Sambal… Is this a Malaysian or an Indonesian dish? Both Malaysia and Indonesia have versions of sambal eggs.
The difference lies in the way the sambal is made. Indonesian sambal eggs will likely have kecap manis and tamarind paste in the sauce, most Malaysian versions do not include those ingredients but, instead, has shrimp paste added to the sambal. This recipe is more Malaysian than Indonesian.
There is no universal recipe for sambal and the sauce in this recipe is especially meant to go with the hard-boiled eggs.
To serve the sambal eggs, transfer to a plate or shallow bowl. Sprinkle withcilantro. That’s really the best garnish the eggs can have. But, back in 2009 when I cooked this dish, my daughters hadn’t yet discovered the wonders of cilantro, so I garnished the sambal eggs with a mixture of finely sliced scallions and fresh flat-leaf parsley instead.
- 2 stalks lemongrass lightly pounded and thinly sliced (white and light green portions only)
- 4 cloves garlic peeled
- 4 shallots peeled and roughly chopped
- 8 medium tomatoes
- juice from one lime or lemon
- 4 bird’s eye chilies trimmed (use less or remove the seeds for a milder sambal)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon shrimp paste
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 8 hard-boiled eggs
- cooking oil for deep-frying
Make the sambal
- Pound the lemongrass.
- Peel the garlic.
- Peel and cut the shallots into halves.
- Plunge the tomatoes in boiling water for a few minutes to loosen the skins. Peel off the skins and discard.
- Place lemongrass, garlic, shallots, tomatoes, lime juice, chilies, fish sauce, shrimp paste and sugar in a blender or food processor and puree.
Deep fry the eggs
- Heat enough cooking oil in a wok to reach a depth of at least two inches.
- When the oil starts to smoke, add the hard boiled eggs and fry over very high heat, rolling them around, until the egg whites are lightly browned in spots and blistered. Remove with a slotted spoon.
Cook the sambal
- Take about two tablespoonfuls of the hot oil and pour into a sauce pan. Reheat then pour in the chili tomato sauce. Cook, stirring, for a few minutes or until very fragrant.
Cook the eggs in your sambal
- Add the eggs. Lower the heat, cover and simmer until the sauce is thick and coats the eggs well.
- Taste the sambal. Adjust the seasonings, if needed, before serving.