Being the victim of a home invasion is horrible. I found out how the other night when I got home to find my flat in chaos. Cupboards and drawers were opened and emptied. Things strewn all about the place. Horrifically, I imagined some stranger being my personal space, rifling through belongings and mementos. They took our laptops which contain practically our whole lives in pictures, documents, bookmarks of our favourite music, websites etc. It was hard not to feel vulnerable and violated.
Today I’m not feeling vulnerable. I’m feeling angry. Angry that some assholes thought it was cool to come into my home and help themselves to our stuff. Angry that they took necessities that we can’t afford to replace right now . Angry that I can’t look at neighbours and passers-by the same way anymore.
Bastards. I want revenge. Chop, chop, chop, mash and stir. That’s what I’d have like to have done to those robbers. But today I had to settle for taking it out on some innocent onions and other ingredients in a kick-ass sambal fried rice.
1 onion (chop, chop, chopped into rings)
2 tbs sambal paste (heavily pounded)
1 medium-sized bowl of rice (boiled and left overnight)
10 small shrimp
3 tbs oil
Salt to taste
Heat oil in a large pan and fry the onions until soft. Add the sambal and saute on high heat until paste begins to dry out. Add the rice and shrimp and give a good mashing until shrimp are cooked. (If you don’t have any ill feelings to vent, it’s good enough to just give it a thorough mix through.) Remove from pan and eat while piping hot.
Shovelling spoonfuls of spicy, intensely fragrant rice into my mouth provided some kind of release. Soothing my anger at least for the moment.
Sambal is a typical Malay chilli condiment – my favourite one. Especially when made with belachan or fermented shrimp paste. I found the perfect sambal recipe at RasaMalaysia, a great site for Malaysian food, with wonderfully easy recipes – especially if you’re living overseas, far from your favourite nasi padang or sarabat stall.
Rasamalaysia’s recipe for cooked sambal is simple:
- 160 gm fresh red chilies (use large chilis if possible. if you have to use Thai bird chilis, remove seeds AND membrane. I once used whole Thai chilis including the seeds and almost caused a meltdown at the dinner table – chilli lovers you know what I mean)
- 1 tablespoon toasted belachan (Malay fermented shrimp paste. Toast it in a dry pan until it’s dry and crumbly. If you cannot find belachan, you can substitute it with Vietnamese or Philippino shrimp paste. This is much more liquid so don’t bother with the toasting)
- 120 gm shallots
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar/palm sugar (or to taste)
- 4 tablespoons oil
Blend chilies, shallots, and toasted belacan in a mini food processor until smooth.
Heat up a wok with oil and “tumis” (sauté) the mixture until aromatic or when the oil separates from the sambal paste. Add the seasonings: salt, sugar/palm sugar, and fish sauce.
The sambal mixture can be used in many dishes as a flavouring base and stored in the fridge up to a week.