Image Credit to: greyhound cafe
If you think about it Spaghetti and Salted Fish isn’t exactly the most common flavour combination there is. In fact, up until a couple of years ago, Spaghetti Salted Fish is probably unheard of. Lately, however, Spaghetti Salted Fish seems to be a crowd-pleaser and more restaurants are jumping on the bandwagon to create this new fusion recipe.
The rich history of Spaghetti
Spaghetti is to Italians what rice is to China and other Asian countries so it is no surprise that the history of Spaghetti begins in Italy, Sicily to be exact. Some historians even believe that spaghetti was inspired by noodles in China.
Some historians believe that Marco Polo discovered rice noodles in China and brought the recipe back to Venice. However, Venice didn’t have an abundance of rice or had wheat flour (also used to make noodles), so they used Durum wheat instead. The Durum Wheat, on the other hand, was introduced to the Italians by Arabic Traders.
Some historians even believe that spaghetti actually came from the Arabic meal “Itriyya” or better known to the Greek as dried pasta. Itriyya was a typical dish for Arabic traders as it was convenient and when the Arabs took over Sicily, they brought the recipe with them – way before the era of Marco Polo.
Years later, when the Arabs left, their recipes remained in Sicily, allowing the poor people of Sicily to experiment on the recipe. Eventually in the 12th century, spaghetti became a common dish for the commoners, and the riches and Italians started a mass production of pasta.
Traditionally, pasta is served with butter, cheese and pasta broth but eventually, in the 18th century, tomato became more available to the Italians, and the traditional tomato sauce was born. Overtime, the recipe of pasta evolved based on the country pasta was introduced to.
The Innovation of Spaghetti Salted Fish
Spaghetti was introduced to Asian country as a common Western dish rather than an Italian dish. For the longest time, Asian countries such as Malaysia stuck to the traditional recipe of Spaghetti Bolognese (which is technically more American than Italian) and Spaghetti Carbonara.
It was only within the past 5 years or so that Malaysians started experimenting with Spaghetti and make it their own. Today, you can find a lot of restaurants that serve a pasta dish with a local twist such as Spaghetti Masak Lemak Udang, Spaghetti with curry sauce and the latest craze – spaghetti salted egg and spaghetti salted fish.
The Spaghetti Salted Fish is typically prepared with anchovies, garlic, tomatoes, chillies, peppercorns and salt and pepper to taste. To prepare the dish, the garlic is sautéed on a hot pan before adding in the anchovies, tomatoes and peppercorns until the anchovies turn slightly brown and the vegetables wilt a little.
Spaghetti is boiled separately until it is al-dente. The cooked spaghetti is then drained and tossed in the pan with sautéed garlic and anchovies to be pan-fried. Before serving, sprinkle a right amount of chilli and parsley for added freshness.
Where to get Spaghetti Salted Fish in Malaysia
It might not be the typical creamy spaghetti, but it is a comfort food none-the-less. You can easily have your Spaghetti Salted Fish delivered to you from these two shops. Get the Spaghetti with Thai Anchovy from Greyhound Café for a taste of Italian with a Thai infusion or try a more straightforward Spaghetti Salted Fish from Flora Terrace, Hampshire Place KL instead. The good news is that they are both able for delivery through the Food Panda app so you will never have to leave your house to indulge.
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