∴ Salt and Pepper please
I lived in Paris from birth to my 20ies. That’s two decades of:
- 5min walk to the bakery every morning. No exception to the rule. Rule that I could yet twist to my advantage since I could easily squize an additional pain au chocolat or croissant beurre to the baguette.
- Hours of mesmerizing lunches with friends, from the student daddy’s pocket money sandwich to the “I got my first salary” restaurant dishes. Hachis parmentier, salade nicoise, confis de canards, pate carbonara are a few examples that pop up in my mind.
- Unquantifiable homemade family dinner. The best memories.
For the last two, it has always been a usual equation that would look like that: dinning table = set of salt and pepper. And that’s a full stop. Its funny the little think you take for granted, that you assume are right by essence, indisputably part of a universal common sense. You drink water, you put salt and table on the table!
∴ Salt, Pepper and… Sambal please!
Well, I was wrong! My culinary heritage or should I say western-style food lover was about to get shake over!
Have you ever heard of this special (almost magical) taste call the Sambal? In Malaysia, I discovered new tastes, some were conflictual flavor, a kind of love/hate kick start.
Each time I order food at a local restaurant, I can smell it from miles away. It has this rich and very distinguished odor. I hear often, Malaysian can’t live without! I do believe its true fact.
∴ What is a sambal belacan?
Sambal belacan is a dip sauce to eat usually with grilled fish, plain rice and raw vegetables (as in salads). Lunch break? Dinner rdv? Yes, you will always find some sambal among the table set! It is served in each local restaurant I often go!
The best are homemade, but you can easily get yours if you visit the ordinary malays stalls or restaurant selling rice with different dishes displays on a table. It is comprised mainly of chillies and belacan (shrimp paste block) and of course there are other additional ingredients to vary it over. Always being prepared fresh, it’s a very popular must have dip sauce in Malaysia and comes in various forms. It instantly enhances the vibrant flavors throughout each bite when spread with moderation.
∴ Watch out!
A word of warning: If like me, you are heavy-handed, watch out! It can become actually very hot. I mean burning hot! You may ask your self, like I did when I first arrived, how do you get rid of this discomfort with elegance – without crying/shouting/jumping? Drinking water is not the best cooling effect. In reverse, going for milk or even cheese, will anilate the spiciness. That is why Indian cuisine often includes as an accompaniment Dip Raita, made of yogurt and whole milk.
As my mum say, Prevention is better than cure.
The uninitiated are warmed!