As I was clearing out the fridge, I found a zucchini. You’d think that with a bar fridge, one would not actually forget about things in the fridge. But I forgot that I had it. And in my defense, when your fridge is so tightly packed, it isn’t exactly easy to see what you have. I can’t remember what I bought the zucchini for. There wasn’t anything else in the fridge which would have gone with it. I wasn’t about to start a round of baking and I needed something for dinner. But what to cook? I thought I’d start by skinning the zucchini. I tried a sliver of raw zucchini and it had this bitter aftertaste which was not very pleasant at all. So how to mask it? The Asian answer would be to use a generous amount of sambal balachan. Afterall, zucchini in itself doesn’t actually have a distinctive taste.
But I didn’t have that at hand – sambal balachan is great stuff but to toast it ensures that an apartment would stink for days. My neighbors would definitely not appreciate it at all, with the smell being very pungent to say the least. But I had a bottle of crispy shrimp and chili in chili oil. That would do.
The zucchini shrank to half it’s volume but the chili paste did it’s job. The bitter aftertaste was gone, we had a dish for dinner which was great with hot fluffy rice. Why fusion? We don’t actually use zucchini in Asian cuisine. Crispy shrimp and chili is definitely Asian. That should qualify as fusion, yes?
Spicy Stir-fried Zucchini
Makes enough for 4 side dishes
1 garlic clove finely chopped
1 shallot finely sliced
1 zucchini skinned and julliened
1 tbs Crispy shrimp and chili in chili oil
Salt to taste
1 tsp canola oil
- Heat up canola oil in saucepan and fry garlic and shallots until golden brown and fragrant.
- Add zucchini and stir fry until wilted. Continue frying to reduce the amount of water in the dish.
- Add shrimp and stir through.
- Add salt to taste.
- Serve with hot rice.
- When frying garlic and shallots, be very watchful as golden brown can quickly turn to black when you are not watching. I tend to add the garlic and shallots to the heated oil and stir constantly. If I find the garlic and shallots browning too fast, I take it off the stove and leave it to cool whilst I continue stirring. I only bring it back to the stove when I’m ready to add the next ingredient which would take the temperature down again.
- Zucchini can be shredded with a grater but I find that the pieces are too fine and almost disintegrate to nothing if stir fried.
- There will be a significant amount of water the comes out from the zucchini. It should be cooked until most of the water evaporates. Otherwise, it dilutes the flavor of the dish.