Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mom's Sambal Belacan Terung Asam (Spicy Shrimp Paste Condiment)

This is my Mom's version of sambal belacan in true Nyonya perfection! Mom was such a phenomenal woman, who cooked amazing food for us.

Ingredients: fresh red chilies, bird's eye chilies (for that added 'kick'), Asian shrimp paste (belacan) and terung assam (yellow round fruit) - pounded to a paste in a traditional stone mortar and pestle. Add in some sugar (optional) and a squeeze of calamansi/lime/lemon juice, you'll have your perfect spicy sambal belacan ready to whet your appetite anytime.

Sambal belacan for Malaysians and many South-east Asians needs no introduction at all. It originates from the Malay culture but appeals to the mouth-watering senses of all races in Malaysia.

It's one of the most popular 'must have' condiments during meals as it goes oh! so well! with rice and the various yummylicious Malaysian/Asian dishes.

If you're wondering what terung asam is, the picture below shows you what it is.

Terung asam is a tiny, round and hairy kampung (village) fruit like the size of a calamansi lime. It turns to a pretty bright yellow once ready to be plucked off the plant. Literally translated, terung asam means sour aubergine. However, it has no relation to aubergine. Can be eaten raw or added into asam pedas (spicy/sour fish dish).

Terung asam can be found sold in small quantities by Malay vegetable/herb traders in markets as it is not a crop that is widely cultivated. In fact, many city dwellers may not even heard or seen terung asam before. I have 5 plants growing well in my backyard. Thanks to my sis who gave me the first original plant (below pic). I sprouted the seeds from one of the fruits from this original plant (which has since died by the way) and now I can't wait for the fruits to grow on my 2nd generation plants! Yippees!!!

Fried tempeh with sambal belacan terung asam. Goes well with fried chicken/fish etc. Yummzzzz!

Mom's sambal belacan terung asam

Pound to a paste:
3-5 fresh large red chilies (remove seeds)
3-5 bird's eye chilies
1 tbsp Asian shrimp paste (belacan), lightly fry it in an oiled frying pan for 2-3 mins
4-5 terung asam (peel off the hairy skin)

Add to the paste:
Half to 1 tsp sugar (more or less according to preference)
Some juice of calamansi/lime/lemon (more or less according to sour preference)
Salt (only if preferred after 1st tasting as belacan is already salty)

Happy pounding!

petite nyonya