Last weekend, we had the opportunity to taste a gourmet homemade Indonesian meal which looked like something one would find in a five-star restaurant. The chef was a lovely lady called Zendy Marsam.
I met Zendy last year when I was on the lookout for cake using unrefined sugar. I came across a profile called ‘FlavorsbyZendy’ on Instagram where there was a photo of this beautiful looking chocolate cake with raspberries. I messaged the lady and she said was going to be at the Arte market in Times Square on the weekend. I drove out there, met her, bought the cake (and a homemade chocolate spread!), and have been a fan ever since.
The cake was made with sweet potato, avocado, cacao, almond meal, dates, and vanilla. I wouldn’t have guessed it was minus all the nasties because it was just as moist and decadent as a chocolate brownie cake! I rationed it over the week, cutting up a slice every evening to have with a cup of tea.
We’re huge fans of homegrown businesses and are keen to spread the word and support local talent. One such person everyone should know about is Zendy. In addition to making healthy dishes full of flavour from her home base in Jumeirah, she’s recently joined ChefXChange, offering gourmet Indonesian menus. Why should you check her out?
- Zendy has been cooking for family and friends for over 20 years. Her home has a dining table which seats 16 people. Now. If you’re into throwing dinner parties, you’ll know thats some serious entertaining. And she’s a pro at it.
- Her cooking style is healthy home cooked meals with bold flavors and pretty, professional plating. She tries to use local organic farmers as much as possible, makes everything from scratch, and uses natural sugars where possible. She also grows her own Indonesian herbs at home. Or goes to great lengths to source them.
- Indonesian cuisine is incredibly flavourful, in fact Rendang was voted No. 1 on CNN’s list of the World’s 50 best foods. Yet, it hasn’t received its fair share of the limelight – not like Thai cuisine anyway. And that needs to change!
We had the opportunity to taste her four-course traditional menu last week, which is up on ChefXChange. Here’s what we had:
Balinese Seafood Sate with Tamarind Sauce. There are two refreshing things about this starter. One being that its not your typical chicken sate but is made of minced prawns and sea bream. The second is that the tamarind sauce is not sickly sweet. It had a citrus zing which cut through the sweetness. Served with a traditional Javanese spiced potato cake called “perkedel kentang”.
Gado Gado – a beautifully presented steamed vegetable salad with fried tempeh (fermented soybean cake) and freshly made peanut sauce. This course was accompanied by “krupuk emping” – a slightly bitter (can be very bitter to some) cracker made from dried melinjo nuts.
Kangaroo Rendang with Pandan Turmeric Rice. A kangaroo fillet simmered in coconut milk with lemongrass, galangal, garlic, chilli, ginger and turmeric. Served with Indonesian yellow rice cooked in pandan and coconut. Rendang is traditionally made with beef but Zendy put an Australian twist to it, her husband being Aussie and all! And what a way for us to try kangaroo meat for the first time. Enak!
Black sticky rice, mango sorbet and coconut pandan sauce topped with fresh passion fruit pulp. It’s not a sweet dessert, which may be good for some and not so for others. The coconut pandan sauce is not as thick as you may find in Thai desserts – it is more milky.
While Zendy was definitely the star of the afternoon, cooking a spectacular meal for us, her husband Sandy was an amazing host/ server/ dish-explainer… making them such a dream team.
Zendy also offers a plant-based menu on ChefXChange which includes: a tasting platter with sand-ginger and fresh coconut salad, “perked jagung” (baked spiced corn doughnut), gado gado, a vegetarian rendang made with roasted eggplant, mushroom, pulled jackfruit and peach, and black sticky rice pudding for dessert.
What we loved most about this experience is the fact that everything we ate tasted fresh, real and most importantly, it was all homemade yet looked like it came from a 5-star kitchen. Perfect experience if you’d like to invite people over to your house for a gourmet meal but let someone else do the cooking and cleaning for you.
Thank you Zendy for having us over!
DISCLAIMER: We were guests of Zendy but were not obliged to write anything. As always, all opinions are our own.