Monday, November 22, 2010

Belacan~Shrimp paste Chicken ....' Malaysian Monday no. 14'

Sokehah Cheah | 12:26 PM |


Belacan is an extremely popular condiment used in a great variety of Malaysian cooking.  It comes in the form of a pressed brick or cake and the unique thing about it is that the ingredients of belacan are all raw.  Traditionally, they are made with a kind of very tiny shrimps, drained and salted before being left to ferment and dry in the sun.  Then, they are mashed together to form a paste and fermented again and this process is repeated.  The smell of roasted belacan can be digusting to some but heavenly to others.  As an ingredient, it mellows out and harmonises in the cooking and acts as a sort of natural  flavour enhancer.








I used  belacan in this chicken dish and served it with wholemeal bread, or you can opt for plain white rice ... either way, rest assured it's just yummy!

Ingredients
  • 1 kg free-range chicken, skin removed and cut to bite size
  • 25 shallots
  • 8 pips garlic
  • 3 red chillies
  • 2 lemon grass
  • 15 gm belacan paste
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 to 4 limau kasturi ~ calamansi
  • Cucumber for garnishing
Preparation
  1. Wash the chicken, drain and season with 2 tps salt for about 2 hours.
  2. Blend or pound the shallots, garlic, lemon grass, red chillies and belacan paste.
  3. Heat up a wok with 2 Tbsp oil, and stir-fry the chicken pieces for a while.
  4. Push the chicken aside, add in the blended ingredients and stir-fry.  Mix in the chicken.
  5. Next add in the water and 2 tsp sugar and let it cook, covered, under medium low heat.
  6. After about 45 mins., remove cover and check whether the chicken is cooked and tender.  Then continue to simmer to desired consistency. 
  7. Test for taste, turn off heat and squeeze in the limau kasturi.
  8. Dish out and serve with some cut cucumbers.



Do find out more from this ' site '

19 comments:

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  1. Another delicious dish for MMM thank you :)
    I am going to make this over the weekend!

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  2. The chicken looks so tempting! Juice from the lime would definitely go so well with it!

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  3. Wow! There's a lot of shallots in that dish! Looked spicy and delicious!

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  4. I only used prawn paste but never try to add belacan paste before. Must try your recipe for sure.

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  5. i love belachan! this is my kind of recipe!

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  6. 3 hungry tummies
    My pleasure! You try and see whether you like it.

    busygran
    Yes, the limau kasturi does enhance the taste.

    Jeannie
    Yes, no worries, just dump in the blender, but peeling them is a chore!

    Anncoo
    Prawn paste .... is it cincalok?

    masterofboots
    I like to add belacan to my curries too.

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  7. belacan paste is very new to know chicken looks amazing!

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  8. Whenever I used shrimp paste, all my 3 cats gathered around me and begged. :-)) Your chicken dish looks deeeeeelish!

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  9. wow...this dish is yummy for sure with the belacan in it :) have to try this out..thanks for sharing :)

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  10. I love belacan too! But I hate pounding the sambal. The best sambal is by pounding it by hand and not by machine. Your chicken dish sounds really tmepting me. Thanks for sharing & have a great day
    Kristy

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  11. Ananda
    The paste is very pungent, you can click on the word and read more about it.

    Angie
    Ha, ha, your cats can smell a rat!

    Elin
    You are most welcome!

    Kristy
    Totally agree with you .... the 'giling' method, that's the best!

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  12. cheah, i know that this is going be absolutely delicious!

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  13. this chicken look so delicious, never cook this way before, bookmarked immediately, must try soon.

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  14. Love the smell of belacan! But I know my neighbours don't like it =P Looks so delicious!

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  15. Belacan paste is very rich in flavour. I also like to use it to stir fry beans. :)

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  16. Hi Aunty!

    I made this dish for dinner today and it was super yummy! As it is hard to get red chillies here, I substituted them with couple of red jalapenos for the color (no heat at all) and added about 4 dried chillies (after boiling them in hot water) for spice/heat. Super yum. My only problem is the pool of 'water' that collects in the gravy. Is this normal? Should I have omitted the water or simmer it with the lid off (to allow it to evaporate)?

    Oh as I couldnt find calamansi, I just substituted with lime juice out of a bottle :)

    Aleena

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  17. Aleena
    Glad that you liked it. You needn't have to boil the dried chillies, just soak them in hot water till they're soft and easy to handle, then throw away the water. When the chicken is semi-cooked and should there be a lot of water, then you remove the lid, and let it simmer under low heat. So when the 'gravy' is semi-dry then the chicken should be nice and tender. You can opt for lemon or lime instead of limau kasturi. Oh and your bottled lime juice did the trick, perhaps a wee bit sweet.
    Any complaints from your neighbours re the belacan smell??

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  18. Thanks again for another great MM contribution. You know, I've never tried to make this before (only ever had it at the restaurant). Sounds do-able! My kids always complain when I toast belacan ;P

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  19. Shaz
    Many people can be put off by the smell of belacan just like durian. This dish is very simple to prepare.

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