have you ever had this nagging feeling of what to cook whenever a festive season is around the corner? what mood do i want to create? i want it to be different but not too overwhelming for my guests....who am i inviting? what is the occasion? are they adults or children? big eaters or mousy eaters? well there is room for everyone... read on.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Sambal Belacan Fish

This is another of my growing up food. Remember my food caterer? Well, this dish came to mind when I saw some fresh kembung fish on sale just now. I usually prefer to use smaller size fish for this dish cos I like the crispy crunchy corners and fins of the fish after frying and lotsa sambal belacan on the insides. I asked my daily mobile market guy to slice 2 deep slits right beside the back bone of the fish for sambal filling and to also gut the fish. Some people prefer to leave it ungutted so that when they slit the fish, they go way in and stuff the sambal filling into the fish stomach or gut area. As for me, I want it gutted, more crunchy corners the better! 5 medium size kembung fish Ingredients to be blended or pounded. 5 cloves garlic 5 shallots 3 fresh large red chilies 5-6 bird-eye chilies 1" toasted belacan 4 Tbsp dried shrimps a little assam water (optional) 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour a little water Add some olive oil and stir-fry all the blended ingredients till fragrant. Take out to cool. Pat dry the fish and season with some sea salt. Fill the fish cavity with pre-cooked sambal belacan filling, including the gutted stomach. Press firmly so that the filling will not fall out when handled. This is the part I clearly remember my caterer doing, mix some all-purpose flour with water and stir into a white starchy paste. Place the paste on top of the sambal filling on the back of the fish. This acts like a glue to prevent the yummy sambal belacan from falling out onto the pan while frying. Fry fish not too many at a time with enough heat. Too low heat will not give you a delicious crispy fish. Some would prefer not the glue the fish with flour paste so that the red hot sambal can be seen ozzing out. Either way, it is still delicious!

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I'm Audrey from Somewhere in my kitchen, Malaysia.

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