Malay Mouthfuls

Satays, sambals, stir-fries, and more

New Rochelle resident Susheela Raghavan’s cookbook, Flavors of Malaysia ($40, Hippocrene Books), is out this month, featuring 150 recipes, including the one that follows.

Sweet and Spicy Pickled
Vegetable Salad (Acar Rampai)

2 medium cucumbers (1 lb or 4 cups), unpeeled, cored, cut into ¼-inch by 2-inch pieces
2 cups baby carrots or carrot pieces, peeled, cut into ¼-inch by 2-inch pieces
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 red bell pepper, cut into ¼ -inch by 2-inch pieces
1 green bell pepper, cut into ¼ -inch by 2-inch pieces
1 heaping Tbsp salt

Mix the prepared vegetables with the salt and blend well. To remove liquid from the vegetables, let them sit in a colander weighted down by a plastic bag of water for about 15 to 20 minutes until all liquid is drained from vegetables.

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2 Tbsp cooking oil
¼ heaping cup whole or halved garlic cloves
¼ cup sliced fresh ginger
¼ cup peeled and grated fresh turmeric root, or ½ tsp turmeric powder
1 cup thinly sliced shallots or red onion
½ to 1 Tbsp bottled sambal oelek (a spicy Indonesian-style chili sauce found in Asian grocery stores or online)
â…” cup distilled white vinegar or rice vinegar
3 Tbsp sugar

Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a large skillet or wok and sauté garlic, ginger, and turmeric (if using root) for about 1 minute, then add shallots or onions and sauté for another 1 to 2 minutes (don’t let them get limp). Add remaining oil, sambal oelek, and turmeric powder (if using), and sauté for about 3 to 4 minutes, adding more oil if necessary.

Add the drained vegetables to the dressing and stir well for about 1 minute. Add vinegar and sugar and blend well for about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds or coarsely ground unsalted peanuts. Serve with cooked white or brown rice.

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