Malaysian One-Pot Recipes by Abby Lee | Food

Malaysia is not known for its cold weather, but when the rainy season arrives in November and December, the temperature tends to drop as low as 25°C. Meanwhile, during the cooler months in Britain, I eat many spicy broths enriched with chilli and ginger, and often serve them with ‘chilling’ vegetables to balance the heat, as well as sweet and sour curries and slow-braised meats. These are dishes to warm the soul and keep you going until the sun comes back.

Babi chin or braised pork belly with dark soybeans

A classic Nyonya dish often served at lunar new year, though a more everyday version would simply include garlic and fermented soybeans. It is a combination of Chinese and Malay cultures, using the soybeans from the former and the coriander seeds from the latter. Two ingredients that will make a big difference here are a good soybean paste and a thick, dark soybean. If desired, add some soaked shiitake mushrooms to the stew, for additional texture.

Homework 10 minutes
Marinate 1 hour
Cook 1 hour 45 minutes
It serves 4

for the stew
600 g pork belly with skin
cut into 4 cm cubes
80 ml dark soy sauce
15ml light soy sauce
2½ teaspoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
or other neutral oil
200 g round shallotsbare
salt and sugarprove

For the rempah (pasta)
20 g coriander root (or stems)
35 g of peeled garlic
45 g long red chili
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
40 g soybean paste
(or red miso paste)

Place the pork in a bowl with half of the dark soy sauce, toss to coat, then marinate at room temperature for one hour.

Meanwhile, make the rempah. Chop coriander root, garlic and chili coarsely, put in a food processor with the remaining paste ingredients and blend gently.

Combine the remaining dark soybeans, light soybeans, and sugar in a bowl. Put the oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat, and when hot, add the pasta and stir for five to 10 minutes, until you can really smell the aromatics. Add the pork belly and stir to coat each piece. Pour in the soy sauce mixture, shake some of the water in the bowl to collect the last few bits, and add it to the pan with the peeled shallots. Fill in the water so that the pork belly is almost completely covered, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for an hour and a half.

Season with salt and sugar to taste (different brands of soy sauce have different flavor profiles) and serve with rice.

Ikan assam pedas, or sweet and sour fish stew

This classic Malaysian minangkabau dish is very aromatic and appetizing, and more of a light broth than a thick curry. It’s traditionally mixed with torch ginger blossom, a particular fragrance that’s hard to come by in the UK, but the easier-to-find Vietnamese coriander would finish it off nicely. Don’t be afraid to fry the pasta in a lot of oil: it’s the best way to bring out the fragrance. Likewise, be heavy handed with the tamarind: it’s supposed to have a lip-smacking sour taste.

Homework 15 minutes
Cook 1 hour
It serves 4

for the patch
90g red onionpeeled and coarsely chopped
80g lemongrassgreen tops discarded, remainder coarsely chopped
90 g long red chilicoarsely chopped
6 g shrimp paste (belacan, ideally, otherwise Thai kapi is widely available)
8 pieces of dried Kashmiri chilisoaked in warm water for 15 minutes
½ teaspoon ground turmeric

for the fish
100 ml of vegetable oilor other neutral oil
20g granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
140g aubergine
cut into 6cm pieces (they will shrink when cooked)
1 plum tomatoCut in half
50 g of tamarind concentrate (ideally the light brown type from Southeast Asia)
120 g okra
mackerelclean or 4 fillets of approximately 140 g
chopped mint and corianderto end

Put all the paste ingredients in a blender and blend gently.

Put the oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat, then fry the pasta, stirring regularly, for about 20 minutes, until the oil separates. Add the sugar and salt, let it caramelize for a couple of minutes, then add the aubergine, tomato, tamarind and 500ml water, bring to a boil, simmer for 15 minutes, then add the okra and cook to simmer for five more minutes.

Lower the heat, so no bubbles break on the surface, then gently poach the fish in the stew for five to seven minutes, until the meat flakes easily.

Season with extra tamarind, salt and sugar to taste, as you prefer it more tart, salty or sweet, and serve with rice and chopped mint and cilantro.

Ox chai or green mustard stew

Some of the ingredients are alternatives to the traditional ones, but if you have a Chinese supermarket nearby, use salted mustard greens instead of the sauerkraut and kale. Although this is often made with leftover roast beef, it’s a star in its own right and worth making completely from scratch.

Homework 15 minutes
Cook 1 hour 45 minutes
It serves 4

1 tablespoon vegetable oilor other neutral oil
4 duck legs of 280 g
35g fresh ginger
unpeeled, cut into 1 cm thick slices
20 g of peeled garlicchopped up
12 pieces of dried kashmiri chili (about 10g)
50g carrotcut into matchsticks 1 cm thick
150g turnipcut into matchsticks 1 cm thick
120g sauerkrautideally without added flavors
70 g vine tomatoescut into wedges
½ tablespoon white peppercornsdry roasted and lightly crushed
2½ tablespoons light soy sauce
1½ teaspoon salt
70g kale
coarsely chopped
2½ tablespoons of tamarind concentrate (ideally the light brown type from Southeast Asia)
sambal belacanserve

Put the oil in a deep saucepan over medium-high heat, then brown the duck feet all over until just darker than golden. Remove and reserve, leaving the oil in the pan.

Lower the heat to medium, add the ginger, garlic and dry chilli, and stir for a couple of minutes to infuse the oil. Add the carrots and turnips, and sauté for three to four minutes.

Add the sauerkraut, tomato, crushed white peppercorns, soy sauce, salt, and duck feet, then pour in enough water to cover the duck (depending on the depth of the pan, you’ll need up to a quart). Bring to a boil, then turn the heat as low as possible, cover, and simmer over very light heat for about an hour and a half. Ten minutes before the end of the cooking time, add the kale and tamarind.

Lift the duck legs and shred all the meat from the bones. Remove and discard the ginger slices and dried chili, then stir the duck meat into the pan and add salt and tamarind to taste; acidity has to go through here. Serve with rice and our beloved sambal belacan.

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