Rempah spice paste

Rempah spice paste

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From
Have You Eaten
Makes
300 ml
Photographer
Billy Law

Most Malaysian cooking, especially Nyonya cooking, usually starts with a good chilli paste as the base flavour of a dish. This spicy rempah paste is very versatile and will work across many Malaysian dishes including curry laksa and Nyonya spicy tamarind snapper.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
20g belachan, (see note)
10g dried red chillies, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes, then drained
5 large fresh red chillies, seeded
10g candlenuts, roasted, (see note)
5 garlic cloves, peeled
100g french shallots, peeled
15g fresh turmeric, peeled
5g galangal, peeled
2 lemongrass stalks, white part only

Method

  1. Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Wrap the belachan in foil, then put it in the pan and toast the whole thing for 2 minutes on both sides. Remove and let it cool before unwrapping it.
  2. Put all the ingredients, including the belachan, into a food processor and process into a fine paste. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

Note

  • Belachan, or belacan, is a dried shrimp paste that has quite an offensive pungent aroma when it is cooking, so make sure the kitchen is well ventilated before toasting it.

    Candlenuts give the dish a nutty flavour and creamy texture. You can find them at Asian grocers, or substitute cashew or macadamia nuts if unavailable.
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