Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sambal Tumis

Thank you for all your encouraging words in my last post. I'm sorry to bring you back to earth with mundane home cooking today! Martha Stewart I am not, so glammed up food can only appear occasionally. Besides, styling requires extra work, but I promise I will try my best whenever possible. ;) Anyhow, here's what I made - Sambal Tumis, which is essentially stir-fried chilli paste.

This is the second time I have made Sambal Tumis with Zurin's recipe. It's really sedap (delicious)! I think I tripled the recipe for this batch because we finished it up so quickly the last time. But don't take my word for it, ask Quinn or better yet, try it yourself.


This bowl of vermillion goodness is fresh red chilli blended with oil. I used a food processor for this, and it always helps if you add some oil for a smoother blend.

Note that Zurin used dried chilli, but I didn't want to go through the trouble of soaking first, so I used fresh ones (remember to remove as many seeds as you can, unless you like it REALLY hot). You can use either type of chilli - I have tried both. The only difference (to me, at least) is that the dried ones give a deeper, darker hue of red.

Oh, here's a tip: crush the garlic cloves before you put them into the processor. If you find any shoots inside, discard them as they are bitter.

And another tip: Zurin's recipe called for candlenuts or walnuts, but I subbed with macademia because I had a lot of those. Macademia nuts are often used interchangeably with candlenuts, by the way. They even look similar!


Lots. Of. Oil. Just accept the fact that making such pastes require plenty of oil, and move on with it. ;) Note how small my flame is. Keep it really low or the sambal will burn.


After a while, the chilli paste will start bubbling and absorbing the oil. I added the tamarind pulp water, sugar and salt but I increased the amounts of the latter two. I did not use belacan because I wanted to keep this a vegetarian recipe. There are no hard and fast rules to this, so taste as you cook, and adjust to your preference.


See how it has started to thicken? The oil appears to have reduced drastically too. After 45 minutes of constant stirring over a medium flame, you get this:


Sambal Tumis in a gorgeous red (excess oil has been skimmed off). Want some? ;) Let it cool.


Then keep in a clean and dry glass jar. How easy is that? Now, go take a shower. You'll be stinky and sweaty after this, I promise.

Recipe
(from Cherry on a Cake)

- 50 gm dried chillies, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes, drained
- 3 medium large red onions
- 4 cloves garlic
- 4 to 5 candlenuts (buah keras) or macademias or walnuts
- 1/2 inch belacan, optional

All the above ingredients are to be blended with 1/8 cup of water in a blender or processed in a food processor dry (without the water).

- 1 1/2 tsp tamarind pulp mixed with 3 to 4 tbsp water and the juice strained
- 2 to 3 tsp sugar
- Salt to taste

Heat up 1/4 cup of cooking oil in a small heavy/thick bottomed pot. Saute the blended ingredients, stirring on and off until the paste turns a shade darker, maybe about 10 minutes. Use a low heat all the time as the paste burns easily. Add the tamarind juice, sugar and salt and stir and let cook about 15 - 20 minutes more until the oil rises to the top and the sambal is really cooked and turns a dark red. Done. Cool and store in a clean glass jam jar in the fridge. This will last about a week or maybe more.

Here's something I whipped up in under 30 minutes using this Sambal Tumis:


Fry the dried anchovies (ikan bilis) till they are crispy, set them aside to drain off excess oil. In the meantime, fry your brinjal (eggplant) till they are about cooked. Add one or two tablespoons of Sambal Tumis, throw the crispy anchovies back in, and just stirfry to get everything coated. Taste test and add salt or sugar if required. Dish up onto rice and dig in.

You can make this with long beans too. This is one of my favourite weekday lunch choices because it's not only yummy but quick. The sambal delivers all the flavour, and you don't even need to slice any garlic or shallots!

41 comments:

  1. Ju this looks sooooo delicious! Those lovely little hands are lucky to hold such a yummy bowl of goodness!

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  2. awwww thank you Ju....Im touched ...I didnt know you have made it twice and tripled the recipe?!? wow... you made it looks much better than I did! and I LOVE the second foto..its gorgeous. thanks for posting n linking Ju :)

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  3. OH darn.. I meant the foto with the adorable hands!

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  4. Thanks for this! I am so making sambal tumis this week...tomorrow!

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  5. Mmmm this looks really nice. Having a bottle of this in the fridge would ensure I always had something to eat. Yum.

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  6. It looks seriously SEDAP! Must make some soon.

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  7. Oh Ju! Thanks for the mention! The only reason I use dried chillies is really because fresh red chillies are priced at AUD20 per kg and I cannot afford that since I make a lot.I've used Zurin's sambal tumis and cook a Turmeric Chicken on your blog here and they're wonderful! Aaron can't take spicy food and he has this concept that the spiciness of a dish is directly proportional to the hue of red! Guys are so fussy and hard to please sometimes! Thanks for the mention too! And you certainly need a lot of oil to fry the paste until it reaches the 'pecah minyak' stage, that's according to my grandma. Whatever skimmed oil can be used to top dishes upon serving and it's an instant wake up call when chili oil is drizzled over it!

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  8. Fantastic pictures! Mom usually makes sambal tumis for me, but I'm going to try this recipe when I have a chance. Thanks for sharing.

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  9. Hey Ju,
    I like you sambal tumis recipe. Mine is different. Will definitely try yours out 'cos my family is a chilli eater family. Keep up with your baking and cooking. Have tried some of yours and I must say they are pretty good!

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  10. glad to see the comments are back! that is like the ultimate cooking condiment..great for adding life veggy stir fries!

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  11. Fantastic! a very spicy sauce, in my opinon it is not only for oriental dishes.
    Cia Alessandra by Italy

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  12. Gawwwd.. this looks soooooooooooooooooooo good!! So so good!

    I'm gonna make this, and give it to friends as little gifts!!

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  13. Wow...looks real good stuff here. Noticed you used a non stick frying pan. Does the oil splatter around? I am quite scared of oily kitchen stove after that.

    : )

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  14. Macademia nuts and chillies together....Jo, I love this as it looks even better than XO sauce! Do you think peanuts would work with this recipe too?

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  15. Zurin & Quinn: You are most welcomed!

    Irene: It's a stainless steel pan, and for sure there will be cleaning up to do! Doesn't splatter that much as long as your flame is small. ;)

    Angie: I am not sure ... I think you need an oily, "softer" type of nut for this. Peanuts are a bit too crunchy, at least that's what I reckon.

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  16. this looks amazing- My husband loves hot things-I will show him this recipe.
    Have a great day.

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  17. gorgeous photos!! my mum makes the sambal at home so I've never tried making them.. Well, gotta try one day ;)

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  18. Well, I think you are the Singaporean version of Nigella instead! Not fancying Martha though.

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  19. Sul tuo blog trovo ricette sempre molto interessanti, anche questa ricetta, mi attira molto. Ciao Daniela.

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  20. SO funny - I just bought sambal at an Asian grocery yesterday ... of course now I feel hopelessly lazy! Next time I will make it myself, like this. Looks SO good.

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  21. Ju, this looks really, really good and it so happens I'm on the look out for a good sambal paste. Hmm, I can see you whipping out endless dishes with this cache. :P

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  22. I WANT! but lazy to make :P
    i'll leave you my address k, mail it over! hahaha!
    classic photo with the hands, love it!

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  23. This is one dish that I craved for it when I was pregnant. My mom had to "courier" it all the way from PG to KL specially for me. It goes well with anytime, even on its own. Love your stunning shots (whether it's all dressed up or just simple shot)! Keep it up!

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  24. i can't stop staring at the sambal tumis! Gorgeous colour! Your photos are stunning! Love the hands holding the bowl and I <3 the chopping board :)

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  25. Wow....perfect sambal tumis. The colour is amzing even with the fresh chilies. I think I better go for the dried chilies as they are cheaper. I would love to try this. Love all the photos here. I'm calculating how many times more I should make :P Thanks for sharing.

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  26. I was thinking of making it but you said the stainless steel pan has much cleaning to do :( ....now I am procrastinating again!!!

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  27. This looks good. I am just wondering how long does it keep? Can we freeze it?

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  28. Wow! It looks soooo yummy. I'm darn hungry for some now! And gorgeous photos you have there! :)

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  29. i love the color!! i would really want to give this a try...hopefully soon :)

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  30. Beautiful recipe and the photos are just great... you have found your eye with this camera!

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  31. Ju, see ... You have the talent ... You can turn humble home cooking into glamorous food mag-style presentation! But that's not it! The food itself is downright delish! I absolutely heart sambal tumis! Great job, Ju!

    Now, who says you have to be Martha Stewart to be good!? NO! You rock! Keep it up!

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  32. Ju, thanks for following my travels. It's good to be home and to be able to check in with you. I'm so glad I did! I love sambal, but I never thought about making it. I think I see this recipe in my future...

    What kind of camera did you get?

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  33. I think I am going to do this so that I don't have to prepare the chili paste when I want to use. Do you know how long I can keep the sambal tunis for? In both fridge and freezer?

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  34. Lee Mei: Can keep for quite a while. If in lower section of fridge, I have kept for 1 month before I finished everything up. I believe it can be kept for even longer, especially if you store it properly in a clean, dry container. In freezer, probably 3 months or so ... at least that has bee my experience with my curry rempah. It may be hard work when you make it, but it's so worth it when you can whip up instant meals for weeks and months after that! :)

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  35. I love the pic with the hands! Great work Ju. I can't live without chili, I have to try this!

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  36. I love hot and spicy. It's a lot of hard work but I can see it all pays off. The eggplant dish got me drooling :)~

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  37. Ju,
    This is my fave sambal too. We call it sambal bajak.

    Keep up your good work.

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  38. Oh yum the eggplant anchovie and sambal dish looks absolutely scrumptious.. Such beautiful pictures Ju, as always.

    The Din Tai Fung class looks wicked fun =) Lucky girl you!

    Oh my I am missing Asian food after a week in OZ... Can't wait to get home! =)

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  39. I love this recipe and how cool to have it handy. I also enjoyed your next post but did not see the comments open; what a unique experience! These buns must be out of this world good.

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  40. Hi Ms Teochew

    I tried the Sambal Tumis today. My hands are burning right now from handling the chilli.

    I am not too sure about the proportion of Tamarind Juice, as well as the salt and sugar. It was a little tasteless at first, so i added some chicken stock as well.

    It turns out to be quite sweet and tasty. I like it. :) Hopefully, it taste good when its used to cook sambal kangkong and sambal batang fish tomorrow.

    I really like the number of recipes and advises that you have posted. My own kitchen will be ready in another 3 weeks. I can really try more stuff then.

    Thanks. :)
    Mudpie Munkey

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  41. thanks so much for making this accessible. After my mom passed on, i was quite sad that i didn't manage to get her sambal recipe down....just made it today and it's truly comforting and exhilarating making it. (ps. being in northern clime now, i didn't have to go through the sweat and stink!)

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