Each country in the world has its own particular ingredient or condiment that epitomizes umami. In Japan it is dashi stock, in the USA, tomato ketchup. In Malaysia, meanwhile, it is belacan.
(REPORT on the Umami Symposim held at the Putra University of Malaysia)
Belacan Kangkung is probably the most popular vegetable dish in Southeast Asia. It is well loved by people of all ages. I often hear people saying,"I don't eat vege, except kangkung". Kangkung is also known as water spinach or morning glory.
The main ingredient in this dish is belacan (dried shrimp paste). Belacan is one of the essential ingredients in southeast asian cooking, the smell is really strong and pungent, however it adds a sharp and interesting aroma to the dish. Just make sure you leave your window open widely while cooking with this, it will surely stink your whole room.
- 1 bunch kangkung
- 1 tbsp toasted belacan ( I bought the ready toasted one from asian grocery)
- Chilli paste ( you can find the chilli paste recipe here)
- 3 chopped garlic (you can add more if you like)
- 1 chopped red onion ( this is optional)
- 2 tablespoon ground dried shrimp (sold in in Asian grocery)
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- Cooking oil
- Heat up the wok to high heat, add cooking oil and add in garlic and onion. Do a quick stir, add in the belacan, ground dried shrimp and the chilli paste and continue stirring until fragrant. Toss in the kangkung, stir until the leaves soften (but make sure the leaves don't turn dark), add in fish sauce.
-Dish up and serve with steamed rice.
The taste of this exotic dish is so delicious and alluring, the stinky room is sure worth it!