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Welcome to - The place where I lay creativity in a new adventures of my Culinary WoRLd, it is when food and us collide... FAQ me at - Chef Nash

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Binding food...

Assalamualaikum and Salam Sejahtera to all…

Some people say food is the common ground to bind everyone. How do you find this true? It is fact that we need food to survive and ingredient is just that important for good food. As simple as the needs to feed for us, what in life have you tried eating? From simple food to the most expensive food in the world, in the end, what is the different? They’re still food, isn’t it?

As people has capabilities for traveling and brought they grew up food/ingredients with them, has infuse according to what is available at where they’re at.  One simple example I can give is, ‘noodle or pasta’. Until today, there is no truth about where is it originated, was the Chinese invented noodle and brought to the west and using ‘west’ ingredients they created pasta? Or vise versa… not a single person would care to solve this question because, it is food, it doesn’t matter who invent what as long as, we live to enjoy food.

And also yes, in some scenario, you couldn’t just claim you invented scramble egg, while that’s the simplest food you could eat but you can just remember that, probably about 90% of world populations eat scramble egg (or just egg generally) and the remaining 10% are those with some kind of sickness that never allow them to eat egg but don’t tell me that you never tried eating egg or food that are made from eggs in your life. So, that’s making it probably there are no 10%. Correct me if I am wrong… ;)

So, my question is what takes higher ground to bind everyone? Can anyone help me to answer this? Yes! It is still food, lets just get to one simple food of all time and very popular, of course. The classic recipe from both east and west part of the world… its combination that just bind us together which proves the world taste so good on a plate…

Sambal and Pesto… (this suppose to be my post’s topic but… try bind them, what could it be?)

These two foods are well known in places they were originated and for past decades it has been improvised in many ways but the original/traditional still reveal the best of it.


What is Sambal? said ‘A Sambal can be a condiment, an ingredient or a dish which will always contain a large amount of chilies’. I have grown up with Sambal and the best description for Sambal is spicy condiment.  Sambal is almost versatile in Asian cuisine, now has become one of the most important food in a restaurants or home. Thru time it has improvised using many different ingredients but the basic recipe still used, that is Chilies (many chilies).

There are two different kind of Sambal, that is raw and cooked, both are using same ingredient except the raw ones doesn’t use oil because it is not sautéed. It is true that some sambal is extremely ‘hot’ but some people just know how to make it eatable for people who can’t take spicy, it is not even ‘hot’ when using replacement ingredient, tomato and very little amount of boiled seeded chilies and sugar.

Sambal is also used as ingredients in meat, chicken, seafood or even vegetables.  Sambal prawn is one of my favorite dishes created from sambal. Some people eat sambal as dip for salad and some even dip it with fruits, especially sour fruits like young mango (ampalam) or pineapple – with soy sauce as additional ingredient.

It is not known where was sambal originated but the closes answer was probably from Indonesia’s Minagkabau, which their basic ingredient of sambal are still used until today that is chili pepper or green chili blended together with garlic, shallot, red or green tomato, salt and lemon or lime juice,  brown sugar, then sauteed with oil until dried or caramelized. Traditionally sambal’s ingredient was processed using ‘lesung’ (mortar) which all ingredients were blended together but today using food processor is the easiest way.

Traditional Malay ‘Nasi Lemak’ (steam rice in coconut milk fragrance with screw-pine leaf) must have Sambal on the side as condiment. Malay people have so many different kinds of Sambals which was named after alternative ingredients for example: Sambal Belacan with shrimp paste as additional ingredient, Sambal jeruk with ‘jeruk’ (mango pickles) as additional ingredient or Sambal Asam (tamarind) as ingredient.

In some places, they use vinegar or tamarind as replacement for lime. At home my mom any my sisters used both tamarind and lime but they too aware of the amount of chilies used as not everyone of us eating hot especially Sal (my elder sister). In my case, the hotter the better (never ask me to make sambal if your ‘hot’ level is none or just mild, you’ll regret to eat my sambal… lol!)

Allright, was that too little or too much about sambal – a specialty from the east part of the world. Now whats the west has to offer?


What is Pesto? said is a sauce originated from Genoa in the Linguria region of northern Italy. So, it’s a sauce but its more like condiment to me. Help me people… ;)

The basic ingredients for pesto is (or could this be the traditional pesto) basil, parsley, pine nut, olive oil and crushed garlic. Pesto used a large amount of Basil and blended together with other ingredient.

Historically, pesto is prepared in a marble mortar with a wooden pestle. The leaves are washed, dried, placed in the mortar with garlic and coarse salt, and crushed to a creamy consistency. The pine nuts are added and crushed together with the other ingredients. When the nuts are well-incorporated into the "cream", grated cheese or olive oil can be added and mixed with a wooden spoon. In a tight jar (or simply in an air-tight plastic container), pesto can last in the refrigerator up to a week, and can also be frozen for later use.

Pesto is never apart from Italian restaurant all over the world, it should be known that pesto must be in somehow even if it’s not in the menu.

A slightly different version of the sauce exists in Provence, where is is known as ‘Pistou’. In contrast with the genovese pesto, pistou is generally made with olive oil, basil and garlic only: while cheese may be added, usually no nuts are included. Pistou is used in the typical soupe au pistou, a hearty vegetable soup with pistou flavour. The sauce did not originally contain basil, however. Instead, cheese and olive oil were the main constituents. Sometimes almonds are used instead of pine nuts, and sometimes mint leaves are mixed in with the basil leaves.

Pesto is a generic term for anything which is made by pounding and there are various other Pestos, some traditional, some modern.

Pesto alla siciliana, sometimes called simply pesto rosso (red pesto) is a sauce from Sicily similar to Genovese pesto but with the addition of tomato, almonds instead of pine nuts and much less basil. Pesto alla calabrese is a sauce from Calabria consisting of (grilled) bell peppers, black pepper and more; these ingredients give it a distinctively spicy taste. Pesto alla genovese is made with Genovese basil, salt, garlic, Ligurian extra virgin olive oil (Taggiasco), European pine nuts (often toasted) and a grated hard cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano.

Other modern Pestos, some of international and not Italian origin, with ingredient variations include: arugula (instead of or in addition to basil), black olives, lemon peel, coriander or mushrooms. A German variety uses ramsons leaves instead of basil. In the 19th century, Genovese immigrants to Argentina brought pesto recipes with them. A Peruvian variety, known as "Tallarin Verde" (literally "Green Noodles", from Italian tagliarini) is slightly creamier, uses spinach leaves and is served with potatoes and sirloin steak.

Vegan variations of pesto can include mixes of fresh basil, walnut, olive oil and miso paste.

I think enough knowledge about the both Sambal and Pesto, correct me if I am wrong people and please add more knowledge/info on regards… so, next…

Binding Sambal and Pesto… So, I came up with this idea of binding both all time favorite food from east to the west part of the world…

Tagliatelle Sambal Pesto…

Serving 2 person

200gm tagliatelle pasta
80 gm chicken breast (sliced)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2nos garlic (sliced)
½ nos onion (diced)
50gm cherry tomato (quarter)
3 tbsp sambal
3 tbsp pesto
1 tbsp fresh basil (julienne)
Salt and pepper.

  1. Cook pasta in boiled water until cooked or al-dente.
  2. Heat up a pan and sauté onion and garlic until fragrance.
  3. Add chicken and stir until cooked.
  4. Add in sambal and pesto together with cherry tomato.
  5. Add in pasta stir or much better flip the pan.
  6. Check seasoning, add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Add basil and ready to serve.

Tips: you can use different pasta if you want or may be replace pasta to noodle. It is more or less like cooking fried noodle.

So there goes how we bind food but I think food is just a common ground to bind us together and what important is to taste what is around us or even far from us because ‘the world just taste so good on a plate’.

I hope you enjoy reading this and have a great time… ;)

Regards, Chef Nash



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