Sunday, April 14, 2019

Khai Jeow Cha Om & Pla Too with Namprik Kapi

Khai Jeow Cha Om & Pla Too with  Namprik Kapi (Acacia Omelette &Mackerel with Shrimp Paste Dipping Sauce)

'Cha om' is a mimosa-like leaves of the acacia shrub. It has a very distinctive smell and flavor, much like a very mild 'petai' (stinky bean). It's often made into omelette, though you can also make a simple stir-fry with shrimp and chili paste.

I first encountered 'cha om' at a Hatyai market over a decade ago. I actually mistook it for fern tips, so I bought home two huge bundle as the lady was selling it for almost a song. The whole journey home I was grumbling that someone must have bought a lot of 'petai' and it's stinking the whole bus, little did I know it was the bundles by my feet!

Upon reaching Penang and realizing that it's not fern tips after all, I decided to consult my grand aunt Maryam who's a Thai on how to best cook 'cha om'. She suggested making omelette, in stirfry and also  Kaengsom, a sour Thai curry.

A few years later I found that there's actually a 'cha om' plant at the Pasir Mas home. My MIL told me that they used to eat this raw with sambal, but not many do these days. I tried to harvest some, but it's just too hard as the shrub is tall and full of thorns. And stripping the leaves tip from the main stalk left my hands full of bloody pricks.

Since then I have not come across this vegetable in any market here in Malaysia at all, until last Thursday at the market. 

The omelette is quite easy and quick to make. Add chopped 'cha om' tip to beaten eggs, season with fish sauce and a tiny bit of sugar. Fry the omelette in copious amount of hot oil, the traditional Thai way.

The shrimp paste dipping sauce, which very much like the Malaysian 'sambal belacan' is similarly made by pounding fermented shrimp paste, Thai bird's eye chili, garlic, shallot and palm sugar in a pestle and mortar, finishing it with lime juice.

Serve Cha Om Omelette and Namprik Kapi with fried or grilled mackerel, salted egg along with fresh and blanched vegetables.

#athenecooks #thaifood #traditionalthaidish #chaomomelette #namprikkapi #KhaiJeowChaOm #shrimppastedippingsauce #cookingfromscratch #cleaneating #southeastasiancooking #simplefood #30minutemeals

No comments: