One of the greatest blessings in my life is having a close-knitted, loving family. My parents prepare home cooked meals daily and I always look forward to eating with my family. In fact, I was told that I could use the chopstick when I was one year old and would ask what is for dinner during lunchtime! It comes as no surprise that I love to make food for friends and family.
I grew up in a home where food takes the center stage. We have dinner at home daily and there are at least five dishes and one soup for dinner! Back in primary school days, I do not have to buy food from the canteen because my mother would pack lunchbox for me. During the weekends, my parents would make special food such as assam laksa, nasi lemak and curry laksa. We will also boil herbal tea and make soybean milk from scratch.
My inspiration of this dish comes from my mother’s dried shrimp belacan recipe (she always keeps a bottle handy in the fridge). I combined it with Hakka Abacus Seeds, a unique Hakka dish which chewy texture I enjoy.
Dried Shrimp Belacan Pumpkin Abacus Seeds
Ingredients A- Abacus seeds
300gm pumpkin (mashed)
150 gm Tapioca flour
A pinch of salt
1/2 tbsp-1 tbsp – cooking oil
Ingredients B – Stir-frying
1 block of firm tofu, cut into small cubes
3 dried shiitake mushroom, soaked and cut into small cubes
15 gm black fungus, soaked and sliced thinly
2-3 sprigs of parsley & spring onion (minced)
3 tbsp of palm oil
2 tbsp of dried shrimp belacan (Pre-made-refer recipe below)
1 tbsp soy sauce
- Steam pumpkin and mashed. While it’s still hot – add in tapioca flour (bit by bit) to form soft dough.
- Roll some dough into ¾-inch thick rope – cut into ¼-inch wide pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Make a dent in the middle.
- Prepare a pot of boiling water and cook the seeds until float – next, plunge the cooked seeds into a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Over medium-high heat, stir-fry black fungus & mushroom until fragrant and then add tofu.
- Now add dried shrimp belacan along with abacus seeds, add soy sauce and continue to stir-fry for 2 minutes.
- Serve and garnish with parsley & spring onion
Notes & Tips
- a) Traditionally, yam is used but pumpkin is a good substitute. It’s a very low calories vegetable, rich in dietary fibre, anti-oxidants, minerals and vitamins.
- b) Pumpkin is a hardy vegetable and it can be challenging to cut it. Here, we can simply steam the whole pumpkin before cutting into it and scoop out the flesh.
- c) Abacus seeds freeze well and can be stored in either zip lock bag or container.
Dried Shrimp Belacan
100 gm red chillies
40 gm garlic
40 gm belacan
200 gm dried shrimp
250 ml palm oil ( for frying)
- Blend shallots, chillies, garlic and belacan into a paste. Set aside
- Blend the dried shrimp or simply pound by using pestle and mortar.
- In a wok, fry the dried shrimp for about 10 minutes. Set aside.
- Separately, fry sambal paste until fragrant then add the dried shrimp back into the wok. Mix well and fry a little longer.
- Once it is properly cooled, scoop it into a jar. (Keeps well in the fridge or freezer for weeks)
We’re giving RM10,000 and other amazing prizes to the winner of our first ever R.AGE Food Fight!
The five finalists will get to learn from the best, our Food Fight mentors:
– Chef Wan, Malaysia’s original food celebrity
– Chef Rodolphe Onno, Le Cordon Bleu master chef
– Chef Darren Chin, of Restaurant DC
– KY Speaks, top Malaysian food blogger
– Chef Liang, performing artiste and up-and-coming restaurateur
They’ll also get media and video production training from us at R.AGE, before they face off against each other at the Food Fight finale for the RM10,000 grand prize.
The competition’s closed, but you can always check out the other Food Fight submissions at https://rage.com.my/foodfight