Thursday 27 August 2015

Chilli Anchovies/Sambal Ikan Bilis 参巴江鱼仔

It is without a doubt nasi lemak or coconut fragrant rice is our national treasure. I believe most people would agree to this. Every household would have some tricks down their sleeves to making a mean plate of nasi lemak. Today I am not going to talk about the rice but its humble accompaniment - the sambal. In fact, it goes hand in hand with the rice and mutually complement each other. Without sambal, nasi lemak is just bland. Most people like to take this sambal as it is but I like it with fried anchovies. It totally elevates the taste by adding texture and flavour to this dish.

I have already posted my sambal tumis recipe that can be taken plain as sambal for nasi lemak. What I am doing here is just adding another two elements to the dish to elevate this already awesome sambal to another level. The onions would add further aroma and sweetness to the dish whilst the anchovies bring that much needed crunch. What else can I say, I am a sambal junkie!

Chilli Anchovies/Sambal Ikan Bilis 参巴江鱼仔


1/2 portion sambal tumis (260 g)
50 g onion, sliced
75 g  anchovies, fried until crispy.
3 tbsp water

Cooking Instructions

1. Prepare sambal tumisCut dried chilli into small pieces and soak in hot water for 10 minutes. Chop garlic, shallots and onions into smaller chunks. Toast or burn the belacan until pungent.Remove dried chilli from hot water and mix together with garlic, shallots, onion chunks and belacan. Blend ingredients into a paste. 

2. Place the paste into a wok and stir in high heat for 10 mins until the moisture evaporates (by reducing the moisture, you could greatly reduce your cooking time and oil splatter later). Then add in oil and continue to stir for 5 minutes. Reduce fire and slowly stir-fry the paste for 10-20 minutes (depending on the quantity) until the paste turns darker and oil starts to separate from paste. By this time your sambal should have that heavenly fragrant. If it does not, fry it longer.

3. Add in seasoning. The colour of the sambal should turn a shade darker. When seasoning is well incorporated. Add 3 tablespoons of water to the sambal to thin up the paste a little. If it is still too thick, add more water. Add sliced onions and cook until onions become limp. Lastly, add in anchovies. As I like my anchovies crunchy, I just stir enough for the anchovies to be well coated before removing from fire. If you like the sambal to have more of that anchovy flavour, you might want to cook longer. Remove and serve.

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