I do not know how many will try this out dated simple household recipe… It is an acquired taste and if you have never eaten this way, I presumed you are unlikely to try. Well, I issued this post to capture my childhood dish and as a respect to my late mum who prepared this rather often when I was young.
When the weather was hot and she knew that appetite was low, my late mum would prepare some chilli belachan and put a plate of cut cucumber in the table together with other Chinese dishes.
Before she prepared this, she would toast the belachan . I remember she had some netting to put the belachan in between and toast it over very small fire in a charcoal stove. When the toasted belachan is ready, she would set aside and called me to help.
My responsibility was nothing more than pounding the chilli is a mortal using a pestle.
After I pounded the chilli in coarse form, she would put the toasted belachan in the mortal
I would pound until the paste is well mixed. She would scoop out the paste and put it in the small bowl
She then took a few tablespoons of the belachan and transfer to a smaller dish, add sugar to taste and some calamansi lime juices.
She then stirred until well combined and put on the table with a plate of cut cucumber. That will be the condiment for the meal.
We will take a piece of cucumber, dip it in belachan and put inside our mouth. I can say that it is delicious..
At times, there are some remnants on the mortal, she would put some buah kedondong or ambarella collected from the backyard into the mortar such that there is no wastage of food.
After pounding, another condiments Sambal belachan kedondong is ready.
For the remaining uneaten belachan, she would put in a bottle and when we need it, we would just squeeze more lime juice and add some sugar for serving in a meal.
The above is a recollection of my childhood condiments. We are definitely not Peranakan but we have this at the dinner table rather frequently. I really missed this and I wanted my kids to know what I was eating when young, so I have decided to blog this condiment. During dinner, me and my wife really enjoy eating this belachan chilli with cucumber and ambarella pieces. it is so refreshing, appetizing and brought fond memories of my childhood.
There will be no exact measurement for this recipe, feel free to add or minus the ingredients. The only point that I wanted to insist is to toast the belachan until cooked. Toasted and uncooked belachan smell totally different. You will definitely regret if you did not toast the belachan.
If you want to know more about local shrimp paste or belachan, you can refer to this post: Can You Stand The Smell of Belachan (Shrimp Paste)?
WHAT IS REQUIRED
- Some red chilli or bird eye chilli
- Some calamansi lime
- Some shrimp paste or belachan
- Some white sugar to taste
- Some ambarella or green mango
Note that all the quantities are variables and easily to suit individual taste buds. If you want to make it spicier, use more chilli padi and more tangy, use more calamansi. The red chilli quantity is usually twice the quantity of belachan.
STEP OF PREPARATION
- This step is optional and only if you are preparing the sambal belachan kedondong. Peel the ambarella and cut into small pieces. Throw away the core.
- Toast the belachan over a stove under low heat until it is cooked and aromatic. In this process, you will witness the belachan colour tone will be lighter. in addition, it is likely to break into small pieces. Alternatively, you can also bake in an oven at 100 degree Celsius until aromatic and dry.
- Pound the chilli until fine. Add the toasted belachan, pound until well mixed. Add sugar to taste (you can add sugar at the later stage too). Once it done , scoop out and keep in a sterilized bottle.
- For the remnants that was left in the mortal, put a few pieces of green mango or ambarella, pound until coarse form. Add sugar to taste and the dish is ready.
- For the chilli belachan condiments, put one tablespoon in a small bowl, add 2 calamansi lime juice and some sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Best served with white rice or cut cucumber or as a condiments to go with fried noodles.
- To boost the volume, you can add toasted dried shrimps or anchovies and pound it together.
- If you do not have a mortar and pestle, you can use a food processor to do the job.
- You can either use chilli padi or red chilli but it must be fresh chilli as it will have a chilli aroma. You have the choice to deseed the chilli of pound the whole chilli.
- Never ever add anything salty seasoning to the dish. Belachan itself is very salty. The only way to negate the saltiness is sugar. As such , I usually made it into a sweeter spicy belachan chilli.
- This is the basic belachan recipe. You can always add more lime juice to make it more watery to eat with noodles . Vinegar can be sued too. But we don’t dilute with water.
- If you want to use it to stir fry vegetable like kangkong belachan, you can add some dried shrimps and shallots and pound together before stir frying.
- The condiment can keep for a rather long period of time if keep in freezer.
- The deliciousness of this dish is very much depend on the quality of belachan. Good quality belachan and poor quality belachan does make a huge difference in the aroma. Ask the shopkeeper to recommend. Though this rule of thumb may not be necessary holds, but good quality belachan fetches a much higher price premium than the normal belachan.
In our family, we always has a piece of belachan in the kitchen. We have never been adverse to belachan but I was shocked that many members of the Facebook group are not aware of how belachan looked like. If you have never eaten this before, I would advise not to try it as the taste can be much simpler than you thought. It is a form of “salad” dressing without cooking. If you have eaten before but forget how to do it, you can try to use this recipe as a starting point. There are many more variations of sambal belachan than can be churn out from this simple recipe . Some of them is to include the soaked dried shrimps or anchovies. The type of fruits can also be changed to green mangos, green papaya etc..
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