Rempah Titek is a spice paste consisting of red chillies, shallots (small onions), belacan (fermented prawn paste) and buah keras (candlenuts) This forms the base for most peranakan dishes by adding other spices like kunyit (turmeric), lengkuas (galangal), ketumbar (coriander), assam (tamarind) to make rempah for Geram Assam, Buah Keluak, Laksa and other well known Nyonya dishes.
This peranakan dish is usually made with salted fish but I find that the stock made from ikan bilis (dried anchovies) gives more flavour to this dish. In this recipe, I cook half-ripened green papaya with rempah titek and ikan bilis stock, without adding fresh shrimps. Best eaten with piping hot rice and sambal belacan. Enjoy.
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(Green papaya in savoury spicy soup)
- 200 g ikan bilis dried anchovies
- 1 litre water
- 1 tsp ground white peppercorn
- 100 g dried prawns
- 1 large half-ripe papaya skin should be greenish yellow
- 5 candlenuts
- 3 – 5 dried red chillies deseeded and soaked
- 50 g belacan
- 150 g shallots small onions
Bring ikan bilis and water to a boil. Cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
Strain the ikan bilis water and set aside for later use.
Wash, peel and cut shallots, dried chilli and candle nuts into smaller pieces.
Break belacan into small pieces.
Add white pepper and all the ingredients into a grinder and blend into a fine paste.
Remove skin and seeds of half ripe papaya.
Cut into small chunks of about 2 – 3 inches.
Add some oil to a potl, stir fry the rempah (spice paste) until fragrant and oil separates.
Add in the pounded dried prawns in batches and mix well. Add oil if the mixture becomes dry.
Pour in the ikan bilis water, mix well and bring to a boil.
Add the chunks of papaya and bring it back to a boil.
Lower the heat and simmer until papaya is almost tender. Do not overcook or papaya will become soft and mushy.