The plan was to cook Penang Assam Laksa today, but apparently the fish didn't look too fresh in the market, so I settled for plan B- Sambal Udang.
The recipe looked simple enough. Prawns, tamarind, kaffir lime leaves, and a rempah made of dried chillies, shallots and belacan.
Normal people who have embraced modern technology would have blended the ingredients in a blender, but not me. As if the recipe was not simple enough, I decided to pound the rempah ingredients into a paste by hand using a pestle and mortar.
What would have taken a quick blitz on the blender took me upwards of ten minutes and I pounded away, juices from the soaked chilli splattering onto every surface in the vicinity. Thankfully I was wearing glasses, otherwise I probably would have a stray splat into my eye (it hit the lens instead).
When I finally got everything into a reasonable looking paste, I started to cook. The instructions said to fry the rempah in some oil (more splattering), throw in the prawns, 2 cups of water, tamarind juice, kaffir lime leaves, salt and sugar to taste.
And of course, instead of watching how much water to pour, I confidently lifted up the kettle and oops. Too much water. Lol.
The final dish turned out ok, but would have been much better if the rempah was a smooth paste and if there was less water. But a success nonetheless!