Fish with grated coconut is not a direct translation of Sambal Kelapa. Sambal in Malay is usually a spice based condiment and Kelapa means coconut. This dish is mainly made of fish flakes, grated coconut and chillies. Fish and coconuts were abundant in these regions which were dotted with fishing villages back then.
Sambal Kelapa gives a special flavor to your rice just like salt and spices do to your dish. It can be made wet or dry. If made wet, it will only last for about two days but when made dry it can last for almost a week in an air-tight container. The wet version of this dish simply means the grated coconut is usually steamed instead of toasted.
The following is a dry version of Sambal Kelapa. You can add more chillies if you like, I always do. Adjust the seasoning to your preference.
- 1 whole fish, gutted, rinsed and patted dry
- 2 shallots, minced finely
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 2 cups or 200 grams of grated coconut, toasted or fried dry until brown
- 1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and sliced thinly
- 1 fresh bird’s eye chilli, deseeded and sliced thinly (optional, only if you like it spicy)
- Grill or bake the fish in the oven for 15 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.
- Flake the flesh of the fish with a fork and set aside. Remove and discard all bones.
- Using the mortar and pestle, pound the shallots and chillies together first, add the fish flesh last and pound. You can also use the food processor but use the pulse mode.
- Add pepper, salt and sugar and mix or pound until well combined.
- Transfer the pounded ingredients to a mixing bowl and add the toasted grated coconut. Mix well until all combined.
- You can store in an airtight container.
Simply sprinkle this condiment over your warm rice or porridge.
Daun Pegaga are known by many other names. Also known as Indonesian Pegagan, Indian Gotu Kola and its scientific name, Centella Asiatica, it is a herb I used to make Ulam or just eat with sambal belachan. It is normally eaten as a salad with a main dish and warm rice.
Daun Pegaga is known for its health benefits, eaten during confinement, it is said to help tighten and promote smooth skin. I have seen Centella Asiatica as one of the highlighted ingredients in many skincare products. However, the highly visible benefit is the fibre it provide which promotes bowel movement.
Besides just for its health benefit, it taste better than some vegetables eaten raw. You can grow this herb on your own but you won’t be able to yield much. I recalled my dad picking the herbs at his backyard whenever we visit him. When I first tasted it, I requested to bring the live plant home to re-pot and hope to grow it.
As I am typing this at three in the afternoon, I know most Malay households are busy cooking and cleaning the house to get ready for the Hari Raya celebration tomorrow. I am thankful for my ‘kiasu’ traits that I have completed almost everything except a few trivial matters that I need not concern myself too much.
Sambal Goreng Pengantin
Cooking for Hari Raya is no easy feat. There are typically several dishes that you have to serve with the ketupat or pressed rice that you are serving. Rendang, Sambal Goreng, Ayam Masak Merah, Sayur Lodeh, Serunding, these are the few common dishes that most Malay families serve their guests. Normally the older families will cook these dishes and the younger families would go back to their family’s home to visit and get to taste all these dishes either cooked by their own mother or mother-in-law.
I will share with you the recipe for Sambal Goreng Pengantin. This is a traditional Malay/ Indonesian spicy stir-fry dish. However I have added some extra ingredients to my preference and cook in a large quantity. If you are cooking for less than 10 persons than halved it. Continue reading