Wow…….here we are, into the middle of January! Where has all the time gone. Just hard to believe. Yesterday in church, my pastor asked us whether we had set goals. Of course I did…..quite a few. But I have to admit that I didn’t get onto a good start……..sigh. But never mind, I’ll reset my goals before Chinese New Year which falls on the 10th February this year. Now I’m so thankful I’m a Chinese!….*big smiles*.
Putting my goals aside, I did have a good start to the year. I won a giveaway from Shirley’s blog, Luxury Haven. There’s a massage soap, body scrub and dental kit. Isn’t it wonderful to win something? That’s not all. I also won a one year Vegetarian CookBook magazine subscription for a year from Swee San’s blog, The Sweet Spot. To all of you, my dear readers out there, I would encourage you to join giveaways on blogs. I always join if I come across any. Luck may be on your side but if you never enter, you’ll never stand a chance to win anything. I do hope you’ll win something this year. And do drop by Shirley’s and Swee San’s blogs. They are awesome bloggers.
Right, back to my cooking adventure. I cooked for 4 parties at home and 1 in church. Of course attended several. After all the cooking and eating, I’m sure it’s natural to become a bit lazy……..*big grin*. Had been having very easy, simple but healthy food.
However, there’s one food that I tried. It’s quite a lot of work but if you cook a bigger batch, it can last you for at least a week if you keep it in the fridge. And that it the spicy Sambal Ikan Bilis that almost every Malaysian crave for! This is the first time I cook it this way with ikan bilis. Ikan Bilis are dried anchovies, easily available in Asian countries. We have all types of ikan bilis in Malaysia. But sadly, this type is non existence here in Aberdeen. I always get my supply when I go back for holiday. Sometimes friends give me. So sweet of them!
The first time I cooked it was about 2 wks ago. I wanted something spicy and fragrant and wanted it quick. So I didn’t jot down the actual recipe. It came out so good that I regretted so much for not jotting down the recipe! BIG regret! I just didn’t think it would turn out to be so good. The whole batch was gone quite fast. We had it every single meal! My daughter said it’s the best! It was so good that I couldn’t wait to try again. We had been eating it with salmon, rice and vegetables, chicken, fried eggs, etc, as shown in the pictures above.
A few days ago, my husband told me his Malaysian friend from Norway would be joining us for dinner. I’msure he misses a good sambal ikan bilis. It’s so difficult to get good sambal overseas unless you live in a big city where there are Malaysian restaurants. There’s no Malaysian restaurant here in Aberdeen except Mary’s Kitchen…..hehe. I decided to cook it for the dinner and see what he thinks. He liked it very much! I just knew it!….*big smiles*.
Here’s my way of making the Ikan Bilis Sambal. The recipe is not too difficult. You’ll get quite a big bowl of it. It’s not exactly the same as the first time I cooked it but very, very close. You can adjust the seasoning and spiciness, depending on the ingredients you can get on your side. I like to use Korean chilli powder because it’s so convenient. It’s not as spicy as the Malaysian chilli powder and it gives a nice colour to the sambal. You can use dried chillies if you like. The shallots here don’t look like shallots to me. They are so different from the ones we get back home. So, I used the red onions.
200g ikan bilis (soaked 15 minutes, washed and drained)
2 red onions (peeled and diced)
These dried ikan bilis are already cleaned up and split into halves. It makes cooking much easier.
Do not cut the red onions too thin or too small. You want the bite when cooked. You can use the yellow big onions too if you prefer.
1 whole garlic (peeled and finely chopped)
1 red onion (finely chopped)
1T belacan (shrimp paste)
Fry until fragrant. Keep stirring to make sure it doesn’t get burnt. You can use a processor to mice it. The best is actually to grind it which will give it a better flavour. But I was lazy and want it quick. Still good though….*grin*
You need quite a lot of oil to cook this sambal.
Add the chopped onions and ikan bilis of Ingredients A. Keep stirring for sometime, maybe at least 5 minutes.
60g Korean chilli powder
3T hot chilli sauce
1C tamarind juice (50g tamarind paste +1C water, mix well and sieve)
Add Ingredients C to the ikan bilis mixture above. Keep stirring to mix well and heat through. Add more water if it’s too dry.
Dish up and enjoy! I bet you will eat more rice like me….hehe. SO good with cucumber too….perfect combination. You can even have that as a starter. Yes, even great with bread or toast….mmmm
There was another quick sambal recipes that I cooked quite long ago. You can check it out at Easy Nasi Lemak Overseas - Malaysia’s Great Favourite. It’s a rather quick one for those living overseas. It was good but this one above is much better. The addition of anchovies makes a lot of difference. And using the actual belacan paste is better than using the powdered type. You can easily get the ingredients above in Asian supermarkets. And if you can’t find them in Asian supermarkets, make sure you stock up each time you go back for holidays. But a word of caution here. Make sure that it is allowed to go through at the airport.
So, if you like spicy and fragrant food, go for this spicy sambal ikan bilis. And to eat like a Malaysian, just eat this wonderful sambal with anything! Yes, anything! It’s especially good with coconut rice and cucumber, the ever popular nasi lemak….SO good! If you ever cook this, please share your pictures with me. If I can’t taste it, at least I can drool over it…..*grin*. Have fun cooking and eating!
Til then, see you in my next post! Enjoy your week and I will be back real soon.
Quote of the day……
“We do not quit playing because we grow old; we grow old because we quit playing.”
- Oliver Wendell Holmes