Sambal Chili Recipe : It’s Getting Hot in Here

If you guys have noticed, I had slowed down a lot on blogging into only bout once a week. I had just started my new job, and still in process of getting the hang of things and in the midst of training. So do bear with me as I have a lot of wonderful good eats waiting to share here.

Anyway, this time I am here to post for Barbara’s The Spice is Right Event, this time with the theme ‘It’s too darn hot!’ Barbara is so right about the case that we Asian love to eat hot and spicy food even though it is darn hot out there. Why? We are mad people who like to sweat their shirt out in some road-side stall with the heat up to 38 degrees. We also like to burn our tongues when we eat and end up with red puffy lips all day. We also happens to enjoy end up with a burning sensation in our stomach all day long and maybe a big business trip to the toilet. Well, there are many reasons we Asian eats darn hot chillies in the heat, but one holds true for everyone is that it is just plain good eats.

The chili condiment that I am going to feature today is called the Sambal Chilli. It is usually served alongside the famous local dish called nasi lemak, which is the unofficial Malaysia national dish, competing with char kuey teow. Nasi lemak holds much stronger position to me as it is enjoyed by all races, young or old. Somehow I believe that it evolves from a simple Malay dish to various types of serving, somehow adapted by other cultures. There are Indian and Chinese serving nasi lemak here in Malaysia, both with their own distinctiveness, or maybe not, what is real nasi lemak anymore anyway? The basic is the rice that is cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaves for fragrance. For now there are two popular types, one which is in small servings wrapped in banana leaves, the usual breakfast fare for our locals here. As for the bigger serving style, of huge amount of lemak (fatty) rice, and lots of sambal to go with it along with some fried ikan bilis (anchovies), groundnuts and cucumbers, sometimes with egg, hardboiled or sunny-side-up and fried chicken. This is the usual mamak style fare that we eat it anytime of the day, which I called it fast food the Malaysian style.

For me, as I grew up in Taiping, with not much of wondering around and not much of mamak stalls available, I have not been really expose to the wonders of nasi lemak. When I then came to KL I started to try it out both the breakfast and the mamak style. To me, the best of the nasi lemak comes not only from the coconut milk rice, but the sambal that goes with it. It must be hot with enough kick, while slightly sweet and tangy. Now I would share with you one fool-proof and darn hot

Sambal Chili Recipe
Sambal Chili

Sambal Chilli

I got this recipe from KC, and it yields quite a large portion of sambal, thus I had scaled it down by half when I did it. But if you have a large family to feed, I would definitely recommend you to make the whole batch since you are doing the same amount of job and it keeps really well too. According to Gina (founder of KC and the one who shared this recipe) it can last for 1 month in room temperature (away from sunlight), 2 months in the fridge and 6 months or longer in the freezer! How cool is that? As for me, after eating bout half the batch, I took the liberty by adding fried ikan bilis (anchovies) to it for the nasi-lemak-style sambal which I’m not sure would the shelf life be shorten, but I remembered keeping it for quite sometime in the fridge. As the recipe that follows, most of the ingredients are just for guidelines, you can add more or less of whichever fancy you most. I had also reduced the sugar amount as I like my sambal more hot than sweet. Amount of oil is also adjustable, some like their sambal drowning in it, but as for me, I am a little health (or weight ha-ha) conscious, thus I reduced the oil amount quite a bit and it still turn out great.

100g red chilli
2 pcs of assam keluk/gelugor (tamarind slice)
100g sugar
10 shallots
6 cloves of garlic
250ml tamarind pulp juice (or dilute tamarind paste in hot water)
80ml oil
2 lime, juiced

Grind together the chillies, onions and garlic into a smooth paste
Add in sugar, tamarind juice and assam keluk to mix
Heat up the oil in the wok
Add in the chilli paste to cook, turning down to low heat and continue to stir fry the paste
Cook until the paste turns dark and starting to dry out
Turn off the heat and let it cool completely
Stir in the lime juice
Store in tight jars

For sambal ikan bilis:
2-3 handfuls of ikan bilis (anchovies)
Oil for frying

Heat enough oil for frying in the wok
When smoking hot, throw in the ikan bilis and fry until crispy
Take care not to burn it as it can turn from crispy to burn pretty fast
Dish out and let drain
Then stir it into the sambal, mix well
Store in tight jars again

Yields 300g of darn hot sambal

Suggestions:
Serve with nasi lemak
Goes along really well with stir-fry noodles too like my pad thai
Kicks up a notch on any regular or chinese fried rice
Leave out the ikan bilis to go with char kuey teow

Ayam Pongteh @ Nyonya Chicken Stew Recipe : Now and Before

Now:

Not much cooking nowadays but all workload is starting to lessen. My final year project is soon to be over and then I can concentrate on my finals. Then it is off to the work force for me. Seem really daunting yet exciting. All said I am ready to take on the challenge and start a new journey in my life. We all have to learn to adapt to changes and make the best of it. I am glad I have learned to do so. What bout you?

Before:

Anyway, I just remembered this recipe I attempted ages ago (few months) that I have yet to share with you guys. It is from an issue of Flavours, a local food magazine which I am an avid fan of. I came across a simple yet intriguing recipe called Pongteh. This dish is from Peranakan origin, which we called Baba and Nonya. I had wrote bout them before. A glance at the recipe and it got me thinking of it day and night, so I had to put it to an end. I made it.

Ayam Pongteh @ Nyonya Chicken Stew Recipe
Ayam Pongteh @ Nyonya Chicken Stew

Pongteh (Chicken Stew with Preserved Soy Bean Paste)

This recipe uses ingredients readily available in most households. Chinese households if not. I’m not sure whether many would have the preserved bean paste, which is actually a thick, salty fermented soybean paste. I believe one can get in any asian market easily. Here, it is a must in this dish as it holds the base flavour of it. Gula melaka is actually unprocessed raw palm sugar, easily available in Malaysia. As the name stated, it is originated from Melaka, home of the Peranakans.

As usual, I had left out ingredients to suit my taste (or my pantry) and tweaked the recipe a wee little bit. In the original recipe, one can add belly pork and also shitake mushrooms and yam bean. In the recipe, it calls for first boiling the sauce with the mushroom for 20 minutes. Once again, I took the shortcut, and since I did not use Chinese mushrooms anyway, I only bring it to boil, cut down added water and cooked to a much shorter time.

The recipe noted that it will taste better the next day after the flavors had a chance to infuse into the meat. I for one am not going to compromise this. The overnight dish was great with the meat deeply infused in the taste, which comprises mainly of the bean paste. To me the taste is unique and it is an overall fairly easy recipe. Do try it!

5 chicken drumsticks
3 tbsp cooking oil

Grind to paste:
4 red onions
5 shallots
6 cloves of garlic

2 tbsp preserved bean paste (tau cheo)
600ml water
5 potatoes (cubed)

40g gula Melaka (palm sugar), or to taste
1 tsp of salt

Heat oil and sauté the onion, shallot and garlic paste till fragrant, stirring continuously.
Then add in the bean paste and fry till oil separates. (This did not really happen to mind as I had lowered the oil content considerably)
Add water and bring to boil.
Lower in the chicken and simmer for bout 15 minutes.
Add in the cubed potatoes.
Continue to cook for another 30 minutes or till chicken is tender and potatoes are soft.
Add water if gravy becomes too thick.
Season to taste with sugar and salt

Added: A fellow reader asked me about what tau cheo to make sure she got the right ingredient, so here it is:

Taucu @ Preserved Bean Paste
Taucu @ Preserved Bean Paste

Malaysian National Dish?

L came again and saved this blog of mine from mediocrity. I always longed to cook, experiment and blog again but I guess time is not on my side. Besides, food for the week had practically been ‘ta-pau’ed (packed) from my cousin’s housewarming since Sunday. (Yes, we packed a huge amount of leftovers). Then there was some little cooking here and there. I made cheese steak and oyster tomato soup for Valentine, but was too tired and did not have the time to take picture. The steak was good; I planned to do it again one day and then blog about it.

Well, as for now, enjoy another round of L’s eating adventure about a very popular dish, char kuey teow (stir-fried flat noodles), which is known to be the best in Penang, hers is a lightly revamped version being a wet one. Sounds kinky eh?

Sany Café

Sany Café @ Penang
Sany Café @ Penang

The debate raged on which food we should proudly proclaim as the Malaysian national food. The nominees had been roti canainasi lemak and char kuey teow. All three nominees are distinctively Malaysian, each one originated from the three main races in Malaysia, with roti canai an identity to the Indians, nasi lemak, an original Malay cooking and the hot from the wok, char kuey teow of the Chinese. What truly make these food truly Malaysian is that it is consumed by all races and that recipes had assimilated among the people here, sometimes giving a new breath into the menu altogether.

Sany Café, located in Jalan Sungai Dua, right opposite USM is a popular restaurant among students here. Everyone seems to only come here for the char kuey teow or more popularly known as ‘Kuey Teow Basah (wet)’. I was introduced to it late last year when my friends and I went there for supper. I though the dish was like any other kuey teow served in soup, but I was surprised to find out, it is actually char kuey teow served with a lot of gravy.

I was since hooked and always went back for more. Patrons may need to order the large one as the regular one is always too little to satisfy your taste buds and what more, after a long day of classes, you would need more of this delicious dish.

Kuey teow basah is pretty much like the usual Chinese char kuey teow which is usually fried with eggs, bean sprouts, cockles and prawns. The crucial difference is that, like its name, it is served soaking wet with its gravy. People told me, that what makes it so sinfully delicious is that instead of using plain water for its gravy, the cook uses the water that the prawn comes soaked in. It does sound unhygienic, but hey, that’s perhaps the whole selling point of kuey teow basah.

Being Malaysian is truly a blessing. Because when cultures assimilate, the food just always turns out better.

Sany Café
Jalan Sungai Dua,
(Opposite USM)
11700, Gelugor
Penang

Char Kuey Teow Basah @ Sany Café, Penang
Char Kuey Teow Basah @ Sany Café, Penang

Char Kuey Teow (Stir-fried flat noodles)

I noticed I had not been sharing enough recipes nowadays, and so I thought of putting a char kuey teow recipe up, which I always wanted to try but have yet to. Take note that this is the usual dry version, unlike the one L had reviewd. This is from Gina, founder of Kitchen Capers, and I’m sure, since it’s from her, it is going to turn out well and be really delicious. By the way, I heard that the real secret to a tasty plate of char kuey teow is by using lard oil and adding pork lard. It lends a delicious crunch and a distinct taste! I will try it once I have the time. In the meantime, if you did, let me know alright?

Ingredients:
1 kg kuey teow (white, flat noodles)
300 g bean sprouts
200 g tiger prawns
200 g chicken fillet (parboiled in hot water, shredded)
2 stalks of spring onions, chopped (white part only)

2 tbsp Sweet Black Sauce
1 tbsp Fish sauce (or Light Soya Sauce)
1 tbsp Dark Soya sauce

5 tbsp corn oil
1 tsp chopped garlic
200 g fresh cockles (optional, if unavailable in your country)

Method:
In a wok, heat 1 tbsp corn oil and add garlic to stir fry.
Mix all the sauces together.
Add to the noodles and stir well to mix.
Add remaining 4 tbsp of corn oil to stir.
Add prawns and chicken, bean sprouts.
Add 20 ml water and spring onions. Stir to mix.
Lastly, add fresh cockles and briefly stir for about 2 mins.
Turn off fire.

Serve hot to 4-6 people

Sago Gula Melaka Recipe

Gula Melaka
Gula Melaka

Finally I am back in my hometown. These day it was really hectic for me but I just could not pass out the opportunity to join this month’s SHF #15 hosted by Sam in Becks & Posh. So as usual I go for the easiest recipe I can find but of course still very tasty.

Since we are looking for dessert low in sugar and best to feature natural sugar, all I can think of was the Gula Melaka in my pantry. It is an all natural sweet sugar made from the sap of the coconut palm. As the name implies, it is widely known in Melaka and a favourite use among the Peranakans in both meals and desserts. Here in Malaysia, it comes in form of rolled blocks. These sweet rolls have distinct flavour themselves, not light brown sugar or honey or even golden syrup or dark molassess. You got to taste it to know it but as you know, it will always be a star in every sweet recipe if added. Yes it is that distinct.

Gula melaka is usually the star in many of our local Nonya kuih (our local cakes) alongside with the famous pandan leaves that I have kept talking about. It is used to make many other sweet desserts like cendol (I would talk about this nest time). I had even used it to make my macaroons! Really versatile and pair really well with pandan and coconut.

Here I made a really simple recipe using sago pearl. Sago is actually starch from the sago plant which can be made into pudding and is also usually added to many of our local ‘tong sui’like my Hak Lor Mai. This time I made sago pudding drizzle over with little bit of evaporated milk and then drown in gula melaka syrup. Heaven!

Sago Gula Melaka
Sago Gula Melaka

Sago Gula Melaka

The recipe here is in terms of guessing and estimating as it is to modify to suit ones taste, whether you want it really sweet, or less or more milk or vice versa. Besides, the amount yield would also differ according to your pudding cups. I made mine in little bowls since I have none. Ah, displaying my lack of kitchen tools again.

100g sago pearls
50 gula melaka
½ cup of evaporated milk

Bring water to boil in a pot
Add sago pearls to boil for 10-15 minutes or all the pearls are translucent (best to keep stirring as I have some stuck at the bottom once left unattended)
Remove from heat, pour onto a sieve and wash with running water.
Drain excess water and put aside.
Press the sago pearls into pudding cups, packing it tight together.
Refrigerate it for 1-2 hours then serve cold.

Melt gula melaka in a pot or microwave with about ¼ to ½ cup of water to it. (This amount depends how diluted you want your syrup to be. Chill.

When serving, unmould the sago pudding onto bowl, drizzle over with evaporated milk then drown it with the sweet exotic gula melaka and enjoy an all natural sweetness goodness.

Yields bout 6 small puddings or 3 large ones

Tagged with: SHF # 15 + Low Sugar