Of curry and sambal

“It may be interesting to the reader to have the description of Malay mixtures or sambals for eating with curry, as it will doubtless seem more appetising than the blachang* or fish condiment, already described as being composed of putrescent shrimps mashed up in the sun.

“For the mixtures to eat with his curry, which is always of a very simple kind, the Malay takes dried prawns, cut cucumber sliced in cocoa-nut milk, chillies ground up into a pulp, yam carefully cooked and chopped small, the belimbing fruit cut into pieces, mangoes occasionally, chutnies of various kinds, and green ginger shredded small with vinegar.

“In India the curries themselves are made hot with chillies, but the Malay makes his curry of very simple materials, with a great deal of cocoa-nut milk therein. Very often the dish is entirely vegetable, and the hot spices are mixed in the sambal or condiment which is eaten therewith. Taking it for granted that the native knows best what is suited for the digestion in his climate, this custom is freely followed by the European residents, who add the curry mixture to their breakfast and dinner as a rule.”

[*] blachang – belacan, prawn paste.

Source: Mc Nair, Fred. Perak and the Malays, “Sarong and Kris”.


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