Escape to Malaysia with this recipe for prawn sambal with coconut rice

Kitchen Cabinet: The childhood dish of chef Sham Hanifa of The Cottage restaurant

Sham Hanifa’s prawn sambal with coconut rice.

Sham Hanifa’s prawn sambal with coconut rice.

 

I enjoy cooking at home, especially if there is a special occasion or a family gathering. In our home, we believe food brings family and friends together. My wife and children are all good cooks. They are passionate about food, and love to try new flavours and dishes.

I picked this dish to share my recipe for because prawn sambal was cooked regularly in our home when I was a child. Nasi lemak (coconut rice) is Malaysia’s national dish. It is served with prawn sambal, a boiled egg and many more condiments.

When I cook coconut rice and prawn sambal, it always brings back memories of my childhood, and in more recent years, of our family holidays in Malaysia.

Sham Hanifa is chef proprietor of The Cottage restaurant in Jamestown, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim

Prawn sambal with coconut rice

Serves four

Ingredients

For the prawn sambal
8 shallots, peeled
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 fresh lemongrass stalks (white part only), chopped
3-5 red chillies
1 tsp dried ground turmeric
2 tbsp fresh ginger (a thumb-sized piece)
4 kaffir lime leaves, thinly chopped (if you don’t have them, use the grated zest of a lime)
6 tbsp vegetable oil (plus more if needed)
2 tbsp tamarind paste
3 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp Thai fish sauce
3 tsp light soy sauce
400g large Dublin Bay prawns, peeled and deveined
100g green beans, chopped
200ml water (plus more if needed)
Lime wedges, fresh coriander or julienned kaffir lime leaves as a garnish

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For the coconut rice (nasi lemak)
250g basmati rice
150ml coconut milk
150ml chicken stock
125ml water
2 pandanus leaves (optional)
Thumb-size piece of ginger (crushed)
Salt

Method

1. Add the shallots, garlic, ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, chillies and two kaffir limes leaves to a blender or food processor with two tablespoons of vegetable oil. Blend until smooth. Add additional oil in small amounts if the ingredients are not blending well.

2. Heat two tablespoons of vegetable oil to a pan or wok over medium heat. Add the paste and sauté for about five to seven minutes until it becomes aromatic. Do not burn as the paste may become bitter.

3. Add the prawns and coat thoroughly with the paste.

4. Squeeze the remaining two kaffir lime leaves in your palm to release the flavour and add to the pan.

5. Add the tamarind paste, sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce and the beans. Add enough water or stock to create a rich sauce, starting with 10ml and adding more if needed. The sauce should be the consistency of a thick ketchup.

6. Allow the dish to continue to simmer for three to five minutes until the prawns are pink and cooked through.

7. Serve with rice on the side, and garnish with lime wedges, fresh coriander and julienned kaffir lime leaves (optional).

8. Cooking the rice: Put all ingredients into a saucepan and bring it to a boil then reduced the heat to its lowest, put a lid on the pot and cook until the rice is tender and the liquid absorbed.

Kitchen Cabinet is a series of recipes from chefs who are members of Euro-toques Ireland who have come together during the coronavirus outbreak to share some of the easy, tasty things that they like to cook and eat at home #ChefsAtHome

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