Friday, 23 November 2012

Fresh green chillies

It was a public holiday in Johor yesterday, so we made our way up to Tangkak to visit my brother-in-law who had just returned from performing the hajj in Makkah. The lovely thing about visiting pilgrims who have just returned home is hearing their stories of the many interesting and sometimes mysterious happenings in the holy land. It brings back memories of the time my wife and I were there and of course, it make us long for the opportunity to be able to go there again.

But this post is not about stories from Makkah.

My brother-in-law, together with his eldest son, run a small-scale commercial vegetable farm in Tangkak. Every time we visit them, we are rewarded with a bounty of harvest from their kebun. Depending on what's in season, they would pack some vegetables for us to take home. On our previous visit in September (before my BIL flew off for the pilgrimage), we took home some pumpkins (labu). This time around we were given some green chillies, pisang tanduk, keladi and lemongrass (serai).

Actually, not some green chillies... but a lot. Probably about 8 to 10 kilos worth. The chilli plants were fruiting so abundantly, to the extent that our nephew ran out of manpower to pluck them all. We picked as much as we could yesterday afternoon... and today my wife began sharing some of them with our neighbours and relatives here in Johor Bahru. We now have fresh green chillies to last us a whole month at least.

Green chillies ripe for picking
Chilli padi just sprouting, so no picking yet
Plot cleared for pumpkin planting. Cloud-shrouded Gunung Ledang in the background
Keladi plants in between the bananas
I love green chillies. I prefer them to the red ones. Freshly-cut green chillies are an important ingredient in most of my favourite dishes such as mee rebus and kacang pool. I add them in almost anything that I cook stir-fry style.

With a fresh supply from the farm, I couldn't resist using them tonight in a recipe I learnt from my mother - ikan bilis goreng asam (fried anchovies with tamarind paste). It is an exceedingly simple but tasty recipe that helped me survive the lean times when I was a student overseas.

Ikan bilis goreng asam

Ingredients :

  • a handful of ikan bilis (use the good quality type)
  • one large onion (sliced)
  • a clove of garlic (chopped finely)
  • two or three fresh green chillies (rough-sliced)
  • half-a-cup of tamarind juice (air perahan asam jawa)
  • an optional pinch of shrimp paste (belacan)
  • a teaspoon of sugar (also optional)

Method :

Heat some oil in a wok and fry the ikan bilis till crisp. Remove from wok and set aside. Reduce the oil in the wok and fry the onion and garlic until fragrant. Add the sliced green chillies and fry for a short while. Add the tamarind juice and the pinch of belacan. Stir until the liquid thickens. Add back the fried ikan bilis and mix well so that the tamarind paste coats the ikan bilis evenly. Sprinkle in the sugar and turn off the heat immediately so that the ikan bilis remain crisp and not soggy.

I prefer my onion and chilli to be a bit crunchy, so I sometimes put them towards the end of the cooking process. If you prefer to have a bit of gravy, then dilute the tamarind paste and don't reduce the liquid by too much. Serve with steaming hot rice and bull's-eye fried egg with some kicap, and that's enough of a meal for me.

Below is a pic of tonight's handiwork. Sedap tau...

Ikan bilis asam - the dry version

10 comments:

JohorMali said...

Bro,
Ever tried biting off fresh crispy green chilli together with piping hot magelek and vadai? It's heaven....
Never miss these every saturday at Pasar Tani Larkin

Anonymous said...

Oldstock
Percaya tak from my kitchen boleh nampak the tip of Gunung Ledang? If not because of the trees yang mencapai langit, it could be seen very clearly.

Tulah ingat nak WhatsApp kat PGL :-) ..

Your handiwork is epic! ..cs..

Oldstock said...

Sdra Johor Mali,

Yes, forgot about that one. Vadai and green chilli is a favourite of mine too! Kalau saya beli 5 pcs, habis makan sorang je..

This reminds me of the time when I was a student. Bila malas nak masak sayur, kami makan chilli hijau macam tu aje, buat ulam...

Oldstock said...

Cik Som,

You nak whatsapp kat PGL tu buat pe? Mintak tips kecantikan... hehe.. nanti anak raja tergoda tau...

Al-Manar said...

That vegetable farm sounds and looks fascinating. I have never been to one. And that Gunung Ledang in the background adds a bit of romance into it. I comsider you fortunate to have a relative with that kind of atmosaphere for a place to spend a week-end.

Oldstock said...

Alhamdulillah Pakcik Al-manar, we are indeed blessed to have kind and generous relatives. I have another brother-in-law who is also into this agriculture hobby, he has a kebun with chalet accomodation by a river, cuma jauh sikit kat Tg Malim sana..

Sharifah said...

The photos of the vegetables are so
green and lovely. I would like to try to make the ikan bilis recipe; with hot rice, it will help brighten the dark fall days here in California!

Oldstock said...

Hi Sharifah,

Wow, a commenter all the way from California! I am honoured.

That ikan bilis recipe I got from my mom who got it from her mom. Resipi orang malas sebenarnya, hehe...

Thanks for dropping by. I'll pop over to your blog pretty soon, insyaAllah.

Aida Marie Mohamad said...

Oooh...sedap. Must try.

Oldstock said...

Hi Aida,

I take it you mean the ikan bilis recipe... hope you like it. Happy new year.