A couple of colleagues went to Bali for New Year and were talking about their awesome holiday pver lunch, and there it was - a gush of wonderful gastronomical memories from this beautiful place, all coming back to me like a song last heard that you can't get rid off in your head. One unforgettable sambal (a chili based sauce, used as a condiment, just as you would use tomato sauce and brown sauce) to me was only remembered as "sambal bali" because that was what the restaurant called it! I did a quick search on balinese sambal and tried to recall what the ingredients were, and found this sambal matah recipe which was close enough to describe it.
I had to give it a go to see if it would hit the spot!
15 shallots, peeled, cut in half and finely sliced (unfortunately I had 3 shallots only so i had to substitute one huge gigantic brown onion)
4 cloves garlic, cut in half & sliced (i minced it)
15 small sliced chilies, minced
5 lemon leaves ("daun limau") chopped finely
1 tsp roasted shrimp cake (terasi), finely grated (i used belacan, that huge brown chunk on the lower left side, about 1 tsp worth, crumbled)
4 stalks lemon grass, bruised and very finely sliced
salt and ground black pepper
2 tbsp freshly squeezed limejuice
80 ml coconut oil (i used peanut oil)
1. Combine above ingredients in deep bowl and mix well for 5 minutes.
2. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
For an enhanced flavor, give it a quick saute on medium-low heat.
It was tempting to use a food processor but I remembered the sambal for its texture as well, like the crunchy bits of lemongrass, which is also one of the things that make it quite unique.
Best served with grilled fish ("ikan bakar").
However for this weekend, there was an extra cast for the Indonesian treat - petai (or "pete" pronounced "peh-teh"). I would describe it as bitter broad beans.... (very, very, very bitter beans!). I suppose it would be an acquired taste, but I personally love it. I found tinned petai in one of the newly discovered Asian shops.