Sambal is a traditional Malay sauce that acts as the base of most of the recipes, like stir fries, Nasi Lemak, Nasi Goreng, etc. It is spicy, sweet and tangy and is a ground paste made of shallots, galangal, garlic, lemon grass, shrimp paste, vinegar or tamarind paste, dry red chilies, sugar, salt and dried anchovies.
They can be made in large quantities and stored in air tight containers. which can then be frozen for later use. No Malaysian dish is complete without it. The taste can be adjusted according to individual preference. To make it mild, the seeds can be discarded from the red chilies. This paste goes very well with any Indian cooking too.
- 15-20 dry red chilies, soaked for an hour
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 1 lemon grass, sliced
- 8-10 shallots
- salt to taste
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 2-3 tbsp. oil
- 2 tbsp. dried anchovies., cleaned, drained & pat dry
Heat oil in a pan and fry the anchovies till crisp. Drain on a kitchen towel. When cool, grind along with chilies, garlic, lemon grass, shallots, salt, vinegar and sugar to a smooth paste.
Heat the same oil in which the anchovies were fried. Saute the prepared paste on a low flame till it turns slightly dark brown in colour and the oil starts to separate from the sides of the pan. Serve along with Nasi Lemak, noodles, Nasi Goreng, etc.
Fried dry anchovies.