Sambal, pumpkin, and tamarind rice – a gastronomic trinity
If you’re a spice-lover, you would probably be familiar with the versatility of sambal and tamarind and their magical powers to bring flavours to bland and boring dishes.
Journalist-turned-author of nine cookbooks Sylvia Tan combines these two multifaceted ingredients, along with other authentically Asian ones, in her latest recipe collaboration with Japanese gourmet specialty rice brand Kinmemai.
Tan also writes a regular column in The Straits Times’ Mind Your Body section, aptly named Eat to Live, a sentiment echoed by many of fellow food-loving Singaporeans.
Here, she shares a recipe that elevates the hearty pumpkin rice dish. The trick? Nonya sambal chilli paste!
• 1 kg butternut pumpkin
• 4 cups Kinmemai Better Brown™
• 1 Tbs oil
• 1 onion, chopped
• 3 Tbs bottled nonya sambal chilli paste*
• 1 cup coconut milk
• 6 batang fish steaks
• 2 Tbsps tamarind paste
• 1tsp salt
• 1 tsp sugar
• Fresh kaffir lime leaves and cucumber – optional
1. Soak Kinmemai Better Brown™ rice for an hour and drain.
2. Microwave whole pumpkin on high for 5 minutes to soften before peeling and cutting to large cubes.
3. Heat oil in a wok and fry the onions. Add bottled sambal, followed by the drained rice. Stir until grains are coated with the spices.
4. Transfer rice mixture to a rice cooker. Add 5 cups of water and cook till tender. Add pumpkin pieces when most of the water is absorbed and continue to cook until the end of the cooking cycle.
5. Add coconut milk and stir, leaving it covered to allow the rice grains to absorb the flavour from the coconut milk.
6. Rub tamarind paste with salt and sugar onto the fish steaks. Leave to marinate covered for at least an hour or overnight in the fridge.
7. Heat grill pan when rice is ready. Coat fish slices with a little vegetable oil and sear fish on heated pan. The process takes 3-5 minutes on each side.
8. To serve, place rice on a large platter, top with grilled fish and garnish with fresh kaffir lime leaves.
Kinmemai Rice is available at selected supermarkets and department stores in Singapore, including selected Cold Storage, Emporium Shokuhin, Isetan, J-mart, and Meida-ya.