Some years ago, I went to Janda Baik in Malaysia for a course on Awareness Before Change
It was my Company that encouraged me to go for it. To go for this course was one of the best decisions that I made – I should say. It changed my life, the way I think and what to do if I ever need to get what I want. I am not saying need. It is What I want!. I didn’t practise what I learnt because I don’t have any wants in life. If I had been the go getter probably I would be a multi millionaires now!
No! I was more intrigued by the lifestyle of the trainers, the Colonel and his beautiful petite wife and who they have become to be.
At Janda Baik, at lunch time, our long wooden table always carried a cane basket full of this winged beans which were plucked from the garden or maybe from the jungle nearby.
I was not going to eat vegetables that were not cooked especially vegetables that I am not familiar with. But I was coersed by the Cooks that I should try as it is very good for health. Decided to give a try and it was indeed very refreshing. I was hooked!
Back in Singapore – I couldn’t find it for a long time. I wanted my girls to eat this vegetable because they enjoy raw food. And I got a friend to buy it at a local market. (now I can get it at the Kranji farm which has this organic vegetable and other varieties too). But to eat this raw one needs a sambal to go with it.
I notice most of our various cultures have some form of sambals/dips in the diet. Indians have their chutneys, pickles, Italians their various olive oil dips, Thais have their nam prik, nam pla and many more.
But I love a mean sambal belachan which can be eaten with raw vegetables, or stir fried or as an accompaniment to rice.
As a child in my grandma’s place in Bukit Timah, I have seen my Malay neighbours eating together as a group using one huge tray of food. They sit on the floor in a circle around the tray and enjoy their rice with boiled vegetables, sambal belachan and fried fish. It is a sight to behold. I remember allowing them into my grandma’s garden to pluck sweet potato leaves and tapioca and some other vegetables on a regular basis.
My grandma was a giver of food, just like my mum. I remember that almost daily, some people will come and ask for permission to pluck fruits and vegetables. We had plenty to eat and to give away too.
I remember too, when I was married and had my own place, there were just too many ladies fingers and brinjals in my backyard that I gave away daily. Sometimes I pack it and give to whoever I meet when I go for a walk or when I wanted to fetch my girls from school.
Somehow this habit of giving food has been instilled in me that I tend to cook more than necessary so that I can pack the leftovers for my guests to bring home too.
Now when I am teaching baking or cooking at my Potong Pasir Community Club, I also tend to cook extra and my student residents are just too happy to have more. And I do this teaching voluntarily too. I remember my WEC Chairman, Ms Jenny Yong, telling me once when I initially started to teach about 5 ½ years ago, that we want happy residents. I totally agree with her.
This joy of seeing others happy is just too great. Money definitely cannot buy that, right?
6 fresh red chillies
3 lime leaves – shredded
1 tbsp belachan – roasted
3 limes – squeeze the juice, and keep 1 lime skin.
sugar if required
Organic Winged beans preferably. Rinse and serve with the Sambal Belachan.
Pound chillies first. Once roughly pounded, add the shallots, lime leaves, and belachan till pounded texture is what you are looking for.
Squeeze the limes and add 1 lime skin to the paste. Use as a condiment.
Sugar can be added if necessary.
You may cut down the fresh chillies to 5 for less heat.
To increase the hotness level add 2 fresh red chilli padi.
How to Use this Sambal Belachan.
The list is endless but I will give some suggestions.
This sambal can be used to stuff fish or tofu or Panneer and fried or grilled.
This sambal can be stir fried with vegetables such as kangkong, brinjals and ladies fingers.
You can use the sambal for frying Bee hoon or even fried rice.
You can use this sambal to saute chicken, seafood or even meat.
Make more and store in a jar in the fridge.
And many more…..