Saturday, March 31, 2012

Nyonya Sambal Assam Udang (Shrimp in Tamarind Curry)

This is (I feel) the best thing that I've cooked in a long time. I'm so proud of myself for making sambal udang! Sambal udang is another dish from the Nyonya or Peranakan repertory. The 'usual' Peranakan spices are used, such as tamarind, shallots, lemongrass, galangal, coconut milk etc. are used, but somehow, it tastes very distinct from other Peranakan dishes. This actually reminds me of inchi kabin (Nyonya fried chicken), except with coconut milk and tamarind in a curry style.

This dish is different from Assam Udang, which is a dish that is marinated in tamarind, and pan fried, instead of stewed like in a curry.

  • 1/2 to 3/4lb shrimp (about 20 pieces)
  • 1 inch block of tamarind
  • 4 tablespoons of water
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 inch cube of belacan (shrimp paste)
  • 2 tablespoons sambal belacan (chilli and shrimp paste)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil

  • Dissolve the tamarind block in 4 tablespoons of water to make tamarind pulp. Remove any tamarind seeds.
  • In a hot saucepan, add oil, and fry the belacan, shallots, garlic and sambal belacan.

  • When the shallots and garlic is fragrant, add in the tamarind pulp, and when the mixture starts to bubble, add the shrimp.
  • Continue frying until the shrimp is cooked, then add coconut milk.
  • Bring the coconut milk to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook until shrimps are cooked.
  • Serve.

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