Having a bag of dried chillies in the pantry can be useful, especially when there's a block of belacan (shrimp paste) sitting next to it for a long time! Initially, I wanted to prepare a simple malaysian sambal belacan but this does not seem possible without a good squeeze of lime juice in it. So, I resorted to preparing another alternative.
This particular sambal tumis reminded me of the chilli sauce that we get with nasi lemak although mine may take more practice to achieve the same level!
Ingredients (adapted from here )
100g dried chillies, soaked in 1/4 cup water
100g fresh chillies
10g bird's eye chillies
1 big onion
1 cup cooking oil
40g tamarind pulp
50g palm sugar
1 tsp salt
I have used less bird's eye chillies for fear that my poor tummy could not handle the heat and did not have any galangal so I've replaced that with ginger.
Toast the belacan until it is achieves a crumb like texture (takes about 10 minutes on low heat?). Place chillies, shallots, onion and ginger in a food processor and blend away. Slowly incorporate sufficient amounts of the chilli water (water used to soak the dried chillies) until the mixture appears paste like. Add the belacan crumbs to it.
Pour chilli paste into a big wok and stirfry for 10 minutes until the paste becomes drier before pouring in the oil. Continue stirring on a low heat for 40 minutes or until the chilli paste turns darker and the oil separates.
Incorporate the tamarind pulp, salt and sugar into the chilli paste and continue stirring for an extra 10 minutes.