Belacan Asparagus

Vegetable March 26th, 2007

belacan asgaragus

When I put up my recipe for Stir-Fried Asparagus with Prawns, some of my favourite readers commented about their preference for Belacan Asparagus instead. Most, if not all, of these readers come from Malaysia / Singapore and belacan (prawn paste) is a hometown favourite. It is rather pungent (or can be offensive) in smell and you either like it or your don’t. However, I don’t really like the Belacan Asparagus sold in restaurants because I find that most of the time, they use far too much oil and thus render the dish rather unhealthy looking. Cooking for myself, however, is different as I could control the use of oil myself.


Recently, I saw an episode of Jamie Oliver’s and he taught a simple way of plucking the asparagus so that only the tender parts are used and the rests discarded for being too fibrous. All you need to do is to hold each end of the asparagus with your thumb and fingers and bend the middle part upwards. The stress of the bending will result in the asparagus breaking at a point which separates the tender part from the more fibrous part. Very easy but can waste quite a bit. So, having separated the tender parts, I go through the others and see if I could still salvage any other parts which are not so fibrous 🙂


This is my recipe for Belacan Asparagus



  • 200 grammes of asparagus (choose tender parts as per technique above)
  • 10 grammes or approximately 2 teaspoons of belacan
  • 30 grammes of dried prawns (pre-soaked for 15 minutes)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 5 cloves shallots
  • 3 to 5 pieces red chilli (remove seeds)
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 4 tablespoons palm oil



Pound or blend belacan, pre-soaked dried prawns, garlic, shallots and chilli till it forms a paste.


Heat 2 tablespoons oil in wok on medium heat and saute belacan mix till aromatic / light brown. Add some oil if it starts to burn before becoming brown. Note that the belacan mix absorbs oil like tissue paper and therefore, you should try not to use too much oil or your asparagus will be found swimming in oil later.


Increase heat to high and add asparagus. Stir well and sprinkle warm water occasionally (you don’t have to use all the water above) to keep it moist and to let the dish cook in a little steam (but not soaking in water). Cook for about 2 minutes. No seasoning is required as the belacan mix is quite salty. You might want to sprinkle some sugar if you find it too salty.


Dish out and serve with steaming white rice.



Technorati Tags: recipe, malaysia, belacan, asparagus, cooking, food

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  1. 1
    March 26th, 2007 at 8:42 pm

    Like you, I hate to waste the tail end of the asparagus. I use a vegetable peeler and run it over the end to remove the fibrous outer skin and usually, the inner part of the asparagus is perfectly ready for eating.

  2. 2
    March 27th, 2007 at 11:22 am

    :O I eat them whole-sale …sometimes it’s really fibrous. But asparagus are expensive, so hate to see them go to waste.

  3. 3
    Rasa Malaysia
    March 27th, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    Yeah, I also prefer this recipe…you can’t go wrong with it…now where are the big fat succulent udang? Muahahaha. Me and my obsession with Udang.

  4. 4
    March 28th, 2007 at 1:48 am

    aiyoyoo…. u make me instantly hungry when i saw this picture!

    the hay bee on top. oooo…..

  5. 5
    March 28th, 2007 at 3:17 pm

    may : Depending also, most of the local (Malaysian) asparagus are rather thin in size and stringy compared to the ones from Europe or Australia. So, there is quite a lot of waste but it is not overly expensive. One bundle of 200 grammes cost about RM4.00. Considering the nutrients, it is quite reasonably priced.

    tigerfish : It is perhaps cheaper at the wholesale market 🙂 LOL!

    Rasa Malaysia : Your udang kah? Not in this dish lah. This one uses the small small dried prawns 😛

    keropokman : Taste very shiok with steaming white rice. Mmmmm…

  6. 6
    mommy of 2 angels
    May 4th, 2007 at 4:03 pm

    aiyooo salivating

    me also fan of jamie oliver…watch watch watch all his shows but still haven’t cook anything yet…hehehe real couch potato!

  7. 7
    Ashlina Davidson
    June 15th, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    tried it out and my whole family throughly enjoyed it, thank you

  8. 8
    November 21st, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    great post tq. if you’re afraid of too much oil then it’s better to use olive oil instead. healthy + delicious!!

  9. 9
    November 21st, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    presa1200 : Olive oil may be healthier but it is not suitable due to the taste. It is rarely used in Chinese / Asian cooking.

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