This Sambal Ikan Bilis is a must-have side dish for nasi lemak, but it’s also great in a sandwich.
Ivy Soon writes The Hungry Caterpillar.
- 6-8 shallots
- 15-20 dried chillies*
- 2-3 tbsp oil
- 1 big onion, sliced thinly
- 200g peeled ikan bilis, soak in water and drain
- 1 tbsp tamarind, soaked in ½ cup water to extract the juice
- Salt and sugar, to taste
- Blend the shallots and dried chillies finely.
- Heat up the oil, and fry the blended ingredients over low heat, stirring from time to time until fragrant and the oil floats to the top.
- Add the sliced onion, and fry for about three minutes.
- Add the ikan bilis and increase the heat to medium.
- Fry for another three minutes to mix the ikan bilis and sambal.
- Add tamarind juice, and bring to a simmer. Then, lower the heat and cook till the oil floats to the top.
- Cook it to the consistency you like - if you want a dry sambal, cook it longer.
- Season. Add salt sparingly as the ikan bilis is salty. If you like your sambal sweet, use more sugar.
- Serve with rice, or use as sandwich filling.
- * To remove the seeds, snip the dried chillies into small pieces and sieve out the seeds in a colander. Then, soak the dried chillies in hot water. The remaining seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the chillies will float to the surface. Use a slotted spoon to remove the chillies.