Image Credit to: Linda
Recipe: Belacan Ladies Finger
Malaysians are crazy about sambal belacan (a blend of spicy red chilli and fermented shrimp paste) that it is used in a variety of dishes. Sambal belacan usually served accompanied with fresh and raw vegetables. It is also can be cooked with any vegetables such as long beans, kangkung (water spinach), and ladies finger. These types of dishes are incredibly easy to make and very appetising that even meat lovers are unable to resist it.
Ladies finger is also known as okra. It is a green, finger-shaped vegetable with a fibrous pod that contains numerous oval white seeds. Ladies finger has a hairy top and produces viscous fluid that can be used to thicken sauces. This plant originated from West African, Ethiopian, and Southeast Asia. It has a high content of nutrients such as fibre, folate, and vitamin K. Thus, it is good to promote healthy heart, strong bones and protect against cancer.
There are few ways to prepare ladies fingers such as fried, oven-roasted, stew, and pickled. In Malaysia, it is commonly used in Fish Curry and Fish Assam. The younger pods that have lighter green in colour and smaller in size are much preferred to be used in cooking. It has softer fur-like skin, more tender and less fibrous.
Ladies Finger with Sambal Belacan is one of the most popular dishes in Malaysia after Kangkung Belacan and Belacan Long Beans. So, add more vegetable dishes to your meal by trying this recipe.
Ingredients (4 servings):
- 15 ladies finger (sliced diagonally)
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 50ml water
- 50g dried prawns/shrimps (soaked for 10 minutes to soften)
- 20g belacan
- 5 garlic cloves (chopped)
- 5 shallots (chopped)
- 5 red chillies (remove seeds)
- 1/2 tbsp sugar
- Blend the dried prawns, belacan, garlic, shallots, and chillies with 20 ml water.
- Heat up cooking oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Stir-fry the blended ingredients until fragrant.
- Then, increase the heat to high and add the ladies finger and sugar. Mix them well for about 2 minutes or until the ladies finger soften. Some water may be added to prevent the sambal belacan mix from burning. As dried prawns and belacan are salty by itself, salt maybe not required.
- Turn off heat and enjoy with rice.
Note: To reduce the viscous fluid from ladies finger, you may add a piece of asam keping (Tamarind slice) while frying the vegetables.