Monday, August 7, 2017

Egg Sambal (Sambal Telur) - Hardboiled Eggs served with Malaysia / Singapore Style Caramelised Onion Jam

If I could go back in time, I would never imagine that I had spent a major part of my adult life living in Melbourne. Well, it happened and I'm happy with the way how it happened.

Having said that, the Singapore-originated me will never forget my roots and like to stay connected from where I'm coming from...

In particular, I really miss food that cooked with belacan in the form of sambal belacan.

Sambal belacan? For those who don't know, sambal is a South East Asian type of chili sauce that is made with different combinations of chili and a large variety of secondary ingredients such as shrimp paste, garlic, ginger, shallot, sugar, fish sauce, lime juice and vinegar. And of course, belacan is a Malay variety of shrimp paste.

If you have been searching for sambal recipes from books and internet, you will see all sambal are all very different!!! Honestly, I can't tell you which it is the best or not. It is actually depending whether you like it or not! I like sambal that is incorporated with belacan as its taste is heightened from just plain spicy and garlicy to something that is beyond 3-dimensional... a sauce that has a strong stinky fishy smell!!! LOL! And I LOVE IT!!! It's like durian, blue cheese, Taiwanese stinky tofu... It's either you love it or you don't.

I don't like durian, blue cheese, Taiwanese stinky tofu... but strangely love love love sambal belacan! Maybe because I have been growing up eating it!!! Likewise for my husband. My Aussie-born son? He tried... and hate it totally! Why am I surprised? LOL! Or maybe one day, he will become more Singaporean and might like it. Hmmm... Maybe.

egg sambal telur
Egg Sambal / Sambal Telur

Like I said earlier, there are so many different ways and recipes to cook sambal chili and also sambal telur (sambal served with hard-boiled eggs).

For sambal telur, I have noticed that some are cooked with a rather runny sambal chiili gravy. Some are cooked with fresh tomatoes, tomato sauce or paste. Some are cooked with no belacan. Hmmm... Some are really spicy with lots of chilli!

You see... There is no specific, strict, traditional or ideal way of cooking sambal telur as most mums or wives cook their versions of sambal telur according to their taste or how they were taught to cook this dish by their mums and families. So essentially, there is no exact right or wrong way of cooking sambal telur. Most often, it is cooked mostly accordingly how you would enjoy it!

I want mine to be cooked like a caramelised onion jam. And most importantly, it must have belacan with many other robustic flavours.

Here, I have these series of "tasty" photos and a quick video to show you. So, please tell me if you can visually taste my sambal telur and think that my recipe is good enough for you.

egg sambal telur
This is exactly how I like my sambal telur.
Cooked with belacan, my sambal sauce is the Malaysia / Singapore caramelised onion jam!
It is a must for me to enjoy my sambal telur with crispy anchovies!
egg sambal telur
Is this visually yummy or REAL yummy?
To answer, you have to cook it to taste it. LOL!

Here's the video showing how I cooked my sambal telur.

WARNING: When you are cooking with belacan, please be aware that it is a delicious ingredient to eat but its stinky fishy smell can stay in your house indefinitely!!! Make sure that your kitchen is well ventilated and your exhaust fan is turned on when you are cooking with belacan.

Here's my recipe.

Serve 4-6

For the rempah:
10 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1 long red chilies, seeded and roughly chopped or more if you like more spicy food
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tbsp (about 20g) belacan (Malaysian shrimp paste), roasted* - Mine is pre-roasted.
1/2 tsp chili powder, or more if you like more spicy food or omit if you are cooking this dish for young children
2 tbsp coconut milk - ok to use the fat reduced one with 13% fat

* To roast belacan, cut belacan into thin slices or fine crumbs, as thin or fine as possible. Wrap tightly in a double layer foil and bake in preheated oven, 190°C / 375°F or in an outdoor BBQ for 5-7 mins until the belachan is dry, brown and fragrant. 

Using a food processor or blender, process all rempah ingredients into a fine paste.

To cook the sauce:
2 tbsp vegetable oil, or more if required
1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tsp fish sauce or soy sauce, or more to taste
1 tbsp coconut sugar or brown sugar or palm sugar, or more to taste
1 tsp tamarind puree or juice
4-6 tbsp (60-90ml) coconut milk, less if you like sambal to be thick like jam consistency, more if you like your sambal to be a little more saucy and it's ok too to use the fat reduced one with 13% fat

To finish:
4-6 eggs, hard boiled and shell removed

To serve:
steamed white rice
crispy fried anchovies

Heat oil with high heat until hot and smokey. Add rempah and cook with high heat with constant stirring for about 4-5 min or the rempah is fragrant and well-caramelized (golden brown). Add more oil if required especially you are afraid that you might burn your rempah. Add onion and continue to cook until golden brown and softened.

Remove from heat. Stir in fish sauce or soy sauce, sugar, tamarind and coconut milk. Add 4 tbsp (60ml) coconut milk if you like your sambal to be thick or 6 tbsp (90ml) if you like the sambal to be thinner.

Toss eggs into sambal and serve immediately with steamed white rice and crispy fried anchovies. Sedap!

Happy Cooking
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  1. it looks perfect.. you left me mouth watering

  2. Ooooo this looks fantastic. I'm a huge fan of sambal with onion and ikan bilis. Definitely a perfect fit with hard boiled eggs!