September 19, 2010
When we came back from our couple of weeks in Italy the garden had gone a bit mad and there was a nice crop of red chillies on the little plant outside the kitchen window, well one green one for some reason but it was necessary to get them all in before they start to rot “on the vine”.
Now, what to do with them all. We’re not gonna use that many fresh chillies before they dry out and go all nasty on us so I decided to make a couple of pots of Sambal.
So, what’s needed is/are a bunch of fresh red chillies,
an onion, a lemon (for a bit of juice), a few garlic cloves, a tablespoon of that Thai fish-sauce, a couple of tablespoons of sugar, a couple of teaspoons of Turmeric , Salt and a couple of teaspoons of chilli-powder.
Blitz all the ingredients (except the fish-sauce, lemon juice and sugar) to a fine paste. If you need a little liquid to loosen it up, you know the way it all sticks to the sides, well away from the blades, pour in a tot of olive oil.
Fry the paste in a couple of tablespoons of oil on a medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 15 mins. It’ll darken from this yellow (turmeric) colour to a deeper red, or it should do.
See? told you! Add now the sugar and keep a good eye on it while frying on. The sugar will caramelise as it cooks on but you don’t want it to burn.
Add now the liquids; Lemon juice & fishy sauce.
While stirring the Sambal with one hand sterilise some little pots in another pan (and take pictures with a 2kg Nikon at the same time).
When the Sambal looks like this (I wouldn’t advise tasting for effect) Stop Cooking! Add some more olive oil along the way if you think it’s looking a bit watery still.
Drain the boiled pots and their lids and fill them immediately with the still hot (in more ways than one) Sambal.
Pop the lids on and let them cool. Cooling down will cause a vacuum inside the tightly closed pots and pull down on the centre of the lid (the “click-test”).
Two in the cupboard, the one that’s open first in the fridge.
Just a dab on the side of your plate of Asian food, or chuck a teaspoon into a stir-fry.