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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sambal Goreng Ikan

Having received a bunch of fresh red chilies, my mind turns immediately frantic for an Indonesian recipe that would serve these fiery fruits the respect they deserve. This is Sambal Goreng Ikan - 'sambal' is a condiment (usually chili-based in Indonesia) 'goreng' means fried (as this sambal is), and 'ikan' means fish. Hence this dish is fish with some fried chilis (and some) - definitely not for the weak of heart.

This would also go well with a handful of 'stinky beans' or pete (peh-teh).

To make the sambal good for 2 hungry people :

5 red chilies
an inch of fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic
7 shallots
1/2 tablespoon palm sugar (or brown sugar, if you don't have palm sugar)
1 whole tomato, quartered
1 tablespoon Kecap Manis - dark sweet Indonesian soy sauce
salt, to taste
1/3 cup water

fish : use any white fish that you would like

The fish used for this dish was flake, for its nice white flesh and its good for frying, which was step 1 for this recipe.

Wash fish and pat dry. If using whole fish, make sure to clean well inside out (i.e. remove innards).

Heat oil of choice and shallow fry (or deep fry - up to you) fish until well done. Set aside.

Chop 3 out of the 5 chilis and mix together with garlic, ginger in a mortar and bash away into a coarse paste.

The remaining 2 chilis get chopped into small pieces (discard the white membrance and seeds, if you prefer lesser heat) and set aside.

Heat up a little bit of oil and stir fry the paste for around 3 minutes. Add salt, sliced chili, tomatoes, water, sugar and kecap manis. Mix well. Toss in the fish and cook for another couple of minutes. Serve hot hot hot with hot rice.

The palm sugar has a deep flaver almost resembling mocha to some extent. This type of palm sugar is made from the sap of coconut. It neutralizes some of the heat from the chilies, together with the sweetness of the dark soy Kecap Manis.


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Scribe's Notes

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So from the diversely abstract to the intensely specific, it's off to making tracks, and it is here where it stops for a thought or two.

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