5 April 2013

Belacan Beware!!!

Which came first the chicken or the egg? Last week our Easter post was, naturally all about the egg. Well here comes the chicken....
One day during my visit back to KL I was pottering around my sister's house when suddenly I was drawn into the kitchen by a pungent smell which assaulted my nostrils. The cook was cooking with an unmistakable ingredient, a shrimp paste commonly known as Belacan.  Belacan (pronounced "bell-achan") is an iconic element of South East Asian cooking and is widely used in Malay cuisine. But why beware of it? Well if I tell you it is made from fermented shrimp mixed with salt you might get the idea. Just one sniff will confirm this warning. It comes in a wet form as paste or can be sun dried into blocks but whichever you choose we urge a note of extreme caution! Keep it in an air tight container at all times. In its natural uncooked state it is quite foul smelling and will leave your fridge or food cupboard with an offensive odour which is almost impossible to remove. But have faith and don't be deterred as a cooking ingredient it confers a unique depth and richness of flavour quite indispensable to many of the region's dishes. At Incredibly Fed we use it many of our dishes but one of favourites is this one....

Belacan Chicken Wings Incredibly Fed Style! 
2 Kilo Chicken Wings (Tips removed)
4 Tbsp plain flour
4 Tbsp Corn Starch
4 Tbsp Rice Flour
1 Tbsp Ground Chilli Paste
1 Tbsp Garlic paste
1Tbsp Ginger paste
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tsp Sesame Oil
1 Tbsp Light Soy sauce
1 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
1 Tbsp Fish Sauce
2 Tbsp Belacan paste
1 Tsp Black pepper
1Tbsp Sugar
Half Tsp Salt
Vegetable Oil to deep fry

Combine marinade ingredients in a large mixing bowl, mix well, add chicken pieces and ensure each is well coated. Transfer into an airtight container or sealed freezer bag and leave over night in the fridge.
Next day mix three flours in a bowl with pepper. Drain each piece of chicken so that each is quite dry and dip into flour. Shake off excess flour and deep fry in hot oil until cooked through and golden brown (approximately 6 - 8 minutes). Drain the chicken on kitchen paper and serve with sweet chilli sauce or your favourite dip!

Posted by incredibly fed

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