I picked up a book on “Five-a-Day, fruit and vegetable cooking” sometime ago. What it says makes sense to me anyway. If we need to eat fruits and vegetables, why not eat different types of them together as a dish. Each vegetable or fruit has its own plus points.
For example, petai (stinking bean) which has a very pervasive smell but is considered a very highly sought after ingredient in Malaysia especially when cooked with ‘sambal belacan’ and dried shrimps. I call it an acquired taste delicacy just like blue cheese or smelly tofu. This ‘petai’ I was told has some cleansing properties usually eaten in small quantities to cleanse the kidney. For those who love to eat ‘petai’ but dislike the after effect eg. strong smelling urine, flatulance and petai smelling burps can surely appreciate it by cooking petai with some aubergines. This pair of vegetable is like ebony and ivory on the piano keyboard. Aubergines helps to neutralise the strong petai smell in our system thus leaving our excretion inoffensive.
20 fresh petai beans (halved, remove tiny stem and discard any discolored ones)
2 small aubergines (quartered lengthwise and cut into 3cm in length)
5 purple cabbage leaves (torn roughly into bite-size pieces)
3 long beans (cut into 3cm length)
4 small pink radish (sliced thinly)
1 small carrot (sliced thinly)
250 gm chicken breast (sliced thinly when half frozen)
a dash of fish sauce
3 large red chilis
5 dried chilis (soaked, seeds removed)
2 Tbsp dried shrimps (soaked)
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp assam jawa (soaked in hot water, mash the assam a little to get the flavour into the liquid, discard the seeds, retain the assam water)
1 tsp sugar
sea salt to taste
- Discard the dried shrimps soaking water and pound them together with the fresh and dried chili until it turns into a rough paste.
- Heat a wok, drizzle with olive oil and scrape in the rough chili shrimp paste. Fry for 2 – 3 minutes to bring out the shrimp fragrant.
- Toss in the chicken breast and stir for a few more minutes then add assam water into the wok. Add in the oyster sauce.
- Toss in the vegetables according to this sequence. Carrots, aubergine, add a little water if too dry, continue to stir in the petai, long beans, cabbage leaves, radish and stir some more.
- Drizzle in a dash of fish sauce and sprinkle in the sugar. Stir evenly and add sea salt to taste.