I saw a post on ready made Sambal Totok and I was curious as to what sort of sambal it was. So I did a search.
Apparently, it is a sambal made of chilies, onions, garlic, belacan (prawn paste) and ikan bilis (anchovies). All the ingredients are fried in oil before pounding. Then I realized that I have seen a recipe like that before.
When I got home, I opened the book Senangnya Memasak Sambal & Sos. There I found two recipes.
1. Sambal Lonte - where the ingredients are fried first and then pounded. But ikan bilis was not an ingredient and;
2. Sambal Gesek - same ingredients including ikan bilis but ingredients are not fried.
It looks like sambal totok is a combination of the two. Since I was curious, I decided make this sambal.
I did not follow the recipe exactly and used what I had in the fridge. The ikan bilis was fried separately while the other ingredients were fried together.
Then chilies, onions, garlic and belacan were fried until wilted and the belacan smelt wonderful.
After that the ingredients (except ikan bilis) were pounded using my mortar and pestle. I was pleasantly surprised that the fried ingredients were easier to pound compared to uncooked.
There was none of the juices from the onions and chilies splashing everywhere and none of the ingredients jumped out of the mortar. Hey, I like this!
Not only that, the sambal had a more intense aroma and flavor.
Once the ingredients are completely pounded, the ikan bilis is added and pounded briefly. Since the sambal was already salty, I did not add any salt. The sambal was finished with a squeeze of lime.
I would say that this is a very tasty sambal, the secret being the frying of the ingredients. Well, I am glad I discovered this sambal.
Recipe source : Adapted from Senangnya Memasak Sambal dan Sos (page 15)
- 4 red chilies, sliced
- 1 green chilli, sliced
- 4 green cili padi
- 5 shallots, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 tsp belacan
- 1 handful of ikan bilis
- lime juice to taste
1. Fry ikan bilis until crispy and set aside.
2. In another pan, heat oil and fry chilies, shallots, garlic and belacan until wilted and the belacan is aromatic (it does not take very long).
3. Transfer into a mortar and pestle and pound until fairly fine.
4. Add fried ikan bilis and pound briefly.
5. Season with a squeeze of lime.