Friday, July 8, 2011

Malaysian food and a party for my Nan!

Welcome dear friends! I don't know about you but I can't quite believe that it is already Friday! I also can't believe that the school holidays are nearly over and my kids will be back at school next week. Their three week holiday has just flown by. We have had a really relaxing break. We went to the beach, met up with family and friends and we did lots of baking.

Muffin recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow...I'm blogging about it next week!

You might have have also read that we celebrated a very special birthday this week...my Grandmother turned 80!

I'm pretty sure Nan had a wonderful time being surrounded by her family, including her 6 Great-grandchildren!

My mum's family lived in Malaysia and Singapore for much of their life (my nan is Eurasian-her mother was Sri Lankan and her Father was Welsh) so when we all get together to have family parties the focus is always on food, or as the Malays call it, Makan. The Malays and Singaporeans place great importance on eating and sharing food.

My mum made a variety of Malaysian dishes for the party including Chicken with Soy Sauce, Pork Curry and prawn Sambal.

Sambal Udang or prawn sambal is a very popular Malaysian dish and there are many different recipes available.

 Our family tends to end Nyonya Cuisine which has been perfectly explained by Jen who blogs at Jenius.com

Nyonya cuisine refers to cuisine of the Peranakan or Straits Chinese community. Peranakans are descendants of early Chinese migrants who settled in Penang, Melaka, Indonesia and Singapore, inter-marrying with Malays. Nyonya is the term for the ladies and Baba for the gentlemen. The cuisine blends a taste of Chinese with a dash of Malay herbs and Indian spices.

Penang Nyonya cuisine differs to Melaka Nyonya cuisine. Although both use coconut milk and chillies, Penang Nyonyas prefer a sweet-sour or tangy taste with nuances of Thai and the Nyonyas in Melaka enhance their dishes with the aroma of fragrant leaves, flowers and herbs. 

Nyonya's love their prawns either cooked in tamarind called Assam Prawns or spicy creamy udang. My mum made a very spicy sambal and the recipe in the video below shows exactly how she made it.

This really is a hot and spicy dish but it is so delicious. Even Mr Attorney who doesn't normally like spicy food had three helpings...with lots of water!

Here is Mum's recipe for Malaysian Prawn Sambal.

About 600 grams or a bit over a pound of Peeled Prawns
1 Medium (200 g) Red Onion, halved, sliced
1 Tbsp Sugar or to taste
1 tsp Sea Salt or to taste
25 (20 g) Dried Chilies, cut into smaller pieces
4 (80 g) Shallots, peeled, chopped
2 (45 g) Fresh Red Chilies, seeded and chopped
5 (15 g) Candlenuts (Buah Keras) or Macadamia nuts
1 1/2 tsp Roasted Shrimp Paste (Belacan)...A word of caution: this stuff stinks when you cook it but it THE essential ingredient!
30 g Tamarind Paste mix with 200 ml Water
5 Tbsp Peanut Oil
1 tomato, cut into wedges
Coriander leaves, for garnishing

Peel and devein the prawns. Rinse and set aside.

To make the sambal, soak the dried chili pieces with boiling water until they are soften. Drain the chilies and make sure to get rid of the seeds. Then combine it with red chilies, shallots, candlenuts, shrimp paste and blend until they become a paste adding a little oil if necessary to keep the mixture turning.

Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat and stir fry the seasoning paste until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the prawns and stir-fry until they change colour, about 2 minutes. Add the tamarind juice, onion, tomato, salt and sugar, and gently stir-fry until the prawns are cooked, about 2 minutes.
Add the prawns into the sambal mixture and cook until the prawns are cooked. 
Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with coriander leaves and serve with steamed rice.

The chicken dish she made is called Ayam Masak Kecap in Malay and it is our favourite way of eating chicken.

It is essentially chicken with Soya Sauce and it is made with lots of aromatic spices like cinnamon sticks, star anise, garlic and ginger. If you would like to try this dish, my friends over at the Blog 3 Hungry Tummies have a great recipe for it. Just click here to go and visit them and please say hi from me! They feature yummy Malaysian recipes every Monday at their blog so it well worth visiting.

Back to the party...

After a delicious lunch we had cake, made by my sister Stacey. She is the baker in the family and she made lots of yummy treats for Nan's party!

We all had a fabulous time and it was so nice to be together as a family.

Happy Birthday, Nan!

Thanks for dropping by and helping me celebrate my Grandmother's 80th birthday. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful family and to have such fabulous bloggy friends!

Thanks also to the following lovely people who I have linked up to today. I am so appreciative of the time and effort you put into hosting your linky parties each week:

Best wishes always,
Natasha In Oz 

You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them. Desmond Tutu


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