Wednesday, June 16, 2010
FISH IN HOT CHILLIE PEPPERS ~ SAMBAL BELADO IKAN
Drowned in oil and fiery. The whole fireworks. This is a dish originating from Padang in Indonesia. It's hard to tear one's self away from one's ancestors when it comes to food. But I have done so. Because I'm married to someone who's ancestors come from a totally different part of South East Asia.
Someone who prefers soupy food as opposed to oily. And someone who had decided a long time ago, for some reason, that there's not much point in eating fiery food when it burns/numbs your tastebuds.
So it has been a long time since I've cooked anything remotely Minang, Padang-ish or numbingly fiery. But today when the cat was away I played.
Crispy fried fish slathered in crushed hot chillie peppers. It was hardly numbing because I did not have little bird chillies. Bummer. But there's always another day.
The recipe ~
2 pieces of fish, whole or sliced, any firm oily fish
1/4 cup plain flour
1/8 cup rice flour
1/4 tsp tumeric powder
a pinch of baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Mix all ingredients except the fish. Add water until you get a thick-ish slurry. Heat up a frying pan, add oil. When the oil is hot, dip the fish in the batter and fry until a golden brown and cooked through. Drain on kitchen paper and keep aside.
The sambal belado ~
4-5 large red chillies (plus 3 or 4 fiery bird chillies if you like)
3 pips garlic
1 large red onion or 5-6 shallots
Tamarind juice from 1 T tamarind paste and 4 T water
Juice from 1 small lime
Chop the chillies in chunks leaving seeds in. Chop or slice the onion roughly. Peel garlic. Pound all three ingredients in a pestle and mortar (including bird chillies if using) until it becomes a coarse mush. You should still be able to see coarse pieces of chillies or onions here and there. This paste is not usually pounded till fine. BUT it should be pounded. If it is chopped in a food processor it just doesn't give the same results when cooked.
Pour about 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil into a wok or high sided pan. When fairly hot put in the pounded sambal paste. Stir it around and put the flame to medium small. Let the sambal cook through until really limp. About 7-8 minutes. Stir now and then. Add the tamarind juice and cook further for another 5 minutes or until the sambal starts to turn slightly golden at the edges or to caramelize slightly. Stir now and then. Add salt to taste. Add a squeeze of lime juice at the end and stir.
Put the pieces of fish into the sambal mixture and turn over gently to slather the sambal all over the fish. Serve hot with steaming white rice.