Would you lend your pressure cooker to a complete stranger?

Sanaa Travel Blog

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Rendang with cucumber and carrot pickle.

Merry Christmas!  And Ilhamdulillah, the street are finally clean ... the street cleaners seem to have had 7 days off for Eid.  But the bakery is still closed  :-(

For Christmas, Julia Roberts sings a Christmas Carol in Arabic ... this Youtube video's sound is quite soft but it is there.  It is an uplifting little number.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEBScuW2Njs  Enjoy!  Haha ;-)

Being Christmas, I decided to cook rendang for dinner and inviting some friends.  Rendang is of course the dry beef curry popular in Malaysia-Indonesia.  Mmmmm.  Out of necessity I had to substitute (or even leave out) some ingredients.

Well, as it turns out the beef we bought from the supermarket was expensive and tough.  Normally I stew the cheapest beef in New Zealand for 2 hours and it flakes and crumbles.  But in Sanaa, three hours had passed and it was still tough ... maybe it is the altitude (lower pressure) or maybe it was an old cow.

Then our Yemeni guest Huda arrived and offered to go borrow a pressure cooker from the neighbours.  To my surprise, she turned up with one!!  Complete stranger she was to the neighbours!  I'm not sure whether it helped that she didn't wear a niqab (ie. cover her mouth and nose only to expose the eyes).  I suppose the neighbours would know who they had lent it to but it is such a taboo for women not to cover their lower face ... some even cover their eyes (with thin material).

The rendang turned out barely OK in terms of texture but the flavour was pretty good ... even if I say so myself ;-)   Our guests joked that it may not have been a cow (baqara) but the husband of the cow (thaur) ... I thought it would have been the grandfather of the husband of the cow.  Strange ... rendang I understand was originally conceived to use up your expired padi-field tractor (ie. water buffalo).



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Rendang with cucumber and carrot p…
Rendang with cucumber and carrot …
photo by: philippe84