Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sambal Ikan Keli (Catfish)

Shrimp Sambal with Catfish

This is the Bidayuh version of Sambal Ikan Keli or known as catfish. Besides the catfish soup, when we don't have the pot to cook it in while we were at the farm, we will use daun buan as a wrapper, and grilled it on an open fire. The aroma of burnt daun buan is wonderful and to me, it can evoked powerful memory of my childhood. Daun buan is easily available in tropical country like Malaysia, and act as an alternative to banana leaves.

This is how to prepare the catfish for grilling.
1)Clean-up the catfish. If you wish, you can wash it with tamarind pulp or lime juice to get rid of the smell. Season lightly with a bit of salt.
2) Clean the daun buan. Wipe it dry. Gently, take away the back-bone of the leaves. See photo below.

3) You will need minimum 2 pcs of leaves. Run it over the stove to soften the leaves. This will make it easier to be bend when wrapping the fish, and prevent tearing up of the leaves.

The leaves after heated on the stove, the color turned slightly yellowish.

4) Arrange the catfish on the leaf. Wrap on the longish side, if the leaves are big enough, you can fold and clip it nicely together. Then fold one of the edge towards the bottom, put it upright so the fish slides down to fill up the space. Then fold the other edge. Turn facedown on another new leaf. Repeat step 4.

5) Catfish nicely wrapped in daun buan.
6) Grilled the wrapped catfish on the stove about 10-15minutes on medium low fire.

7) Once it is ready, open the wrap and peel off the burnt leaves. You don't need to wash it off.

8) Prepare sambal belacan which consists of shrimp paste and chillies only. Add a bit of warm water. Fermented durian (tempoyak) is optional. Peel off the meat from the fish and shred it into big chunk. Mix into sambal belacan.

9) You can make it as a dipping for other ulam, or it can be eaten with white rice.

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