Rempah ingredients to be blended/pounded:
500g Shallots (I prefer the red skin type)
5 cloves Garlic
1 inch Fresh Tumeric, optional (Yellow Ginger)
40 pieces of Dried Red Chillies (or 100g wet Dried Chilli Paste/Bowl)
5 pieces Fresh Red chillies (or 50g wet Fresh Chilli Paste)
10 Candlenuts (substitute with cashew, macadamia. If not available skip it)
30g Belacan (block type is best or granulated form)
2 stalks of Lemongrass (use the bottom 2-3 inches of white part only)
1 big Red Onion, cut in half and sliced (Spanish Onion preferred over the orange skin Bombay Onion)
50g Tamarind Pulp (Assam)
5-8 tbsp Sugar (adjust during cooking, need to be sweet tasting)
Salt or Light Soy Sauce to taste
¾ cup Vegetable or Groundnut Oil
1. Peel of skin of shallots, garlic and tumeric. Be careful when handling tumeric as it stains.
2. Soak the dried chillies in warm water till soft about half an hour or more. Drain away the water. Skip this step if using the wet paste.
3. Slice the red chillies into two, discard the green stalks. Remove seeds if you like it mild. Skip this step if using wet paste.
3. Toast the belacan in a toaster oven or dry fry (without oil) in pan till the pungent aroma is released. If using the granulated form then skip this step.
4. Put all the rempah ingredients into an electric blender and blend or pound them in mortar and pestle till very fine.
5. Bash the lower part of lemongrass gently so to release the citrusy smell of the plant.
6. Soak 50g of the tamarind (assam) in 100 ml of warm water. Massage the pulp and extract juice by straining to remove the seeds and fibrous flesh.
1. Heat oil in pan over medium low flame. Add lemongrass, blended rempah paste and stir fry the paste till fragrant.
2. Add sliced onions and fry till they are translucent and limp.
3. Add in half the tamarind juice and sugar and continue to fry till oil oozes out and colour deepens.
4. Repeat step 3 and do final adjustment of seasoning of sugar and salt. Continue frying over low heat till the sambal turns glossy and a layer of oil forms.
Store excess in a container with a layer of its oil in fridge or freezer and use when needed.
(Rempah is the name for Sambal in raw form)
This sambal is really versatile. Use it as a base chilli for Nasi Lemak, Sambal Udang, Sambal Telur, Sambal Ikan Bilis, Sambal Enam. It is extremely suitable for grilled seafood, and also as a dip for Asian Crackers (Keropok). Even eating it with plain rice is satisfying!
Tip: Make a huge batch. You can freeze them in small portions and use whenever needed.
Happy cooking 🙂