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SAMBAL BUTTER FETTUCCINE





With the remaining sambal from Caecilia, I made this with mostly ingredients from my pantry (save for the prawns which were procured fresh from the morning market by my Dad). Fettuccine here is cooked till al dente, that toothsome bite of just the right chew, each strand embraced lusciously by a sambal-butter-prawn oil concoction. I love how the butter mellows the spiciness of the sambal, adding a different dimension of richness to the spice paste. The prawn oil? Could not be easier. I leave the heads and shells on (just slit the backs to remove the black line down its curve) the prawns and cook them over high heat in some oil, which instantly turns a reddish hue from being flavoured by them. I'll run the instructions step by step below story-form vs a documented recipe. I love this sort of casual cooking....




First, clean your shellfish. For this portion that serves 2 pax, I had 6 huge-ass prawns. Trim off their long whisker-like thingies, make a slit down their backs and remove all the gunk residing there. Rinse it under running tap water to clean it properly, then use towel papers to dry everything thoroughly. When we fry them later, hot oil + water = not a fun time. You'll probably still get some scary oil splatters but this greatly minimises it.



I had some nests of fettuccine (unopened!) in my cupboard but feel free to use whatever noodle/paste you desire. Dried noodles are a godsend! I heat up a large saucepan of water and set it to the boil. Once it comes to a rolling boil, I salt the water generously and toss in 2 nests of pasta (About 125g).



Meanwhile, heat up your wok over medium-high heat and then add in about 2 to 3 tablespoons worth of canola oil. When it's heated, add in your prawns. The oil will start to spit as the prawns become blistered and the oil takes on a beautiful red colour. Flip it around to ensure that it's charred evenly on both sides. Reserve the prawns and set aside.



With that gorgeous prawny oil, you add your sambal - about 2.5 tablespoons worth of. Over low heat, give it a brief stir-fry that takes about 20 to 30 seconds. The spice paste will slurp up all that oil and absorb its flavour! Yum. Switch off the heat.



By this time, your pasta should be done, but do give it a check to ensure it doesn't overcook. You want them cooked al dente, just right, by that it usually means 1 minute less than the instructions given on your package. Use a strainer to get all the pasta out from the saucepan and into the wok. Add a ladleful of pasta cooking liquid into the wok and 25g of unsalted butter. Mix everything to combine along with the prawns. Taste and adjust for seasoning.



To serve, I pile the pasta onto a plate, arrange the prawns on the side and sprinkle some seaweed sea salt. Garnish with cilantro or parsley if you wish. Enjoy

© 2020 by Lace Zhang