After a weekend of grilled meats, wraps and all things western, I figured my dinner should change to my Asian roots and give a hot splash to what may have been a hot Monday evening. Then again, in Malaysia, it is always hot. Anyway, cooking by instinct and what I have is what allows me to make sambal sauce time and again. I think most Asian kitchens especially when you're from South East Asia will have a bottle of pre-roasted belacan granules, a container full of dried chillies, freezer bound chillies (to make the stash last longer) and the list goes on... So here's my take on the sambal sauce:
(What dried prawns look like)
2 Eshalion shallots (they're longish) / 4 to 5 bombay shallots (small red ones) - skinned and chopped roughly
3 medium sized cloves of garlic -skin removed
10cm sized ginger - skinned and chopped roughly
2 - 3 red chillies - chopped roughly. Remove seeds if you wish
1/2 cup dried prawns soaked in hot water
4 - 5 dried chillies soaked in hot water
1 tbsp tamarind paste soaked in hot water
2 tbsp pre-roasted belacan granules
3 - 4 tbsp vegetable oil
2 - 3 tsp brown sugar
1 packet green beans or any vegetable you prefer
- In a food processor or a mini chopper, add in the shallots, garlic, ginger, red chillies, dried prawns, belacan granules and dried chillies with a bit of water from the dried prawns and blend into a paste.
- Next heat up a semi shallow pan or a pot with the vegetable oil. When oil is hot enough, add in the paste and fry til chilli oil is released.
- Continue stirring to avoid it from burning, lower heat to simmer the sauce before adding the brown sugar and tamarind juice extracted from soaking the tamarind paste in hot water. Salt is rarely needed as the belacan and dried prawns are already salty enough.
- Simmer until more chilli oil is released and remove from the fire. This does not take more than 30 minutes.
- In a separate pot with water, bring to a boil before adding in green beans. Cook for only 2 minutes or until beans turn a rich green. Drain and place on a plate. Spoon the sambal sauce on to the vegetables and serve with piping hot rice and any other dishes!
Leftover sambal sauce? Keep it in an airtight container or a sterilised glass bottle (30 second in the oven is good enough) and place in the fridge. You can use the same sambal sauce for sambal prawns, fish, chicken or anything you fancy!
Reduce dried chilli content if you don't want it too spicy. This time round, the red chillies gave my sambal the extra heat!!! But all the more better to sweat it out!
Next to conquer, a vanilla cupcake stacked up!
The Innovative Baker