Malay Meets China, Assam Heh & Nasi Lemak

WP_20150201_17_07_35_ProThe urge for something tasty, I ended up driving to our local Oriental Supermarket and sought out some appropriate ingredients, such as Pandan Leaves (also known as screwpine), Thai Birds Eye Chilli’s, and some massive Prawns, the dish is called Assam Heh, or Nyonya Prawns!

This tasty number gets it roots from a mix of two cultures, China and Malay who merged through the 15-17th Centuries.  The cuisine is often referred too using the term Nyonya, which apparently means ‘women’.

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The Prawns need marinading in a mixture as follows;

  1. 3 Tbsp Tamarind Concentrate
  2. 1 Tbsp Kecap Manis
  3. 1 Tsp Palm Sugar
  4. 1 Tsp Sea Salt
  5. 1 Tsp Muntok White Pepper

I had removed the shell of the Prawns but left the head on, removing the long tentacles and legs to neaten them up. Marinade for a least 1 1/2 hours in the fridge to let the Prawns soak up the flavours.

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After marinading, the Prawns just need to be fried on both sides, on a really high heat with a good glug of the marinade to cover them and make them sticky and yummy!

The accompaniment for this treat is Nasi Lemak, a Rice dish cooked in Coconut Milk and Pandan Leaves, which is served with a Boiled Egg per person, some Cucumber, some roasted Peanuts and a couple of Sambal’s or relishes, to add more intense heat and flavour.

WP_20150201_19_13_44_ProI had some Jasmine Rice in the cupboard, and just followed the instructions on the packet, substituting Coconut Milk for Water, and adding 3 Pandan Leaves to the pot, you can see them above nestling away!

WP_20150201_20_02_50_ProThe other elements were in part, a cheat. I had some Sambal Oelek (you CAN find it in supermarkets) and bought some Sambal Ikan Bilis (which has anchovies in it), boiled a couple of Eggs, roasted some Peanuts, and scooped out the centre of 1/2 a cucumber after running a peeler along the outside 4 times leaving a gap between each to create a light and dark green pattern, you can see it in the finished dish.

The only critical thing to watch is timing, making sure the cooking of the rice is timed to the cooking of the Prawns. The dish is quite straightforward but absolutely delicious to eat, if you don’t have the confidence to try some of the more challenging dishes on my blog, this one is easy, you can google the Sambal names and  find recipes to make your own if you have the time.

WP_20150201_20_04_31_ProThe finished dish presents very well, I finely chopped a Thai Birds Eye Chilli and scattered on top of the Rice, which was moulded in a small round souffle dish before turning onto the plate

That’s it for this time, next is a quick Breton sweet dish that is really delicious to eat and a couple of restaurant reviews.

Till next time……………L8ers………..

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4 thoughts on “Malay Meets China, Assam Heh & Nasi Lemak

  1. Hi Jules, I’m not sure if I told you when we were in Gascony that I spent some years growing up in Malaysia. I would like you to know that looks very authentic to me. I love Malaysian food. It is so flavourful.
    Love, Helly x

    • Thanks Helen, thats really kind of you. Me and the Boss had 10 days in Thailand many many years ago, which was quite an adventure. You are defo right about the flavourful nature of the food though, that ying and yang influence is one of the traits that influences me to cook far eastern food. Hope you are all well down under. Jules (Fig Jam!)

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