It’s all in the chilli

Now, I’m a student. A somewhat lazy student. However I enjoy baking because it simply makes me a happier person in so many ways; but I tend not to cook proper meals for myself as frequently because cooking Asian food does require more time than the the average fish and chips or pasta (maybe because I just use a bottled one).

The other day I made sambal prawns (sambal=chilli) and I had a lot of the sambal and a few prawns leftover but of course I did not throw it away because it had all the goodness of the garlic, onions, tomatoes and not to mention the wonderful prawns as well. I  had a little white rice left over night in fridge so I decided to make fried rice. I finished that in one day and on the next I was hungry for something yummy again. I had one basa fillet and a few squid tubes in the freezer so I took them out in the morning let them thaw while I wondered what to do with them with minimim effort since I had a paper due soon as well. So I finally decided to make fish masala and whatever that comes to my mind with the squid. Yes I do that a lot.

This is the nasi goreng (fried rice) that I made. It was simple and way to delicious for my own good.

This would be the fish masala (erhmm.. Fish in spices??) that I made the next day. So much better making your own than getting it at some fancy Indian restaurant which might I add maybe a tad bit over-priced?

Ingredients you need for the sambal

500 grams dried big red chilli, soaked in boiling water for about fifteen minutes

3 tbsp chilli flakes

3 tbsp oil

1 onion, diced

4 cloves of garlic finely chopped

1 tbsp Ginger-Garlic Paste  (I know this seems redundant but that’s what I do)

1 tomato, finely diced

5 tbsp  tamarind paste ( or more if you like)

6 tbsp tomato Puree

6 tbsp evaporated milk (I just use semi-skim)

Salt to taste (about 1/2 to 1 tsp)

Now, get your blender out and whiz the soaked dried chilli and the chili flakes adding enough water so that the chilli will actually grind inside the blender.

Once that’s done you let the oil in your pan heat up, add the onions and fry it till it browns and add the garlic, fry fry fry add the ginger garlic paste, fry fry fry, then you add your chilli paste and fry fry fry. Add more oil at this point, about 3 tbsp more and then you fry it till this oil surrounding the chilli has a reddish tinge to it.

Now you add the rest of the ingredients. Okay, when it comes to cooking my measurements are really according to my tastes, I like it spicy if you don’t then add more milk or tomato paste. But these are a rough gauge as to how much you should be using. So usually after this point I add the prawns. Once you’re done with the prawns, leave the sambal for other food.

Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice)

1 Omelet, sliced into strips ( 2 eggs)

Fried Dried anchovies(ikan bilis)/silver fish (I used silver fish, oh so yummy, I think you can see it in the picture)

2 tbsp sambal (or less if you have a low threshold for pain)

1 cup Cooked white rice left over night in the fridge

6 tbsp Sweet Soya Sauce ( The runny one not the thick one)

2 tbsp Lemon Juice

( You add lesser salt, since the sambal already has salt in it and the silver fish is salty as well, same goes for other recipes using the sambal)

So you just add the sambal to you wok/pan, add your soya sauce then throw in your rice mix it all up really well, add your omelet and fried anchovies or silver fish then you add the salt and lemon juice. Done! Easy right?

Fish Masala

1 tsp mustard seeds

2 tbsp sambal

2 tbsp fish curry powder ( It has to be FISH curry powder, please do not use those generic ones which just says “Curry Powder”(which I know lots of my friends do), there is a reason why fish curry and chicken curry taste different. My mum knows what constitutes this specific fish curry powder so if you want to know you can ask me,  or otherwise they usually sell it at those Asian specialty stores)

1 tbsp Tamarind paste (always remove the seeds and add about four tbsp of water to it and mix it real well before you add it to the masala)

2 tbsp tomato puree

3 tbsp evaporated milk


1 basa fillet cut into big 5cm strips/or other fish that you normally use for curries (marinate it for a bit with chilli powder, tumeric and salt)

Now you just add in the oil and then your mustard seeds then you add the fish and let it brown on both sides before you add in all the other ingredients one by one as I have stated. This is supposed to be thicker in consistency than your usual curry.

Of course this is a really easy peasy way to make fish masala but it tastes good all the same and if you’re wondering about my squid tubes, well all I did was cut about three tubes into rings, I put the 1tbsp of sambal in the heated pan, added two tbsp of oyster sauce and then the squid rings. Delish!  It was too good to be that easy.



Nisha ♥


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