When I’m on holidays, and we visit historical sites, I tend to imagine what life was like when the city we’re in was hustling, bustling and lively. Melbourne, for example, has beautiful buildings which spell heritage and stories from centuries ago. During our holiday there this summer, I would imagine Victorians in their prime – with corsets and poofy dresses, horse carriages and suited men strolling the streets with walking canes and eyeglasses. I’d ask myself “What have these buildings housed? What have they seen?”
Last summer, however was a totally different story. Last summer my partner and I ventured through some wondrous wreckages in Muscat, and boy was it a sight to see! While there I imagined thin, dark-skinned men, with turbans and sheep, coming home to a simple dinner – burghul and mutton and cucumber, too.
While we traced their footsteps and reimagined their stories, I noticed & fell in love with a small tin bowl outside a small mud house. I picked it up wondering what it’d gone through, claimed it would now be mine – it would fly overseas and make it to my tabletop, and onto my blog and onto your screens. And that it did. And every time I get a glimpse of it, I think of the Omani man who ate from it his humble mutton and burghul and send a prayer his way.
This bowl deserves to hold soul-food. The kind you sit on the floor and eat with your hands. The kind you dig into without worrying about the mess. The kind the fills your belly and heart. The kind that creates silence around the room – simply because everyone is so busy eating and enjoying, restoring and replenishing. And that kind of food is exactly what this recipe is all about.
Yields: 1 bowl for 1 person
4-6 large tiger prawns (amount varies on person & how much they can eat)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tbs kecap manis
2 tbs sweet chilli sauce
1 cup store bought kaleslaw
1/2 salad tomato, finely diced
2 small, or 1 large russet potato (or any suitable for deep frying)
2 tbsp roasted trio bell peppers sauce (I get it from Nando’s, make your own, or buy similar store-bought alternative)
2-3 tbs homemade aioli (see ingredients/directions below)
Peel and slice potato into small matchsticks. Rinse.
Sprinkle over with salt and rest while oil heats up.
Pat dry and deep fry until golden. Let oil drain on paper towel.
Add tiger prawns into small pan and sprinkle over ginger, add kecap manis and sweet chilli sauce. Toss to coat all prawns. Place pan on medium heat and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until pink and cooked through. Do not overcook.
Make aioli by adding 2-3tbs mayonnaise to 1 small clove of crushed garlic. Add a dash of salt, and a squeeze of lemon. Combine.
Mix diced tomato with trio of peppers sauce. Set aside.
Assemble the dish by adding a heaping of kalelaw into the bowl, top with tiger prawns.
Place fries around the edges of a bowl.
Top prawns with tomato salsa. Drizzle aioli on top and serve immediately.