Tasak Telu Recipe (Karo Meat Salad with Torch Ginger Fruit)

Tasak Telu
Tasak Telu is translated as Masak Tiga (Tiga Masakan) in Indonesian or Cook Three (Three Dishes) in English. I know it’s a bit weird when I tried to translate to English literally. The reason was being named for Cook Three or Three Dishes since Tasak Telu uses 3 main ingredients; chicken, coconut and bulung gadong (daun singkong in Indonesian or cassava leaves in English).

Originally tasak telu applies chicken blood since I don’t consume any animal blood. I’m happy enough to have liver, heart and gizzard inside the whole chicken. Chicken liver, heart and gizzard are common to be served in Indonesian cooking. However my brother and I don’t enjoy the organ part of chicken that much. When we were under 5 years old, our late mom put liver to almost all our baby food. We kinda had a feeling enough for this. When I moved out from my parents’ house, I was introduced to home-style food that many small eateries (warung) sold surround my university area. These places often had organ meats of chicken or beef such as liver, heart or gizzard. That was the time I ate gizzard again but not liver nor heart until last year which I was first introduced to Laab by a Laotian-Pakistani family in their open house for Eid ul Fitr.

Laab is a Laotian meat salad that is also using either the blood of pig or chicken. The Laab that I enjoyed last year wasn’t made from any blood of animal but organ meat of chicken such as liver, heart and gizzard. Laab is much more similar to Lawar (Bali style meat salad) which everything can be raw or cooked while tasak telu has to be cooked. I love lawar. Last year I finally ate beef and starfruit leaves lawar in Bali.

Tasak Telu can be used the whole chicken with organ parts but in this recipe I used only liver and gizzard. I also substituted cassava leaves for two different kinds of kale since fresh whole cassava leaves are not available in Winnipeg.

Tasak Telu Recipe
Karo Minced Meat Salad
adapted from Nath Bangun’s recipe

Ingredients:
4 pieces of each chicken liver and gizzard (can be used whole chicken with organ meats inside)
1 bundle of cassava leaves (1/2 bundle of each 2 different kinds kale)
½ – 1 cup frozen grated coconut, thawed
4 stalks lemongrass, take the white parts
6 centimeter (2.4 inches), divided into 2 parts
3 pieces asam cekala (asam patikala or torch ginger fruit)
2 kaffir lime leaves, discard the midrib and slice thinly
chicken blood (I don’t use this)
4 tablespoon cooking oil (if you use chicken blood you won’t need this oil)

Spices grind into a paste:
50 grams green bird eye chilies (I used green long chilies)
4 shallots (if you use smaller size, double up the amount)
6 cloves garlic
3 kaffir lime leaves, discard the midrib
seasalt

Bumbu Tasak Telu

Methods:
With a pestle or knife and one hit, crush lemongrass, galangal and asam cekala (torch ginger). Set aside.

Process your spices with mortar and pestle into a paste. You can always use a food processor. Set aside.

Toast the thawed grated coconut until lightly brown. Set aside.

In a dutch oven or large pot, add water, liver, gizzard, 1 stalk bruised lemongrass, a half part of bruised galangal and slices of kaffir lime leaves. Bring to a boil until all is cooked. If you use the whole chicken, leave the organ parts inside and do the same. Drain and save about ½ to 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Cool down the liver and gizzard. Once they are cooling down, chop and set aside.

In another pot, bring another water to a boil and blanch or boil the cassava leaves until tender but still retain the green colour by draining and put them directly to ice water bath to stop cooking process. In this case I use kale and it’s faster to cook compare to cassava leaves. Drain from the ice water bath and chop the kale.

Stir fry the ground paste, add 3 stalks of bruised lemongrass, remaining part of bruised galangal, asam cekala (asam patikala or torch ginger fruit). Combine and add toasted grated coconut, chicken liver, chicken gizzard and chopped kale. Then add the cooking liquid. Keep stirring until you can smell the good aroma in the air and dry. Ready to be served with Gule Kuta-Kuta (Karo Chicken Curry with Torch Ginger).

About the Author

An Indonesian born who lives on the Prairie land of Canada. Indonesia Eats is a memoir of her homeland.