iii. Sense and Sensivity
Another simple dish that I really enjoy eating is this one. I remember my late mother making it when I was young. I now realize that my mum used to have some kind of reason or rather to cook the dishes she did. This one for example, she prepared when she did not have vegetables to prepare as a side dish. It was difficult to go to the market when I was young and we only relied on this vegetable seller who made his rounds to the army barracks. All the non-working army wives would gather around his blue car (I don't remember the model) exchanging gossips and buying the things they needed.
There were times when vegetables were not available due the rainy seasons or long dry spells. It was during these times that my mum would go to the the back of our house where she had a vegetable plot. She would pick all the wrinkly green chillies, curly snake beans and misshapen aubergines (no aubergines in my version) and turned them into something delicious like this dish. We were all oblivious of the appearance of the vegetables and the reasons why she had prepared the dish because my siblings and I were too engrossed enjoying the dish.
So, in memory of my mum, I am dedicating yet another entry in my blog to this great lady in my life.
- 4 Selar, cut into two
- 2 tbs turmeric powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 thumb size ginger, shredded
- 5 cloves garlic, sliced
- 10 green chillies, halved
- 2 tbs fermented soy bean
- 5 snake beans, cut into 3 cm lengths
- 5 onions, quartered
- 1 golf-ball size tamarind pulp
- 2 cups plain water
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbs vegetable oil
Season the fish with the turmeric and salt. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the fish until cooked. Then dish out and set aside. Remove the oil from the pan, leaving 2 tbs behind.
Reheat the oil and saute the ginger and garlic until fragrant. Then stir in the fermented soy bean. Next add in the fried fish, tamarind juice (made by mixing the pulp with the water and straining the juice) sugar and salt. Simmer gently for 3 minutes then add in the chillies, snake beans and onions. Simmer until the vegetables are cooked but still crunchy. Serve hot.
Note : The flavour of this dish develops better if left to stand for and hour or two. This will allow the flavours to be absorbed into the fish.