Way back when I was 15, I sat for my “domestic science” final exam (and that was the extend of my formal culinary education). I chose to make this snack of sweet rice rolls with a spicy shrimp filling. It encompassed, steaming, sauteing, grilling – 3 in 1 – what’s more a guarantee to wow the examiner. And I got an “A”. I practised like 30 times on my family, and needless to say I have not made this since that exam 3+ decades ago. This is the exact recipe, translated from Malay and below is a copy of my recipe book – oh what beautiful cursive handwriting I had then!
2 cups sweet glutinous rice
2 pieces pandan, tied into knots each
2 cups coconut milk, reserve 2 Tablespoons
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 oz shrimp, peeled, cleaned, cut into ½ inch dice
1 slice ginger, finely minced
½ inch turmeric, finely minced
1 stalk lemongrass, finely sliced
2 shallots, finely minced
1 Fresno chili, finely minced
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon fennel, toasted, ground
2 Tablespoons water
½ cup shredded coconut, reconstituted with a little water
½ teaspoon kosher salt
8 Banana leaves 4X 6”, blanched in hot water
Preparing the rice.
Wash the rice. Place rice into two separate bowls and add water till it covers the rice by 1 inch. Let rice soak at least 6 hours to overnight.
Cooking the rice.
Drain rice. Place the rice evenly on a cheesecloth. Place in a steamer rack. Add a knot of pandan to each of the rice. Steam for about 10 minutes. In the meantime, stir in salt to the coconut milk. Add milk to the rice, enough to barely cover, and stir to mix. Continue steaming for another 15 minutes. Test for doneness i.e., the rice is tender and cooked through.
Cooking the shrimp filling
Heat oil in a skillet, add finely minced gingers, lemongrass and cook until fragrant. Add shrimp and shallots, fresno chili, red pepper flakes and fennel, and water and cook another minute until fragrant. Add coconut and salt to taste. Cook until mixture is dry.
Wrapping the parcel
Blanch banana leave to soften. Brush with coconut milk. Place two heaping tablepoons of cooked rice in the center, followed by a scant tablespoon of filling. Spread to form a log. Roll up the cylinder and seal the ends with toothpick. Place on grill until browned and fragrant.
Ais kacang or ABC (Air Batu Campur) is a refreshing dessert / snack in Malayisa. A medley of sweet red beans, crunchy peanuts, creamy corn, wiggly grass jelly and chewy palm seed topped with shaved snow-cone ice and coconut milk. This is definitely something to reach for on a hot day and everyday is hot in Malaysia!
Ice Kacang – Shaved Ice with Adzuki Beans, Corn, and Coconut Milk
1 cup Adzuki red beans, soaked, drained
3/4 cup sugar
2 pandan leaves (optional), each tied into a knot
1 cup corn kernels
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
Other optional ingredients:
1 cup canned grass jelly
1 cup canned palm seeds
½ cup peanuts
2 pandan leaves
1 1/2 cup palm sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups coconut milk
3/4 cup evaporated milk
10 cups shaved ice
Place the red beans in a pot with 2 pieces of the pandan. Cover with 2 inches of water over the beans and simmer 1-1 1/2 hours till beans have softened. Drain, cool and chill.
Simmer corn in coconut milk, salt and sugar till corn is creamy, about 20 minutes. Remove, cool and chill.
In a small saucepan, add the palm sugar, sugar with 1 cup of water. Tie a knot through the folded pandan leaves and add to the pot. Bring to boil and simmer over medium heat until for 5 minutes. Strain. Let cool.
Add salt to coconut cream. Chill. Set aside.
To assemble, in a bowl, place 2 Tablespoons each of adzuki, corn, grass jelly and palm fruit. Top with a heaping cup of shaved ice, drizzle on a portion of coconut milk, palm sugar syrup and evaporated milk.
My friend Angie mentioned this vegetables a while ago as a topping for a pidan and tofu dish and today I learned this pickle was apparently made with, at least it San Francisco, the Chinese mustard leaves “gai choy”. Armed with some newly acquired knowledge on quick pickling, I promptly purchased a few stalks of the gai choy, chopped it up, made a pickling juice, and popped it into the cryovac for 30 seconds, and voila! A wonderful crunchy pickle with the crunch, tart and sweetness of a pickle, and still bright green. The distinct bitter flavor of gai choy remained, the vegetable was infused with the citrusy perfume of the Sichuan peppercorn. Move over 30 minutes, here comes 30 seconds.
Gai Choy Chinese mustard – chopped small
Rice wine negar
Mix pickling liquid and cool to room temperature. Place all into a vacuum bag. Using a chanber vacuum, run it for 30 seconds. Drain and serve!
- Cumin Lamb Kebabs
- Cucur Udang
- Pulut Panggang
- Ice Kacang
- Ice Vegetables “Sheet Choy”
- Coconut Tartlets
- Pork and Cabbage Steamed Buns
- Roti Jala – Lacy Pancake
- Lamb Curry
- Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce
- Pulut Tekan with Kaya Curd
- Basil Fried Eggplant
- Pork and Shrimp Dipping Sauce with Crispy Rice Crackers
- Thai Curry Crabs
Career swap: Trading the corporate pinstripes for a chef's toque
- San Jose Mercury News
- Oakland Tribune
- Contra Costa Times
- Centre Daily Times
Ten Ethnic Cooking Classes Around the Bay Area
- KQED Bay Area Bites
Social networking site connects home, professional chefs.
- San Jose Mercury News
Malaysian cooking classes in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Judging panel for CookEatShare's Thanksgiving Recipe Contest.
Teacher with the hot behind ...comment.
- New York Times
- International Herald Tribune