Monday, August 17, 2009
Snappy Summer Sambals !
Face it,most of our kitchens heat up in the summer it's always a relief to take it outside. But just because one is cooling it down doesn't mean one can't hot it up in all the other departments, and the fastest way to hot it up is with a quick and easy sambal.
In simple terms a sambal is a condiment. The Southeast Asian equivalent of any relish, piccalilli , salsa or even catsup. It used as a relish or side dish from Kerala to Maylasia and beyond in fact all over Southeastern Asia and many people think that it was Maylay traders who brought the dish to India in the first place.
Usually , one of the main ingredients one finds in any sambal is chili peppers. One can buy sambals at ethnic food markets and even some supermarkets in the ethnic food section. But hey, sambals are always best when fresh, fresh, fresh, so why not just whip up one of your own? This makes even more sense if you have a summer garden or access to a good farmers market and no, I 'm not going to mention zucchini. Today it's eggplant,something else that's very available right now.
Any Sambal recipe whether served hot or cold is fairly simple to prepare.
Following is my adaptation of a South Indian Eggplant Sambal. This all came about because while at the Farmers Market last Friday I happened a upon the most perfect pair of small purple eggplants. Beautifully shaped, deep rich color. They were the Manolos of eggplants. I had to have them. Immediately.
This recipe actually was designed for thin Japanese eggplants, but hey, an eggplant is an eggplant. Just don't use something that looks like a bowling ball and you'll be jake.
!.) Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
2.) Take 2 eggplants and halve them the long way.
3.) Mix 1/2 Tbs of oil and 1/2 tsp of ground turmeric and brush the cut surface of the eggplants.
4.) When the oven is up to speed put them on a baking sheet and pop them in. these two took about 35 minutes more or less.
5.) Take them out and scoop the contents into a bowl
6.) Add 3 Tbs of fresh lime juice.
7.) 1/4 tsp of Kashmiri chili powder (a substitute is 1/8 tsp. paprika 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper mixed)
8.) One small red onion finely diced. Add one half set aside the other half.
9.) mix in 4 Tbs of plain yogurt.
Before serving garnish with chopped cilantro and more of the chopped red onion.
This tasty Sambal has a nice mild heat and won't shock your Sambal noobies. It's wonderful as a relish, a dip , or a side vegetable salad.
My guess is that it would keep well in the fridge for a day or so, unfortunately it's so popular at our house we never seem to keep it around that long.