I once organized another party. A lot of things happened which crammed up my agenda and somehow I ended up having only one day to prepare my part of the deal, foodwise, for this potluck party. I ended up with a creative fusion dish: Asian springroles (usually I’m good with original names, but in my hurry, coming up with a name was not a priority). My secret? Quality Sambal.
In short – basically the recipe was simple: peas, organic chicken filet, rice paper and that specific sambal. I was never complimented this much over my creations!
Sambal is the Malay or Bahasa Indonesian name for peppers, lombok, salt, vinegar, unions and sometimes fermented shrimps (“trassi”). Sugar and various seasonings are the final ingredient. So sambal is spicy. In Thailand it is called ‘nam prik’. Sambal can be used as an ingredient during the cooking process, but it can also be put on the table as a supplement with many dishes.
Not the supermarket!
Sambal in the supermarket has loads of preservatives and does not even approach the flavor it should have. Best sambals are made by hand, preferably by Indonesian grannies who would protect the recipe with their lives. They would. So once again: it may take some effort, but go for the real deal. It’s healthier and flavor-wise a world of difference with the assembly-line sambals in any supermarket.
The only bad thing I can say about the products of this brand is that the name isn’t that creative. Java Cahaya or Desa Secret might sound more mystifying, more romantic, when applying the magical paste to your food creation. Sambal Brandal (with a nut taste), Djahé, Gledek and – my favorite – Peteh are all available. Very hot – ‘pedis’ – ones for the sambal-lovers. Also flavor fusions of sweeter sambals.
The shop also provides Emping Krupuk (pawn crackers) and Spekkoek (layer cake), of course.
From now on it is uncomplicated to impress.