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Archive for the ‘tamarind (assam)’ Category

The dried prawns are used in the rempah, whereas the fresh prawns are used whole to form the main ingredient of the dish. As indicated, eggs can be used instead of fresh prawns as the main focus.

Prawn Sambal

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Mesak Assam

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I’ve never tried bitter gourd cooked this way even though bitter gourd has been a long-standing staple on our family dining table. Since the time she was in her eighties, my grandmother ate bitter gourd at least once a day. Ah Kum-che, our black and white amah, always cooked it stir-fried with sliced beef and black beans. However after Ah Kum-che retired, the bitter gourd was cooked more simply, stir-fried plain with just chopped garlic. In more recent years, the tiny, extra-bitter bitter gourd has become widely available and my grandmother preferred them to the normal, large bitter gourd, which she pronounced as ‘tasteless’. People often asked what my grandmother’s secret to good health and longevity was, and perhaps one can say ‘a bitter gourd a day keeps the doctor away’ :)!

Bitter gourd is known to lower blood pressure, and drinking raw bitter gourd juice daily can help those with a high blood pressure problem. It’s also a cooling food. So perhaps not the thing for those with low blood pressure and constitution that is too ‘liang’.

No, I haven’t left out the instructions, there just aren’t any :/.

Salt Fish Bitter Gourd

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A very popular Nonya standard, which is reflected here by the folded bottom right-hand corner to bookmark the page! It’s also one of my all-time favourite dishes.

Notice how grandmother has added the local term ‘buah keluak’ to the original ‘opium-fruit’, and changed the chicken to pork. This in a more shaky hand and ball-point pen indicating that it was done much later than the original writing (which used fountain pen), perhaps in the last few years?

The mysterious sak-luk makes another appearance. [NB: See answer on ‘Unfamiliar Ingredients’ page.]

Once again, you’ll have to ‘agak-agak‘ your own quantities – good luck!

Buah Keluak curry

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Penang Curry Fish

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I’m not sure what Mesak Lada is, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten it before. Looks like a kind of rempah with pepper (lada) instead of chillies -? I’m not sure what the ingredient ‘Sak Luk’ is either. Please leave a comment if you know :)! [NB: See answer on ‘Unfamiliar Ingredients’ page.]

Kunyit is Malay for ‘tumeric’, and Nam Keong is Cantonese for ‘blue ginger’ or rather, galangal also known as lengkuas in Malay. This is a difficult recipe to follow, no quantities to help us out.

Mesak Lada

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