Mommas Cookbook

A Repository for Mom’s Recipes


  1. bacalhau à Gomes de Sá
  2. Beef-Rendang

bacalhau à Gomes de Sá, recommended by @s0undt3ch

One of the most popular bacalhau (cod) recipe in Portugal.

What is the origin of bacalhau à Gomes de Sá?

José Luís Gomes de Sá, was born in Porto, on 7 February 1851. Gomes de Sá was the son of a rich 19th century cod trader in Porto. The family fortune dwindled as there was a devastating fire in the warehouse.

José then had to find a job at Restaurante Lisbonense, a restaurant in downtown Porto where he created this recipe.

Gomes de Sá was not only a cod trader but also a food connoisseur. He used a well-known recipe for bolinhos de bacalhau or cod fish cakes and with the same ingredients (minus the flour) decided to create a new recipe. Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá was born.

He sold the recipe to the owner of Restaurante Lisbonense for 50,000 reis at the time. The manuscript of the recipe attributed to Gomes de Sá has a famous note at the end : “João, se alterares qualquer coisa já não fica capaz” which can be translated to “João, if you change anything, you won’t succeed”.

A century later, this Portuguese bacalhau recipe has won multiple culinary prizes and was one of the 21 finalists in the competition to name the 7 gastronomic wonders of Portugal.

Bacalhau recipes in Portugal

Bacalhau recipes are very common in Portugal, but also in Galicia (Northwest of Spain) and in former Portuguese colonies including Cape Verde, Angola, Macau, Brazil and Goa.

It is said that there are hundreds of bacalhau recipes in Portugal. Bacalhau is cod fish, but in the context of Portuguese cuisine, it is really dried and salted cod.

Fresh cod (unsalted) is called bacalhau fresco. What is intriguing is even though Portuguese eat a lot of cod, it is probably the only fish that is not eaten fresh in Portugal!

Salted cod has been produced for more than 500 years. It was the best way to preserve food before the advent of refrigeration.

The Portuguese had tried to use this method of drying and salting fish with numerous fish that they could find in their waters, but they eventually found the ideal fish in Newfoundland, long after the Basque arrived.


  • 2 lb salted cod
  • 2 lb potatoes
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 onions , sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic , crushed
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 20 black olives
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  1. Soak the cod in water for 24 to 36 hours and change the water every 8 hours.
  2. After cod is desalted, remove bones from cod and shred it in small pieces.
  3. Bring milk to a boil then turn off the heat. Infuse cod pieces in hot milk for about 1 to 2 hours.
  4. Peel potatoes and cook them in boiling water for 25 minutes.
  5. Cut potatoes in ½ inch (1cm) thick slices. Add salt and pepper.
  6. Preheat oven to 375F/180C.
  7. Meanwhile, add the onions in a hot skillet with a little olive oil. Sauté for about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 2 minutes.
  8. In a casserole dish, drizzle 4 tablespoons of olive oil.
  9. Add layers of potatoes, drained cod and the onion/garlic mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
  10. Drizzle another 4 tablespoons of olive oil on top.
  11. Bake for 40 minutes.
  12. Garnish with quartered or sliced hard-boiled eggs, chopped parsley and black olives.

Beef Rendang, recommended by @ngodn

The King of curries

As made by [Gordon Ramsey](



  • 12 dried chilies, rehydrated in boiling water, or 12 large fresh (Note 1a)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped (Note 1b)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 lemongrass stalks, white part only, sliced (Note 2)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fresh galangal, finely chopped (Note 3)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tbsp oil (vegetable or canola oil)


  • 2 lb/ 1 kg chuck steak, or other slow cooking beef, cut into 4cm cubes
  • 1 tbsp oil (vegetable, canola)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 tsp clove powder
  • 3 star anise
  • 1/2 tsp cardamon powder
  • 1 lemongrass stick, bottom half of the stick only and smashed (Note 5)
  • 400ml / 14 oz coconut milk (1 standard can)
  • 2 tsp tamarind puree / paste, or tamarind pulp soaked in 1 tbsp of hot water, seeds removed (Note 6)
  • 4 large kaffir lime leaves (or 6 small) , very finely sliced (Note 7)
  • 1/3 cup desiccated coconut (finely shredded coconut)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar or grated palm sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Place Spice Paste ingredients in a small food processor and whizz until fine. NOTE: If using dried chilli and you know your food processor is not that powerful, chop the chilli first.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large heavy based pot over high heat. Add half the beef and brown, then remove onto plate. Repeat with remaining beef.
  3. Lower heat to medium low. Add Spice Paste and cook for 2 – 3 minutes until the wetness has reduced and the spice paste darkens (don’t breathe in too much, the chilli will make you cough!).
  4. Add remaining Curry ingredients and beef. Stir to combine.
  5. Bring to simmer, then immediately turn down the heat to low or medium low so the sauce is bubbling very gently.
  6. Put the lid on the pot and leave it to simmer for 1 hr 15 minutes.
  7. Remove lid and check the beef to see how tender it is. You don’t want it to be “fall apart at a touch” at this stage, but it should be quite tender. If it is fall apart already, remove the beef from the pot before proceeding.
  8. Turn up heat to medium and reduce sauce for 30 – 40 minutes, stirring every now and then at first, then frequently towards the end until the beef browns and the sauce reduces to a paste that coats the beef. (Note 9)
  9. The beef should now be very tender, fall apart at a touch. If not, add a splash of water and keep cooking. Remove from heat and serve with plain or Restaurant Style Coconut Rice.


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