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Kristang Cuisine: Making Kari Pimenta

Kari Pimenta is a Kristang dish that can be made with any type of fish. Pimenta, meaning “pepper” in Kristang, is the star ingredient in the rempah (spice mix) for this delectable curry. It is a spicy and warming dish best served with rice and will be a family favourite. 

This recipe was derived from Chef Melba Nunis's - A Kristang Family Cookbook. To complete the recipe, there are 2 main parts to the cooking: the making of the rempah (spice paste) and the cooking of the fish.

Let's take a look at how the rempah is made :


Once the rempah (spice paste) is made, we can move on to the cooking of the curry. This video guides you through the steps:


Ingredients
Preparing the rempah (spice paste)
  • 75g dried chillies (choose preferred level of spiciness - cut into 2-3cm lengths and soak in hot water to soften then drain)
  • 200g shallots (peel)
  • 50g turmeric (peel and slice into small chunks)
  • 100g lemongrass (use only the bulbous ends - usually around 4-6 cm long)
  • 50g candlenuts
  • 1 Tbsp belacan from Justlife
  • 180 to 250ml water 
  • 1 Tbsp Langit ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp ground fennel 
  • 2 Tbsp ground cumin

Cooking the kari pimenta
  • 1 medium-sized eggplant (trim ends and cut into 3-4cm segments)
  • 1 tomato (cut into quarters)
  • 1kg fish whole, cutlets or fillets (from Fish For It)
     *Choose from black pomfret/bawal hitam, stingray/ikan pari, Spanish mackerel/ikan tenggiri, or any available firm white-fleshed fish

  • 125ml cooking oil
    *any kind of cooking oil except olive oil 
  • 125ml tamarind juice
    *mix 2 Tbsp of tamarind pulp with 125ml of water then strain 
  • 500ml water 
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp salt


Instructions

Start with making the rempah:

Step 1
Place softened dried chillies into the blender together with shallots, turmeric, candlenuts, lemongrass and belacan

Step 2
Add water and blend until a fine, smooth paste is formed. If the paste is too dry, add more water.  

Step 3
Remove paste from the blender and put in a bowl

Step 4
Add black pepper, fennel and cumin then add into the bowl and mix until even 

Step 5
Spice paste is enough for 1kg of fish. Please use half the spice paste for this recipe, and save the other half for the next time.


Once your rempah is ready, you can proceed to cook the full dish:

Step 1
Heat up oil in a non-stick pot

Step 2
Keep stirring until the paste is fragrant and the oil separates from the paste - when the ingredients has more moisture, it would take a longer time

Step 3
Make sure the chillies are cooked out so they don’t taste too raw

Step 4
Pour water into the pot, in batches 

Step 5
Add tamarind juice, sugar and salt and bring to the boil 

Step 6
Add the fish, eggplant and tomato

Step 7
Lower the heat and gently simmer curry until the fish is cooked and the gravy has thickened slightly 

Step 8
Serve with your favourite Langit rice. For this recipe, we went with Beras Salleh as the sweet and sticky texture complements the spicy and aromatic Kari Pimenta perfectly.

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We hope you'll enjoy trying out this recipe.

If you'd like to listen to the full conversation we had with Chef Melba whilst recording the video, visit our podcast Kitchen Talk, on Spotify.

Explore other recipes : here

Visit langit.com.my for a full range of Langit rice, spices (ginger, black pepper & white pepper), and other seasonal products. We ship throughout Malaysia.  


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