Bali has been home to Janet DeNeefe – or The Queen of Ubud – as she is fondly nicknamed – for over 20 years. This talented cook, restauranteur, author, artist, literary festival director, wife, mother, and practicing Hindu shares some of her favourite Indonesian-inspired recipes with us.
I have to confess that I, and most Balinese I know, can’t live without this sambal, or any sambal for that matter. They’re addictive! Sambal is an essential part of every Balinese meal, rather like salt and pepper in the West. It is chic and rustic, comforting and heartwarming all in one. Call it Balinese soul-food. Any Balinese man would marry you if you made the perfect sambal, or at least if you made sambal the way his mother does. It can be eaten with just about anything. Loads of chilli and shrimp paste are the foundation flavours, and in this case, they are teamed with loads of garlic. The sambal tastes sublime if you use coconut oil for its full-bodied, sweet flavour. I’m thinking of Marvin Gaye humming ‘Sexual Healing’. What’s not to love about it!
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
1 teaspoon sea salt
250 ml coconut oil, or other oil for deep-frying
7 red shallots, finely sliced
8 garlic cloves, finely sliced
3 long red chillies, finely sliced
6 small chillies, finely sliced
1 Mix the shrimp paste and salt together until they resemble brown sand. Set aside.
2 Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat.Add the shallots and garlic and gently fry them, moving them around continually, until a pale golden brown. This should take about 2 minutes. If darkening too quickly, lower the heat. Add the chillies and shrimp paste mixture and fry for another 20 seconds, until the chilli is barely cooked and looks bright and glossy. Pour the mixture through a strainer into a bowl.
3 Transfer the sambal to a separate bowl, and reserve the oil for another use.
2-3 tablespoon. of packaged fried shallots can be added to the sambal as an alternative to frying the shallots.
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