Thanks to my sister´s maid Wati, who hails from Sumatera, my craving for spicy food is back. She is such an excellent cook and I made it my mission during my last trip back to learn from her. And learned I DID! One of my most important lesson from her is, how to make sambal or curries appear fury RED. I´ve experimented with dried chillies, bought the freshest and reddest looking chillies around but after sauteeing, it never seem to appear like those sold back at home by the old makciks. I thought this is it, it must be the chilli qualities. Until two weeks ago. I´ve used too much onions in my sambal. It should be more chillis and during the cooking process, don´t be afraid to add in more oil. It worked and I´m more than please because it meant that I could get my supply of favourite sambal or curry anytime I want! Hooray!
Here´s something sooo good which I would like to share with you all. Some very unexpected ingredient goes into this sambal recipe and its WORTH the tweak.
Blend 15 fresh chillies, 4 large shallots, 2 clove garlic, 1/2 tomatoes and 250 grams soaked dried shrimps in blender with 150ml water.
Heat up 4 tablespoon of sunflower cooking oil in a deep pot. Pour the sambal paste in. Tear 12 pieces of kaffir lime leaf in. Mix well.
Add 3 tablespoons of Gula Melaka to sweeten. No salt is needed as the Dried Shrimps are already salty.
Add 3 tablespoon of sunflower oil. Sautee them for 5 - 10 minutes. I personally like them a bit dry so I sautee them for 10 minutes, but do make sure it does not get burn. For those of you whom likes it wet, you can stop at 5 minutes.
Once its done, store them in air tight container and keep them in the fridge. Spoon out to eat as needed. I was told by Wati that this keeps for 6 months in the fridge! Not sure about the six months thing but I can assure you it would not last that long!