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Ethnic Cooking Popular but Usually an Eat-Out Affair

June 13, 1985

Replicating Exotic Restaurant Delights for Home Entertainment Not an Impossible Task Ethnic and regional cooking are taking diners by storm. But the idea of duplicating restaurant masterpieces is usually one that leaves hosts and hostesses cold.

The following recipe, which originally appeared in the Cuisinart publication, "The Pleasures of Cooking," makes good use of pumpkin or butternut squash. The Indonesian Fried Rice will make a tasty presentation when served with salad and mango chutney.

SWEET, HOT AND SOUR SQUASH (EURASIAN COOKING, CALCUTTA)

1 tablespoon tamarind paste

Water

1 small piece peeled ginger root, cut 1/2x1/2 inch

2 medium cloves garlic

1 small onion

2 tablespoons oil

1/2 teaspoon dried hot pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 pound butternut squash or pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Hot cooked rice

Soak tamarind paste in 1/4 cup hot water 30 minutes. Mash paste well with fork and strain. Reserve liquid and discard solids.

Chop ginger and garlic finely or drop each through feed tube of food processor fitted with metal blade, motor running. Process until finely chopped, about 10 seconds, stopping once to scrape bowl. Set aside.

Thinly slice onion or place in feed tube and slice with thin slicing disc.

Heat oil in large skillet over moderate heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.

Stir in ginger-garlic mixture, hot pepper flakes, turmeric, salt and sugar. Cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds.

Add squash cubes and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water, cover pan, reduce heat and cook until squash is tender but still firm, about 5 minutes.

Add tamarind liquid and cook, stirring, over moderate heat until almost all of liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Serve warm with rice. Makes 4 to 6 servings (with other dishes).

Note: Tamarind paste is available in Oriental and specialty food shops.

INDONESIAN FRIED RICE (JAVA, INDONESIA)

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons peanut oil

1 egg, beaten

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoons thinly sliced onion

1/2 teaspoon dried red hot chile flakes

2 green onions, thinly sliced

2 cups cooked rice, chilled

1/2 cup cooked chicken, diced in 1/4-inch cubes

1/2 cup cooked shrimp, cut in 1/4-inch dice, or 1/2 cup crab meat, flaked

Dissolve sugar in soy sauce. Set aside.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in skillet, add egg. Tilt pan slightly so that egg covers bottom. Make omelet by lifting one edge of cooked egg with spatula to allow uncooked portion to run under. When omelet is almost done, fold in half then remove from pan. Cool and slice into 1/2-inch strips.

Heat remaining oil in wok or large skillet over moderate heat. Add garlic, onion and chile flakes and saute 1 minute. Add green onions and saute 1 minute longer.

Add rice, chicken and shrimp and saute 3 minutes. Stir in soy sauce mixture and cook 1 minute. Serve warm with salad and mango chutney, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

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