Vote now for Best of Detroit 2021

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Recipe Corner: Make your own sambal!

Posted By on Thu, Oct 16, 2014 at 1:45 PM

It's probably not even necessary to offer a recipe for samba, the Indonesian spicy condiment available at better Asian groceries. It's about as hard to make as a mudpie, and can be made of locally grown ingredients, with a bit of forethought.

We knew we wanted to try this with our favorite chile, long red Thai peppers. We procured the seeds years ago from J. L. Hudson, Seedsman (no apparent connection to the Detroit department store), and have been saving the seeds for years. They are the ultimate fuss-free plant, untroubled by disease, pests, animals, and drought. We'd even argue they do better in regular soil that isn't overly amended. It doesn't seem that Hudson's offers them in the most recent catalog, but any spicy red pepper of relative heat should do. (Then again, we have thousands of seeds, so let us know if you really want our favorite variety.)




We grew several bushes of them this summer, and they've been producing long, hot, red peppers for weeks now. Every weekend, you can harvest a basket full of these babies and take them inside for processing.

It's super simple. Remove the stems from the peppers. If you want a milder version, remove the seeds from half the peppers. Put the peppers in a food processor with the stainless steel chopping blade ready to puree them. For every half-pound of peppers, add an ounce of white vinegar and a teaspoon of salt. Puree until the contents of the processor are a pulpy mass. Scoop the contents into a Ball jar, careful to touch the paste as little as possible. One thoughtless wipe of an eye or nose could leave you in discomfort.

The sambal will probably taste a bit vegetative at first, less like a hot paste and more like the fibrous parts of the pepper. That begins to change after a week or two in the refrigerator. If you've only had the Sambal Oelek produced by Huy Fong Foods, you'll notice that this raw version is a bit fruitier and more substantial, unlike something superheated to 250 degrees for canning purposes.

Our experiments have only begun. We've tried a jar in which we mixed a few green jalapeños and several cloves of garlic, and we're working on seeing how those flavors mix. 

Ball jars keep well in a freezer, and we're all set to be warmed through whatever this Michigan winter brings.


Tags: ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 13, 2021

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation