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Raja Ampat marine national park

A recipe for spicy sambal sauce & a ship that ran out of chilis August 17, 2015

What to bring home from a trip to the end the world?

We all love souvenirs – small things we find when we’re travelling that will later bring back memories of a country, a region or a certain trip. There is always a lot pretty kitsch, but some souvenirs definitely prove to be of the more useful kind, like the Balinese sarong, sea salt from the Mediterranean or native coconut oil from Indonesian tribes women. But there are few things that bring back memories better than sounds, smell or taste. This is why we want to share our favorite souvenir with you: a recipe.

The best souvenir: A recipe for spicy Sambal (Sambal pedas goreng)

Raja Ampat Chef

On a recent scuba diving liveaboard trip to Raja Ampat in Indonesia, we had a cook on board named “Didi”. He made the most fantastic Sambal pedas goreng (= spicy fried Sambal) and he was making it fresh every other day. Soon, we ate it with the breakfast omelette, lunch AND dinner! On the last day of our two weeks trip, he finally had to admit that he had run out of chilis. We had eaten so much of his spicy Sambal!

Luckily, he told us his recipe and showed us how to do it. I have cooked it several times since at home and we love sharing it with friends – it is a hit for all kinds of BBQ and also great with summer rolls or any other dishes that can use some fruity sweet extra spice!

Ingredients (enough for several glasses)
  • 500 g tomatoes (cut large tomatoes in half)
  • 250 – 300 g red (& yellow) chilis, little or moderately spicy
  • 3 – 4 red thai chilis, spicy (if you like it spicier, add more of these)
  • 2 onions, cut in half
  • 7 chalots
  • 7 – 8 cloves of garlic
  • 2 candlenuts (aka Kemiri nut – be careful, although they look like Macadamia, they are poisonous when raw)
  • 4 – 5 tea spoons of palm sugar
  • approx. 250 ml sesame oil
  • salt
Sambal pedas ingredients
Instructions

Put all ingredients except the palm sugar and salt into a pot or wok and add approx. 50 ml – 100 ml of the sesame oil. Fry for at least 30 min. at medium heat and stir from time to time. Don’t let it burn on the bottom of the pot/wok – but letting it get as close as possible to burning adds a great flavour.

When all ingredients are fried well, take the pot from the hotplate or flame. Either mix it with a handblender directly in the pot/wok or fill it into a blender, then put it back into the pot/wok. Blend it smoothly so that there are no large chunks in the mix anymore.

Add more oil, palm sugar and salt and continue frying the mix at medium to low heat. All water needs to be fried off now. Stir from time to time and add more oil if needed. After some time, the oil will start to sit on top of the mix – then it’s ready.

Fill into sterile glass jars. If needed, you can drip some more oil on top of the mix, the oil covering it preserves it better. The finished Sambal pedas can be stored in the fridge for up to 10 – 14 days.

Selamat makan!

Sambal Pedas

The Jetlagged

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