Thursday, July 25, 2013

Of Chilli and Sambal Belacan...

Above is an image of Sambal Belacan with Belimbing Buluh and Limau Kasturi. It a special concoction of Belacan [Shrimp paste] with Chilli, salt, lime juice and in this case with the Belimbing fruits. What would our Sambal Belacan taste without the Chilli? I just could not imagine the look and the taste of such concoction. Well there would be no Sambal Belacan had it not been for the Portuguese who brought the Chilli to these parts of the world when they came as explorer and colonizer to our regions. Chilli is not native to these parts of the world. It is indigenous to South America...Chilli, lada, Cili api, Cabai in the Malay language means Chilli of the capsicum family. And now we Malaysian can never do without this Chilli in our culinary, for foods would never taste as good without the Chilli. But then have we ever thought that Chilli is not native to this country and that our ancestors did not use Chilli before it was brought here by the Portuguese.

Sambal Belacan is one of my favourite appetizers and if I had my way I would have it with every lunch and dinner of white rice but for health reason at this age I take it from time to time only. We all have to take care of what we eat to stay healthy. Not that the Sambal Belacan is not a healthy food. It is indeed a very healthy appetizer. It contains shrimp, lime, chilli and it is as nutritious but taking food in moderation is a smart way of staying healthy.

It one of the greatest appetizers ever invented at least in this part of the Malay world. Just take a pause and think for a moment; before the Portuguese came it meant that folks in this country do not make Sambal Belacan like the one that we do it now, with the Chilli. Over times we have perfected a sauce of our own that had stood with times. Once only served in the traditional Malay homes now could be found at almost all restaurants and even in the four stars hotel. It has indeed progress well with times. A once traditional appetizer has found a place on the table of grand feasts in this country and loves by all Malaysian.  Thanks to the Portuguese we now have a wonder sauce to accompany our staple food of white rice.

Have a nice day.


Aziela said...

Salam Pak Idrus. That sambal belacan looks tempting. However, I have to limit my chili intake as well eventhough I love chilies so much. I can easily get gastric especially at my age now.

Pak Idrus said...

Aziela, thanks for the visit and sharing your thoughts on the subject of this posting.

I am OK with Chilli but because of Sinus had to keep away from Sambal Belacan from time to time. But I do enjoy it.

Have a nice day.

Temuk said...

The chillies and the shrimp paste - one complements the other very well. What would sambal belacan be without belacan or chillies.... Do you think that sambal belacan has a place in our makan-makan hari raya?

mimosa said...

I like sambal belacan and I got the belacan from an online store which is selling Penang Specialties Products called Memento Hovel.

The belacan either is block form or powder form is also very nice..

Pak Idrus said...

mimosa, thanks for the visit and sharing your thoughts on the subject of this posting.

I am indeed glad that you like Sambal Belacan. It has been our traditional appetiser and its nutritious as well.

Belacan we use comes in Block. There are that in powder too.

Have a nice day.

Pak Idrus said...

Temuk, Sorry, your comment got lost some where and I just found it yesterday.

Well Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject. It would not be Sambal Belacan without the Belacan and without the chilly it would surely not taste any good.

As for serving it during Hari Raya, why not. It goes well with white rice.

Have a nice day.