2 bird’s eye chillies (or other hot chillies)
4 red chillies (cayenne style), roughly chopped
3 shallots, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2cm piece galangal, roughly chopped
8 macadamias, roughly chopped
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sunflower oil (or other vegetable oil)
2 teaspoons shrimp paste
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
1 tablespoon coconut sugar (or palm or brown sugar)
½ cup coconut milk

Given the number of chillies used here you would think this Indonesian-style sambal would be spicy hot. It does have some heat, but it isn’t mind blowing. The shallots, coconut sugar and coconut milk help sweeten and temper the heat. Of course, you could use hotter chillies in place of cayenne and add more bird’s eye chillies if you want extra spice.

I’ve been making big batches of this to use as a condiment to add a little oomph. It’s excellent with fish and poached chicken but damned tasty in a cheese toastie. You could freeze this although I find it doesn’t stick around that long.

I use roasted belacan shrimp paste (you can find this and frozen galangal in Asian supermarkets) but you could just use shrimp paste. Likewise if you have candlenuts (the more traditional ingredient) use those in place of the macadamias.

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1.If using dried bird’s eye chillies, soak in warm water for 10 minutes to rehydrate.
2.Blitz the chillies, shallots, garlic, galangal, macadamias and salt in a food processor to a coarse paste.
3.In a frying pan, heat the oil over a low-medium heat and toast the shrimp paste for a few minutes.
4.Add the chilli mix and fry over a low heat for 10 minutes, stirring often so it doesn’t catch.
5.Add the tamarind paste, coconut sugar and coconut milk, and cook for a further 10-15 minutes until the mix has darkened, all liquid has disappeared and the mix is thick. Be vigilant for this last part and stir often as it catches easily.
6.Taste for salt and if you feel it needs a little more acidity add extra tamarind, vinegar or lime juice. Cool before using.
7.Keep in the fridge and use within 2 weeks. Perfect as a sambal to serve alongside rice and noodles and with fried chicken. It’s also delicious added to soups and stews.

Recipes & food styling Ginny Grant / Photography Aaron McLean / Styling Jess Hemmings