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How make Malaysian greens with shrimp paste?


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7 replies to this topic

#1 sacre_bleu

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Posted 06 July 2003 - 08:13 PM

The Penang restaurants in NYC call it "Kangkung belacan" and they also have a green-bean dish with a similar sauce ("Kacang Pendek Belacan").

I haven't been able to find a recipe anywhere. There's obviously belacan in it, which is identified as a dried shrimp paste that comes in a block. I can order a brick of that online. But what else is in the sauce, and how do you put it together?

Help would be appreciated. I've got a need, and the nearest Malaysian restaurant is about 300 miles away.

#2 Shiewie

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Posted 06 July 2003 - 09:18 PM

Hi sacre_bleu and welcome!

Here's a recipe for kangkung belacan. You can also use green beans, long beans, four-angled winged beans or asparagus in place of the kangkung.

Stir-fried Vegetables with Belacan
Ingredients
10-12 oz of kangkung / grean beans / long beans / four-angled winged beans / asparagus
1 tbsp dried prawns (look for this in an Asian Grocery)
4 shallots
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 1/2 tsp of belacan (shrimp paste)
4 red chillies (adjust this to the level of spiciness you are comfortable with, remove the seeds if you want it less spicy)
3 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp salt (or adjust to taste)
1/2 tsp sugar (or adjust to taste)

Instructions
1) Soak the dried prawns for 1/2 hour to 1 hour till softened. Drain.
2) Pound the drained dried prawns, shallots, garlic, belacan and chillies with a mortar and pestle until fine. Alternatively, blend the mixture in a blender or food processor with a little bit of the oil.
3) Heat the wok/pan until it is very hot, then add the oil. Add the pounded / blended dried prawn and spice mixture. Stir-fry the mixture quickly over high-heat and then turn the heat down to medium-low. Slowly stir-fry the prawn and spice mixture until fragrant - the colour of mixture will change from a bright red to a dark reddish-brown.
4) Add the vegetables, salt and sugar. Stir-fry for another 2-3 minutes until the vegetables are cooked.

Hope this fulfills your need!

Edited by Shiewie, 07 July 2003 - 12:47 AM.


#3 Jason Perlow

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Posted 06 July 2003 - 10:13 PM

Here is a recipe for Stir-fried Vegtables with Belacan.
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#4 sacre_bleu

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Posted 07 July 2003 - 07:34 AM

Thanks a bunch.

A few belacan questions: Do you roast it before you use it? Some recipes seem to call for it. Or does the wok cooking of the puree roast it anyways?

Does the pre-roasting cut down on what might, to some American noses, seem like an untamed aroma? I use fish sauce all the time, but some references to belacan suggest opening your windows before using if you're not used to it, etc.

Appreciate any (more) advice.

#5 SG-

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Posted 07 July 2003 - 07:15 PM

Does the pre-roasting cut down on what might, to some American noses, seem like an untamed aroma?

Quite the opposite actually, pre-roasting is intended to amplify the aroma, just like you would dry spices.

#6 Shiewie

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Posted 07 July 2003 - 08:07 PM

The pre-roasting of belacan is usually done to bring out the aromas (as mentioned by SG-) and to get rid of of the raw taste in an uncooked sambal using belacan.

Here the belacan will be fried slowly ('tumis' in Malay) with the other spices. As such, pre-roasting is unecessary. However, the prawn and spice mixture needs to be 'tumis' for quite a while in order for the flavours to meld together and to get rid of the raw taste - note the change in smell and colour - the spice mixture will also sort of separate from the oil.

It would be a very good idea to open your kitchen windows when cooking anything with belacan. The smell can be quite pungent to all noses and not just untamed American ones! I can always smell it if the neighbours are cooking something with belacan.

#7 Ondine

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Posted 07 August 2003 - 07:52 AM

Not to be terribly inflammatory, but my family have always reckoned the smell of frying belacan to be more than just pungent.

We always used to fry it outdoors as the point of readiness was reached, as my mother once told me, " when your eyes are watering but before they overflow." Mind you, we always fried the chilli paste in together with the belacan when making sambal, instead of one after the other.

Trust me, all your neighbours will be able to tell you're frying belacan. And the neighbourhood cats, too. :laugh:
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#8 Sweet Willie

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Posted 05 September 2003 - 12:52 PM

Here's a recipe for kangkung belacan. You can also use green beans, long beans, four-angled winged beans or asparagus in place of the kangkung.

just picked up some shrimp paste, thanks for recipe.
"I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be"