- Tried & Tasted -

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Sambal Ikan Bilis (Chilli Dried Anchovies)

My sis and I practically grew up eating this sambal ikan bilis made by my auntie. It is a 'comfort' condiment for us. It tastes spicy, savory and chewy. I minimize the mess by making this in a bread maker, using the jam making function.

My auntie used to make this in big batches and would send us home with a container filled to the brim with it. We enjoyed eating it with rice or sandwiched between two slices of bread, slathered with a great deal of butter. Mmmmm...

Create good food memories with your family!

Sambal Ikan Bilis (Chilli Dried Anchovies)
(make approximately 1 kg of sambal ikan bilis)
200g shallots, peeled and puree
100g dried chilli, deseeded, cut into 2cm pieces, soaked in hot water for 10min then squeezed dry and puree in food processor
700g ikan bilis (dried anchovies), rinsed then dry fried in a wok to dehydrate it
2 whole bulbs of garlic, peeled and puree
50g macadamia nut or 8 pieces of buah keras
6 stalks of lemongrass, use only the white part of the plant, cut into small pieces and puree with shallots
1/3 cup of sunflower seed oil
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp salt
4 roots of the cilantro (optional), cleaned and puree with shallots

Steps to take:
For sambal:
  • In a food processor, grind up shallots, garlic, lemongrass, cilantro roots (optional) and macadamia nuts or buah keras. Pour the mixture into a bowl and set aside.
  • Using the same food processor, grind up the chilli and set it aside in another bowl.
  • Set the bread maker to jam making function. Add oil into the bread pan. Add puree of shallots mixture into the pan. Let the bread maker fry the mixture till they are fragrant and translucent, then add the puree chilli.
  • Let mixture fry in the bread maker for 60 min or till color of mixture turned dark red, not brown and the oil seemed to have separated from the mixture.
  • Add sugar, fish sauce and salt. Let seasoning fully incorporate and taste the mixture. You may need to add more salt or sugar to the mixture to your taste. But remember that the ikan bilis contains salt, so do not over season the mixture. At this stage, you have created a sambal paste.
  • Add the processed ikan bilis to the sambal and coat the ikan bilis evenly with it. 
  • Let mixture cool and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge. You can freeze part of it in the freezer too. 

For ikan bilis:
  • When the sambal is frying in the bread maker, place the ikan bilis, in batches, in a big sieve and rinse it under running water.
  • Drain it and spread it out on a paper towel and place another piece over it and press down on the ikan bilis to dry. 
  • Heat up a wide base pan on medium heat, dry fry the ikan bilis till it is dry.
Using a microwave:
  • After drying the ikan bilis with paper towel, I placed them on a wide base plate and microwave it on 100% power for 2 min intervals for 6 min or till dry. Stir the ikan bilis after each interval to ensure even drying.
  • To remove smell that is generated from drying the ikan bilis in the microwave, place half a lemon in a microwave safe bowl and nuke it for 3 min. Leave the lemon in the microwave for 10 min after the process is complete. Then remove the bowl and wipe the inside of the microwave with a clean dry cloth.
You may want to soak the bread maker pan in hot water with lemon slices after you washed it to remove any strong smell from the spices used.

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