I love Padang food, and a must-have on my plate is the sambal cabai ijo. Green chillies taste different from red chillies; it’s not so burning hot but tastier. I also like green chillies’ aroma. And one of my all-time favourites is the Malaccan Chitty’s Green Chilli Pachadi with its overload of green chillies and young ginger sweetened by palm sugar.
My colleague told me her Indonesian maid makes this sambal all the time, and the recipe goes something like this – steam the green chillies, and pound with some shallots and garlic, and then tumis.
I felt like having this sambal last weekend because I was making Padang-style cabbage salad/kerabu (thinly-sliced cabbage with cili padi, lime juice and sugar mixed together)
I also had only five green chillies left, and couldn’t be bothered to brave the weekend grocery-shopping crowd. Nvm, I thought I’ll just make a little bit, enough for one.
The sambal cabai hijau that I like has bit of ikan bilis in it, so I decided to add ikan bilis. But I think I put in too much ikan bilis, so this this is more like an ikan bilis sambal hijau recipe. It’s still good enough for me to wipe off a full plate of rice, and it goes well with the cabbage although I wished for dendeng midway through the meal.
I’ll try making this again, with loads more green chillies and less ikan bilis. But in case you want to try this anyway, here’s the recipe I used.
You can also try the Sambal Cili Merah – Padang-style recipe. It was given by my friend’s Minangkabau mother-in-law, and it works beautifully.
SAMBAL (IKAN BILIS) CABAI HIJAU
5 green chillies
6-8 cili padi
2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of ikan bilis
1 tablespoon cooking oil
salt and sugar, to taste
Steam the green chillies and cili padi for about 10min, or until soft.
Pound the chillies, shallots, garlic, and ikan bilis coarsely.
Heat cooking oil, and fry the sambal until the oil rises to the top. Lower until the heat midway, and stir occasionally. Season with salt and sugar.