By Billy Law, Malaysia Kitchen Ambassador.
Pasembur is a Malaysian-Indian salad that is usually served hot. Don’t let the long list of ingredients fool you, it is actually very simple to make. It is also a very healthy salad.
I love the crunch of fresh vegetables with soft tofu and chewy prawn fritters, smothered in a warm sweet and tangy spicy dressing with a little heat punch, just enough to give you that tingling sensation on the back of your throat.
If you ever happened to be in Penang in Malaysia, make sure you check out Gurney Drive Hawker Centre and order a big plate!
- 200 g jicama*, peeled and julienned
- 1 lebanese cucumber, julienned
- 1 cup of bean sprouts, lightly blanched
- 4 chat potatoes, boiled with skin on then quartered
- 2 blocks firm beancurd, cut into 2cm cubes
- 2 hard boiled eggs, quartered
- Salad dressing
- 10 dried chillies, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes
- 300 g sweet potato, peeled then cut into big chunks
- 100 g roasted peanuts, coarsely grounded, plus extra for garnish
- 4 Tbs sugar
- 2 Tbs sesame seeds, roasted
- 1 Tbs tamarind paste
- Salt to taste
- 100 g raw prawns, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 250 ml (1 cup) water
- 2 cups of cooking oil
*Jicama is also known as yam bean and can usually be found in Asian grocers. You can replace it with white radish, turnip or even carrot.
To make the dressing, steam sweet potatoes until soft then place them, the chillies and 2 cups of the chilli soaking water into a food processor and blend until you have a puree.
Transfer into a medium pot and bring to the boil on medium heat. Add sesame seeds and peanuts and season with salt and sugar. Turn the heat down to low and simmer until the dressing thickens, stirring occasionally to prevent from burning. Once ready, set aside to keep warm.
To make the prawn fritters, put all ingredients (except the oil) in a mixing bowl and stir to mix well. It should have a thick batter consistency. Heat oil in a saucepan on medium-high setting, then using a tablespoon, scoop the batter and drop into the hot oil.
Fry the fritters in batches and make sure not to overcrowd the saucepan. Once they are cooked and golden brown, take them out and drain on paper towel to let cool before chopping them into bite-size pieces.
When ready to serve the salad, place the jicama, cucumber and bean sprouts on the plate, then top with tofu, fritters, potato and hard boiled eggs. Pour warm salad dressing on top. Garnish with sprinkle of chopped peanuts and serve immediately.
Prep time: 30min • Cook time: 30min