Monday, 4 March 2013

Asparagus Belacan

Asparagus belacan (in shrimp paste) is a dish I have sampled in a Malaysian Chinese restaurant. Considering this vegetable was considered an exotic western ingredient at the time, this fusion of flavours left an impression on first time diners (thanks to a variety of cooking shows, asparagus is now very popular in Malaysia and is even available from pasar malam*!). So you could blanch, boil or grill your asparagus any day, but if you want that little something extra to tickle your tastebuds, try this. Here's a my approximation on this recipe.

1 medium white onion, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 heaped teaspoon belacan, or shrimp paste
about 14 sticks of asparagus

Trim off the woody bottom part of the asparagus. You could cut them in half if they are too long.

Over very low fire, sweat the onion and garlic for  five minutes. Add the belacan and asparagus to the frying mix and cook further for ten minutes. Thinner (more tender) asparagus will obviously need less cooking time. Season and serve up as a side dish. It goes well with rice, potatoes and meats.

*Night markets- epitome of local cultural acceptance, in my books.

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