Blamed it on either my Nyonya heritage or my own disturbingly distinct palate, but I have a penchant for what other people would classify as stinky foods. Stinky as in salted fish, Chinese cheese, belacan, and yes, fermented shrimp. My neighbors go out to eat when I prepare this last dish.
Locally known as Cincaluk, it usually comes packaged in a small glass bottle and can be purchased at markets throughout Malaysia. This delicacy is particularly popular in the Peranakan states of Melaka and Penang.
The main ingredient of Cincaluk is Geragau–little tiny shrimps found off the west coast of Malaysia. Fermented with salt, water, and sugar, Cincaluk is an acquired taste even to many Malaysians. Cincalok is commonly used to make Cincaluk Sambal with slices of shallots, bird’s eye chilies, and lime juice. It’s also used as flavoring for certain stir-fried Nyonya dishes…
Personally, I love my Cincaluk with steamed eggs. Adding just a couple spoonful of Cincaluk turns a plain and boring steamed egg into a savory dish, plus it only takes just a few ingredients and less than 10 minutes to whip up.
Mmmmm. The one downside being the pungent smell lingering in your kitchen after the meal. So consider yourself warned, and perhaps you should warn the neighbors too!