phenomena exist preceding McDonald, KFC, Pizza Hut or any western brand offering greasy food.

Padangnese community known for their business appetite and genetically inherit tradesman attitude. While Islam influenced heavily to the West Sumatran culture, their philosophy transform into more down to earth principles and fairness. Although we called it Padang restaurant after Padang city the capitol of West Sumatra province, but most of the cooking style and classic meal available at these restaurant were native to Bukit tinggi, Solok, Payakumbuh and Padang pariaman. Those are the adjacent cities to Padang and rich in culinary culture. But the community seem didn’t mind with generic labeling, hence increase their popularity by sharing similar identity as Warung Padang.

Pointy architectural feature is classic sign for Padang restaurant, mimic their ethnic house “Rumah Gadang”

Rumah Gadang, the inspiration

When we come to any restaurant that has the title “….. Padang” (the dots can be replaced with WarungRestoranRumah Makan or just RM.  They all means the same: a place to eat) or with significant display of stacked plates of food on the window, you will get similar experience.

After you get a sit, no body will give you the menu card or even ask what do you want to eat. A man or two suddenly approaching your table with small plates of food arranged attractively on top of their upper and lower arm. Fast and almost acrobatically, he will transfer all the plates to your table. All of sudden your dining table will get crowded with mini plates consist of colorful dishes. No fancy dining etiquette here, just the basic rule: no double dipping, don’t touch the food with your finger if you don’t going to eat them, pick only the food you want to eat and pay the same way. Using both hands are recomended, than spoon and fork. If you think you want more than one small plates, you can ask the staff member. Those experience can be expected from all Warung Padang at all over the world. In the most expensive ones at five star hotel or high end malls; and at the wet traditional market in the middle of no where, they have the same structure.

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Spicy aromatic dishes on mini plates (high end restaurant with air conditioned room)

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Similar dishes, equally delicious on more humble table setting (nearby traditional market)

Structure in managing business, which emphasized in sense of ownership between the member of staff. Without mambo jambo management terms or economy fancy words, all of the staff share ownership of the restaurant. The capital owner is the one or several people who use their money to start the business. He is the first liner of ownership. The second one are the cook and cook assistant. These men (yes, Warung Padang almost always consist of men very seldom women), are acting the operational manager who direct and guide their business in daily basis. The cook decides how many produce and raw ingredients should be bought for a day, in the sense they also predict how much they’ll earn money for that day.

The third liner are the shopper or Toke, they responsible for buying all of the groceries needed by the cook and document the cash flow. Next are the Tukang Sanduak or the spoon man. Sanduak means spoon, so his job is about plating and portion. He runs the front part of the restaurant where all the food are neatly stacked and displayed for the customer. The spoon man must follow the direction from the cook about portion, in plating rice or other dish, or else they won’t get the income predicted. After plating in mini plates tapas style, the middle man or Bahagian Tengah will organize them on his hand in acrobatic manner. The goal was to be efficient and deliver all the food needed by customer. So minimizing the walking distance, walking frequency and chaotic people crossing between the tables. Cleaning the table also part for middle man’s job, since he is in charge of the middle part of the restaurant. The washer or tukang cuci are the starting rank and he have to deal with dirty dishes for a certain period of time. The cashier usually share the front part of restaurant with the spoon guy, but not all people can be selected as cashier. He must be proven honest and meticulous in counting money and charging people.

Just like any other high reputable company, Warung Padang management also got their audit regularly. Daily audit always held to calculate their gross income and compose menu (the quantity and quality) for the next day. The cashier can’t corrupt the money, because then the cook will know if his prediction on income are missed. So there are check and re check mechanism, mimic self audit activity in corporate live. Every three months or after 100 workdays, they held a big meeting. On this forum all staff member can share and discus about everything, mainly related to the business. People got promotions, sanction even fired during this event. Since there are no real employer and employee line, the staff will give their best effort and thinking to make sure their restaurant will make profit. Because, when the restaurant got profit everybody will taste the money according to their shares proportion. That means, the staff experiencing their own performa first hand through the amount of money they received. When they all as a team doing good job, the customer are satisfied and coming back for second transaction or more, they will get more money, and vice versa. In the end, Warung Padang also create a working environment with sustainable correcting system. If one staff member being lazy or making the customer angry, he must face not only the owner but the rest of the crew too.

make the phrase ‘an arms length’ felt crowded with plates

stacked of plates of food for window display, very typical for Warung Padang

See the display, find what you like and hear your stomach growling seeing delicious food

When the Starbucks highly praised about making partner relationship rather than traditional employer-employee with their barristers, Warung Padang already doing it decades ago. So, next time you go to eat Beef Rendang or Chicken Curry or Prawn Crackers at Padang restaurant, appreciate the people who serve you. They aren’t just your waiter, they all are business owner.

Resources:

http://sosbud.kompasiana.com/2010/03/21/manajemen-rumah-makan-padang/

http://ekonomi.kompasiana.com/bisnis/2010/02/28/manajemen-rumah-makan-padang/

http://umum.kompasiana.com/2010/04/17/“rahasia-dapur”-rumah-makan-padang/

http://muhammadalfisyahrin.blogspot.com/2010/05/warung-padang-semi-waralaba-dan.html

http://www.bloggerborneo.com/mengambil-manfaat-dari-manajemen-rumah-makan-padang

http://radjanusantara.blogspot.com/2007/12/dahsyatnya-rumah-makan-padang.html