Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Melaka Cuisine: Cencalok

Cencalok (or Chinchalok/Cencaluk) is a Melakan food made of fermented small shrimps or krill. It is usually served as a condiment together with chillis, shallots and lime juice. It is similar to Bagoong Alamang (see shrimp paste) in the Philippines. In Melaka, the shrimp is called udang geragau

The shrimp in the pinkish coloured cencalok are readily identifiable and the taste is salty. This shrimp is available in particular season in Pantai Klebang, Limbongan, Tanjung Kling and several coastal areas.

The process of making cencalok requires several steps to create a product of high quality with a pleasing texture when consumed. Fresh small prawns (udang geragau) are added with salt and rice in equal proportions. After the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, it will be sealed in a jar and allowed to ferment for three days. 

There are also cencalok makers who increase the proportion of rice in the mixture believing it to enhance the taste of the finished product.