Nasi Katok with Buttermilk Salmon

Nasi Katok with Buttermilk Salmon

Hello Everyone! We’re pushing on with more Bruneian favourites, and this month wouldn’t be complete without tackling the famous Nasi Katok, which in English literally means ‘knock rice’. It is a simple combination of white rice, sambal (a condiment made out of blended chillies and other spices), and a piece of fried chicken, traditionally served wrapped in a piece of waxed brown paper. A variety of secondary ingredients including but not limited to shrimp paste, garlic, ginger, shallot, scallion, palm sugar, lime juice, vinegar, and anchovies can also be served together with the fried chicken.

Nasi Katok is as quintessentially a Bruneian version of fast food, with many vendors running around the clock 24 hours a day selling this classic favourite. The roots of the term originated from the act of katok (knocking), on the window of this small flat in the country’s capital, to buy nasi (rice); the unofficial first Nasi Katok establishment since the 1980s. Naturally, the name stuck and today the dish is among the best national dishes.

Nasi Katok is one of Brunei’s most affordable staples that is priced at only BND$1.00. That’s right, one dollar for a piece of fried chicken, sambal, and steamed white rice. Over the decades the Nasi Katok has evolved into many versions – my favourite being the fusion of chicken and buttermilk.

Nasi Katok with Buttermilk Salmon

Bruneians love their buttermilk chicken, so when word got out that there was a place in Brunei that combines two of the country’s most loved foods, it caused a sensation! As of the majority of the dishes found in Brunei, the origins of buttermilk chicken is actually a Malaysian dish known as Lai Yao Kei 奶油鸡, or Malaysian Butter Chicken. It is about a million miles away from what most of us imagine when we think of Butter Chicken (and I’m talking about the Indian variety).

Other than chicken being the main source of protein for the dish, other meat varieties such as pork, fish, and prawns can be found too. I decided to keep mine pescatarian friendly for this recipe and so I used salmon belly for this dish. The buttermilk sauce is infused with the aroma of fresh curry leaves, and spiked with the heat from fresh chillies. It is actually very simple to make and comes together in just minutes. Though you’d think the butter would be the star of the show here, it is actually the evaporated milk that steals the limelight!

Nasi Katok with Buttermilk Salmon Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

For the salmon

  • 6 pcs salmon belly strip, scaled and cleaned
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 pcs calamansi, juiced
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • All-purpose flour

For the buttermilk sauce

  • 1 can (300ml) evaporated milk
  • 1 bunch (8-10 pcs) curry leaves
  • 2 pcs red bird’s eye chillies, chopped
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp white granulated sugar
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the sambal

  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 small red onions, peeled and quartered
  • 1 medium-sized brown onion, quartered
  • 1 long green chilli, chopped
  • 1/2 + 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tbsp blended red chillies
  • 1 tbsp white granulated sugar
  • Salt, to taste
  • Cooking oil

METHOD

  1. Salmon Belly: Add all the ingredients into a medium-sized bowl and mix well. Set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
  2. Lightly coat the salmon belly strips in flour and shallow fry until golden brown and crispy. Fry in batches if needed and once done, set aside. You can fry the salmon bellies just before serving so that they are hot and remain crispy.
  3. Sambal: Add the onions, garlic, green chilli, and half a cup of water into a food processor or blender. Blend until the ingredients are finely chopped.
  4. Add about 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Add the onion mixture and cook until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the blended red chillies and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt, add the sugar, and the remaining half cup of water. Give it a good mix and continue to cook until thickened. Once done, set aside.
  6. Buttermilk Sauce: Melt the butter to a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Once melted, add the red chillies together with the curry leaves and cook to infuse the flavours and aromas into the butter. Set aside a few curry leaves and chillies for decoration later.
  7. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the evaporated milk. Add the sugar and season with a touch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Taste and adjust to your liking. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 8 to 10 minutes altogether.

At this point, you can either add the fried salmon bellies to the sauce and simmer for a couple of minutes before serving, or top the bellies with the sauce. It’s completely up to you.

  1. Serve with rice and vegetables of choice, together with sambal. Enjoy!

Nasi Katok with Buttermilk Salmon

Nasi Katok with Buttermilk Salmon

Before I end tonight’s post, there’s something I want to share with everyone. So about two weeks ago I came across a post on Instagram regarding the price of Nasi Katok – should it be increased from BND$1.00 to BND$1.50? From a survey of almost 2000 people, 58% said that it should stay at BND$1.00. Small business owners usually sell Nasi Katok just to get through the day; it was never about profit for some. In fact, vendors would only make a profit of 20 cents per serving of Nasi Katok sold. In my honest opinion, if it’s just for a 50 cents price increase to help small businesses, I wouldn’t mind paying extra especially if I’m getting more in return. Think about it, you’re getting a serving of rice, a decent-sized piece of chicken and a spicy relish to bring it altogether. I think we can spare a little more out of our pockets to help them out.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Nasi Lemak (Coconut Rice)

Nasi Lemak (Coconut Rice)

Hello Everyone! I’m back tonight with a recipe for you guys. So I did a little bit of reading on what Nasi Lemak actually translates to – I knew “Nasi” (pronounced nah-see) meant rice, but I was not sure what “Lemak” (pronounced leh-mahk) meant. Lemak apparently, if directly translated means “fat” and therefore Nasi Lemak means “fat rice”, but in the cooking context, lemak means enriched, and in this case, rice enriched with coconut milk.

The truth is, no one really know where the dish originated from as coconut rice is common in many other South-east Asian cultures such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. Apparently there is an old folklore story from a village just south of the country’s state, Kuala Lumpur, where a village girl accidentally spilled a cup of coconut milk in a pot of rice while she was helping her mother cook. Though her mother was enraged, she ended up liking the taste of the rice with coconut milk, and hence the birth of Nasi Lemak.

Nasi Lemak (Coconut Rice)

Traditionally, the two elements that make up this dish are the rice of course, and the spicy sambal (a chilli-based sauce) that either has anchovies or prawns in it accompanying the rice. Sliced cucumbers, half a hard-boiled egg, and roasted peanuts are also essential condiments found in this dish. Nowadays, many variations of accompaniments are served with the dish, such as chicken, beef or prawn curry, and even fried chicken. It is then wrapped and packed in a banana tree leaf as this gives an added fragrance. Restaurants nowadays serve up a modernised version on a plate with all the trimmings.

Back home in Brunei, Nasi Lemak was practically on every menu in every restaurant. They were sold in almost every stall at the Gadong Pasar Malam (Night Market) and even on the side of the streets if I’m not mistaken. All ranging between $1.00 to $3.00, probably a little bit more in restaurant, but surely no more than $5.00. I remember I went to Mamak in Chinatown somewhere in the middle of last year to meet up with Sam’s friends (now my friends too) from the Netherlands. I had a sudden crave for Roti Kosong and Nasi Lemak, but it was so difficult to order it. I think I may have complained about this place before in terms of price comparisons to back home, and I am about to do it again. Their Nasi Lemak here was $9.00, and if you wanted a curry or fried chicken to go with it, it was another $3.00 extra, $4.00 if you wanted seafood. After that, never getting Nasi Lemak here ever again. Thus I decided to give homemade Nasi Lemak a go! Now, I may have steered away from ‘traditional’ by using pre-made sambal, but it tasted pretty good!

Nasi Lemak (Coconut Rice) Ingredients

Nasi Lemak (Coconut Rice) Ingredients

Here is where you can get quite creative yourself. As I’ve mentioned before, the rice and the sambal is essential. The other components are basically up to you. I paired my Nasi Lemak with Sambal Kangkung, which is basically water spinach stir fried in the chilli-based sauce with garlic and onions, and a piece of fried chicken. You can whip up your own curry with your choice of meat or vegetables to accompany this dish.

Ayam Goreng Ingredients

Kang Kong Belacan Ingredients

PREP TIME 1 HOUR | COOKING TIME 20-25 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

For the coconut rice

  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 pandan (screwpine) leaves, tie them into a knot as shown above
  • 1 small can (170ml) coconut milk

For the fried chicken

  • 4 pcs chicken thigh cutlets, skin-on, washed and cleaned
  • 1/2 vegetable oil, for shallow frying
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Dash of ground black pepper

For the sambal kangkung

  • 1 bunch kangkung, washed, leaves separated from the stems, and stems cut into short lengths
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp sambal belacan
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, halved
  • Handfull of small-sized ikan bilis (dried anchovies), fried
  • Handfull of peanuts, roasted
  • Sliced cucumbers
  • Banana leaf

METHOD

  1. First things first, combine all the marinade ingredients for the fried chicken in a large bowl. Mix the chicken around until well coated in the batter. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and set aside to marinade for 1 hour.
  2. Coconut Rice: Just like making steamed rice, rinse your rice and drain. Add the coconut milk, a pinch of salt, and water. Add the pandan leaves into the rice and cook your rice. Once done, transfer to a serving dish lined with a banana leaf together with the other condiments.
  3. Fried Chicken: Preheat oven to 180C. Heat up oil in a large frying pan an working in batches, shallow dry the chicken until skin is crispy and golden (about 4-5 minutes per side). Remove from the heat and place on a baking tray lined with aluminium foil. Place the wings in the oven for a further 8-10 minutes to finish off in the oven.
  4. Sambal Kangkung: Heat oil in a medium frying pan over high heat. Add the garlic and 1 of the sliced bird’s eye chilli and sauté until golden brown. Add in the onions and sauté until soft. Bring the heat down to low and then add in the sambal belacan, cooking the belacan over high heat will cause it to spit all over the stovetop and we don’t want to have a messy cooking area. Cover if needed. Sauté the belacan until fragrant.
  5. Add the the kangkung leaves, stems and a little bit of water to dilute the belacan you think can’t handle the heat. Cover until the leaves start to wilt. Toss around the belacan to coat the leaves and stems evenly (kangkung literally takes only a minute to cook). Serve together with your coconut rice and fried chicken, and top with fresh red chillies.

Nasi Lemak (Coconut Rice)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com