Sambal is a lip-tingling, deep crimson chilli paste. It has, dare I say it, a similar flavour profile to Sriracha (heavy on the garlic, with a tinge of sweetness), but with a black-belt karate kick. My nana’s version relies on dried chillies, which can be difficult to find here, so this recipe uses the fresh kind. When choosing chillies for this recipe, avoid smaller ones, such as bird’s eye chillies, as they can be wickedly hot and it would be a hassle to deseed them all.
Use a gluten-free miso paste.
Using a mortar and pestle or small food processor, blend the chillies, miso, sugar, tamarind, shallot, garlic and candlenuts or macadamias to a smooth paste – you may need to add a few tablespoons of water to help with this, but use as little as possible, adding a tablespoon at a time.
Heat the oil in a small saucepan over low heat, add the paste and fry, stirring constantly, until it is fragrant and has become darker and less watery – this should take around 15 minutes. Let it cool, then transfer to a sterilised glass jar and store in the fridge. It should keep for about a month.
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