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Sambal Asparagus Recipe
12 oz. asparagus
4 oz. scallops or medium-size shrimps
1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons sambal paste (if you like spicy, use 2 tablespoons)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon fish sauce or to taste
1 teaspoon belacan (breaks into small bits)
2 tablespoons oil
Rinse the asparagus with water. Chop off 1 inch to 1.5 inches off the stems (depending on the toughness of the stems) and slice the stems into half. Cut the rest of the asparagus into 2-inch lengths. Set aside.
Heat up the wok with oil. Add the sambal (recipe below) and belacan. Stir well until you start smelling the pungent aroma of belacan. Add in scallops/shrimps and do a quick stir and then follow by the asparagus. Add fish sauce, sugar, and continue to stir fry until asparagus is cooked through (don’t overcook it). Dish out and serve hot.
Sambal (Chili Paste) Recipe:
20 dried chilies (seeded and soaked to soften)
10 fresh red chilies (seeded and sliced)
8 shallots (peeled and chopped)
4 cloves garlic (peeled and chopped)
6 tablespoons cooking oil
Use a mortar and pestle to pound the sambal ingredients or use a mini food processor to blend well. Heat up a wok with oil. As soon as the oil is heated, transfer the sambal paste into the wok and stir-fry continuously for a few minutes or until you smell the heat from the sambal or the oil separates from the sambal. Dish out and set aside. Refrigerated for future use.
Traditionally, sambal is prepared fresh–or bought ready made from the wet market in Malaysia. It’s then used immediately to cook the dish. In the US, I always make my sambal into a chili paste so I can keep it in the refrigerator and use it on the go. I also use more dried chilies to make the sambal paste lasts longer in the refrigerator. The fresh chilies give a nice red color as dried red chilies look duller in color. I will show you the traditional way of making sambal from scratch and the proper method of making it soon!