Kuah kacang

Coming from someone who hardly eats or even likes kuah kacang much, the assignment to make kuah kacang for a Raya gathering can be described as a bit of a gamble.

Kuah kacang is not something that I find to be particularly notable. I don’t gravitate towards it on buffet tables. I find it too sweet and sickly, and sticky, and oily. I don’t generally dip my satay in it. I am even less keen on the Indonesian version than the Malaysian version, which is even sweeter.

I’m not selling this very well, am I?

Kacang

Perhaps I have just never had a nice homemade kuah kacang. Actually, that’s not true – I have had Bigfoot’s mother’s kuah kacang, and wasn’t hugely keen on that either, a view which flies in the face of common opinion. Please don’t tell her. I think kuah kacang just doesn’t push my buttons.

But. BUT. I did quite like this. Maybe I adulterated it beyond recognition. Maybe it is not sweet enough to be proper kuah kacang. Or perhaps too spicy, or salty. Obviously, I  don’t think so.  It could be one of those strange things where once you have put effort into it, you trick yourself into liking what you have made. But hey, my peanut sauce, my rules / choice of seasoning.

 It also went down pretty well with the rest of the deprived-of-Malaysian-food-crowd. Yay me! 

Kuah Kacang / Malaysian Peanut Sauce (Satay Sauce)

Based on Anna Qawina’s recipe, tweaked and seasoned differently

5-8 cloves garlic
1 large purple onion, or 2 smaller ones
2 stalks of lemongrass
10-20 dried chillies, washed – adjust depending on how hot you want it
A thumb’s length of ginger
A slice of toasted belacan, around 1/2 cm thick and the length of your thumb – note that I have female-length thumbs, so don’t go too crazy. Toast it gently over a flame or in a toaster oven / dry fry in a pan until the colour changes a little.

1/2 cup water
500-800g blanched peanuts, toasted or fried
1 piece of gula melaka – this is the approximate equivalent of 1/4 cup of packed brown sugar, but start low and work upwards to taste.
1 tablesp asam jawa / tamarind paste in hot water, mushed until the water turns brown
Sugar and salt, to taste

  1. Grind the garlic, onion, lemongrass, chilli, ginger, and belacan in a blender or chopper until you get a paste. Fry this over medium heat until fragrant.
  2. Chop the peanuts roughly in a chopper or blender, then add them to the pan. Add the water so the texture is closer to a sauce.  Add extra water if needed. Lower the heat slightly, and stir so that the peanuts don’t burn.
  3. Add the gula melaka/ brown sugar, and stir until it is all combined.
  4. Season with the sugar, salt, and asam jawa. I obviously added no sugar, some salt, and almost all the asam jawa.

Enjoy with some other raya food. Savour it thoroughly, because I’m only making this once a year! 🙂

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Lea’s Favourite Lala

Lala, I have missed you. Pipis (as they appear to be named here in Melbourne) are pretty similar. I do love my clammie types.

I was so excited that I didn’t take process shots. Oops. The process is pretty simple though.

Food like this needs no further introduction, though pretty pictures would probably endear it to more people. Without further delay, I present one of my favourite foods:

Oh lala I have missed you

Ginger & Spring Onion Lala (or Pipis)

Adapted from Rasa Malaysia’s ginger & spring onion crab.

600g lala / pipis
Thumb size knob of ginger
8 stalks spring onion
1 red chilli

1.5 tablesp oyster sauce
1/2 tablesp sesame oil
1/2 tablesp fish sauce
1/2 teasp sugar
1/2 teasp white pepper
1/4 cup water
1/2 teasp corn flour

  1. Clean your lala / pipis, if they aren’t already clean.
  2. Slice ginger into sticks. Chop the red chilli too. Finally, chop spring onion into 1-2 inch lengths, separating the white hard bits and the green bits.
  3. In a little oil, fry the ginger, chilli, and white parts of the spring onion until fragrant.
  4. Throw in everything else – sauce components, cornflour, green bits of the spring onion, and lala / pipis.
  5. Cover for 5-8 minutes with the heat on medium-high, until all the lala / pipis have opened.

Sambalicious Greens

Random thought: asparagus looks more like fingers than ladies fingers (bhindi), in my opinion. Stubby, weird fingers, but still.

Ladies fingers (bhindi) look like talons that come off some strange and massive creature from a long distant past.

A pile of green

Sambal asparagus (well, sambal-anything really) is one of my favourite vegetables to eat in restaurants, but not to eat at home. Why? It’s more hassle than the garlic-oyster-sauce variety. But well, the result is worth it. And if you make loads of sambal  and store it like Rasa Malaysia suggests, then I suppose a sambal-vegetable should be faster than any other sort.  I’m an inconsistent sambal-eater at home, so I didn’t bother making extra.

Sambal necessities

As you might have guessed by now, you can make sambal-anything and it will still taste good. Mostly green veg will work the best (I think), but it would be nice with eggplant too. Perhaps pumpkin? I’ll have to try that.

I could eat only sambal asparagus for meals on end

Sambal Asparagus

Adapted from Rasa Malaysia. I reduced the sambal amount because I only wanted enough for this dish, so the proportions are just slightly different.

5 dried chillies
2 fresh chillies
2 shallots
1 clove garlic
1 teasp belacan

200g asparagus – use young asparagus, or peel it! I forgot and served unpeeled large asparagus, fellow diners were not amused
A few prawns – with the shell removed is easier to eat
1/4 teasp sugar
1/4 teasp fish sauce

  1. Blend the chillies (dried and fresh), shallots, garlic, and belacan into a thick paste.
  2. Fry the sambal in a wok in a little oil, until you smell the belacan (believe me, you won’t miss it. Open your windows).
  3. Add the prawns and stir them in quickly, then dump in the asparagus.
  4. Add the fish sauce and sugar, and stir in. Taste, and adjust as needed. Keep cooking until the asparagus is done through.

 

Boring words like Braised

Braised. Braised. Braaiiisseedd.

I don’t think it’s a very appetising word and would probably never order anything braised in a restaurant. But I wanted to play cooking with claypot again.

   

It makes you feel like you’re doing legitimate cooking when you could be making the same dish in a normal pan. What fun!

It’s about pretending to be cool in the kitchen, when actually you’re nothing more than a greedy food enthusiast who pretends to cook well (but doesn’t actually), and doesn’t like to tell people you cook because they might actually get you to cook something for them and then they would realise that you actually aren’t very good at cooking. They might berate you after that for having a food blog. Phew. Perhaps I won’t turn Publicise on after all.

Warm, dark, and handsome

Before you think I’ve cracked slightly, let’s move quickly on to the recipe.

Braised Tofu with Mushrooms (In a Claypot)

Recipe again adapted from Rasa Malaysia. This is pretty much my go-to website for Chinese-y type recipes. The original recipe is a porky version but mine is vegetarian. Except for the fishcakes I added afterwards, because certain males in my family won’t eat tofu and believe it causes them to grow breasts (it’s a myth everyone!!!)

1 packet of tofu, cut into cubes and drained
1 packet of fishcakes, sliced – totally optional, I added this later
5 Chinese dried mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tablesp sweet soya sauce – it’s better to use kicap manis, but I used Chinese dark thick soya sauce because I didn’t have any. If you do this, up the sugar to 1/4 teasp
1/2 tablesp oyster sauce
1 teasp soya sauce
1/8 teasp sugar
1/4 cup water

2 tablesp water + 1 teasp corn starch – to thicken rather than anything else
A single chopped spring onion – I used more..I don’t like wasting half a packet
White pepper to taste

  1. Precook the tofu and fishcakes (if using). You can either deepfry, or stick it in the toaster oven (lightly oiled). If you toast it, flip it after it turns golden brown. Drain off the oil on paper towels.
  2. Heat the claypot (slowly) and dump in garlic and a little oil. Fry the garlic until it’s golden brown.
  3. Chuck in the mushrooms, tofu, and fishcakes (if using).
  4. Pour in all the sauces and the 1/4 cup of water.
  5. Cover the pot, and leave everything to braaiiisseee for 15 minutes over low heat.
  6. Stir in the corn starch mixture.
  7. Throw on the spring onions.
  8. Eat your warm, comforting meal from the claypot with rice.

A Sluggish Feesh

So I don’t have much to say about food this time. It’s tasty and consistent, that’s what you want from food. Nothing to scream about but always works, and is well received. Can I write about something else?

 

What if I write about how I’m fed up with icing sugar and don’t want to eat anything except hard cheese and grilled vegetables? Also, plain rice? This fish goes well with plain rice, in case you were wondering.

I’m sure this is temporary.

In other news, the weather is terrible. The haze is causing my eyes to squish themselves closed all the time (you know I’m scraping the barrel when I talk about the weather). Hence, general grumpiness has ensued.

My big yay of the moment: mooncake festival is coming up = I can get my favourite goldfish biscuits from Bee’s in The Curve. This year they are selling butterfly shaped ones too. I wish they sold these year round. I know they’re intended for little kids, and I don’t care. Boo to you, sensible grownups. I don’t like normal mooncakes very much. Especially not the yolks. Yes yes, come scold me now. I bite my butterfly biscuit at you. Pah.

Yes, I’m using a book as a plate. Your point being?

Fried Fish with Ginger & Soya Sauce

Originally from Rasa Malaysia. I don’t keep Chinese wine around, so I generally substitute for black vinegar (in this case balsamic, but others will do). It doesn’t make a difference to taste in my opinion, just top up the sugar a little to compensate.  This is one of the first (read – right now the only) fish I learnt how to cook properly.

1 decent sized fish – the one I used fed 5, with other dishes
2 inch knob of ginger, cut into strips
1 stalk spring onion, chopped – clearly I used more, not to waste the rest of the packet…

3 tablesp light soya sauce
1/3 tablesp balsamic vinegar – I usually have this on hand, this is instead of the wine
4 tablesp water
1/4 teasp sesame oil
2 1/4 tablesp sugar – I increased this, because I’m using vinegar instead of wine. You can go up to 2 1/2 tablesp
A couple of pinches of white pepper

  1. Fry Mr Fishy until he is brown and crispy. It’s better if you use a “real” fish, but fillet works well enough in a pinch.
  2. Mix up the sauce in a bowl.
  3. Fry the ginger strips in a little oil until golden brown. Remove from the oil.
  4. Using the same oil, add soya sauce mixture and heat until it boils.
  5. Pour the sauce over the fish.
  6. Sprinkle on the ginger and spring onion bits.

Note: don’t pour on the sauce until just before you plan to eat the fish, or the fish will go soggy and weird. Else you can pre-make the sauce and just heat it back up in the microwave for a bit before pouring over the fish and serving.

BigFoot’s Mother’s Legendary Sambal Tempeh

This tempeh recipe is a bit of a legend, and is apparently one of the first things BigFoot wants to eat whenever he sees his mother. Apart from fish curry. Poor auntie, working so hard in the kitchen. She says she enjoys it though. She’s a really talented cook.

Uncooked tempeh is pretty gross looking Ready to chop

I’m in the process of trying to photocopy her recipe file, but haven’t succeeded yet (there are varying accounts relating to whether she even has a file or not). Supposedly most of the recipes don’t have written proportions next to them, so I’m not sure whether even getting a copy of her recipes would help me much given my ineptitude.

This is a bit undercooked, it needs to be browner and crispier

The recipe I want to steal the most is her chocolate cake recipe: it’s the best I’ve had since La Manila stopped selling theirs about 10 years ago (well it was a long time ago, I don’t know if it was 10 years ago…that seems like a long enough time to me. There used to be a thin golden layer in the middle of that cake, anyone know what it was??). I eat BigFoot’s mother’s chocolate cake out of a plastic box with a big spoon. I hid it in the back of the fridge so no one else can find it and eat it. Don’t tell anyone at home.

Sambal is almost cooked

Anyway, I specifically asked her for her tempeh recipe. Not for me, I’m not so nice. It’s so BigFoot can cook it himself and I can eat it. I do have standards, you know. Girl power and feminism, etc etc. Cooking is primarily for fun and to prevent deprivation / because I’m greedy, and I unfortunately don’t really enjoy spending 20 minutes flipping tempeh in a pan. It’s yummy though. Best persuade the party that craves it more to do that part.

It has a spicy, oniony, and satisfying flavour

It looks surprisingly easy considering its reputation. I was expecting something much, much more involved. Though tempeh always takes some time. However, the version we made last night didn’t taste at all like hers (I wasn’t joking, he actually did make it himself. I only operated the chopper). So yes, yummy tempeh recipe, but back to the drawing board clearly. Apparently if you add the dried prawns (we didn’t), it tastes more like the original.

BigFoot’s Mother’s Legendary Sambal Tempeh

BigFoot’s Mother narrated the recipe over breakfast, and I wrote it down. I’m not sure where she originally got it from, maybe she made it up. Note that I may have written it down completely wrong. Tastes good, anyway.

1 packet of tempeh – about 300g. I also chucked in a sliced potato because it felt lonely in the cupboard.
6 – 10 pieces dried chilli – depends how spicy you want it
1 – 2 pieces red chilli – the big ones. Again, add more if you want it spicier. Or add birds eye chilli too if you’re feeling brave. It doesn’t need it
1 large red onion, or 1.5 small red onions
4 – 5 cloves garlic
2 handfuls of ikan bilis
Asam jawa / Tamarind juice – crush a bit of the paste in a few tablesp of warm water, and add to taste. I crushed about 2cm in about half a cup of water, and added a few tablesp of that
Either: sugar to taste, OR about 2 tablesp udang kering blended with 1/4 cup vegetable stock – we used sugar, but it’s probably better with the prawns

  1. Throw the dried and fresh chilli, onion, and peeled garlic into the chopper. Chop chop nicely until it is relatively smooth. Pieces the size of those chilli flakes you get in the shops are ok. Add the udang kering (dried prawns) and vege stock here if you are using, and blend those too.
  2. Fry the ikan bilis with a little oil until it browns and your kitchen smells like fish. Set aside on kitchen paper.
  3. Cut the tempeh into little cubes, or slice it into pieces about 3mm thick. Fry with a little oil or grill these until they brown on all sides. Set aside on kitchen paper. A toaster oven is useful here, if you have one.
  4. Add about a tablespoon of oil to a wok, and fry the chilli – onion – garlic mixture. Keep going until it smells pretty fragrant and starts to brown. After it begins to brown, keep stirring or it’ll stick to the pan if you’re not careful.
  5. Taste. Add 2 tablespoons of the asam jawa liquid, discarding the seeds. Add a pinch of sugar. Taste. Repeat until it tastes good to you (we used about 5 tablespoons of asam jawa liquid, and about 1 teaspoon of sugar).
  6. Mix in the ikan bilis and tempeh.

The Easy Vegetables

Well this isn’t really the easiest vegetables, the easiest vegetables are when you just use the garlic oil and don’t add the oyster sauce mix. They also taste nice. The oyster sauce part only adds a whole extra 10 seconds though. So really, it depends what you feel like having.

Nice and fresh and crunchySee how the garlic is a bit golden?

A tip – you can use any vegetables, but they have to be green, and they have to be fresh. Else it’ll taste odd. Blanching vegetables is an art I haven’t mastered, so I’m not going to pretend to tell you how long to cook them for. I usually bite one to check. By then the rest of the pot has usually overcooked. I need to work on my timing.

Kailan with oyster sauce and garlic

This is one of my standby weeknight dishes. Often eaten with a spicy omelette (that’s an egg beaten with the Thai chilli paste below. If you feel like being fancy, chop some onions into it).

Thai Chilli Paste - the only

Easy Green Vegetables with Garlic and Oyster Sauce

If you want tips and the original recipe, you can find them at RasaMalaysia.com. I lazied it up a bit – all the sauces are done in the microwave, and you only need to boil a pan of water to cook the vege.

A bunch of green vegetables
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
1 – 2 tablesp oil – for the garlic oil
1 tablesp oyster sauce
1 tablesp water
1/4 tablesp oil – for the oyster sauce
1/2 teasp sugar
Salt
White pepper – optional

  1. Blanch the vegetables in boiling water. I suggest you look at RasaMalaysia.com’s tips on this not mine. She mentions you should add a little oil to the water to prevent the vege from going limp. Don’t overcook them, or they’ll be soggy.
  2. Remove the excess water from the vege with paper kitchen towels. Put them on a plate, nicely.
  3. Crush and chop the garlic. Put it in a ramekin or a mug with the olive oil. Add a pinch of salt.
  4. Stick the garlic mixture in the microwave on high for between 15 to 30 seconds, depending on how high the power is on your microwave. I start with 15 seconds, then go up in intervals of 5 to 10, depending on how brown the garlic is. The oil keep sizzling after you take it out the microwave, so wait until it stops sizzling before you decide to put it back in for another few seconds. You need the garlic to be nice and golden, but not burnt (black/brown). I actually have a special mug I use for this, because it makes your mugs smell a bit garlicky if you do it a lot. Watch out for hot oil!
  5. Mix the oyster sauce, water, oil, and sugar in another mug. Put this in the microwave for about 10 seconds, then taste. If it tastes done then stop, else put it back for another 5 seconds. Use a high sided mug for this, because it can spit. If you’ve had it before then you know what “done” tastes like. If not, then just go straight for 15 seconds.
  6. Pour the oyster sauce and garlic oil mixtures over the vege. Sprinkle on a little white pepper, if you like. See, done. And you didn’t even need your pan today.

Sambal Potato & Ikan Bilis, and Things that are Done during International Layovers

I feel like I’ve just done a naughty thing. Inspired by this post, I was bored during a layover while on a 30 hour plane journey (don’t ask, sometimes bad planning wins out). Everything was shut except the cosmetics store. So what did I do? I went in and picked out the yummiest sounding nail polish and whacked it on all my fingers using the tester bottle. It had cake in the name. Technically I suppose I haven’t done anything wrong, but since I had no intention to buy it I feel slightly guilty, almost as if I’ve shoplifted. Overactive conscience, can’t you go to sleep? It’s almost 3am in your time zone, all the good girls have gone to bed by now. I promptly smudged said nails by digging things out of my bag. Yes, this is me, not very patient. Or retribution in action? Perhaps I’m over-thinking this. I’ll probably do it again next time I’m in the airport in any case, so it doesn’t really matter.

On another airport related note, I really don’t understand why people queue for ages before the gate opens. I’m looking at a queue of easily 80+ people and the gate hasn’t even opened yet. I suspect they just enjoy queuing, you know how some people are. Things they appear not to enjoy include sitting on the airport floor like a hobo, judging by the looks I’ve been getting. Especially not if you’re wearing a dress. (Yes, I write to you from airports. I’m so dedicated.)

Anyway back to the food. No one wants to hear about airports, they’re sad places which usually mean someone is leaving. Unless you’re going on holiday, but that’s entirely different of course. In a good way. I digress.

Yes, anyway. Yet again, the attempt at this dish was the result of boredom and too much cold weather. I see certain conditions appear to make me more productive in the kitchen. Did you know that UK in the summer (where I’m going) is approximately the same temperature as Melbourne in winter? Interesting isn’t it. It’s not very nice of the Brits really. Talking about someone behind their back all the time, the way they do about the weather, is enough to make anyone pretty cranky. Forgive me, like I mentioned, it’s 3am in my head.

While trying to make a sambal potato dish, I actually made what tasted exactly like the tempeh madu recipe I was looking for a while back. To makes the switch, dry fry thin slices of tempeh until crispy, or grill them in a toaster oven, and substitute for the potato slices. I’ll probably do that next time, I like it better with tempeh. I still need to find the sambal potato dish I was looking for.

Sambal Potato & Ikan Bilis

Pinched from Love2Cook Malaysia and changed just a bit.

3 big-ish taytoes
3/4 cup ikan bilis – approximately.. a bit more, a bit less, it should be fine
1/2 a red onion – supposed to use 3 shallots. I was being cheap again and didn’t want to buy a whole bag.
3 cloves garlic
9 small dried chillies – use more for more heat, use less if your chillies are bigger, or if you want it less spicy
2 tablesp oyster sauce
3 teasp brown sugar – or you can use normal sugar, or a couple of tablespoons of honey, I didn’t have any on hand

  1. Slice your potatoes into wedges or strips. I chose strips for therapeutic reasons (no not really, I wasn’t thinking straight). You should do wedges,  they’re less work to fry. Fry them in a bit of oil until they’re light brown on both sides, and set aside on some kitchen towels if you have them.
  2. Wash the ikan bilis, you don’t know where they’ve been. Fry them until they’re crispy. Use a little bit of oil, and don’t put the heat too high. Set aside with the potatoes.
  3. Using your trusty chopper, chop the garlic, onion and dried chillies. Fry them in a bit of oil until they start to brown, and your eyes sting when you stand over the pan.
  4. Add the oyster sauce and sugar. Fry a bit longer. Taste to see if you like it, adding a little more oyster sauce or sugar depending on whether you want it a bit more salty or sweet.
  5. Remove from the heat, and add the potato and ikan bilis. Mix well, but don’t be too harsh! You don’t want to mash the nice potatoes.
  6. Eat! With rice. And other dishes. You can’t just eat potato and rice for dinner, even though that was one of my favourite meals when I was little.

The Pinnacle that is Nasi Lemak (and why you can’t climb it first time)

Moral of the story is: don’t expect to get it right the first time. Nasi lemak is HARD.

All the aunties of Malaysia, I’m sure that they’re laughing away at me for thinking I could get this iconic dish to work on my first attempt. Well, I guess I didn’t really expect it to work, I was just being optimistic. Like how, when someone asks me at 9pm how many hours of work I have left, I say 2, and I truly believe that’s the reality of the situation (it’s usually 4 hours, I generally underestimate by 2 hours).

Real proper nasi lemak makciks (aunties) train their whole lives to make nasi lemak. There are little nasi lemak schools in the kampungs (villages) where the little makciks start training at 4 years old, and a gnarly old makcik shouts at them over a loudspeaker: “Pound! Pound! Cepat cepat! (faster faster!)” That’s how a true nasi lemak is born, in the depths of a pestle and mortar. The sweet smiles of the nasi lemak makciks belie their biceps of steel. *

I used my faithful chopper, of course. Did you really expect otherwise?

Though I was at least pleased that this was recognisable as nasi lemak. Because on seeing it, people go: cucumbers, ikan bilis, red/brown stuff….Ohhh! It’s nasi lemak! Don’t ask why I went for this, I think I was bored, and also cold. Good enough reasons? Cold makes people do odd things. Yes, in my next post, I promise I won’t talk about the cold anymore. Agreed?

Advice to myself next time includes: don’t scrimp on the shallots (I was being cheap and didn’t want to buy a whole bag for 3 shallots), and add more sugar. Don’t forget the single garlic clove to be chopped into the sambal. Yes self, I know you think that one clove of garlic doesn’t really impart any garlic flavour because there isn’t enough of it, but I’m sure there is a reason behind its addition. Also don’t forget the peanuts. They’re an integral part of nasi lemak. Not clever.

More advice: try to get pandan leaves instead of giving up on the hunt so easily. Add a quarter of a chopped onion (raw, roughly chopped) into the rice before cooking. Also some whole peppercorns.

I intentionally left out the hard boiled eggs, because I don’t like them. Too bad, egg lovers of the world!

The rice turned out surprisingly well, fluffy and coconutty. Yay! And the sambal wasn’t half bad at all, considering all the forgotten ingredients 🙂

Nasi Lemak, Take #1

Borrowed and lazied up from Rasa Malaysia.

Rice

1 cup of rice, rinsed
1.5 cups of water, or however much you generally use to cook your rice, then add a little bit more.
1/2 bag of instant coconut milk – the entire packet made 150ml of coconut milk total
A pinch of salt

  1. Rinse the rice as per usual.
  2. Add the water. Drop in half the bag of instant coconut milk and salt, and mix properly to ensure there aren’t any powder clumps.
  3. Cook the rice how you usually would, in a rice cooker. Mine took slightly longer than usual.

Sambal

1 red onion – should’ve used shallots and a quarter of an onion! Oh well. I’ll make a proper attempt someday.
1/2 cup ikan bilis – people say they’re small anchovies, but anchovies taste different. I don’t know.
7 dried chillies – mine were smallish, you can use more. Deseed them or the hotness with overpower everything else
1/2 teasp belacan
1 tablesp asam jawa / tamarind
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 tablesp sugar – more to taste
A pinch of salt

  1. Rinse and fry the ikan bilis. Keep a few aside for later.
  2. Dump the belacan, half the onion, and the deseeded dried chillies into the chopper. Grind them down pretty well. If you want to be all proper, use a pestle and mortar. Probably you’re more hardcore than me.
  3. Soak the asam jawa in warm water for about 15 minutes. Mash it up good with a spoon so the water goes murky.
  4. Slice the other half of the red onion into rings.
  5. Fry the belacan paste until fragrant. Make sure to open a window!
  6. Add onion rings. Fry til soft.
  7. Add the ikan bilis (apart from the little bit you set aside). Keep frying.
  8. Add the asam jawa mixture, salt and sugar. Don’t add everything at once, keep tasting until you find a mixture you like. I followed the recipe exactly and thought that the sambal wasn’t sweet enough.
  9. Simmer on low heat until the mixture thickens.

Serve!

Cucumber
Remaining fried ikan bilis
Whole raw peanuts – Don’t forget!!
Egg
Banana leaf – hahah, yea right not in this climate

  1. Slice the cucumber, I like cucumber sticks
  2. Fry the peanuts with some salt. Don’t forget the peanuts!!
  3. Boil the egg. Cut into quarters. Don’t do it if you don’t like egg.
  4. Spread your imaginary banana leaf on a plate. Wipe it off and smooth it down, to remove imaginary dirt.
  5. Put some rice on the place. Surround the rice with a scoop of sambal, some ikan bilis, cucumber stick, and some peanuts. And a quarter of a boiled egg, or not.

* You should know better than to believe me by now. Really, I expected more of you.

Cold Weather and Asam Prawn

I don’t know what it is about cold weather, but it makes me crave local food. Really rather odd, especially seeing as I only left KL a couple of days ago, which means that the craving can’t be due to not-eating-it-since-forever. Just that I think I haven’t, because it’s cold. The mind works in mysterious ways.

So what should I do? I went back to one of my old favourites, Rasa Malaysia, and indulged in food porn for a bit. This is really one of my favourite websites for Malaysian recipes, because when I started out, everything I made from this website actually worked. Rather shockingly for me. And here we are today.

I settled on asam prawn, because it looked easy. And I’m lazy and I didn’t feel like running around to find missing ingredients from secret supermarkets (see my last adventure). It’s too cold right now for those kinds of shenanigans. Today’s weather forecast: 11 degrees C. Feels like: -12856573 degrees C. 10 points for over exaggeration, I’m pretty sure everyone is sick of me complaining about the cold by now. I promise I’m not whining, I’m just telling you how I feel!

 

Anyway. Onwards and upwards! Fly my little butterflied prawns! Fly! Oh you can’t? Yes, it appears I didn’t cut the butterfly deep enough. Oh well, next time.

Asam Prawns (Tamarind Prawns)

Copied from Rasa Malaysia, edited slightly.

Enough prawns to feed two – I had about 200g in the shells with heads
1.5 tablesp asam jawa / tamarind pulp
4 tablesp warm water
1.5 teasp sugar – I used brown sugar
1/4 teasp salt
3 tablesp oil

  1. Mix the asam jawa with warm water, and squish it to extract the juice. Keep going until it looks pretty murky, like the bottom of a muddy pond.
  2. Remove the head of the prawns, and butterfly by slitting them up the back with kitchen scissors. Remove the veiny looking thing that runs down the prawn’s back, which when I little I was convinced was the prawn intestine. Nice imagination huh?
    Edit: Wikipedia says I’m actually right! What a clever small disgusting child I was. No prawn poop for me!
  3. Add the salt and sugar to the asam jawa mixture.
  4. Marinate the prawns in the mixture for at least 15 minutes. I marinated slightly longer because I made this early for dinner. I was procrastinating by cooking instead of doing my work. Sighs.
  5. Heat the oil in the wok. Drop the prawns in, and cook until slightly burnt. I also fried the tamarind pulp. Serve immediately!

Side note. The Avengers = awesome. One of the best recent movies since Star Trek. Saw it yesterday. Yes yes, I’m pretty behind the times. Now, let’s forget about my nerdiness and get back to thinking about the food.

Also, here’s a picture of the Hulk. Credits to the linked source.