My Best Sambal Ikan Bilis

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My best sambal ikan bilis

My best sambal ikan bilis

Wow…….here we are, into the middle of January! Where has all the time gone. Just hard to believe. Yesterday in church, my pastor asked us whether we had set goals. Of course I did…..quite a few. But I have to admit that I didn’t get onto a good start……..sigh. But never mind, I’ll reset my goals before Chinese New Year which falls on the 10th February this year. Now I’m so thankful I’m a Chinese!….*big smiles*. 

Giveaway win

Giveaway win

Putting my goals aside, I did have a good start to the year. I won a giveaway from Shirley’s blog, Luxury Haven. There’s a massage soap, body scrub and dental kit. Isn’t it wonderful to win something? That’s not all. I also won a one year Vegetarian CookBook magazine subscription for a year from Swee San’s blog, The Sweet Spot. To all of you, my dear readers out there, I would encourage you to join giveaways on blogs. I always join if I come across any. Luck may be on your side but if you never enter, you’ll never stand a chance to win anything. I do hope you’ll win something this year. And do drop by Shirley’s and Swee San’s blogs. They are awesome bloggers.

Right, back to my cooking adventure. I cooked for 4 parties at home and 1 in church. Of course attended several. After all the cooking and eating, I’m sure it’s natural to become a bit lazy……..*big grin*. Had been having very easy, simple but healthy food.

However, there’s one food that I tried. It’s quite a lot of work but if you cook a bigger batch, it can last you for at least a week if you keep it in the fridge. And that it the spicy Sambal Ikan Bilis that almost every Malaysian crave for! This is the first time I cook it this way with ikan bilis. Ikan Bilis are dried anchovies, easily available in Asian countries. We have all types of ikan bilis in Malaysia. But sadly, this type is non existence here in Aberdeen. I always get my supply when I go back for holiday. Sometimes friends give me. So sweet of them!

Sambal ikan bilis with curried salmon and snow peas

Sambal ikan bilis with curried salmon and snow peas

Sambal ikan bilis with egg, meatball and baby carrots

Sambal ikan bilis with egg, meatball and baby carrots

The first time I cooked it was about 2 wks ago. I wanted something spicy and fragrant and wanted it quick. So I didn’t jot down the actual recipe. It came out so good that I regretted so much for not jotting down the recipe! BIG regret! I just didn’t think it would turn out to be so good. The whole batch was gone quite fast. We had it every single meal! My daughter said it’s the best! It was so good that I couldn’t wait to try again. We had been eating it with salmon, rice and vegetables, chicken, fried eggs, etc, as shown in the pictures above.

A few days ago, my husband told me his Malaysian friend from Norway would be joining us for dinner. I’msure he misses a good sambal ikan bilis. It’s so difficult to get good sambal overseas unless you live in a big city where there are Malaysian restaurants. There’s no Malaysian restaurant here in Aberdeen except Mary’s Kitchen…..hehe. I decided to cook it for the dinner and see what he thinks. He liked it very much! I just knew it!….*big smiles*.

Here’s my way of making the Ikan Bilis Sambal. The recipe is not too difficult. You’ll get quite a big bowl of it. It’s not exactly the same as the first time I cooked it but very, very close. You can adjust the seasoning and spiciness, depending on the ingredients you can get on your side. I like to use Korean chilli powder because it’s so convenient. It’s not as spicy as the Malaysian chilli powder and it gives a nice colour to the sambal. You can use dried chillies if you like. The shallots here don’t look like shallots to me. They are so different from the ones we get back home. So, I used the red onions.

Ingredients A
200g ikan bilis (soaked 15 minutes, washed and drained)
2 red onions (peeled and diced)

Dried ikan bilis

Dried ikan bilis

These dried ikan bilis are already cleaned up and split into halves. It makes cooking much easier.

diced red onions

diced red onions

Do not cut the red onions too thin or too small. You want the bite when cooked. You can use the yellow big onions too if you prefer.

Ingredients B
1 whole garlic (peeled and finely chopped)
1 red onion (finely chopped)
1T belacan (shrimp paste)
3/4C oil

Fry the chopped onions, garlic and belacan

Fry the chopped onions, garlic and belacan

Fry until fragrant. Keep stirring to make sure it doesn’t get burnt. You can use a processor to mice it. The best is actually to grind it which will give it a better flavour. But I was lazy and want it quick. Still good though….*grin*

You need quite a lot of oil to cook this sambal.

Add the ikan bilis and diced onions

Add the ikan bilis and diced onions

Add the chopped onions and ikan bilis of Ingredients A. Keep stirring for sometime, maybe at least 5 minutes.

Ingredients C
60g Korean chilli powder
3T hot chilli sauce
1T salt
5T sugar
1C tamarind juice (50g tamarind paste +1C water, mix well and sieve)

Add the seasonings

Add the seasonings

Add Ingredients C to the ikan bilis mixture above. Keep stirring to mix well and heat through. Add more water if it’s too dry.

Cooked and ready to be enjoyed

Cooked and ready to be enjoyed

Dish up and enjoy! I bet you will eat more rice like me….hehe. SO good with cucumber too….perfect combination. You can even have that as a starter. Yes, even great with bread or toast….mmmm

There was another quick sambal recipes that I cooked quite long ago. You can check it out at Easy Nasi Lemak Overseas - Malaysia’s Great Favourite. It’s a rather quick one for those living overseas. It was good but this one above is much better. The addition of anchovies makes a lot of difference. And using the actual belacan paste is better than using the powdered type. You can easily get the ingredients above in Asian supermarkets. And if you can’t find them in Asian supermarkets, make sure you stock up each time you go back for holidays. But a word of caution here. Make sure that it is allowed to go through at the airport.

So, if you like spicy and fragrant food, go for this spicy sambal ikan bilis. And to eat like a Malaysian, just eat this wonderful sambal with anything! Yes, anything! It’s especially good with coconut rice and cucumber, the ever popular nasi lemak….SO good! If you ever cook this, please share your pictures with me. If I can’t taste it, at least I can drool over it…..*grin*. Have fun cooking and eating!

Til then, see you in my next post! Enjoy your week and I will be back real soon.

Quote of the day……

We do not quit playing because we grow old; we grow old because we quit playing.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Keep Learning Keep Smiling

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suituapui  on January 14th, 2013

Oooo…looks so good. Would be great with petai added…slurpsss!!!! LOL!!!

Belinda @zomppa  on January 14th, 2013

Love sambal!! Great recipe…5 parties? Bit busy?

Muna  on January 14th, 2013

I’m so gonna do this even though it kills me… okay, I was being overly dramatic there…I probably just have an allergic reaction to ikan bilis and belacan. Will have my antihistamine and a box of tissue on standby.

Mich Piece of Cake  on January 14th, 2013

This is absolutely making me drool!

somewhere in singapore  on January 14th, 2013

Oh dear, me craving for it now, lol

Jeannie  on January 14th, 2013

Wow! This is my favorite nasi lemak condiment…I always asked for a huge portion:D yummy! I too won a cookbook from another blogger recently…so lucky me too:D congrats on your winnings!

Angie@Angie's Recipes  on January 15th, 2013

Not even sure I ever had this before…it looks very appetizing!

Mary  on January 15th, 2013

@suituapui - I have never tried petai. People say it has a strong smell! Maybe one day I should try a little :D

@Belinda @zomppa - Ya, was actually very busy, not just a bit :D

@Muna - Oh no….how can u be allergic to ikan bilis and belacan! Now I think from a different planet…..haha. But I know how it’s like. My sister is allergic to belacan too. So she will take her antihistamine and then enjoy the sambal. I mean really enjoy :D

@Mich Piece of Cake - That means it’s time for you to cook :D

@somewhere in singapore - Just take the next flight, Sharon! :D

@Jeannie - Congrats for your win! That’s so exciting. We are both lucky this year :D

@Angie@Angie’s Recipes - If you like spicy food, this one is really good. I’m enjoying it with rice, vegetables and salmon now :D

Priya  on January 15th, 2013

Omg, lipsmacking dish, love it.

Yummy bakes  on January 16th, 2013

I can have extra bowl of rice with this… yum, yum!

cakewhiz  on January 16th, 2013

congrats on your wins! i was lucky enough to win a couple of giveaways this year myself…it made me so happy coz i am not exactly the luckiest person there…hahah

this is a totally new recipe for me! never heard of it but it looks spicy and fragrant!

maha  on January 16th, 2013

wow…yummyyyy…so damn mouthwatering!!

TasteHongKong  on January 17th, 2013

Mary, you cooked this with so much ‘wok hay’ (the term we used to describe the beauty of stir-fry in wok), making the ingredients alive with fragrance : ).

Mistletoe  on January 17th, 2013

Oh…glad you were able to write down the recipe this time and enjoyed the dish. I think I would enjoy this with coconut rice. Just live the aroma and taste of coconut rice. Your ikan bilis looks yummy. Thank you for sharing your recipe with us. Congrats on your giveaway wins. Sounds like a good start to the new year. Don’t forget to go buy a lottery or two. ;)

Katerina  on January 17th, 2013

It is hard to find an authentic dish outside its country and this stands not only for Malaysian ones but also for all other kitchens. This one looks very appetizing Mary and I am sure your husband’s friend enjoyed a lot!

Blackswan  on January 17th, 2013

I love Ikan Billis especially with Sambal! Thank Goodness I just had Nasi Lemak yesterday or I’ll be drooling over your yummy dish. Mary, tried to click on my link above but it didn’t work. Does it go to another of your winning post?

Congrats again! Lucky u! Your friends must be green with envy. Hahaha!

Dedy Oktavianus Pardede/Dentist Chef  on January 17th, 2013

wow, the sambal ikan bilis is simply drolling me from the very beginng reading this post..
btw i had a smoked versior or ikan salai bilis..
don’t you think it will suite with your recipes?

noobcook  on January 17th, 2013

This is so good with Nasi Lemak. making me drool here :p~~~

Kristi Rimkus  on January 20th, 2013

Congratulations on your wins. It’s so much fun to get things in the mail, isn’t it? I love the color of this dish, it looks totally mouthwatering!

Edith C  on January 20th, 2013

Mary, am book marking this. Tried making a batch not too long recently and it wasn’t up to hubby’s standard. I think yours will be.

Lena  on January 24th, 2013

ooh…how not to love our sambal?! glad that you got hold of some ikan bilis, i remember last time you also said that you couldnt get it nice with rice, noodles, sotong ..sedap! i also won a magazine subscription from elin couple of weeks back :D

Mary  on January 25th, 2013

@Priya - Thanks very much, Priya! :D

@Yummy bakes - Haha…totally agree with you. I have been eating a lot more rice lately…all because of this sambal :D

@cakewhiz - That’s so good to know that you won a couple of giveaways too. Congrats! It does give such a good feeling :D If you like spicy food, try this one. It’s really good with rice.

@maha - Thanks very much, Maha! :D

@TasteHongKong - Oh wow…what a nice description, Maureen! It’s new to me cos I don’t understand Cantonese. Glad that you translate it :D

@Mistletoe - Oh yes….haha. I must remember otherwise I’ll be mad again….haha. Once bitten twice shy :D Oh yes, my favourite is also with coconut rice….mmm….so good! Yes, need to try my luck on lottery. If I strike, I’ll straight away go and visit you! :D

@Katerina - I think it’s hard sometimes to live away from home especially when you can’t get the food that you always like. But then on the other hand, it’s also fun to challenge yourself to cook it. It’s so satisfying when you can get it right :D I’m really so glad I got this one right….yay

@Blackswan - I have not been having nasi lemak for quite a while. Now you make me crave for it. I need to cook coconut rice soon…..mmmm….so good with the sambal. So sorry about the link. I have rectified it. Thanks very much for helping me to check :D

@Dedy Oktavianus Pardede/Dentist Chef - A smoked version of sambal? I have never heard of that. I would surely love to check that out. Thanks very much, Dedy! :D

@noobcook - Yes, it is :D

@Kristi Rimkus - Thanks very much, Kristi! Yes, such a nice feeling to win :D

@Edith C - Hope your hubby will like my version. Give a try and adjust the taste and spiciness. We have been eating it almost everyday :D

@Lena - I think I have never been using so much ikan bilis! Now I wish I can bring a whole lorry load over….haha. Now can’t wait to back home again. Will have to bring more this time now that I know how to use it :D Congrats on your win! Wonderful feeling, right?….hehe

DENTIST CHEF  on January 26th, 2013

[...] sambal ikan bilis [...]

mycookinghut  on February 3rd, 2013

Yum! You are making my mouth water, I could eat this everyday with rice!

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natasya  on April 25th, 2013

I thought this recipe is so do-able that I cooked it right away since I have everything in my pantry and they turned out absolutely delicious. It would be the best thing I have cooked ever.

emily  on May 1st, 2013

Wow, I love the look of this sambal. This is the first time I visit your blog while trying to find a decent nasi lemak recipe. I will try this sambal out.

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