So following my first surprisingly successful attempt at fried rice, I decided to give fried rice a second go. I'm now convinced that fried rice is the best method of making sure I'm eating between 3 to a gazillion types of vegetables. This time I threw in green beans, mushrooms, corn, carrots, potato and peas.
Before I cooked up a batch large enough to serve a village of starving children tonight, I actually caught up with Chan over a drink after work. At the mention of fried rice (our conversational topics range from Rihanna's vajayjay to fried rice to The Notebook), he started dropping fried rice cooking tips like it's hot. He gasped when I took him through my previous fried rice cooking process, and felt he had to share these - leave the wok for a good few minutes to heat up so that it gets really really hot before adding in the oil (but he felt inclined that he had to tell me to not leave it for so long that I am sure I can see the wok smoking, fearing that I will follow his instructions to a tee and get the house burned down); cook the eggs in the same wok, no need to cook them in a separate pan and then slice them up (he shook his head at the mention of this - "Why Sammie why???").
So I took on his advice, and you know what... my second fried is even better than the first! The eggs were so fluffy!
Thanks Chan. My parents would be so proud that their little girl can now cook fried rice.
And to go with my fried rice, I whipped up the wickedest, most fiery and spicy batch of sambal belacan I ever did whip. I'm talking hot today, diarrhoea tomorrow kinda spicy.
Sambal belacan has a very special place in my heart. The start to finish of it - from the solid slab of pungent belacan that smells like salty smelly shoes (or like prawns have been swimming in your smelly running shoes), to the charry aroma it fills the house with when you toast it in a pan, to how mouth-wateringly delicious the belacan becomes when it meets with pieces of fiery, juicy chillies in the mortar and pestle. A touch of sugar and a light squeeze of lime and SWOON. The flavours are unreservedly Penang. Sambal belacan IS Penang. To me, along with assam laksa and hokkien mee and char koay teow, sambal belacan is home.
And yeah, it's goddamn spicy and the heat does something batshit crazy to you, but that's the best part. I sweat like a pig on heat, my eyes water, my face turns red and pale at the same time, I pant and make a strange groan after each bite, my lips feel like they're on fire and I get the WORST chilli burns all over my hands.
And after all this - at the end of the meal, you'll always hear us spice-lovers go, "Oh my god that was so hot but sooo good!"
I think Anthony Bourdain summed it up best by describing it as "a wonderfully sadomasochistic interplay between pleasure and pain".