Help me identify this dish based solely upon its ingredients.
February 27, 2014 2:37 PM   Subscribe

One of those dishes that has never been written down is begging for a name.

I have a recipe taught to me years ago by a British friend who learned it in Thailand thirty years ago.
We have always called it "Indonesian carbonara", but I'd love to know if it goes by a different name.

Here are the ingredients:
Kecap manis
Sambal oelek
Gruyere or Emmenthaler
Heavy Cream
Linguine pasta

Basically, while you are cooking the linguine, you make one sauce out of the Kecap manis, onions and bacon, and a second sauce, comprised of onion juice, cream, sambal oelek (or Sriracha), with the grated cheese and chopped basil. Throw it all together and you got yourself a Thursday night.

So I am asking you, the hive, to tell me what the hell I am making. This recipe is clearly an amalgam of cultures, and a delicious one at that, but I've always wanted a proper name to call it. My question: Does this dish exist somewhere other than two kitchens on the planet, and what is it called?

What I DON'T need: Recipe websites that allow you to post all the ingredients and get dishes that meet your criteria. I have bunches of those already. I want something beyond that.

Thank you in advance!
posted by msali to Food & Drink (6 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know, but in the interest of, you know, SCIENCE, could you post some proportions for the recipe?

Because that sounds AMAZING, and after I've gorged myself I might be able to give better advice
posted by mercredi at 3:28 PM on February 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: These are rough, because I've never used anything remotely resembling a measuring implement.

500 g linguine (standard package)
500 g bacon (standard package)
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup shredded Gruyere or Emmenthaler
One onion, chopped
1/2 onion, juiced
Kecap Manis (2 tablespoons? More?)
Sambal oelek (2 teaspoons? Ish?)
A handful of shredded basil, the Asian kind, if you can find it

Fry the shit out of the bacon and chopped onion with the Kecap Manis. In a saucepan at the same time, heat the cream, cheese, onion pulp/juice, sambal oelek and basil. Don't let that boil. When the pasta is ready, mix it with the bacon and onions. Ladle the cream sauce over the pasta.
posted by msali at 3:51 PM on February 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

I make something very like this, with anchovies and sometimes tomato but without Kecap Manis (though I am going to try that). I call mine a kind of carbonara even though there is no egg. If I was making something like this with Kecap Manis and wanted a name for it, I would combine the two names you call it - Indonesian Carbonara and call it Carbonesia, or maybe Indonara.

I am sure you know this but neither bacon, cheese or cream are traditional staples of asian cooking. So your recipe, by default, is a fusion recipe. So give it a fusion name!
posted by Kerasia at 4:17 PM on February 27, 2014

You should call it Jakarbonara.
posted by escabeche at 5:51 PM on February 27, 2014 [9 favorites]

Best answer: I lived in Thailand more just over 20 years ago, had Indonesian-British friends there and ate in a few Indonesian places in Bangkok. I never came across this dish. Most places in Bangkok were pretty straight up with their food - Thai places did Thai food, Italian places did Italian food etc.

Down south in the tourist spots beachside cafes mixed things up more. But 30 years ago - 1984 - there would not have been a lot of them mixing up linguine with bacon, gruyere and kecap manis. Maybe in Pattaya.

This kind of hybrid sounds exactly like something a Thai or Indonesian chef would come up with for an expat based on request from the few reliably available western fresh foods like cheese and bacon available at the time at places like Foodland.

As to a name? Kahboonrama.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:23 AM on February 28, 2014

I don't make it quite like that, but yes, I sometimes add a generous plop of sambal oelek to my carbonara (well, the creamy eggy cheesy bacon sauce I call carbonara, anyway). No basil, though. Sometimes just cream, sambal, Parmesan and black pepper, and sometimes with mi goreng instead of pasta.

I call it boomarang. Carbonara > charcoal > arang in Bahasa Indonesia; the sambal is the boom; too much, and it comes back to you later.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:02 AM on February 28, 2014

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