Wednesday, June 16, 2010


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 servings

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.


Allie and Pattie said...

Zurin, this looks gorgeous, but I know I'm entirely too much of a wimp to try it! Lovely!
xoxo pattie

Stella said...

Yummerz! This looks so incredible...

pam said...

My husband would love this, though he would definitely want his numbingly hot!

Elin Chia said...

Zurin...this is so appetizing ! I love this and thanks for sharing the recipe :) Glad that you have open up this comment box :)) so can still stay in touch with you :))

Quinn said...

I wish I can sentence you to death la Zurin!!!! Air liur meleleh depan screen!!!!! They look so good....I've once tried Telor Belado in an Indonesian restaurant called 'Pondok Bali' and it was good. And this fish belado, it's definitely good, if not better than what I've had just by the looks of it. I love how you slather them in the belado sauce...I could eat so much rice with this really!!!!

chow and chatter said...

this looks amazing and I just saw the wedding pictures loved that post so much fun t learn about weddings there, i am going to India in sept for my sis in laws wedding

busygran said...

Sedap! Already salivating just looking at the pics.

Linda said...

Oh Yummy Zu! This looks wonderful!

3 hungry tummies said...

My kind of dish Zurin! Great photos as always!
I am now closing my eyes and trying to pretend I am in a Padang restaurant with all the goodies being displayed in front of me :)

WendyinKK said...

You're a Minang eh????

Love anything spicy and of course Minang dishes. Once had a Minang girl as a housemate for 11 months, I learnt masak cili padi and some other stuff from her when we stayed together.

pigpigscorner said...

This looks amazing! I love fiery food!

Tasty Trix said...

Oooh, I love this!! The crispiness of the fish with that fiery oil - heaven.

Barbara said...

That looks delicious, Zurin, but I'm afraid it's too fiery for me! I'd have to cut way back on that. But I love the fried fish!

A Little Yumminess said...

I am so making this...but will try with fish pieces...yum! Homesick again!

Anonymous said...

Your dish reminded me of what my granny used to make when I was a young child. One of the dishes I grew up loving and still do.


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