Nyonya food is influenced by the combination of many cultures. Nyonya cuisine is now acknowledged as one of the earliest examples of Asian exotic and fusion food. The secrets to Nyonya method of cooking is by the infamous "agak-agak", translated means rough estimates method as most of these recipes have been passed down through generations, from great grandmother, to grandmother, to mother and then to daughter. Most of the time these recipes are not properly documented and as a result of this a number of nyonya recipes have been lost.
Kerabu Beehoon (Rice Vermicelli Salad)
Recipe Adapted from "Chef Wan"
Serves 5 - 6
8 fresh red chillies, deseeded, finely pounded (add more chillies if you want a spicier dish)
1" roasted shrimp paste or 2 tsp shrimp paste granules
8 Tbsp Palm Sugar (Gula Melaka), grated
7 Tbsp Fish Sauce
10 Calamansi Lime Juice (you can substitute with about 5 - 6 limes)
250g dried Shrimps (Hebi, Udang Kering), stir-fry crisp and finely pounded
500g fresh prawns, shelled, blanched in boiling water, deveined and kept whole
300g Rice Vermicelli (Bee Hoon), cooked and drained
3 tomatoes, remove seeds and cut roughly into cubes
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely pounded
1 inch Ginger, peeled and finely pounded
250g roasted peanuts, pounded lightly so that you still the crunch
150 g / 9 oz crisp-fried Shallots (Bawang Goreng)
4 Kaffir Lime Leaves (daun limau purut), sliced into thin narrow strips
6 pieces of beancurd puffs, toasted and then cut into small cubes
4 Lemongrass (Serai), thinly sliced
10 Shallots (Red Onion), peeled and finely sliced (can replace with other onion though wont be so fragrant)
170g Chinese Parsley, finely chopped (use the stem as well)
125g Laksa Leaves or Vietnamese Mint (Daun Kesum), finely chopped. Can substitute with normal mint but taste of the dish will be different
1) In a small bowl, place garlic, fish sauce, palm sugar and half the lime juice and stir well until the sugar has dissolved.
2) In a large salad bowl, place all the other ingredients with the exception of the dressing. Mix well.
3) Then pour in the dressing and toss well. Slowly add in the rest of the lime juice, adjust taste accordingly to how sour you wish the salad to be. Also adjust seasoning and add more fish sauce if required.
4) Leave salad to stand for about 15 - 20 minutes before serving. Left overs should be kept in the refrigerator to be consumed within 24 hours.