Asian Dishes, Malay, Seafood

Sotong Masak Hitam (Squid in Black Ink Sauce)

So I finally learned how to make this popular Malay dish. It’s a family favourite dish in most households and I always wondered why, growing up as a child, my non-Malay friends would ask about the black colour of the dish when they see it sold at Malay stalls. Fast forward to a young adult me, I kept quiet when so many of these hipster kids laud approval at the Italian squid ink pasta. Same same, no? 😏

I realise also that besides this being so simple to make (well, once you get all the spice mix blended), that squid in my market is so expensive! Good thing squid is high in cholesterol so I won’t be buying this often!

As with a lot of Malay cooking, the first step is the spice mix or blended ingredients. Here, I have my blended dried chillies, blended onions, blended garlic, blended ginger and I used turmeric powder because I was too impatient to make the entire thing from scratch. Fry the blended paste in oil with two bruised lemongrass till the oil rises. Slow and steady cooking – don’t burn the mixture!
These are the ink sacs from the squid. As you’re cleaning the squid, carefully remove the ink sacs and set aside
Once the chilli and friends mixture has fully cooked, add the squid rings and cover. The squid will release a lot of moisture which will form your gravy later.
When the squid is cooked and very tender, add the ink sacs. Immediately, you’ll see the dish turning black. I added a kaffir lime leaf earlier too. Also, add about half a tablespoon of tamarind paste, and then salt to season.
Lastly, add tomato wedges and slit whole green chillies for some colour contrast. It’s very delicious eaten with jasmine white rice. Try this dish if you’re feeling adventurous!

Recipe

Blended Ingredients:

1. 10-15 dried chillies, soaked

2. 2 Bombay onions

3. An inch of ginger

4. 3 cloves garlic

5. An inch of turmeric (use powder if fresh is not available)

Others:

6. 2 lemongrass, bruised

7. Kaffir lime leaves

8. Tamarind paste

9. Salt to taste

10. Green chillies and tomatoes for garnish

Main star:

11. Fresh squid, cut into rings

Method:

1. Add sufficient oil in a pot and throw in the lemongrass

2. Add in the blended paste and fry till the oil surfaces (mixture must be cooked. Smell to ensure no raw smell of the chillies)

3. Add squid rings. Add kaffir lime leaves. Cover and cook squid.

4. Add squid ink sacs

5. Add tamarind paste, season with salt to taste

6. Add the green chillies and tomato wedges

Asian Dishes, Malay, Seafood, Singapore

Spiced Sting Ray

We love sting Ray (skate wings) here. Usually, the preferred way of eating in our hawker centers will be grilled on a banana leaf and then topped with a piquant sambal sauce. I’ve made one before and shared it here.

But last Saturday, I made this dish so that it could be mixed together with my other seafood dishes in a shellout day meal (Header Picture).

It’s a sambal dish but I added garam masala and plenty of black pepper. Fry till quite dry and caramelised but make sure not to overcook the fish or it’ll be dry.

This is the type of dried chillies that we use in a lot of Malay and SEAsian cooking. Rehydrate and then blend
These are the Bombay onions, garlic and ginger which I blended separately from the chillies
Mix the blended raw ingredients together
And this is the base for a lot of Malay dishes. Can be stored in the freezer for months.

The next few steps are video recordings of me frying the paste and then adding in the aromatic leaves i.e. curry leaves and lime leaves. And then the stingray pieces, and finally lots of black pepper and of course salt to taste. Fry till fish is cooked and the skins slightly caramelised.

The important part is to make sure the chillies are cooked through, or what we call in Malay ‘pecah minyak’. Basically, the oils from the chillies have surfaced. This ensures that the chillies are not raw. This dish is delicious eaten with hot rice or just on its own.

You can squeeze calamansi lime over before eating for a more uplifting experience!

Asian Dishes, Seafood, Singapore

Prawns in Aromatic Spicy Soy Sauce

This is one of the easiest and my go to recipe whenever I see large prawns. And last Saturday when I went to the market, boy, were there some super HUGE prawns at the regular seafood market stall!

Even though it cost $24 a kilo, I bought it because it looked sooooo tempting! Look how huge these prawns are!

After cleaning the innards and cutting off half of it’s head, I marinated them in white pepper and deep fried all of them till fully cooked.

After frying the prawns, remove them, then discard the oil and replace the wok with fresh cooking oil. Add chopped garlic, three sprigs of curry leaves (from my potted plant 🙂 ) and slices of red bird’s eye chillies.

Once these aromatics are fried fragrant, add the prawns back to the wok and add about 3 tablespoons of Indonesian kecap manis and a squeeze of lime juice from half a lime. Season with a bit of salt and that’s it! I love love love this simple dish of spicy fragrant soy based sauce. Sprinkle with a smattering of coriander leaves (cilantro) and mint (both I got from my potted plants.) 🙂

Asian Dishes, Chinese, Seafood

Steamed Seabass with Soy Ginger Sauce

I love making this dish. I can’t remember if I’ve ever posted it before here, but this is so easy and delicious to make that I have to keep it here for my children to access them in future.

The best fish to use over here is kuhlbarra seabass. I think it’s a certain breed or brand but the meat and cut of it is thick. The local seabass here, if we fillet it, tends to be super thin.

Steam the fish. I used a wok to steam the fish till just done.
The important aspect of this dish is the sauce. Here, I have sesame oil, garlic and loads of ginger.
Then add soy sauce and a dash of oyster sauce.
Add water. Let it simmer and then add one tablespoon of sugar.
To assemble, quickly boil a handful of Chinese greens. Add the fish on top and pour the sauce over. Sprinkle some finely cut bird’s eye chillies if you like it hot. So yummy!
Seafood, Sides, Snack, Western

Smoked Mackerel Pâté

I’ve had two packets of smoked mackerel pâté for a few months now. They keep very well in the freezer but I never knew what to do with them. I think when I bought them I had some idea to make croquettes but never had enough inspiration to do anything with them.

Until today that is. Suddenly inspiration came as I was scouring YouTube and the Internet. I decided on making pâté because I had a beautiful loaf of sourdough gifted to me by my generous sister.

It’s so easy to make! I improvised after watching a few videos and tasting until I like what I tasted.

In a food processor, add 450g of smoked mackerel, 100g butter, 130 g Philly cream cheese, 1/4 finely diced purple onion (or one whole shallot), one heaped teaspoon of ground black pepper. Whiz till very very smooth and add half a lemon worth of juice. Don’t add salt! Well, unless you like it salty. I find the smoked mackerel salty enough. Best eaten super chilled and with very good toasted sourdough slices.

This is 500g I’d smoke mackerel. I took away one piece of that for decoration and for future use (thinking of scrambled eggs with smoked mackerel).
Whiz whiz whiz. Make sure it’s very smooth.