When I’m at a loss what to cook, I like to make this quick and delicious 4 ingredients tuna dip recipe: easy, spicy and using cupboard/ fridge ingredients which are staples in SouthEast Asian cooking – onions, sambal belacan, canned fish and coconut milk (the recipe also calls for salt and sugar but these are such basic cooking essentials, I figure they don’t count!) Moreover, it only takes 15 minutes to whip up! I’ve cooked it many times when friends came over, and it’s always been a favourite.
If you’re unfamiliar with sambal, it’s a spicy condiment common in most South East Asian countries that’s pretty much magic. It can be used as a side dip (think ketchup) and as a stir fry sauce, either on its own or in addition to other condiments (hello sambal fried rice!)- whichever way it’s used, it makes for really delicious food. (One of my friends even adds it to her homemade pate!) The best is to make your own- I will share a recipe soon- but if you’re short of time, it’s easily available in most supermarkets.
I adapted this 4 ingredients tuna dip recipe from one in a Sylvia Tan cookbook (Sylvia Tan is a Singaporean Peranakan who has written several cookbooks and whose recipes can be found in local newspapers and magazines. You can access a selection of her recipes for free here.) This tuna dip works well as a side dish, a topping for pizzas, on toast or crackers and as a filling for bread rolls (shown in the photo above, made for a cousin’s birthday party- she’s Peranakan and a good cook, so it was a lot of pressure, but thankfully the buns passed muster!) and curry puffs (I have an easy no-kneading required curry puff dough recipe here). Pretty versatile, no?
Easy sambal tuna dip recipe
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 Onion (peeled and minced) I usually use yellow but substitute with red when out
- 1 tablespoon sambal belacan tumis This is the sambal sold in jars in most supermarkets
- 2 cans tuna, drained weight 113g each (0.25 lb) Either tuna in oil or tuna in brine work. If it's tuna in oil, I sieve out the tuna and use the oil in place of the vegetable oil required
- 300 ml Coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon Sugar
- Salt to taste
- Optional garnish: spring onions/ coriander
- Heat pan and add oil. When the oil is hot, over a low fire, add the onions to the pan and saute till soft and translucent but not brown.
- Add the sambal chilli and stir fry till the aroma is released
- Add the tuna, followed by the coconut milk and sugar. Stir fry till the entire mixture is well-mixed and warm.
- Salt to taste
- Garnish and serve