Saturday, September 10, 2011

Grilled shishamo with sambal

Just about a week ago, a fellow blogger Nami, whose fabulous blog "Just One Cookbook" always keeps me hungry and drooling over my PC screen, showed her shishamo wrap in one of her posts and that reminded me how I love those fish. Shishamo, or Japanese smelt, is very tasty, easy to deal with, and you can eat the whole thing, from head to tail. And since I was born with genes that makes me crave for spicy food all the time, I`m going to share with you my version of cooking shishamo. A spicy version, just like the other dishes I have here.

So this is a pack of shishamo with a sac of roe inside each of them I usually get from the store. Apparently, Nami rinses these fish before cooking them, but I do not. Ahem, I did not. Will rinse them next time.


If using oven, line them up onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and grill them for 20 mins. When I serve them without sambal or any condiments, I usually coat them with olive oil, garlic powder, pepper, and cayenne to get more flavors. And just a pinch of salt as the fish is already a little salty. But with sambal, I just grill them as is.


While the fish is in the oven, spread sesame seeds on a heated frying pan and toast them for like 5-10 mins until they lightly brown and you can smell the beautiful nutty scent. Set the toasted seeds aside when you`re done.


Next is sambal. There are various ways of making sambal involving raw or cooked ingredients, but this is how I usually make it. I actually have written about sambal last year, where I served with fried tempeh, with slightly different ingredients. This time I substituted shrimp paste for dried shrimp. I love, really love shrimp paste for its pungency, but today I wanted a milder version.
So, put chilies, onion, garlic, chili powder, candlenuts, and ginger in a food processor (or mortar, of course). If you`re lucky enough to have fresh chilies, by all means use them and you can omit the chili powder. As most of the time I can only get the dried ones, I have to add chili powder to make the paste redder like the regular sambal.


Grinding the sambal paste in a food processor might scream "unauthentic" to the air, but I`m perfectly happy with it. With the sambal. It still is a sambal for me, after all.


Saute the sambal paste with a bit of oil on medium heat. Since the paste didn`t look red enough for me, I added some more chili powder, which I didn`t show you here.


While sauteing, puree tomatoes and pour it to the sambal paste.


Last aromatic is lemon. Squeeze in the juice and grate in the zest.


Season with salt, soy sauce, brown sugar, and pepper and keep stirring it to prevent it from scorching and to reduce the water. I sometimes add fish sauce too when there are no shrimp paste or dried shrimp in the sambal. I don`t know if other Indonesian use soy sauce or fish sauce for making sambal, but to me sambal tastes more wonderful with these two condiments. 
Now this is the consistency I like when I make my sambal. Not too dry, but certainly not runny. You can use this sambal paste for spicy fried rice or red curry, although you need to add some other spices and coconut milk for the latter. 
When the sambal reaches the consistency you like, remove from heat. 


Remember the grilled shishamo? Please tell me that you aren`t forgetting them in the oven.


Toss them in the sambal to get them lightly (or heavily, your call) coated.


Stack the sambal-coated fish in a baking dish and pop it back to the oven for another 10 mins.


Or you can just serve this right away, which what I usually do when I`m super hungry.


Now for the rice, you can certainly serve the regular steamed rice, but you might want to try out this version. Put hot steamed rice in a bowl, sprinkle in the toasted sesame seeds you made earlier, add sesame oil and stir until well combined.
For two plates of rice, I added 1 tbs sesame oil. Not much, really. I just want the rice to be scented, not to be oily.


Here is the fish back from the oven, red and gorgeous. Well, who`s hungry now? I am. I certainly am. And look how happy that little kid over there.


Scented rice, spicy fish, and of course, raw vegetables. Our Saturyday`s feast, everyone.


GRILLED SHISHAMO WITH SAMBAL
 
Ingredients:
Shishamo

For sambal paste
Makes about 1 cup
3 dried chili
2 tbs chili powder
1/2 cut  onion (but preferably shallots)
Thumb-sized ginger
3 candlenuts
1 Tbs dried shrimp (or shrimp paste for more pungency)
2 small-sized tomatoes (or 1 medium-sized one)
1/2 cut lemon juice and zest
Salt
1 Tbs soy sauce
Brown sugar
Pepper

Sesame-scented rice
2 plates steamed rice
2 Tbs sesame seed, toasted
1 Tbs sesame oil

Method:
For grilled shishamo
1. Arrange shishamo fish onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and grill them for 20 mins.
2. Set aside when grilling is done.

For sambal
1. Put chili, onion, garlic, chili powder, candlenuts, and ginger in a food processor or mortar and blitz or grind.
2. Saute the sambal paste with a bit of oil on medium heat.
3. Puree fresh tomatoes and stir in the sambal paste in the pan.
4. Squeeze in lemon juice and grate in the zest.
5. Season with salt, soy sauce, brown sugar, and pepper and keep stirring it to prevent it from scorching and to reduce the water.
6. When the sambal reaches the consistency you like, remove from heat. 

For serving
1. Toss the grilled shishamo in the sambal until evenly coated.
2. Arrange the sambal-coated fish in a baking dish.
3. Optional: Pop the fish back to the oven for another 10 mins.

For sesame-scented rice
1. Spread sesame seeds on a heated frying pan and toast them for like 5-10 mins until they lightly brown and you can smell the nutty scent.
2. Put hot steamed rice in a bowl, sprinkle in the toasted sesame seeds, add sesame oil and stir until well combined.

11 comments:

  1. yumm! now you make me really hungry.

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  2. The sambal paste looks gorgeous! I think I have already made something similar from a cookery book with Indonesian and Malaysian recipes, but there was no tomatoes there. Do you use it with meat too? I have just had a look at tempeh, I would love to taste it, but am not sure if I can get it here...
    I have also been tempted to try Nami's recipe. I love small fish, but usually end up making tempura or nanban zuke marinade...
    I also love hot dishes! I think one gets addicted after a certain time. And I am definitely addicted to sesame seeds. I roast them, put into a small container and add to everything. I will make your sesasoned rice this weekend. Thanks for the wonderful idea!

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  3. Iis: Haha, enjoy your sambal and lalap! I now wonder if Flo can handle the sambal heat :DD

    Sissi: Hi, Sissi! Yes, there are many kinds of sambal, and the proper name for my sambal here might be sambal tomat (tomato sambal). If you look at many recipes, you might notice that there are raw and cooked/fried sambal. For the cooked ones, in some recipes, the raw sambal paste is not fried like mine is here, but rather the fresh ingredients are fried before grinding them into paste.
    You can certainly serve meat with sambal! Fried chicken is actually a very common meat menu that served with sambal in Indonesia.
    Have fun making your own version of sambal there!

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  4. What a beautiful and exciting recipe as as always yur vivid pictures inspire! I have those spicy-genes, too :D

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  5. Thank you, Jenn! Let me know if you gave it a try :)

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  6. Thanks for the answer and the fried chicken tip!

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  7. My husband will be over at your house next time you cook this. He loves spicy food AND shishamo. This looks like a great combination and I know he will go crazy (this portion won't be enough, trust me). I'm keeping this recipe for future reference in case my kids start eating spicy food. For now, 3 vs 1 and he doesn't get to eat spicy food at home. LOL! Looks delicious though - I wish I can eat spicy food without having stomachache... Thank you so much for the mention Arudhi!

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  8. Nami: Thank YOU for sharing your wrap shishamo recipe! I`ve never thought of making this post until then :) My husband actually has much lower tolerance than I do when it comes to spicy food, but he just bears with me all the time, lol!
    Anyway, let me know how it goes when you finally give crazy hot sambal a try at your home!

    Alice: Hi Alice, go make it! :)

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  9. omggg muantepppppp!!! if i need to make "bumbu halus" i'd food process the ingredients first before using mortar and pestle (because my pestle is wooden, not heavy enough to smash the shallots...). but cobek or food processor, sambal is always fantasticcc!

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  10. This is a beautifully made fish dish, I love it!

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