Sambal Chili is the quintessential condiment in Southeast Asian cuisine, especially in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Almost every household will have their own hot chili sauce recipe. The base ingredients of the sauce are usually red chili, shallot, garlic. Many would argue a good sambal chili would not be complete without belacan (fermented shrimp paste), which provided that umami flavor.
If you are not fond of belacan’s pungent smell, you could omit it from the recipe and still able to achieve a tantalizing blend. This full-bodied sauce goes very well with any rice dishes, meat and noodles. I’m preparing this batch and serve it along with my Ayam Penyet (Indonesian Smashed Fried Chicken). Life is good.
3 tbsp ikan bilis (dried anchovies)
5 tbsp shrimp paste (belacan)
5 red chilies (double amount if you want more heat) – cut
5 chili padi (double amount if you want more heat) – cut
2 tomatoes – cut into large pieces
10 shallots – peeled
6 cloves garlic – peeled
1 tbsp sugar (or more – adjust to taste)
Juice from ½ lime (or more – adjust to taste)
¼ cup vegetable oil
Add 1 tbsp oil into a shallow pan and sauté the dried anchovies and shrimp paste over medium low heat until dry and fragrant. It should take about 10 mins.
Remove and set aside.
Using the same pan, sauté the shallot, garlic, chilies, tomatoes until softened.
Using a mortar and pestle, add in 1 tbsp anchovy belacan, half of the chilli mixture and pound into a paste.
If you are using a food processor, the texture of the chili will be smoother.
Transfer into a bowl and repeat with the same steps with the rest of the chili mixture.
Store leftover belacan in an air-tight container. It keeps well in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Add remaining oil to the pan and pour in sambal chili mixture.
Season with sugar and cook over medium low heat for 10 mins, until fragrant.
Add in lime juice and mix well, give it a taste and adjust with more sugar or lime juice if needed.
Transfer into a heat proof bowl or jar. The sambal chili keeps well in the fridge for up to a month.