In some parts of South East Asia, race is as common talking point as “How was your weekend?”, if not more. People differentiate whether you are Chinese, Malay, Indian or Eurasian. They aren’t talking about your nationality, they are asking about your race. Asking about someone’s race is as casual as remarking “Oh, you’re left handed.”
So where I come from, my mom is classified as a Nonya, which means she’s a mix descent of a Chinese-immigrant father and a Malay mother. I didn’t remember much about my grandfather, except that he always came bearing cute pencils with big erasers. He died when I was very young. But my grandmother, I remember her as clearly as the back of my hand. She didn’t live with us, insisting on her independence, even after her numerous heart attacks. To entice my brother & I, the city kids, to come and visit her, she would make swings out of rope and thick cloth. She subscribed to paid-TV-channel so we could watch TV than the national news channel. She installed AC in our room so we won’t scream “too hot, can’t sleep! I wanna go home”. She would patiently comb my hair of fleas after a day playing with neighborhood children.
Every time we went to visit my grandmother, my mama, we would put on weight. Pempek jambi, gulai padang, nasi gemuk, sate padang – and these are just the street food. At home, Mama would cook tempoyak, pindang ikan patin, ayam buah keluak, petai udang asam pedas or udang asam (sour prawns).
Yesterday I made this sour prawn. I couldn’t believe that it was this easy to be transported back home, to Mama’s house, where the water came from a well and the bananas from the tree behind.
TAMARIND PRAWN (aka ASSAM PRAWN, UDANG ASAM)
(source: Rasa Malaysia)
Abt 220 gr (8 oz) shell-on prawns
1 1/2 tbsp tamarind pulp
4 tbsp water
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp cooking oil
- In a medium-large bowl, mix the tamarind pulp with 4 tablespoons water, stir. Using your fingers, squeeze the tamarind pulp to extract the juice.
- Add in the salt and sugar, stir well and set aside.
- Remove the heads of the prawns. Devein the prawns by slitting the back. Rinse prawns with water and pat dry with paper towers.
- Add the prawns into the tamarind mixture. Marinate for at least 15 minutes. Remove the tamarind pulp before cooking.
- Heat up a wok and add cooking oil. As soon as it’s heated, drop the prawns into the wok and pan fry until cooked and slightly burnt. Dish out and serve immediately.
I wished I had doubled the marinade for extra tang and sweetness.
Have a good Sunday people. Be careful when doing the last minute shopping. Emotions are running high.