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.

 

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Leeks and Bouncy Prawns

Sometimes you want real food, and sometimes you make pasta. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying pasta isn’t food. All I’m saying is that the times I make pasta don’t seem to be the times when I’m exceptionally excited / ambitious about cooking. Pasta fulfills a very important role as “standby food”.

I make pasta when:

  • I’m tired and I can’t be bothered to cook
  • There is nothing in the cupboard and I don’t feel like shopping
  • I’m being cheap because I just bought something fancy and used up the rest of my food budget for the month
  • I want to do as little washing up as possible because it’s cold outside and I’m cold and washing up makes me cold (yes, I hate the cold)
  • I’m not really hungry but it’s dinnertime and the auntie who lives in my brain is forcing me to have a so-called square meal

Some like it hot Leeks are quite pretty somehow Bathing in icy water Yes chilli please And next the leek And the lightly cooked bouncy prawns Also tastes good cold, and for lunch tomorrow

I’m totally misjudging pasta here because it’s really quite satisfying. Especially when it has bouncy bouncy prawns in it.

boing boing boing

Chilli, Leek, and Prawn Pasta

Inspired by a combination of Taste.com.au, and The Age. Neither of them did exactly what I wanted though, much editing ensued.

3-4 servings of pasta – spaghetti or similar is better
2 leeks
5 cloves garlic
2 chillies
200g prawns – shelled
1.5 tablesp lemon juice, or to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan to sprinkle, I like lots

  1. Peel the prawns and let them sit in a bowl of icy cold water to ensure optimum bounciness while maintaining laziness. For a true bouncy prawn you apparently need to marinade at pH9.
  2. Cook the pasta. Drain and set aside. Keep a little cup of the pasta water.
  3. Dump the peeled garlic and chilli (with the stem and end cut off) into the chopper for a quick whiz. Start frying in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add a pinch of salt too.
  4. Slice the leek into rounds. Throw away the super hard green part. When the garlic goes golden, throw the leeks into the pan.
  5. Once the leeks soften, add the prawns. Keep going until they’re just cooked.
  6. Put the pasta into the pan and mix it all up. Add a little pasta water to get the sauce moving.
  7. Season with lemon, salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Remove from heat and sprinkle with parmesan. Toss and enjoy for dinner, and tomorrow’s lunch.

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.