Indonesian Style Sambal Terasi7:02 PM
Last year, my husband and I traveled around Southeast Asia for some shoots and one of the perks of this job was that we got to stay with real people in their homes! Not only that we were able to experience different destinations within a month, we were also treated to amazing home-cooked meals by our guests. There were a few distinct dishes that I will share with you throughout my trip, but the one that tug me at the right strings were of my grandparents' home country - Indonesia.
There were a few meals we ate in Jakarta that I thought was worth mentioning, one of them would be the classic sambal terasi, or literally translates as fermented shrimp chilli jam. The sambal that our hosts made were amazing, and I forgot how much rice I ate with it! Terasi is fermented shrimp paste, commonly used in Southeast Asian dishes. There are many variants, some dried and compacted while some are wetter depending on the region. The one I had in Jakarta home was hand pounded with mortar and pestle, served with friend tempeh (fermented soy) and fried tofu and eaten with steaming rice.
Here's how to make a simple and easy Sambal Terasi:
*measurements are not stated as it depends on your taste
- a handful of Red Chillis (top removed)
- a handful of Shallots
- a few cloves of garlic
- salt & sugar to taste
- vegetable oil
- a piece of grilled terasi/ one tablespoon if you're using the wet paste
- Fry the shallots, garlic and red chillis in vegetable oil until slightly golden. Toss it out and put it in the mortar and pestle.
- Add in the terasi and pound until they mix and the oil comes out. You may re-fry the mixture it if you prefer a less raw sambal. Do not pound until it turns into a paste, just as the ingredients break and mix together is fine.