One of the things I love about Bali is the FOOD! So many delicious flavours and colours. Simple ingredients treated carefully with moreish results. Every time I’ve been to Bali I have overdosed on homemade tomato sambal. I love chilli at the best of times, but this sweet, spicy tomato sauce makes everything taste super amazing. A little teaspoon full on the side of my plate to swipe my veggies or satay through, and I’m happy. Okay. Maybe a bit more than a teaspoon full!
When Rin and I were there a couple of weeks ago, we learnt how to make our own tomato sambal. Our teacher Jero was a little reluctant to get specific with exact quantities of ingredients, saying it’s good to experiment, taste and make it your own way. So that is what I did.
I made this in a food processor, but in Bali we made it in a big, wide Indonesian mortar and pestle (I really want one! I wish I had bought one to bring home! Tell me if you know where I can get one!) Also: I was feeling a bit lazy today, so I used raw sugar instead of palm sugar.
Pretty Free-Style Tomato Sambal
This made two 250ml jars worth
In a pot of water plonk:
4 ripe tomatoes (I used 3 and a bunch of yellow cherry tomatoes)
1 birdseye chilli (remove the seeds if you are worried about too much heat)
6 or 8 shallots (the pinky ones as shown above)
4 cloves of garlic
Boil all the above in a pot of water for 20 minutes.
Drain very well – no water allowed!
Process in the food processor until saucy, adding 1 tablespoon of raw sugar or palm sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt (OR 1/2 teaspoon of shrimp paste)
I also added: 1 tablespoon of vinegar (white or rice wine vinegar will do) for some extra bite. This might be breaking the official sambal rules, but I like it like that.
You can also do this in batches in a mortar and pestle, if you prefer. It takes longer but will taste better!
Next, taste and make any adjustments you need to. Sweeter? Add more sugar. Spicier? Add some more chilli. Saltier? You know what to do! Work that out to suit you. When you are happy with the way it tastes, spoon into jars and top with a lime leaf or a curry leaf, if you like. This makes it look pretty AND imparts some extra flavour too.
And that’s it! Sambal the crap out of every meal! You’re welcome!
(I didn’t sterilise my jars, because we are greedy and this will be gone in a trice! If you are making it to keep or gift, sterilise your jars for best results!)