Asparagus belacan – crunchy, spicy and just the way we like it
Asparagus belacan is our Malaysian take on this legit superfood with incredible antioxidant benefits. They’re good for your kidneys, packed with vitamins, protein, fibre, lifts your mood and is *ahem* apparently an aphrodisiac. And even though we commonly see them featured in more Western style cooking, they do appear in local stir fried vegetable dishes, although rarely up front and centre stage.
Malaysians like our food with a little bit of zing and a lot of variety, so boiled or steamed or grilled asparagus may not quite be what we’re looking for during our regular meals. Nor does it go with rice or steamed fish or spiced fried chicken. Asparagus belacan is a great way to localize this great veg to suit our eclectic taste buds, and you can do it pretty easily too.
Packed with flavour, spice and still healthy? We’re totally in.
- 8 fat sticks asparagus, or 20 thin sticks
- 2 tbsp sambal belacan
- 5 shallots
- 2 tbsp dried shrimp, soaked in a bit of water
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- Pound your shallots and soaked dried shrimp to medium coarseness using a pestle and mortar. You can also use a food processor.
- Remove the bottom ends of the asparagus and slice diagonally, roughly 2cm long.
- In a pan, heat the oil and add in the shallots and shrimp mixture, followed by sambal belacan. Fry until fragrant.
- Add in the asparagus and stir fry for about three minutes, or until the asparagus is still crunchy but tender. Your asparagus is ready to serve!
- Cooking times may vary depending on how thick your asparagus are.
- As asparagus can be eaten raw, avoid overcooking it so it continues to retain its nutritional values.
This dish is so simple and good you don’t really need to pair it with anything else except for a bowl of rice. Now eat your veges, they’re good for you!