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Nyonya Kuah Lada

Nyonya Kuah Lada

Nyonya Kuah Lada
Nyonya Kuah Lada

This is a dish I have been eating since I was really young, as my grandma on my father's side would frequently cook it at family gatherings which used to be a weekly affair. It is a Nyonya dish called "Kuah Lada" - "Kuah" means gravy, and "Lada" means pepper: Pepper Gravy! Okay, it doesn't sound very appetising or fancy or even logical (pepper soup? More like a prank prop, ain't it?), but if you think of all the delicious foods you have had growing up, they usually are very simply or literally named. After all, food that creates a party on our palates do not have to sound good, they just have to taste good.

If the word "Nyonya" has left you a little perplexed, allow me to explain further -- In Southeast Asia, there exists a community of people called Peranakans, or the 'Straits Chinese'. They are the descendants of 15-17th century immigrants to Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore from Mainland China who settle into marriages with the local women. The men are known as 'Baba', and the women 'Nyonya'. Both my father's parents are peranakan, and as such, we are very much exposed to the Peranakan cuisine which consists of dishes that are very flavourful but also extremely tedious to prepare. My mother learned a handful of Peranakan recipes from my grandmother and she will cook them from time to time at home on weekends. The source of protein in this dish is Stingray, and I am told that NO OTHER types of fish can replace it. But of course, if you really really really am unable to get your hands on stingray, you can always try Tenggiri (Mackerel) fish. Do take note to withhold from adding any salt to the gravy as the Tamarind is already pretty salty, and any more salt will ruin the dish. The preparation stage of the recipe will take up quite some time, but once you get pass that, the cooking stage is a breeze, and the aroma that you get from the savoury Kuah Lada broth is out of this world~

Nyonya Kuah Lada
Nyonya Kuah Lada
 
  Nyonya Kuah Lada   Prep time: 20 mins  Cook time: 30 mins  Total time: 50 mins  Serves: 6      Ingredients:   · 2 medium-sized pieces of Stingray/Skate (cut into chunks)  · 1 eggplant  · 6 strips of Okra  · 2 strips of Lemongrass  · 3/4 cup of Tamarind flesh/pulp   For the paste or Rempah   · 15 Shallots (peeled)  · 1 small piece of Blue Ginger  · 2 small pieces of Yellow Ginger     Instructions:  1) First, prepare the paste (or Rempah) by roughly cutting up the chillies, blue  ginger and yellow ginger into smaller pieces, and tossing these into a  blender with the shallots, pepper seeds and shrimp paste. Blend it until you  get a paste-like consistency.  2) Set the Rempah aside, we will only need it after the other ingredients are all  prepared.  3) Next, pound the lemongrass stalks. It would be best if you had a mortar and  pestle you could work in, but if you don't have one of those in the kitchen,  simply pounding with the back of your knife works fine as well.  4) Time now to work on the Tamarind/Assam water, squeeze the tamarind  pulp over a bowl until the juices run, after which pour 2 cups of water in  with the juices and mix. Set this aside.  5) Grab the eggplant and Okra and start slicing them up.  6) Rub salt over the stingray pieces, and set them aside.  7) Heat up 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a wok until hot.  8) Gently spoon in the paste and stir it around in the oil until it is fragrant  (about 2-3 minutes).  9) Next, throw in the stingray, eggplant and okra and give it a good toss-about  until they are all generously coated with the paste.  10) Add in your Tamarind water and when it comes to a boil, lower the fire and  allow to simmer until the eggplant and okra are soft, and the stingray is  cooked through.  11) Taste the gravy, and add sugar to balance out the sourness of it (roughly  about 1-1 1/2 tablespoons). Remember, DO NOT ADD SALT!  12) Serve the Kuah Lada with jasmine rice.

Nyonya Kuah Lada

Prep time: 20 mins

Cook time: 30 mins

Total time: 50 mins

Serves: 6

 

Ingredients:

· 2 medium-sized pieces of Stingray/Skate (cut into chunks)

· 1 eggplant

· 6 strips of Okra

· 2 strips of Lemongrass

· 3/4 cup of Tamarind flesh/pulp

For the paste or Rempah

· 15 Shallots (peeled)

· 1 small piece of Blue Ginger

· 2 small pieces of Yellow Ginger

 

Instructions:

1) First, prepare the paste (or Rempah) by roughly cutting up the chillies, blue

ginger and yellow ginger into smaller pieces, and tossing these into a

blender with the shallots, pepper seeds and shrimp paste. Blend it until you

get a paste-like consistency.

2) Set the Rempah aside, we will only need it after the other ingredients are all

prepared.

3) Next, pound the lemongrass stalks. It would be best if you had a mortar and

pestle you could work in, but if you don't have one of those in the kitchen,

simply pounding with the back of your knife works fine as well.

4) Time now to work on the Tamarind/Assam water, squeeze the tamarind

pulp over a bowl until the juices run, after which pour 2 cups of water in

with the juices and mix. Set this aside.

5) Grab the eggplant and Okra and start slicing them up.

6) Rub salt over the stingray pieces, and set them aside.

7) Heat up 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a wok until hot.

8) Gently spoon in the paste and stir it around in the oil until it is fragrant

(about 2-3 minutes).

9) Next, throw in the stingray, eggplant and okra and give it a good toss-about

until they are all generously coated with the paste.

10) Add in your Tamarind water and when it comes to a boil, lower the fire and

allow to simmer until the eggplant and okra are soft, and the stingray is

cooked through.

11) Taste the gravy, and add sugar to balance out the sourness of it (roughly

about 1-1 1/2 tablespoons). Remember, DO NOT ADD SALT!

12) Serve the Kuah Lada with jasmine rice.



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