This is a variation of the perennial favourite, fried rice. It is a take on nasi goreng kampung (village fried rice), a dish I have often had at Malay hawker stalls where ikan bilis (dried anchovies) are a key component. Eating this always takes me back to the Malay uncle pumping out nasi goreng like there’s no tomorrow at the hawker centre at Batu Ferringhi, Penang. To make the recipe vegetarian, simply leave out the ikan bilis and add salt, to taste, at the end of the cooking process.
oil 3 tbsp
onion 50g, finely chopped
dried anchovies 1 tbsp
garlic 1 clove, finely chopped
white cabbage 50g, finely shredded, as if for coleslaw
freshly cooked rice 200g, or leftover rice which has been warmed up in the microwave
spring onion 1, finely sliced
finely cut chillies in soy sauce
fresh sambal belacan (see recipe ), optional
For the seasoning
light soy sauce 1 tbsp
oyster sauce 1 tbsp
ground white pepper ¼ tsp
simple chilli sauce 1 tbsp (see recipe below), or shop-bought
For the simple chilli sauce
dried chilli flakes 60g
dark brown sugar 2 tbsp
salt ½ tsp
For the sambal belacan
red chillies 6, roughly chopped into small pieces
shrimp paste 10g, dry-toasted
dark brown sugar ½ tsp
lime juice from ½-1 (depending on your taste)
For the simple chilli sauce, place all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Switch off the heat and leave for 1 hour.
Bring to the boil again and simmer over a medium heat for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and use a hand blender to blend into a sauce.
For the sambal belacan, pound everything except the lime juice in a pestle and mortar for a few minutes until a pulpy consistency is achieved. Then add the lime juice and mix. Adjust the seasoning to taste by adding more shrimp paste, sugar and/or lime juice as needed.
For the anchovy fried rice, it is vitally important that all of your rice and vegetable preparation is done before you start to cook. Keep the wok on the largest stovetop over the highest heat for the entire process.
Add the oil to the wok and place over the highest heat until it is smoking. Add the onions and dried anchovies. Fry until the fish are a light golden colour, then add the garlic and cabbage. Stir-fry for 1 minute.
Push the ingredients to the side of the wok, leaving a small corner empty. Crack your eggs into this empty corner, leave for 5 seconds, then stir-fry to scramble.
Add in the rice and seasonings. Stir to incorporate everything and stir-fry for 5 minutes. Fry for longer if you prefer your rice to have crispy bits.
Garnish with spring onion and if you like, eat with finely cut chillies in soy sauce or the sambal belacan.
From Sambal Shiok by Mandy Yin (Quadrille, £25)