Sambal Heaven

I am so excited to share the recipe for Dried Shrimp Sambal, or to use its Nonya name, Hae Bee Hiam that I discovered in the Daily Asian Cook Book.

It is a condiment that with a good blender is easy enough to make but without a Thermomix it is a chore as you have to stir, stir, stir for a good half hour till the oil separates from the chilli and onion so that you can then add the shrimp and cook and stir for a further 40 minutes to get that deep rich flavour. Anything less and it tastes flat and not worth the effort.

With the Thermomix, all the ingredients are thrown in together (including the oil) and chopped in 5 – 10 seconds and then without transferring any ingredients you simply cook them in the same bowl at a precise 120C for 45 minutes whilst you wash your hair, read a book, watch a movie, do some work or some mundane chore you have been putting off or do the school run, go to the dentist or doctor or pop out for a meeting. When it’s done, transfer it to a sterilised bottle and it will keep for up to three months in the fridge. Cooked with love in another dimension with beautiful, beautiful flavour.

Now a staple in my kitchen, this umami packed condiment adds depth to so many dishes. I make it with organic coconut oil (which means it is quite solid when cold) use dried Kashmiri chillies as I like the flavour and it is less ferocious heat-wise. I also use coconut sugar rather than white sugar. Sometimes I add a couple of lemon grass stalks to the mix. In addition I sometimes add kefir lime leaves too (you can chop them with the rest of the ingredients but I cook a couple whole and remove later).

Just on its own with plain rice and a side of steamed veg…. simplicity yummified! With hot rice and a hard boiled egg on the side (which incidentally I cook along with the rice and veg in the Thermomix), it tastes like Nasi Lemak without having to cook rice in coconut milk due to the fact that I use coconut oil in the paste). Easy, easy dinner (although it is traditionally a breakfast dish).

A few shallots whizzed with ginger, fresh turmeric and a dollop of vegetable stock paste and the sambal and a medium/small butternut squash and water to just cover the top of the vegetable and cooked for 20 minutes at 100C and then blended, makes a simply delicious soup

Hei Bee in crustless soft white bread makes amazing finger sandwiches or bring your cucumber sandwiches to life by adding a fine layer of this incredible paste and serve as an hors d’oeuvre. Or do as I do and dollop some on a slice of homemade bread or toast for breakfast or lunch – it’s addictive.

I throw some in curry, in rendang, in an omelette or stirred into fried rice or on steam okra or stir fried morning glory or simple green beans. I’ll stop: the uses are endless!

I do get teased constantly by friends who have not yet grasped the wonders of the TM5 and erroneously see it as an extravagance. It is a kitchen investment without a doubt. What the sceptics don’t understand is that unlike your normal cooker or steam oven (that cost more if you believe in buying quality) and if you eat out a lot or buy processed ready made food, the Thermomix pays for itself in no time at all in time and restaurant bills!

With my own Hae Bee Hiam I have my own Singapore Garden or Green Cottage (previously regularly our local go to take away or restaurant fixes for South East Asian food) in my own kitchen.

I have no qualms in saying that the food I produce in less time than it takes for Deliveroo to drop it off is far superior in quality and flavour thanks to my Thermomix! With no effort!

RECIPE

150g cooking oil

150g dried shrimps (washed and drained)

100g dried chillies (deseed and soaked till soft)

100g shallots, peeled

40g garlic cloves, peeled

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp sugar

1. Weigh in all ingredients into the TM bowl. Grind 20 secs/speed 10. Scrape down the sides of the TM bowl. Repeat if necessary.

2. Cook 45 mins/120C/Reverse/Speed 1.

Store in a clean jar in the refrigerator and I dare you to make it last three months!

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