Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rice with Sambal

Sambal is a chili-shrimp paste that is used in a lot of Malaysian dishes. It also has ginger, garlic, shallots (green onion to me), and tamarind (assam to me) in it, the last of which provides the nice sour taste that is prevalent in Malaysian cooking. I'm using a canned version that simply says "Singapore Sambal", so no idea if it's sambal oelek or what.

Rice is probably one of the best ingredients that can be part of bizarre rangeless experiments due to its absorption factor. Plus, living in a partly-Asian household, I always have leftover rice around ready to be rehydrated and abused. Some people say rice doesn't reheat well, at least not without steaming. I find as long as you don't reheat it naked - it needs liquid or covering of some sort - it's fine. In fact, some of my best discoveries came from reheating it with different fluids involved.

I also like Minute Rice for this factor, as well as budget. A large box of Minute Rice only costs around $6, if that, but it provides many meals that are easy to prepare. I like to get the brown rice kind, since my rice cooker is very slow so regular brown rice takes way too long for me.

If I manage to keep up with my blog, I'll be rolling out a lot of my rice dishes.

It occurs to me that maybe I should do pictures, but that would inspire no one since my food tends to look like amorphous upchucked masses. If I take the plunge and get free picture messaging, I guess I can send pix from my cellphone. I don't take my camera to the table with me; I rarely even have a bra with me. Anyway.

This dish was inspired by the amazing Malaysian dish known as nasi lemak ('creamy/fatty rice'). I'm working my way up to that one - it involves coconut rice, dried anchovies, and sambal paste that doesn't come out of a can.

So here is my first so-called recipe, which is really more a description of what I did with leftovers using a numerical list.

Rice With Sambal (nasi sambal?)
4 oz diced tomatoes, 1-1.5c cooked rice, milk, 1-2T oil, 3T sambal, peanuts (to taste) and 1 egg

1) unfroze leftover diced tomatoes and zapped it (~4min full power on 700W)
2) spooned leftover, already-cooked rice into the container, which was half-full, until it was full
3) covered container and heated for 2 minutes
4) stirred, poured in milk (skim) until the container was almost full
5) recovered and heated for 2 minutes

Meanwhile... sambal:
I followed the instructions on the can (ish) to let the sambal heat in oil, though I think I'd skip the oil next time. So during step 3-5 of the rice -
1) poured ~1-2T canola oil into bowl, heated for 2 minutes
2) added 3T sambal
3) heated for 2 minutes
At this point I tried to sample the sambal. I can still feel the scalded bit of my tongue.

Bringing it all together:
I scooped the container of rice mixture into the bowl with the sambal mixture and stirred it all up. It was still too liquidy, so I added more rice. Then, I added one of the typical nasi lemak ingredients, peanuts (mine were BBQ). I considered adding dry shrimp, but it was pretty tasty already. Other considerations were Chinese 5-Spice, coconut flakes (though that would've worked best at the beginning) or minced garlic.

Since everyone else in the house is kind of wary of my concoctions, there were leftovers. I cracked an egg over what was left, covered the bowl (except for one little vent) with plastic wrap, and cooked it in 30s intervals for 2mins in the microwave. Then I popped the yolk and mixed it up. Awesome.

Household verdict
Mum - refused to try
sister - good, but spicy (it wasn't really, but she's not so used to spiciness)
Dad - "Not bad."
me - I liked it. It wasn't nasi lemak, but I may be on a sambal kick for the next little while... I wonder how pasta will taste with it?

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