Today’s post is a special one. You know how we need buddies in the real world? Well, we also need buddies in the virtual world and I want to tell you about my buddy, Denise. Denise and I first “met” in January 2010 when Roti n Rice was just a month old. I used to post almost everyday then and she would swing by each day to leave me a witty comment. It was always so fun to read her comment and it often made me laugh out loud. Soon we started a conversation that grew and continues to grow. In June of that same year, I went back to Malaysia to visit my parents. On my homeward journey, I made a stop in Singapore where I met up with Denise. You can read about it here. I do not post as often now (those were the crazy days) but I still look forward to Denise’s comment.
Denise is a very talented person and she has a cookbook and three food blogs under her belt. She has a very charming and engaging writing style which I enjoy. I know you will too. Her first blog is Quickies on the Dinner Table where she shared delicious quick and easy recipes. Because of her love for bread, she started another blog Bread Expectations where you will find the most gorgeous looking loaves. Bread making is not the norm in that part of the world but Denise makes all her own bread. This is another reason why we click as I make my own breads too. Most of them anyway. She created Marmite Boule just for me. My post was mentioned at The Kitchn’s Sticky and Savory: 7 Recipes with Marmite. Please find Denise’s post here.
Her latest food blog is Singapore Shiok!. Here you will be treated to the most mouth watering Southeast Asian dishes. Singapore Shiok! reminds me of the food of my childhood which I miss. The cuisine of Singapore is very much the same as that of Malaysia. In fact, the two countries were once a single nation and so many of the dishes are similar, if not the same. Her recent post Sambal Kerang (Cockle Sambal) set me on a sambal war path. Today’s post is one and you will see a few more in the days ahead.
This is the cookbook I was telling you about. In there are an eclectic mix of recipes that are quick and easy to prepare. Most of the recipes are accompanied by full pages of gorgeous pictures. I do have a signed copy in my kitchen. Denise has been busy with various projects in the past months. She will soon be unveiling them…..
So, in celebration of our friendship, we have decided to come together once a month to feature a chosen dish or a particular cooking style. It is always so fun to cook with friends and even though we are separated by miles, thanks to the internet we can still cook together virtually. For our inaugural twin posting, we have chosen to feature Kerabu, a Nyonya (Peranakan) or Malay salad. Please head over to Singapore Shiok! to see what Denise has prepared.
I grew up eating kerabu and ulam, which is another class of salad consisting of raw vegetables that are quite different from those found here in the West. Kerabu is a mix of vegetables and fragrant herbs with a spicy tangy dressing. Often times coconut milk and kerisik (toasted grated coconut) are added to the dressing. Vegetables may include cucumbers, sprouts, cabbage, and various pucuk which are young leaves or shoots of plants like that of ginger and mangoes may be eaten raw. Yes, mango shoots (pucuk mangga) that are still light brown in color may be eaten. Other vegetables that need to be blanched include long beans, sayur paku (young fern shoots aka midin), and jantung pisang (banana hearts aka banana shoots).
This recipe is a combination of Kerabu Tang Hoon (Spicy Glass Vermicelli Salad), kerabu bok nee (cloud ear fungus salad), kerabu taugeh (bean sprout salad), and kerabu timun (cucumber salad). Why make four kerabus when you can combined them all into one. For a brighter and lighter taste, I used Mom’s kerabu timun dressing minus the belacan (shrimp paste). It would be nice to add some bunga kantan (torch ginger) but I have never seen it here and so I substituted it with chen hom or daun kesom (polygonum/Vietnamese mint).
- 2 bundles glass vermicelli
- 2 cups (100g) bean sprouts, trimmed
- ¼ cup (5g) bok nee (cloud ears fungus)
- ¼ cup (30g) hae bee ( dried shrimp)
- ¼ cup (20g) desiccated coconut or ½ cup freshly grated coconut
- ½ cup mint leaves, thinly sliced (chiffonade)
- ½ cup chen hom (daun kesom/polygonum/Vietnamese mint), thinly sliced
- 3 large limes
- 2 red chilies, seeds removed and sliced into pieces
- 1 tsp sugar
Rinse and soak glass vermicelli, cloud ears fungus, and dried shrimp in separate bowls for about 15 minutes. Drain.
In a small fry pan, toast desiccated coconut or freshly grated coconut until fragrant and light brown in color. Remove and set aside.
Bring a small saucepan of water to boil. Add cloud ears for about 30 seconds. Remove and plunge into cold water bath. Lower dried shrimps with a metal strainer into boiling water and allow it to cook for 2 minutes. Remove and drain. Drain cloud ears and peel away all the hard parts. Slice into thin strips.
Juice the limes to get about 7 to 8 tablespoons of lime juice. Place cooked dried shrimps and chilies in a mini chopper. Add 1 tsp sugar and a pinch of salt. Pour in lime juice. Blend until fine. Remove and set aside.
Bring a medium sized pot of water to boil. Add glass vermicelli and allow it to cook for about 2 minutes. Remove and plunge into cold water bath. Drain and place into a large bowl. In the same pot, add bean sprouts for 30 seconds. Remove and plunge into cold water bath. Drain and place into bowl with glass vermicelli.
Add cloud ear fungus, mint leaves, chen hom (Vietnamese mint), and dressing to the same large bowl. Give the ingredients a good toss until everything is well mixed.
Transfer kerabu to a serving dish. Sprinkle with toasted coconut and serve immediately. Kerabu may also be covered and chilled in the fridge. When ready to serve, remove and sprinkle with toasted coconut.
Kerabu is usually eaten with rice using one’s fingers. I will be demonstrating this in a future post. This salad with glass vermicelli is substantial enough to stand on its own. I would eat it as a light meal with a fork…
…or a pair of chopsticks.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day!