Our little C turns 2 today! How these last two year managed to speed past me with such impetuous haste I will never know. I have tried my best to hold on to every moment with hands and teeth, inhaling the sweet scent of it until I could no longer hold my breath, nuzzling my head deep into her curls, laughing and crying and trying not to worry about things like growth charts and future school selection.
So many times in these past two years I’ve found myself thinking, “I can’t wait until…”, and I always consciously stop myself. Walking and talking and shopping dates could wait. Every stage, every day, has its own special magic, that once passed, can’t be rewound. The peaceful cooing before they start speaking their mind. The blissful illusion of control when they still can’t run away from you. And the priceless luxury of that brief period when they can’t tell the difference between piece of cardboard and a toy.
There are things I am looking forward to this year though. Shellfish is one of them. Yes, despite my seemingly fancy-free façade I am, in fact, a paranoid (regular) mum (!) and did not give little C any shellfish for her first two tender years. Don’t laugh please! I believe a mum is allowed a few paranoias once in a while (with a stiff drink on the side please).
So this year will be the year of shrimp and prawns and crabs, perhaps clams and mussels and scallops as well. I’m still on the fence on oysters, even if I love oysters and would love to have her love them too. Mums, please feel free to give me advice!
For now, we can start with shrimp…although not necessarily with sambal ;)
Shrimps with Sambal
- 500 grams shrimp, unpeeled
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
- 3 long green chilies (sili pangsigang)
- 4 young leeks/pencil leeks (not the fat western hemisphere leeks!)
- 3 – 4 tablespoons full of sambal asli
- Sea salt
- Heat a wok or pan over high heat. When the wok is hot, bring heat down to medium and add the butter to the pan. Let this melt and sizzle until most of the foam has subsided.
- Add the ginger, garlic, and chilies and fry until the garlic is just a touch toasty in parts, under a minute. Add the leeks and mix in.
- Immediately add the sambal and shrimps to the pan and toss well. Cover your wok and wait a couple of minutes, uncover, and toss again. Try to flip the shrimp so the uncooked parts are underneath and the bright orange cooked parts are on top. Cover again for a minute or less and repeat until all the shrimps are just cooked. You don't want to overcook them so be vigilant!
- Taste and season with salt as you like. Remove from the hot pan and serve immediately.
This was a quick lunch I threw together for C and I. I have to give credit where it’s due and let you know that the idea for this dish came totally from C…I was merely the executor. It turned out so well though that I knew I had to share it with you. How much or how little sambal you put will depend on your taste and the brand of sambal you use (some may be spicier than others). We use our absolute favorite sambal asli that C’s bother, who lives in Jakarta, hand carries here for us every time he visits. We have tried it, and loved it, on many things, but as part of the sauce for these shrimps it is amazing.
We are so looking forward to sharing our favorite shellfish dishes with little C. We will certainly create a version of this for her that is a little less spicy. As always, the adventure of food is one of my favorites within this grander adventure of parenthood. I’m eager to see what this third year has to bring…but I’m also going to enjoy it a bite and a morsel at a time.
Happy 2nd birthday little cherry bomb! :)