My mum once told me that my dad mentioned that when he was young, his family used to eat sambal belacan with tomatoes. The fresh tomatoes were pounded together with the sambal belacan. It sounded strange to me at the time. A few years later, I bought Kak Liza's book "Senangnya Memasak....Sambal & Sos" and I found a recipe for Sambal Tomato. That must be the sambal that Pa was telling Mummy about.
It is simple to prepare. Just make your usual sambal belacan and towards the end, add tomato wedges and pound it with the sambal belacan. It does get watery, so gently does it. I decided to try this sambal out of curiosity and I used my family sambal belacan recipe. My grandma and my mum add shallots to our sambal belacan. Another thing we add is a bit of sugar as we like our sambal belacan a little bit sweet. This is a characteristic of people who come from Terengganu and Kelantan.
I wasn't sure if I should use ripe or semi-ripe tomatoes as Kak Liza didn't mention it in her recipe. I decided on semi-ripe and I guess it does not really matter. And I hauled my family heirloom out of storage, the good ole Lesung Batu (mortar and pestle) which my mum gave me. My goodness, it was very heavy! I haven't pounded sambal belacan for a long time, opting to use the blender instead. This time, I wanted to do it the good old fashioned way. I toasted the belacan first over the stove and pounded it with the chillies and onions (I used a big onion instead of shallots). When the sambal was almost done, I added the tomato wedges. All I did was just to bruise the tomatoes.
Before serving, I squeezed the juice from one lime into the tomato sambal. Even before I added the lime juice, the sambal was already a little bit sour from the tomatoes. But I still added the lime juice because what is sambal belacan without the fragrance of lime? I used limau nipis instead of limau katuri because I prefer it's stronger aroma.
Verdict? It was really good! The tomatoes added a lot of bite and flavour to the sambal. Besides, I appreciate that sambal belacan pounded by hand tastes and smells way better that the one prepared in a blender. It is very true, this sambal belacan was excellent, worth the trouble and effort. If you are one of those people who can't live without your sambal belacan, I highly recommend this tomato sambal.
|Serve the tomato sambal with extra tomato wedges which are not pounded.|
I love this sambal a lot and I will definitely make it more often. And you can be sure that I will use my lesung batu more often now :)
Recipe Source : Adapted from Senangnya Memasak....Sambal & Sos by Chef Hanieliza
- 6 red chillies
- 1 big onion (or 5 shallots)
- 2 small semi ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 1 inch belacan (toast this for more fragrance if you can)
- Juice from 1 lime or to taste (I used limau nipis)
1. Pound belacan, chillies and onion until fairly fine.
2. Add tomato wedges and pound to bruise the tomatoes.
3. Add lime juice before serving.