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                                         Type: Invertebrate
                                         Diet: Herbivore
                                         Average life span in the wild: 5 years or more
                                         Size: 6 cm (2.4 in)
                                         Weight: 1 gm (0.035 oz)
                                         Collective noun: Swarm (ie: a swarm of krill)

Cincalok is a Malaccan product and is made from the very small shrimp fry and krill available at certain times of the year. It's mixed with salt and rice in equal proportions and allowed to ferment in jars for three days. This is followed by other steps in the production of this gourmet item but rarely seen beyond the shores of Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.

  • 180ml (¾ cup) cooking oil
  • 15 shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 7 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1kg chicken breast, cut into pieces
  • 140g (~5 oz) preserved krill (cincalok), liquid drained
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves
  • 400ml tamarind extract,
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 red and 3 green chillies, halved lengthways, seeded and cut into small pieces

  • 17 shallots, peeled
  • 1 tsp Turmeric powder or 5cm fresh peeled turmeric
  • 5 stalks lemon grass,  bulbous end sliced

  1. In a food processor homogenise the paste ingredients or pound and grind them into a paste with a mortar and pestle.
  2. Heat the cooking oil and sauté shallots and garlic until crisp. Drain and set aside.
  3. In the same oil, fry the finely ground paste until aromatic. Add the chicken, cincalok and lime leaves.
  4. Add the tamarind juice. Balance the sour with the sugar adding a bit at a time because tamarind juice can have great variation in its sourness.
  5. Cook until the gravy thickens.
  6. Stir in chillies and half of the crisp-fried shallots and garlic. Remove from the heat.
  7. Garnish with the remaining crisp-fried shallots and garlic just before serving.
Note: Cincalok has a very very high salt level and any dish made with it shouldn't be seasoned with salt until the end. In fact it is probably more relevant in today's world not to add salt to dishes but rather allow your diners to season their own food. More and more people are going on to low salt or no salt diets often for serious health reasons or a history of some renal problem. It is a change in the way a dish is prepared and will probably feel a little incomplete for a while. Know that you're doing the right thing.