Monday, August 14, 2006

Easy Peasy Masak Lemak

'Masak Lemak' (pronounced: mah-suck lurr-muck) literally means cooked in cream. In this case it is coconut cream, but I guess you can try making this dish with dairy cream ..

If there's something that, to me, goes together well with rice like peanut butter and jelly goes well with bread, it would be these two yumminess:

sambal tumis udang with petai & sayur masak lemak

Somewhow the spicyness of the sambal tumis (thick sauce made of sauted onions and chillies) is a great companion to the creaminess of the masak lemak, and makes for a meal that captures your interest mouthful after mouthful.

Masak lemak is really easy to make, and it can be made using any type of vegetable. For this particular dinner, I had used kangkung (what is kangkung in english?). But you can also use spinach, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower,( I guess you can even use zuchini if you wanted), pucuk manis with keledek (sweet potatoes), and even petola. (Sorry, again, I don't know what are the english names for some of the Mal@ysian vegetables).
I am afraid this dish only goes with rice. It does not go well with noodles (though some people might put a little bit of thin glass noodles - soo hoon in it) nor pasta.
It's simplicity makes it quick to prepare, and a favourite for lazy-a** housewives like me. Since it's not spicy, children usually love it!

Easy Peasy Masak Lemak
5 small shallots
a handful of ikan bilis (asian anchovy) or dried shrimp
5-10 pepper kernels? corn? (as much as you like, baby!)

1/4 cup of coconut milk or dairy milk
salt to taste
5 fennugreek seeds (optional, but it does give the dish a bit of an aroma)

One cup of your choice of vegetables, cut roughly to same bite sizes.

In a mortar&pestle, roughly ground shallots, ikan bilis/dried shrimp and pepper.
In a pot, put ground ingredients, coconut milk, fennugreek if you're using them, and add water as much as you like (more if you like it thin, less if you like it thick). Bring to a boil, then dump in the vegetables, simmer till cooked. Add salt to taste.

When I'm using leafy vegetables, I usually turn off the heat as soon as I put them in, that way I don't over cook them. If you're using hard vegetables like petola, carrots and cauliflower, you can dump everything in the pot from the start and just wait for it to boil.
It is also important to point out that you should not cook this for too long, because the coconut milk might seperate and that is not good.

Happy trying!

No comments:

Post a Comment