Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Nasi Lemak Sambal Chilli

Not too long ago, The Sunday Times featured several chef-owners of Singapore's well-known eateries. What made me sit up and pay attention was the fact that the famous recipes of these eateries were published in cold, hard print.

I truly applaud these chef-owners for their generosity. I think the wise know that while recipes can be copied, taste is hard to replicate. I can give 10 people the same recipe, and they can all follow it to a 'T' ... but the final result will be 10 different versions of the same dish. Don't you agree?


This is Nasi Lemak Sambal Chilli, which I made using Lee Wee & Brothers' recipe. AWESOME, is all I can say to describe the taste!


The article which appeared in The Sunday Times on 27 September 2009. I have filed it in my cabinet. :)


The recipe (which was split into 2 parts, no thanks to the awkward page layout).


Savoury, spicy, sweet. The grounded ikan bilis (dried anchovies) makes all the difference. If you like it smoother, add more oil. Mine was on the dry side but delish all the same.

Enjoy!

58 comments:

  1. LOoks awesome Ju!! imagine ikan bilis powder in there! HEAVEN. i sometimes fry rice with whole ikan bilis in it..and its good! better than throwing in chicken or fresh prawns etc..nothing like ikan bilis or dried shrimps for full blown flavour....and your sambal looks to die for!

    youre right too...each person his/her own...no matter the exact recipe...strange isnt it? :))

    ReplyDelete
  2. Zu, I second what you said! Ikan bilis rocks! And I would never have thought of grounding it into powder and adding it to sambal! Love this version. It's really goooood! I hope you try it :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yes it's thrue, several persons, one recipe, several dishes but it's why it's so funny to cook, I think I try your chili with some pasta, and I tell you !

    ReplyDelete
  4. Stealing photos, pathetic to begin with, but to profit from them is outrageous. Fortunately, my photos no one would want to take credit for, but I would be just as pissed as your friend.

    And whatever you celebrate, whenever... Happy spirit of American Thanksgiving to you!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Since I'm 2nd place, I can still have chance to taste some right? I'm Nasi Lemak Lover..this sambal look simply heaven !!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Have been wanting to make my own! Thanks for sharing and reminding me LOL!

    Pei-Lin

    ReplyDelete
  7. Can I substitute the fresh chili with dried red chilies instead? I like how they give me a deeper darker shade of red. And if yes, how many grams should I use instead?

    Thanks Ju!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Ju, do you think it's a good idea to make this sambal chilli as xmas gifts? I wonder how long it lasts though.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Mi piace questa ricetta, come tutto quello che trovo nel tuo blog, grazie dei tuoi insegnamenti.
    ciao Daniela.

    ReplyDelete
  10. What is Ikan bilis? I always bought this sauce from one of the chain stores here, really want to try to make it myself as I am a big fan of spicy food.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Your sambal looks very good! You have excellent photography skills. Not to mention your good cooking skills come into play too.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I have to get to market in the new year..!!

    My new year..soon!!

    thank you for sharing ALL your recipes..:)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Yummy Sambal. I'm sure it's spicy.. well it LOOKS spicy.. So are you going to make nasi lemak? :P

    ReplyDelete
  14. i find it really hard to get good nasi lemak chilli.
    those that are really fragrant and sweet like i like it.
    this looks good though :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Ikan bilis powder!!!!!!! What a brilliant idea. I am so going to try it.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thanks for the shoutout, dearie. I do hope that it will raise awareness amongst your readers as well.

    I've always believed that the 'strength' of nasi lemak lies in the sambal, much like that of nasi ayam penyet. Yours look really good! I kinda prefer the dry ones, so this is up my alley :P

    ReplyDelete
  17. Waaaah never thought of ikan bilis in sambal...what an excellent idea!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I am making this! So clever! Yummmm....

    ReplyDelete
  19. How something so simple with so few ingredients taste so GOOD!! I can eat this everyday. Thanks Ju for sharing the recipe with us. I can't wait to try this out.

    ReplyDelete
  20. That's a great idea to grind the ikan bilis. It would actually make the dish even more tasty..

    ReplyDelete
  21. I love sambal in any dish. Never knew that grinding ikan billis will make a big diff. I shall try this. Thanks for the recipe. :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Never had dried anchovies before. I'm a big fan of anchovies but we have fresh anchovies here and we either fry it in a pan or cook it in oven. However, this dish sounds so intriguing to me. Grandma used to make a similar one minus anchovies and I did love it. So I'm so curious about the anchovy flavor now! This one looks like a perfect snack with a slice of bread.
    and I love the way you "write" the ingredients here.

    ReplyDelete
  23. wow I can tell it taste really yummy from the looks of it! I'm bookmarking this!

    ReplyDelete
  24. This looks delicious. I contemplated buying some dried anchovies at the market the other day. I will definitely have to go back and purchase them to try this. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I LOVE spicy things, this looks beautiful, Will definitely make this!

    ReplyDelete
  26. yes I agree with you ; one recipe and so many versions of a dish and that's why cooking is so great !! cheers Pierre from Paris !

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hi Ju...

    You are a huge hit in Kansas!!! Come see my post today, you are the star!

    http://yearonthegrill.blogspot.com/2009/11/singapore-deviled-eggs-look-what-i-did.html

    ReplyDelete
  28. Dried Anchovies? OH my gosh...I had no idea dried anchovies even existed! I use anchovies all the time, just love the nutty flavor they add to a sauce. Can't wait to try the ikan bilis!

    ReplyDelete
  29. oh this is great so is it a condiment like the Indian pickles?

    Rebecca

    ReplyDelete
  30. Angie: It's dried anchovies :) You probably need to get from your local chinatown. Best to get those w/o the heads and bones. Hoe you make this soon!

    Daniela: Grazie, bella!

    sammi_ysh: Thank you for your kind compliments!

    La Table De Nana: Monique, I look forward to seeing the magic you will cook up!

    Kenny: You've got mail.

    Sonia: Thanks!

    chapot: Oh, you MUST tell me! With pasta is a brilliant idea.

    A Year on the Grill: Dave, you da man. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    Dodol & Mochi: You're most welcomed :)

    Quinn: Not sure, dearie! My first time making this sambal :)

    tigerfish: What resolve! LOL!

    tracieMoo: I did make Nasi Lemak. Too yummy to even take pics, honest. Just eat lah. LOL!

    muffinsareuglycupcakes: Thanks, Felicia!

    ovenhaven: No worries, Z. I feel indignant for you. Copying in ANY FORM is pathetic.

    Ellie: You must try and tell me!!

    penny aka jeroxie: I hope you do. And tell me!

    The Ninja: It is brilliant, isn't it? That's why it's famous. Heh. :)

    ICook4Fun: I hope you do. I also hope Carlos can tahan the "aroma". LOL!

    yoursdeliciously: Yes, it certainly does. :)

    Mysweetkitchen: You're most welcomed. Hope you try it! :)

    zerrin: Thank you! With bread is an excellent idea!

    pigpigscorner: Good! Try it and tell me! :)

    Tasty Trix: You're going to do fine, that I am sure! :)

    Cocina Savant: I hope you give this a try! :)

    pierre: Thanks for dropping by! :)

    A Year on the Grill: Thanks, Dave! You make my heart sing! :)

    Chow and Chatter: I don't think so, Rebecca. It's a dipping paste, like a chilli paste. Do give it a try though. If you like spicy, you'll love this.

    Michelle: You'd probably need to go to Chinatown to get them. Thanks for dropping me that email with the useful tips. I really appreciate your generosity! :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hmmm...delicious! I am off to the market!!!

    ReplyDelete
  32. I see this sambal, I want to see nasi lemak already. I can eat it with almost anything. Really miss it. Hope to cook again soon. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Oh my God!! This is heavenly. Thanks for posting for the sake of those who are now living overseas, like myself...hehehe....

    How nice if they can also share their otak recipe. Do you have it?

    ReplyDelete
  34. This looks amazing, Ju. I also love the sweet, savory, spicy flavors mingled together.

    It is so true about different people making the same recipe and having it not be the same. So interesting.

    I have to try this...I hope mine tastes as good as yours :-))

    Diane

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hi Ju,

    I am actually doing the sambal chilli right now. However, I guess its a failure and I don't understand why.

    Everything is so easy and straightforward but my color doesn't seems right.

    Is it because of the ikan bilis?

    Mine color is black not red. After I blend the ikan bilis its already black.

    Haiz, the easy 1 not successful and yet I bought the ingredients for your rempah which I dare not try now hehehe sure fail.

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi Kastine, I'm sorry but I couldn't stop laughing! You're really very cute :) I have no idea how it turned black but you sure put a smile on my face today. Better luck next time! ;) I hopped over to your blog and I have to say you are just adorable!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hi Ju,

    Hehe, adorable is definitely the word to describe me. Haha I do not dare to try again as I knew definitely failure.

    Opps I not so hardworking at writing my blog. After 2 entries, I gave up hehehe.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I will love to make this for my mum so she can stop buying it. By the way, how do you process the ikan bilis? food processor?

    ReplyDelete
  39. Hi, New visitor here....
    Love this sambal tumis! Thnx for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Hi Ju! Just dropping by to drool over your sambal:D Looks delicious! Will try it soon!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Is this the type of chilli paste that served with braised duck rice?

    ReplyDelete
  42. hello, would like to know if the taste of this sambal remsembles those in the packet nasi lemak sold in the market? i always find the chilli accompanying the nasi lemak really delicious but could not find a recipe which gives the right taste. thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  43. homegirl: Something like that, if you are referring to the sambal type. Some duck rice stalls serve a watery kind of chilli.

    yin: Yes, and much better! ;) It is after all, a recipe from nasi lemak experts Lee Wee & Brothers! The grounded ikan bilis makes a world of difference in the sambal.

    ReplyDelete
  44. thanks for the speedy reply, ju. would really love to try it. does this recipe yield substantial amt of the sambal? once again, thnx

    ReplyDelete
  45. yin: You're welcome! I'd say, double the amount because you're gonna get your kitchen dirty anyways, so might as well get more out of it. LOL. And this keeps well in the fridge. Trust me, it's a great sambal to have as a dip or as a paste for frying. I have used it to fry brinjal, tempeh, long beans, potatoes, etc and you literally get fast and flavourful meals w/o much effort. :)

    ReplyDelete
  46. ok thanks ju, will definitely give it a try :)

    ReplyDelete
  47. Yes, I am refering to the sambal duck rice chilli. Thanks a lot.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Ju, I have just made this but it just doesn't taste like the usual nasi-lemak chilli - mine is very grainy and dry even though I doubled the amount of oil. Do you add some water when blending onion/chilli/garlic into a smooth paste? (Because no matter how long I blend it, it isn't smooth.)

    ReplyDelete
  49. Jess: I think different food processors may yield different textures (depending on the power of the blades, sharpness etc). You could try adding oil when you are blitzing the onions/chilli/garlic. It will definitely make it much smoother. Failing which, I sometimes resort to pounding by hand, to give the smoothest finish. Personally, I like my pestle & mortar a lot more than my food processor.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Finally, I found you! I am a SG away from home for many years. Yesterday, I suddenly have the craving for Nasi Lemak. Manage to get almost everything EXCEPT the SAMBAL CHILLI for the NASI LEMAK!! It was very depressing for me today until I stumbled this blog. Yes, this chilli also goes well with Braised Duck Rice and even Soon Kway.

    I am so excited as tomorrow I am going to make my own nasi lemak with sambal chilli for breakfast!

    Thank you for the recipe!
    SG food lover.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Hi Ju, do we need to rinse, soak or even toast the ikan bilis before grinding?

    Thank you,

    ReplyDelete
  52. Anon: I didn't otherwise. I bought really good quality ikan bilis that's low in salt (from the wet market), and I would urge you to do that because it makes a difference. The inferior quality variety tends to be very, very salty!

    ReplyDelete
  53. Hi, please don't find my question ignorant. Do we remove the seeds from the chilli first?

    ReplyDelete
  54. clim: Not ignorant at all! You can, if you want to. It makes it less spicy and less work (seeds are difficult to pound). I usually remove some cos I still like my sambal with kick! HTH!

    ReplyDelete
  55. I'm also one for the kick! Thanks for the reply!! And you have a very long list of recipe for me to try out especially for these 2 years that we will be Australia. By the time we go back to Singapore, I hope I will be able to show off my culinary skills! Btw, I'm also a Teochew. "ka gi nang" :)

    ReplyDelete
  56. How do you get the deep red color? My sambal is greyish light red which looks really awful :-(

    ReplyDelete