Sambal for Crispy Anchovies

Mummy loves hot and spicy food and that’s why she’s very fussy how fragrant is the sambal. Instead of buying from the stores, she cooks her own because she can never find one that pass her taste and smell test.

While growing up, I spend quite a lot of time in the kitchen watching mummy cook and helping out in preparing meals for the family. Another important role I had was sitting in a kitchen corner with a mortar and pestle and also a big bowl of rehydrated chillies, garlic, shallots, candlenuts, galangal and turmeric. Mummy complains blender doesn’t do a good enough job. Only manual labour is able to pound all ingredients into fine paste.

I inherited mummy fussiness for sambal. No, I don’t have mummy’s chilli paste recipe because there isn’t any. She always estimate and go with her feeling everytime she makes it. This batch will have more shallots than the previous or less salt and sugar the next batch.

I’m constantly hunting for my favourite sambal. 2 weeks ago I gave Mrs Leong recipe a try. Mrs Leong is my favourite cookbook and also one that I have visited the most. There are quite a few chilli paste recipes in the book and most are the starting point as rempah for meat rendang, seafood rengang, curry etc.

Both Mr. and me were craving for Nasi Lemak therefore I chosen this recipe. Sambal and anchovy is the main role in Nasi Lemak!

Homemade Sambal = Nasi Lemak time!!! I prefer to cook my own sambal than store bought

Cookbook: Nyonya Specialties
Author: Mrs Leong Yee Soo

Dried Chillies 115 g, washed (I removed all the seeds before rehydrating)
Garlic 1 clove,peeled
Shallots or onions 115 g, peeled (I used shallots because I felt it makes the paste taste sweeter)
Shrimp paste (belacan) 55 g
Coconut 170 g, grated (I used packet coconut creme)
Water 1 cup
Cooking Oil 3/4 cup

Sugar 4 tbsp
Salt 1/4 tsp
Tamarind pulp (asam) 1 tbsp, mixed with 4 tbsp water, squeezed and strained (I used concentrate tamarind paste)

Soak dried chilles in water to soften. Combined softened chilles with garlic, shallots and shrimp paste and pound to a fine paste. (My mortar and pestle is pretty small and I’m too lazy LOL so I used my KA food processor instead. It still did a good job)
Combine coconut with water. Using a piece of muslin, squeeze coconut to extract No.2 coconut milk. Set aside.
Add cooking oil to a heated wok. When oil is hot, fry chilli paste and one-third of the milk over moderate heat until fragrant and oil bubbles through.
Stir in seasoning ingredients and the remaining coconut milk. Lower heat and simmer for 2 ,minutes. Remove to a bowl to cool.
Divide into four potions, pack in plastic bags and freeze for future use. (I packed into 2 containers. 1 to freeze and the other to chill for daily use.)

Not sure how long it will last but at the rate we going last night, dun think it will survive thru 4 weeks

I combined a few tablespoons of sambal with fried anchovies and sugar in the pan as one of the side. Together with oven baked chicken ribs, stir fry cabbage, roasted peanuts, sliced cucumber, a sunny side up on brown rice cooked with leftover coconut creme. That’s my version of Nasi Lemak the next day 🙂

With homemade sambal, I cant say no when Mr. requested Nasi Lemak. Instead of deep fried chicken, I tried @lianneelow recipe on oven bake chicken and it was a success! Lots of leftover for the next few meals too  Not that I'm complaining

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