Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Cooking Lessons with Chef Henry Alexie Bloem of Top Chef Indonesia at the Kopi Kopi Coffee Lounge - NYC : May 2, 2014

In New York City, it's very easy to come across Thai food, but for the more adventurous amongst us who are looking for other southeast Asian flavors like Indonesian food, head over to Kopi Kopi in the West Village area of New York City to explore authentic Indonesian cuisine.  Last week, one of Indonesia's celebrated chefs - Henry Alexei Bloem stopped by Kopi Kopi to hold cooking classes to give everyone the inside scoop on how to make superb Indonesian food.

Chef Bloem's a judge on the television show Top Chef Indonesia, and he is also the head chef of the Patra Bali Resort where he cooks for visiting dignitaries to Indonesia.  All the guests of this cooking class gathered in Kopi Kopi's restaurant kitchen to watch Chef Bloem work his magic of mixing a variety of spices and cooking techniques in creating impressively flavorful dishes.  

What we learned from the chef to be the key factors in good Indonesian food are fresh ingredients, the right concoction of spices, and time.  The tasty sauces served at Kopi Kopi comes from having the sauce simmer over the stove for several hours!  
Chef Bloem demonstrating in the kitchen of Kopi Kopi
Spices to be added to Rendang sauce - on average there are about 7 spices going to each dish.  Here we have lemongrass, galangal, candelnut, cumin, corriander, shallots, garlic
The spices get added to coconut milk.  No oil is added for dishes that call for coconut milk as coconut milk is already very rich!
The sauce simmers till the coconut milk base takes on a yellow hue from the cornucopia of spices.
Once the sauce is done, beef and curry leaves are added to the mix and simmered some more till the sauce is partially reduced and absorbed by the meat
Fear not, there are also plenty of vegetarian options available at Kopi Kopi.  This one is grilled eggplants with Indonesian pickled vegetables and hot sauce
After the cooking lesson, we enjoyed the dishes over some tasty Indonesian rice, which is rice cooked with coconut milk and tumeric
House made hot sauce at Kopi Kopi - this batch has been simmering on the stove for several hours, yielding a good intensity in flavour
Cotto Makassar - A traditional Indonesian Beef Soup - made with 8 different types of spices

Aside from excellent food, Kopi Kopi also serves an eclectic variety of coffee drinks - all made from freshly roasted Indonesian, Fair Trade coffee beans.  We'll be back to try the espresso shots with avocado and condensed milk!  Be sure to follow their facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for future culinary events.

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