The Indonesian region of West Sumatra is home to masakan padang, the most popular and influential style of Indonesian cuisine. In Minang dialect, the term “balado” means “with chili,” so one of the main ingredients of the accompanying sambal balado is most certainly spicy red chilis.
Yields: 2 quarts
- 6 large red chilis
- 6 garlic cloves
- 2-inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
- 2-inch piece of galangal, finely chopped
- 1 stalk of lemongrass, center white part only
- 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp shrimp paste, terasi or belacan
- 4 kaffir lime leaves
- 6 shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 bunch garlic chives, sliced in 1-inch sections
- ¼ cup salt
- 1 cup grapeseed oil
- 10 small eggplants, cut into 1-inch cubes
- salt, to taste
- ½ cup ikan bilis (dried baby anchovy)
1. Toss cut eggplant in ¼ cup salt. Let sit for 15-20 minutes in a strainer to remove bitterness and water from the eggplant.
2. Combine all ingredients for sambal in a mortar and pestle and pound into a paste.
3. In a hot wok, add ½ cup of the grapeseed oil. Fry the eggplant in batches until light golden brown, then remove from oil and place on a wire resting rack to drain.
4. Once all eggplant has been fried, wipe out the wok and return wok back to medium heat.
5. Using 2 tbsp of grapeseed oil, sauté shallots and shrimp paste until shallots are softened and shrimp paste is lightly toasted.
6. Add tomatoes, kaffir lime leaves and garlic chives, and cook until tomatoes soften, about 2-3 minutes. Add sambal and stir until combined.
7. Add reserved eggplant and toss to coat. Add 2 tbsp of oil if mixture is sticking or seems a bit dry.
8. Add seasoning to taste.
9. Just before serving, toss eggplant with ikan bilis.