Tag Archives: Spanish

Halal ham is broadening horizons (via DW.com)

Tasting authentic Spanish ham is often a key part of any tourist’s visit to Spain. But it’s a treat observant Muslims – who don’t eat pork – have been unable to enjoy. Now, though, that’s about to change.

A picture of Faysal Mrad Dali with his cured products

Deep in the mountains of southwest Spain, a is underway. Music from traditional Spanish guitars fills the air in the town of Cumbres Mayores, in the heart of Spain’s most authentic ham-producing region. Fat black pigs roam free, eating acorns scattered all around the area.

“Curing ham goes back to the 17th century here. We worship the patron saint of pig slaughterers, San Antón,” explains Jesus Sanchez Vazquez, the councilman in charge of cultural affairs. The town, which is 700 meters (2296.5) above sea level, boasts the qualities needed to perfectly dry and cure the ham, known as “jamon iberico de bellota.”

“It melts in your mouth, it’s so smooth. It tastes and smells like the countryside here,” he says proudly.

Ham for Muslims?

But that’s a taste that Muslims, like local resident Faysal Mrad Dali, will never be able to experience.

A picture of so called Halal Ham curing.
Meat is cured for the traditional six months

“The first time I came with my family to Spain, to Andalusia, I said, ‘Why don’t the Muslims have this?'”

So he set out to create it. Dali moved from Belgium to Cumbres Mayores a few years ago, and started making Spain’s first halal ham – which is actually lamb and sometimes beef.

The animals are slaughtered according to Muslim tradition, and the meat is cured in the most traditional Spanish method, for a minimum of six months, just like pork. Dali uses fresh local spices, including thyme, paprika and oregano.

Cross-cultural history

At his factory, Dali proudly shows off the racks of cured lamb legs, lamb pate and beef sausages. He slices some to taste. It looks and tastes exactly like pork, which is his goal, but also a potential problem. Some Muslims might refuse to believe this isn’t pork, so all of Dali’s products have a huge halal certification sticker on the packaging.

A picture and selection of Halal ham curing the factory.
In a taste test, many people think that ‘Halal ham’ tastes similar to pork

He sells his products online in Spain and across Europe, including at restaurants near Granada’s Alhambra, the palace of Muslim kings who ruled Spain in the Middle Ages.

“Spain has a very strong Islamic history,” explains Bilal Domah, the director of the annual Halal Tourism Conference, held last year in Spain. “Over the last few years, there has been a big growth in Muslim tourists. And when it comes to tourism, food has a real role to play in promoting that tourism.”

Pushing the boundaries

Domah says halal tourism is a nearly $200-billion market (184.6 billion euros), and it’s pushing the boundaries of traditional Muslim products around the world.

“For example, at the conference there was a company showcasing halal champagne. And that actually took off quite well! A lot of people were trying it, tasting it, apparently it tastes very similar to the real thing.”

Spanish ham being sliced.
Spain is famous for its food

A crazy idea?

Halal products like Dali’s lamb “ham” are one way Spain is accommodating an influx of Muslim tourists, many of them Gulf Arabs with money to spend in Spain’s crisis-hit economy. But Dali says at first, he got some strange looks in this traditional, rural corner of Spain.

“I came here and I found I am the only Muslim in the village. People say, ‘es un poco loco’, he’s a bit crazy!”

But he didn’t take heed about what people might think, and set out to pursue his goal.

“This has been a dream for me, as a Muslim. I’m living and making my product in a region where have a history of living and eating together for centuries.”

And they can carry on doing so, it seems, with the help of halal ham and also kosher ham, another new product on the market made from duck or goose. Both products are helping traditional Spanish ways of cooking reach an ever wider market.

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Taken from DW.com

Food Event: Spanish Flare Fiesta (Hotel Borobudur, Jakarta)

Hotel Borobudur Jakarta akan meluncurkan promosi masakan Spanyol dimulai dari 11 Mei – 17 Mei 2015.

Bekerja sama dengan Kedutaan Spanyol di Indonesia, Hotel Borobudur Jakarta dengan bangga mengundang juru masak tamu dari Spanyol yang akan berkolaborasi bersama tim hotel.

Sesuai dengan keahlian serta pengalaman mereka, para chef ini akan menyajikan berbagai hidangan Spanyol seperti Tortilla de patatas, Paella de arroz, Fabada Asturiana, Croquetas dan banyak lagi. Semua ini tersedia untuk makan siang dan makan malam dengan harga Rp. 328,000++ / pax.

Untuk informasi lebih lanjut atau reservasi, silakan menghubungi 021-380.5555 ext. 73400/73402

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HOTEL BOROBUDUR
Address: Jalan Lapangan Banteng Selatan no. 1, Jakarta – Indonesia

How It Was Started: Churros

Who doesn’t love churro? Formed like a shooting star as described in children storybook; churro is shaped long (and bigger, abroad), crispy on the outer, a bit chewy inside that will make you instantly remember donut, and all those majestic sauces that complement this Spanish doughnut really nicely.

The churros fever probably started like a few years ago in Indonesia, thanks to a local chain restaurant that brought it, however, despite the on and off popularity in Indonesia, the seemingly simple snack has its way written in history although never clear with its origin.

Some say that the Spanish shepherds from the mountainous Andalusia invented it, but I’d like to think that many European during the High Medieval era were pretty much absorbing any kind of information and technology from their neighboring Muslim countries or as far away as the Chinese Empire through their ever-wandering sailors and traders.

Churros from Bengawan, Keraton at The Plaza - Jakarta
Churros from Bengawan, Keraton at The Plaza – Jakarta

First we have to see the possible explanation about the origin of the famous cakwe or youtiao here in Indonesia. We’d think right away that the Chinese immigrants brought these lovely snack to our archipelago many many years ago. And by many many years ago, I mean during the height of exploration age of the Ming Empire. Although it is also never unclear here about when and how these cakwes ever get here, but let us see the Ming Empire policy also in those days.

Portuguese sailors arrived at this massive Far East empire during roughly the same age. They discovered an interesting dish called youtiao but never really knew how it was made and the knowledge was limited only to the basic ingredient of this dish – flour. On how they manually stretch the dough and reached the characteristics as we all know from cakwe / youtiao, they never really knew.

Some say that during those days, capital punishment was harshly regulated for those who gave any information about the empire, including this ridiculously simple recipe. The Portuguese sailors returned to Iberia and began the craze about how to make this stuff, in their own interpretation.

However, it was actually the conquistadors who ultimately popularized the dish upon their bloody, savage conquests in America. Safe to say, sometimes I found churros become more popular in Latin America countries than in Spain itself.

Also, regarding the technique itself that differentiates clearly from the Chinese way, is the use of this device where the dough is inserted into it and squeezed all the way through a tube until it became stretched. All before making its way to the deep-fry hot pool.

It is an interesting take of youtiao, but if you compare it with how it is actually less dense and airy texture when it comes to the original recipe, churro becomes the clear opposite to that. Sometimes the outer part may be equally crispy or even crispier, but the use of star tube to shape the churro is also what makes it intriguing and good looking.

The sauces become the vital part for churro as well. Some inserted liquid chocolate inside the dough, but many use dipping sauce of many kinds. From white chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and dulce de leche; or even the fruity and savory version by using guava or melted cheese; you name it. Each country has specifically their own style on how to serve this delicacy and some even turn it into breakfast dish also!

Churros from Churreria, Jakarta
Churros from Churreria, Jakarta

So, how about you? It’s always cakwe at the end of the day for me but a little bit of sweet now and then from the chocolate and caramel for churros wouldn’t hurt, right?

Enjoy your snacking time!

Culinary Trends: Jakarta (Let’s Eat Magazine, Jan 2014)

Let's Eat Magazine - Culinary Trends from Jakarta

Trends come in and out but Dominique Ansel’s famous
creation of Cronuts – a portmanteau of croissant and
donut, have been all the rage in Jakarta recently. Pastry
shops from restaurants, hotels, and even supermarkets now
serve Cronuts as a must-have item in their establishments,
much as red velvet cake and rainbow cake were all the
rage back in 2012.

Another hip thing in Jakarta, aside from the appearance
of more casual French restaurants and Spanish tapas bars,
is the fondness for anything molecular. yes, there are one
or two restaurants and several chefs who became the
ardent patrons of this technique, but what’s catchier is the
emergence of liquid nitrogen-based ice cream parlours in
Jakarta’s hippest malls around. The steamy process during which this ice cream is created draws a steady crowd,
and in just under five minutes, a scoop of ice cream
is freshly made!

2013 was also the year of udon. Although ramen
shops from Japan have appeared everywhere during
the past couple of years, people are getting into
udon instead nowadays, with its chewy texture, sweet
yet savoury soup, and showering of fresh scallions.
Do sample these exciting creations whenever you’re
in J-Town!

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Featured in Let’s Eat Magazine Jan 2014 edition

Download the magazine here

The Hispanic Culinary Trail in Jakarta (Linked, November 2013)

  • TAPAS MOVIDA

Tapas Movida - Outdoor

What

Salah satu dari sedikit restoran khas Spanyol yang berspesialisasi dengan berbagai hidangan tapas di Jakarta.

Why

Budaya mengobrol santai sembari bersantap tapas menjadi sebuah kesenangan sendiri masyarakat Spanyol, apalagi karena keseharian orang Spanyol yang kurang lebih menganut filosofi la dolce vita layaknya orang Italia.

Di Tapas Movida, tentu makanan khas dengan berbagai kombinasi unik antara seafood, daging, serta sayuran dan keju ini merupakan pilihan tepat sebagai appetizer sembari menanti persiapan paella sebagai hidangan utama yang membutuhkan waktu cukup lama untuk persiapannya.

Brocheta de Gambas y Pina
Brocheta de Gambas y Pina

Brocheta de gambas y pina atau sate udang dan nanas menjadi pembuka yang cocok dengan rasa gurih manis. Bahkan yang paling simpel seperti pan con tomate yang merupakan penggabungan roti, tomat, dan daun basil saja terdengar segar. Tapi jangan lewatkan tapas yang memiliki imbuhan pengaruh asing seperti sate ayam dengan rempah-rempah Maroko serta madu atau mungkin Anda lebih tergiur dengan ikan salmon asap yang diisikan cream cheese dan dihidangkan di atas roti.

Albondigas con Salsa de Tomato Picante
Albondigas con Salsa de Tomato Picante
Ternera con Cebolla Caramelizada y Queso Azul & Tostada de Salmon Ahumado
Ternera con Cebolla Caramelizada y Queso Azul & Tostada de Salmon Ahumado

Selain itu albondigas atau bakso sapi dengan porsi cukup besarnya tentu akan memuaskan siapapun yang ingin menikmati menu pembuka yang lebih berisi. Bakso sapi ini disajikan dengan saus tomat kental yang segar dengan aksen pedas dan nikmat berpadu dengan berbagai potongan roti hangat. Bila ingin lebih mewah, tapas yang menggunakan pilihan daging tenderloin atau hati angsa juga tersedia di sini dengan kombinasi-kombinasi menggiurkannya.

Tapas Movida - Paella Vegetariana

Untuk pemuncak acara bersantap Anda, paella atau hidangan nasi khas Mediterania yang kaya rasa dan rempah adalah opsi seru untuk disantap bersama keluarga atau teman-teman. Pilihan lain yang mirip dengan paella adalah masakan fideua khas Valencia yang mengganti peranan nasi dengan pasta. Topping sayur segar untuk vegetarian atau ayam, seafood, hingga chorizo bisa Anda pilih khusus untuk kedua hidangan utama ini.

How

Tapas Movida terlihat lebih energik untuk santap sore apalagi malam. Suasana yang hangat lebih terasa ketika hari semakin gelap dan para pengunjung berdatangan untuk menikmati berbagai tapas yang didampingi segelas Sangria dengan potongan buah segar.

Bagi yang ingin bersantap dengan santai, bagian pojok yang dipenuhi sofa serta lukisan adalah bagian paling nyaman dari Tapas Movida. Namun bagi Anda yang senang dengan suasana yang lebih hidup, bagian bar yang langsung menghadap panggung atau bagian outdoor yang dirancang khusus dengan gaya teras hacienda ala Spanyol adalah spot paling tepat untuk menikmati sisa malam.

Where
Jalan Cipete Raya no. 66, Jakarta – Indonesia
Telp: +62.21.751.0851

Facebook            : tapas.movidajakarta
Twitter                 : @TapasMovida
Website                : http://www.tapasmovida.co.id/

Operational Hours
Setiap hari, 10 am – 10 pm (weekday), 10 am – 12 am (weekend)

Price Range
IDR 100,000 – IDR 250,000 / orang (F&B)

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  • EL ASADOR

El Asador - Facade

What

Restoran khas Amerika Selatan yang berspesialisasi dengan menu daging panggang yang menggunakan metode pemanggangan dengan gaya asado yang unik.

Why

Kultur kuliner negara-negara Amerika Latin justru sedikit berbeda dengan gaya khas Spanyol yang ktia kenal banyak memperkenalkan tapas, pengaruh rempah dari Timur Tengah dari abad pertengahan, maupun kuliner Laut Tengah. Jakarta mungkin lebih mengenal pengaruh Meksiko atau sempalannya  yang disebut Tex-Mex dengan kehadiran beberapa restoran seperti Amigo’s atau Chili’s. Sebaliknya dalam setahun belakangan ini El Asador justru memperkenalkan sajian-sajian khas Amerika Selatan kepada khalayak ramai Jakarta yang berasal dari Argentina serta Uruguay.

Sesuai dengan namanya, El Asador yang berbagai hidangannya meliputi aneka daging panggang memperkenalkan teknik asado dalam proses memasaknya. Berbeda dengan sate khas Indonesia yang menggunakan pembakaran langsung dari batu baranya, gaya asado justru membakar terlebih dahulu kayu atau batu baranya di tempat terpisah dan hanya bara sisa pembakaran tersebut yang dipakai untuk memanggang dagingnya. Selain itu, panggangannya yang disebut parrilla ini dapat diatur sudut kemiringannya untuk mendapatkan hasil panggangan yang sempurna.

Tidak hanya untuk iga sapi, Anda juga bisa memilih ayam, pamplona (kaki ayam dengan mozzarella, paprika, zaitun, dan rempah), chorizo (sosis khas Spanyol), dan berbagai bagian daging sapi lainnya untuk dimasak dengan metode khas ini.

Chivito Al Pan
Chivito Al Pan
Burrito Carne
Burrito Carne

Selain menu panggangan yang cocok untuk disantap beramai-ramai ini, El Asador juga memperkenalkan berbagai percampuran kuliner Amerika Latin seperti menu sarapan berupa burrito yang tampil kaya dengan isian daging cincang, scrambled eggs, dan berbagai sayuran serta saus rahasia khas restoran ini. Lalu terdapat juga menu khas Uruguay yang merupakan kebangsaaan pemilik restoran ini seperti chivito al pan atau roti yang diisikan dengan daging churrasco tenderloin dengan ham, bacon, serta sayur dan kentang goreng.

Lengua a la Vinagreta Con Ensalada Rusa
Lengua a la Vinagreta Con Ensalada Rusa

Bila kesemuanya ini masih belum cukup, Anda bisa menantang diri dengan bersantap menu khas lainnya seperti lengua atau lidah sapi rebus yang sangat empuk tersaji dingin dengan berbagai bumbu dan sayuran serta salad khas Russia.

How

El Asador tampil layaknya seperti pub namun jangan salah sangka karena menu daging panggangnya tetap merupakan bintang utama dari tempat ini. Panggangan utama (parilla) dari restoran ini terdapat tepat di tengah dan tampil menyala-nyala. Namun demikian, steak khas asado ini baru bisa dipesan untuk makan malam, terkecuali hari Minggu dimana para keluarga biasa berkumpul untuk bersantap brunch. Meskipun menyediakan berbagai minuman alkohol khas Spanyol/Amerika Latin seperti sangria atau clerico hingga berbagai liquor dan wine, El Asador tetap hanya menggunakan daging sapi dan kambing untuk menu asado-nya. Sehingga tidak terdapat daging babi dalam berbagai masakan di sini.

Where
Kemang Point Building, GF, Jalan Kemang Raya no.3, Jakarta – Indonesia
Telp: +62.21.718.2206

Facebook            : El Asador Jakarta
Twitter                 : @elasadorjakarta
Website                : http://elasador.co.id

Operational Hours
Tue – Sun (closed on Mon), 11 am – 12 am (weekday), 11 am – 2 am (weekend), 9.30 am – 12 am (Sun)

Price Range
IDR 100,000 – IDR 250,000 / orang (F&B)

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COOL FACTS

  • Tradisi makan malam di Spanyol dimulai pada pukul 9 malam sehingga terdapat gap waktu yang cukup panjang pada sore harinya. Maka tapas berperan sebagai snack untuk menanti waktu santap malam.
  • Tradisi barbeque dengan gaya asado kerap diadakan untuk acara-acara keluarga di tengah udara terbuka seperti misalnya di kebun, dan biasanya membutuhkan seorang asador (ahli panggang) yang terlatih dalam proses memasaknya.
  • Kata asli dari tapas adalah tapar yang berarti untuk ‘melindungi’ atau ‘menutupi’. Sehingga jelas fungsi dari tapas ini adalah untuk menahan lapar selagi menanti waktu jam makan malam.
  • Beberapa tapas menggunakan tusuk gigi untuk menahan makanan tersebut agar tidak terlepas/jatuh, namun fungsi tusuk gigi ini juga adalah untuk memberitahu penikmatnya mengenai seberapa banyak ia telah melahap tapas ini.

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Linked Nov 2013 - The Hispanic Culinary Trail in Jakarta

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Featured in LINKED (Citilink inflight magazine), November 2013 Edition (unedited)