Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Two Hot To Trot ( 'cause one chilli kick is just not enough) - Sambal Ikan Bilis And Sambal Goreng

During my recent pickle mania fever (what with all the Achar and Kimchi), I have also made these two hot condiments. These are the two common condiments widely available in all Malaysian and Singaporean hawker centres or mamak stalls. I remember that I used to have them all the time with dishes like Nasi Lemak (one my favourite breakfast dish), mee goreng, mee siam, hokkien mee and the list goes on.

Sambal Ikan Bilis is made using crispy dry anchovies, known as ikan bilis and roasted peanuts. It provide a spicy kick and crunchy texture to any main dishes which is quite delectable. This also serve as a great snack to go with pints of good Singapore Tiger beer (just being slightly patriotic here, any beer of your choice will do).
Sambal Goreng is a simple sambal that is commonly found on the side of stir fry noodle dishes to allow the diner to help themselves to some add additional kick. My nan used to love this and would alway make a big pot and stored in the fridge. This will then made frequent appearances during each meal. You won't believe the rate at which this piquant condiment diminished, she is like a chili monster! This is also an important ingredient in Mee Goreng which I've made recently and will share the recipe in my next blog post, so hold on to your seat...

For the Sambal Ikan Bilis:

100g dries ikan bilis
50g peanuts
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1/2 tbsp tamarind pureé
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt, to taste

For the rempah/spice paste:
6 dried red chillies
1 medium onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves
2tsp shrimp paste/belachan, toasted in a dry pan


Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Spead the ikan bills and peanut onto separate baking trays and toast in the oven for 4-5 minutes, until golden brown. (Alternatively, the ikan bills can also be microwave for 30 seconds to crispen it - as kindly advised by goz from plussixfive and Yolanda from wild serai  via twitter)

Grind all the ingredients for the spice paste in a mortar and pestle. 
Heat the oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Add the spice paste and stir fry for 5-6 minutes, until fragrant. Add the tamarind pureé, tomato paste, sugar and salt, Stir and cook for another minute.

Add the peanuts and ikan bilis and mix well. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for a few week.

For the Sambal Goreng:

For the rempah/spice paste:
10 dried red chillies, soaked in warm water
2 large fresh red chillies
6 shallots, peeled and chopped
4 candlenuts or macadamia nuts

3 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
1tbsp tamarind pureé
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp sugar
1tsp salt


Pound all the ingredients for the rempah/spice paste in a mortar and pestle to a fine paste. 

Heat the oil over medium heat. When smoking, add the spice paste and stir fry for about 8 minutes, stirring regularly until the paste is fragrant and most of the moisture has been cooked off.
 Add the tamarind pureé, tomato paste, sugar and salt to taste with a touch of water if it looks too dry. Cooked for another minute or two, then transfer to dish. Use immediately or stored in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.


  1. yum yum, I could go through this easy, it's addictive. this is crying out for nasi lemak!!

  2. Yes it does, doesn't it? That did crossed my mind until I found myself munching through the entire sambal ikan bills so will have to make a new batch for Nasi Lemak next time.



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