I love spicy food. I can't live without them. However, I think I probably overdid it, since I recently found out that I can't take chomping down on fresh bird's eye chillies like I used to (which my husband and I began to take up after the kids ate with us). Since both of us can't live without having this hotness in our food, whenever I cook something that is not spicy or not spicy enough, we'd get a few bird's eye chillies and bite on them with every two or three fingerfuls of rice and whatever meat/chicken dish was accompanying our meal.
Sambal is what we call our spicy condiments. It's like the Somali Bizbaaz, except I think it's way spicier. Sambal is usually not generously slathered onto the rice, since it's very spicy! When eating it, we would scoop about less than a teaspoon of it, and mix it in our pristine, steaming white rice to 'flavor' it. Of course for those who can tolerate the hotness, maybe more than a teaspoon of sambal is needed.
Tip to deal with the spiciness when it hits your tongue: do NOT drink water, or juice, hot or cold becuase it will only spread the capsaicin molecules (the culprit that contains that spiciness) all over your tongue! Drink whole milk or gobble up several spoons of ice cream (full fat), because the fat molecules trap the capsaicin molecules and carry them safely down your throat. In fact, when training my children to tolerate the heat from spicy food, I would have a glass of whole milk on standby.
Ready for the adventure?
Sambal Telur ( Egg Sambal)
5 hard boiled eggs, peeled and wiped dry with paper towels
1 1/2 - 2 cups (roughly) dried chillies* soaked in hot water to rehydrate, then blended in a blender
1 medium sized onion, cut intochunks
3 cloves of garlic
4 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp tamarind paste mixed with 1/4 cup water to make tamarind juice (optional)
Oil for frying the eggs
- Dump in a blender: the rehydrated chillies, onion chunks, and garlic cloves, and blend till combined. Set aside.
- Heat enough oil in a saucepan such that the whole hard-boiled eggs can be partially submerged in it.
- Gently and slowly place the eggs in the hot oil. They will sizzle and the oil will start bubbling around each egg as the bottom halves start to beautifully brown
- Roll them over to fry the other side. The fried side should look brown with a crinkly texture
- Drain them on a paper towel when the surface of the eggs are roughly browned. (don't worry about parts that are not browned)
- In the same oil, pour in the blended mixture in step 0, and cook for about 5-10 minutes. Keep stirring.
- Meanwhile, slice the fried eggs in half, and set them aside
- Put in sugar and salt in the cooking sambal
- If using tamarind juice, add them in at this point. Cook for additional 3-5 minutes. You may see sambal darkening as a result of the sugar caramelizing.
- Add in the eggs, and gently stir so they will be somewhat coated in the cooked sambal
- Serve hot with steaming white rice and accompanying greens
- Make sure the oil is hot before you put the eggs in, or the eggs might stick to the bottom of the pan!
- Make sure the eggs are really wiped dry to avoid splatter when frying
- A serrated knife may make slicing the fried eggs easier
- For a healthier version, toss aside the oil used for frying, and get new oil to cook the sambal in
- You can reduce the amount of oil if you want, before step 5.
- *To rehydrate the dried chillies: boil water, submerge the dried chillies in it, keep them submerged, and soak for about half an hour or more, or until they are soft. Pluck off the stem before soaking them (the Mexican ones sometimes have stems). Refer to this post.
- Get the small, thin dried chillies and mix with the Mexican big sweet dried chillies. The thinner and smaller the chillies, the spicier. The bigger and darker, the sweeter and less spicier. I use Ancho(big and sweet) mixed with Chipotle or Arbol (smaller and spicier) to tame the spice a little, for the kids. For those living in the Columbus, you may find them at Meijer in the vegetable section.
- The blender that you use must be one that you don't mind using for onions and chillies. You might not want to use a blender that you also use to make smoothies or milk shakes :)
- The tamarind juice gives it a tangy taste and improves the taste significantly, but if you don't have it, it will also work.
- When you go to Asian grocery stores, ask for tamarind paste (using the paste may be easier than using the pods version)
- You can make this dish without frying the hard boiled eggs, but the sambal will most likely slide off the surface of the eggs. The crinkly texture as a result of frying, is what enables the sambal to adhere to the eggs' exterior, and it also gives a different texture to the eggs when you bite on them.
- You can also, instead of blending the chillies, onions and garlic till they are smooth, in a blender, roughly pound the onions and garlic with mortar and pestle, and saute them with the blended rehydrated dried chilllies as in step 5.
- I make a jar of these rehydrated dried chillies to keep in the fridge for more than a one time use.
Information on dried chillies from the Cook's Thesaurus
What an excuse to have ice cream for dinner, huh? ;)