By: Erna Dyanty
Sambal Bendi is absolutely amazing! The first time I had this at a vegetarian restaurant in town, I ended up going back to the restaurant the whole week. The heat from the chilies complement the okra so well, it is almost a dish on its own!
I hear the key to making good sambal is to add plenty of shallots in your chilli paste blend. This makes the paste sweet. To get that slightly toasted-salty taste to the sambal, you can use salted fermented soya bean paste, as to using belacan (shrimp paste). You’ll enjoy this one just as much as the non-vegetarian sambal!
Sambal Bendi Recipe
Ingredients (serves 2):
6 pieces of okra sliced diagonally into 1 inch pieces
1 tbsp of salted fermented soya bean paste
1 large onion
3 slivers of garlic
1 full ladle of blended dried chili paste
¼ cup of water
1 tbsp of tamarind juice
salt and sugar to taste
How to Make Sambal Bendi
1. Heat about 3 tbsp of oil in a frying pan. Pound the onions, shallots and garlic. When the oil is hot, add the pounded ingredients and sauté until fragrant.
2. Next, add the salted fermented soya bean paste together with the blended chili paste. To this add a bit of water so it gets moist. Cook until the chili paste changes to a rather dark shade of red.
3. Then, to this add your tamarind juice, salt and sugar to taste. If it’s too dry, add a bit more water as you go.
4. Lastly, toss in your bendi/okra and fry till everything is incorporated.
5. If it gets too spicy, you can either add more sugar or maybe a few slices of fresh cherry tomatoes to balance out the heat.