The traditional way to get about the spices usually involves the use of the pestle and mortar. Alternatively, they can be blended although I grew up hearing the elders commenting on almost every occasion that there always is something lacking in having them done in any ways other than patiently pounding them manually. Having neither the pestle and mortar nor the right blender for spices, I had this dish prepared using none of the two. I had them chopped finely instead, and I'm glad to say that I'm not at all disappointed in the end!
Kangkung Belacan 马来风光
~1.5lb of kangkung (water convolvulus), washed and trimmed
3 shallots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 birds eye chilies, finely chopped
1 handsful dried shrimp, soaked to soften then coarsely chopped
1 tbsp shrimp paste (belacan)
2 tbsps chili paste (I used the commercial Sambal Oelek)
1/2 tbsp sugar
4 tbsps cooking oil
1-2 tbsps water
salt to taste
1. In the wok, heat up the oil on high heat. Once hot, add in the shallots and dried shrimp and let fry until fragrant and dried shrimp turning golden brown.
2. Bring in the garlic, birds eye chilies and the shrimp paste next. Stir to mix well and let fry until pungent. Add in the chili paste next.
3. Once well incorporated, mix in the kangkung and sugar. Add in some water if it gets too dry. Continue stirring. Once the kangkung start wilting, add in salt to taste then dish up and serve hot.