It is not my intention to promote vegetarian recipe but after due consideration, I have decided to share this unusual niche recipe in the blog. I have two objectives that I hoped to achieve are:
- To help those vegetarian readers who have difficulty to find such a recipe in the internet. In fact, a lot of vegetarian recipes are very secretive and thus causes expensive vegetarian food served in the restaurant
- To clear misconceptions about Chinese vegetarian cooking for non vegetarian and western vegan supporters..
I personally have encountered prejudice about vegetarian foods that I prepared, or more precise, Chinese vegetarian cooking and Buddhist vegetarian cooking. These sectors viewed anything cooked by Chinese vegetarian as unhealthy, uses mock meat for every dish, every meal have processed food that are loaded with preservatives and colouring. Well, I am just trying to share this recipe to let those sectors knew that Chinese vegetarian cooking uses natural ingredients and can be as healthy as we want it too..
I have decided to select the sambal recipe because I do not think there is any such recipe in the internet (pardon me if I am wrong). I am unsure how others do it but I am sharing my way with the readers. I never say my recipe is the best but I think for those who are interested, you can use this recipe as a starting point. Even for non vegetarian, you can add certain non vegetarian ingredients and come out with the cooking sambal suitable for your daily cooking.
So, what is the difference between vegetarian and non vegetarian sambal? Actually, there are only a few ingredients being omitted and the proportion of each herb may change slightly . The 5 ingredients are in the picture above: Garlics, shallots, onion, dried shrimps and shrimp paste aka belachan. Buddhist vegetarian do not take pungent herbs and therefore, garlics, shallots, onion are being excluded. Well, for vegetarian sambal, the traditional flavour will be replaced by using more galangal and lemon grass and it has its very own unique aroma.
The next question that may be in your mind is what can this sambal be used for? This is the base sambal and I always have some in the fridge during my vegetarian period. So far I have used it to cooked Vegetarian curry noodles . With these sambal, I added one tablespoon of curry powder and coconut milk, i can have a bowl of vegetarian curry laksa.
The same is used for my vegetarian curry . By adding curry leaves, curry powder and your favourite vegetables, it will help you to cook a bowl of vegetarian curry like those sold in the stores.
By adding some sugar, I think this is an excellent sambal for nasi lemak .
I also used it to stir fry noodles and family members loved it..
I blended some tau cheo (fermented soya beans), added water, sugar and assam juice, I can churn it into my favourite mee siam
At times, i used it to cook vegetables such as brinjal.
Not forgetting, this delicious plate of telur balado which all the family members voted as very delicious.
Well, the list continues and it is a versatile sambal base just like non vegetarian sambal used in many nonya or Malay dishes.
Because the lack of dried shrimps, onions and etc.… with the same amount of herbs, the volume of your vegetarian sambal will be significantly lower than non vegetarian sambal. In order to boost the volume and the texture of the vegetarian sambal, a medium is required and I have selected soya bean residue left from making soya bean milk. I find that soya bean residue works wonder in vegetarian cooking. But is it necessary? i will list it as optional but personally, I think it is a good way to get rid of soya bean residue and the sambal will not become overly spicy. The texture will look better too. Soya bean residue is very nutritious,provides a very faint soya aroma but will not jeopardize the overall aroma of the sambal. My sambal is rather basic and you can always add the spice that you liked such as some cumin, fennel or coriander powder. Use this as a starting point and slowly adjust to the recipe that suits you.
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings: For about 5-10 meals
To be blended together （一起搅拌）
- 1 tomato (番茄）
- Some coriander roots (芫茜根）
- 5 cm long galangal (蓝姜）
- 2 cm long turmeric (黄姜）
- 3 cm long ginger (姜）
- 10 fresh chilli (辣椒）
- 2 stalks of lemon grass (香茅）
- 10 pieces buah keras or macadamia nuts (石栗（
- 3 tablespoons of soya bean residue (黄豆渣）- optional
- 3 tablespoons of sugar （白糖）
- Pinches of salt （盐巴）
- 1 cup of cooking oil (食用油）
Optional Ingredients that can be considered adding (其他可加入香料）
- Cumin powder (孜然粉）
- Fennel powder (茴香粉）
- Curry powder (咖喱粉）
- Coriander powder (芫茜粉）
- Chilli powder (辣椒粉）
For Non Vegetarian Version add the following ingredients (荤食谱加入下列香料）
- 10 cloves of garlic (蒜头）
- 10 shallots (小葱头）
- 1 onion (大葱）
- 2 tablespoons of belachan (虾酱）
- 5 tablespoons of dried shrimps, soaked (虾米）
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- Put all the ingredients for blending in a blender, add some water and blend until as find as possible.
- In a wok, heat up the cooking oil, add the blended sambal and also the soya bean residue, stir fry for about 5 minutes or so. Add more chilli powder to enhance the colour if necessary. Add the sugar, sugar and continue to stir fry until the sauce thickens and oil separates from the spices. During the cooking, only medium heat shall be used. Constant stirring is required. The whole process can take up to 25-30 minutes depending on the heat. As you stir fry, you will witness the colour changes from light to darker. The sugar will also caramelize giving it a glossy and darker look.
- Once cooled completely, store in a sterilized bottle and keep in the fridge or freezer. Use a clean spoon to take out the portion you need every time you open the bottle. This form of preparation is a form of preservation and can keep for more than 1/2 year if it is not contaminated. It can be used as a base sambal to cook a variety of dishes.
This is a special niche recipe and I do not anticipate non vegetarian to try out this recipe as you have much more choices than vegetarians. You can always use the base of this recipe and add in the excluded ingredients mentioned above and come out with a normal bowl cooking sambal. But I seriously hoped that this post will clear the curiosity of non vegetarians about vegetarian cooking. Vegetarian members, I hope this will benefit you and again, this is my very own recipe and you can use this as a starting point for your sambal adventure.
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