Sambal Belecan Tumis

18 dried chili (soak in hot water to soften), finely chopped
5 Thai chilis, finely chopped
10 shallots (12 if they are small), finely chopped
8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 inch piece of galangal, grated
1 tablespoon belachan, chopped
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 tablespoons tamarind pulp (soaked in 1/2 cup water and then strained to remove the seeds)
1 tablespoon grated palm sugar
salt to taste

Using a mortar and pestle, pound and mash the dried chilis, Thai chilis, shallots, garlic, galangal, and belachan to a paste.

In a wok or non-stick skillet, heat the oil over moderate heat until shimmering. Add the paste and cook, stirring frequently, until it’s beginning to caramelize and is very fragrant, roughly 8 minutes or so. (Lower the heat if it starts to caramelize too quickly).

Stir in the strained tamarind pulp and the palm sugar and cook for another 2 minutes or so. Add salt to taste.

Tumis means stir-fry. It’s super versatile, as it can be used not only as a condiment, but as a base for a stir-fry. Throw in some shrimp, chicken, squid, or a vegetable and you’ve got a great dish that’s full of flavor. Spread it over anything grilled as well. Wrapped well, this will keep in the fridge for weeks.

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