As a growing kid I used to observe my Mbok (elderly maid especially only for cooking) whenever she’s cooking for my family. Mbok knew well how to cook simple ingredient that sometimes she just plucked a plant from our backyard that never really well-maintained.
She could prepare young banana flower, wild plant or other regular plant, etc raw or cooked.
Anything that she cooked for my family made me well influenced by her Javanese’s cooking style, and one of them was “Oseng-Oseng” (pron. O-sang – O-sang) – my favourite one!
Whenever I feel like missing my hometown – Surakarta / Solo or loosing appetite or just simply don’t know what to eat outside (bored with the food) I always cook oseng-oseng. I’ve been doing it since I was in my uni life in Surabaya until today where I’ve already moved to Singapore.
I need to underline about OSENG-OSENG. Basically anything that you stir fry with these basic ingredients :
shallot and garlic (2:1)
galangal / blue ginger and indonesian bay leaves (the leaves is bigger than regular “bay leaves)
bird’s eye chilli / big chilli cut
will be called as OSENG-OSENG.
You can’t separate shallot and garlic, as you can’t never separate galangal / blue ginger and Indonesian bay leaves. They’re like meant to be together and must be cooked together, at least that’s what I heard from my Mbok. And when they tossed nicely on skillet with the chilli and caramelized of palm sugar (sometimes they add little amount of asam jawa / tamarind and black sweet soy sauce to give a hint of sour and more sweetness) definitely it brings out the fragrant, and sometimes you’ll sneeze while cooking (because of the chilli cut). I use asam jawa for other cuisine but not in this cuisine, but I use black sweet soy sauce for sometimes – depend on my mood 🙂
I know what you’re thinking – how Surakarta / Solo people loves sweet. Yes, they do! But, when you know how to balance the salt, sugar, and everything you’ll be crazy over it!
Oseng-oseng is one of the local recipes that because the rich flavour and spiciness will make the steam rice well spent in big amount. (less dish more rice is typically how local especially Javanese eats)
When it comes to OSENG-OSENG, you can use any main ingredient and make it OSENG-OSENG based on your liking. Things that usually used as main or mixed ingredient for OSENG-OSENG are : baby corn, petai / stinky bean, prawn, quail egg, long bean, soy beansprout, okra, sliced fatty / collagen, mushroom, bittergourd, young banana flower, french bean, and even dragon fruit skin!
Dragon fruit skin is edible, at least in my home country – Indonesia. Make sure you wash them thoroughly (you can add baking soda and soak them in water before peeling the fruit), and remove the dry and hard part, usually in the green, yellow or even brown part and only take the red part.
This OSENG-OSENG (read : o-sang – o-sang) / stir fry DRAGON FRUIT SKIN in javanese style tastes goooooooood! No specific smell from the dragon fruit skin itself, and the texture is chewy like oyster mushroom. I can tell you can have more variety on subtituting meat IF you’re vegetarian.
It’s high in fibre, betacyanin, vitamin E, taraxast, pentacylic and triyepene that good for blood circulation (). The color of the dragonfruit reminds me well to beet root, IMHO they share the same benefit 🙂
Note : I never tried reguler bay leaves, but some Indonesian friend living abroad said the taste of Indonesian bay leaves and reguler bay leaves are different; I hope you can find it easily in your country.
Happy cooking, and let me know how you find this local cuisine! I will share my OSENG-OSENG with other main ingredients on my other video l8r next time.