Curries from the western Indonesia island of Sumatra are believed to derive from Indian curries and they’re known for their yellow hue, which comes from turmeric. And this green sambal - sambal lado ijo - is typical of the kind you’d find in Padang, also on the island of Sumatra, renown for its particularly fiery cuisine. Chili, curry and rice are essentials of a Padang meal. Serve this on its own or as part of a larger, curry-centric spread of dishes, with plenty of rice for mopping up all the flavoursome sauce.
- 1 tbsp tamarind pulp
- 2 ½ tbsp vegetable oil
- 500 ml (2 cups) coconut milk
- 1 stalk lemongrass, bruised and tied in a knot
- 8 large hard boiled eggs, peeled
- Steamed rice, sliced green onions and fried shallots, to garnish
- 150 g small pink shallots (about 8), peeled and chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 6 red birds eye chillies, chopped
- 3 cm piece ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 3 cm piece galangal, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh turmeric or 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 150 g large green chillies, trimmed and coarsely chopped
- 75 g small pink shallots (about 4),peeled and coarsely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1 green tomato (about 150 g), cut into quarters
- 2 kaffir lime leaves, very finely shredded
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
For the green sambal, place the chillies, shallots, garlic and tomatoes in a steamer, cover then cook for 20 minutes or until very soft. Transfer to a food processor then using the pulse button, process until a coarse paste forms; do not over process. Transfer to a small saucepan, place over medium-low heat then cook, stirring for 6-7 minutes or until excess liquid has evaporated. Stir in the lime leaves then season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
Combine the tamarind pulp in a bowl with 80 ml (⅓ cup) boiling water then stand for 20 minutes or until softened. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a bowl, squeezing the solids with your fingers to extract as much liquid as possible - discard the solids and set the tamarind mixture aside.
For the spice paste, combine all the ingredients in a food processor then process until a smooth paste forms.
Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium then add the paste and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the coconut milk, lemon grass and tamarind puree and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low then cook, covered, for 10 minutes to allow the flavours to develop. Add the eggs then simmer, uncovered, for 6-7 minutes or until the liquid has reduced slightly. Serve with rice and garnished with green onions and fried shallots, with the sambal to the side.
Read more about sambals in Malaysia and Indonesia and get more of Leanne's sambal recipes here.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Sarah O'Brien. Food preparation by Tina McLeish.