When I moved to KL from Penang many years ago, one thing that I was never able to really get used to is the taste of sambal. In this region, sambal is often a pretty sweet affair, prepared with oil, galangal, turmeric, sugar, and involves process of cooking.
What I’m more familiar with instead, is mom’s version that is ultra simple and requires only 2, or maximum of 3 ingredients. This sambal is superb as a condiment with fatty food such as tau eu bak, and can also be used as an ingredient for other recipes such as sambal fried rice.
Here’s how you can prepare yours, all you need is fresh cili (maybe also some cili padi if you want it really spicy), and good quality belacan.
- toast 2 tablespoon of belacan in frying pan until dry and fragrant
- remove seeds from red chili (a dozen), and cut into small chunks
- pound with pestle and mortar until they’re crushed
- keep in fridge, squeeze a calamansi when serving and it’ll be instantly “fresh”
Good luck, stay safe, and happy cooking!
One of my favorite quick meal is fried rice, and of all the different versions, one of my favorites would be the good old fashion sambal belacan fried rice.
Since it isn’t exactly a popular dish at hawker centres or Chinese/Malay restaurants, I thought a simple recipe could be helpful for those who are a bit adventures in the kitchen.
sambal belacan fried rice with prawns
First of all, to make sambal belacan fried rice, you must make sambal belacan. No brainer right?
The ingredients couldn’t be simpler, I got them from local market
- red chili
- chili padi (optional)
- belacan (prawn paste)
- around 10 red chili to 2 table spoons of belacan (approximate)
sambal belacan’s ingredients – chili & belacan
Here’s how you do it
- roast the belacan in oven at about 200 degree till fragrant (or stinks, depending on your personal interpretation)
- cut chili in halves and remove seeds, chop them further to smaller pieces
- place belacan and chili into mortar and pestle and pound away
The mortar and pestle was obtained for RM 35 at a local market. You can use a blender but it won’t taste the same though. I keep the finished product in an air tight jar in the fridge.
Haze’s pounding it the old school way
So now that you have the sambal, here is how you make the fried rice, ingredients:
- 2 servings of rice, well duh! (overnight leftover’s the best)
- 4-6 prawns – peeled and marinate with a bit of salt
- 1-2 stalks of scallion, chopped finely
- 1 egg
- half a tea spoon of dark soya sauce
- 2 table spoon of sambal belacan
stir to perfection
- heat up the frying pan with 2-3 table spoon of oil, then fry prawn for about a minute
- add rice and sambal, stir like mad
- add the dark soya sauce
- make an opening in the middle of the frying pan, add a table spoon of oil, and crack the egg
- add a squirt of soya sauce on egg, then stir like mad
- add scallions last
Salt is not needed since belacan provides the necessary saltiness to the rice already. The result is two servings of really spicy, fragrant, and rather delicious old school sambal belacan fried rice. Sambal took about 30 minutes to prepare, and fried rice another 15 minutes or so.
Of course, we made more than enough sambal for just cooking fried rice, the actual main intention was to use it as condiment for tau eu bak (braised pork belly with soya sauce), which will be the next recipe I publish here.
Thinking of an economical tai chau (大炒, made to order Chinese dishes, served with rice) for dinner, we ended up at Ming Heong (明香). This busy little corner is actually just an outdoor stall by the roadside right next to Giant hypermart at Taman Paramount in Petaling Jaya.
excellent kangkong belacan
If you can read in Chinese, ordering will be easy enough. At Ming Heong, they have the menu (only in Chinese) on a big board hanging underneath a bright florescence light. For the three of us, we ordered a bowl of watercress soup (西洋菜汤), a plate of kangkong belacan (马来风光), sweet and sour pork (咕噜肉), and clay pot tofu (砂煲豆腐).
one menu to rule them all
As the place was still not very busy since it was only around 7pm, we got our food within 10 minutes. The servings were a little smaller than other places, but that fits just nice as there were only three of us for the four dishes.
The dishes were surprisingly good. The sweet and sour pork prepared the traditional way and not with ketchup, hence the brownish color of the sauce instead of the more familiar reddish tone. It was perhaps not as visually appealing, but has a more original taste to it. The clay pot tofu was packed with meat, green bean, sliced carrot, onion, two types of mushroom, egg, shrimp, and of course, some very smooth tofu. The base, sweet with the taste of meat as well as seafood; and the myriad of ingredients complimented the tofu nicely.
tofu, soup, meat, vegetable, we have it all convered
The watercress soup came in one of those steamed soup servings. Prepared in advance and kept in the steamer, it was well cooked and didn’t disappoint. The best dish of the night, though, was the kangkong. A simple dish with the vegetable fried alongside red chili, garlic, dried shrimp, and oil turned out to be done with the perfect taste and texture. It was easily one of the best kangkong belacan dishes I’ve had for a long time. Best of all, it didn’t even need to be overly spicy to be good.
Ming Heong is situated just by Giant at Paramount
The dinner was an economical RM 13.00 per person. Four dishes, a very good value. Ming Heong only opens for dinner, and I would recommend that you go there on a non-rainy night.
Taman Paramount, PJ,
GPS: 3.106995, 101.624190