Skip to content

Foodstuff: Sambal Ikan Bilis

Sambal Ikan Bilis 1

I have featured a fair number of ‘Sambals’ in the pages of this blog, most notably Sambal Oelek, the simple chili paste I use constantly, and Sambal Terasi, which builds upon the Oelek base and incorporates dried, fermented shrimp paste. Today’s feature is very similar to the latter except that the chili paste base is enhanced with dried anchovies. It is popular as a condiment in Indonesia and Malaysia, where it regularly accompanies Nasi Lemak, one of the national dishes, but, like Sambal Oelek, and other derivations, it can also be used as an ingredient in more complex recipes…

Sambal Ikan Bilis 2

The commercial variety of the sambal that I am showcasing today is a product of the Sing Long Foodstuff Trading Company of Singapore. Unlike many other preparations, in which whole anchovies are often visible, this paste is almost homogenously smooth and nothing resembling a fish, or fish part, is apparent. Ikan Bilis (or ‘anchovy’) is actually listed as the primary ingredient, but it should be noted that the final entry in the ingredient list is Belecan (which rather explains the ultimate taste of the condiment).

On opening the jar, the aroma very much reminds one of a tomato based sauce but, surprisingly, there are no tomatoes present in the blend that would account for that effect.  The taste is moderately sweet (and sugar is listed as an ingredient), while the chili heat is only moderate; somewhat like a commercial Sriracha sauce in strength. The ingredients list does specify ‘Spices’ near the end but it is not really possible to identify anything in particular beyond the chili itself.

As for the ‘Anchoviness’ of the condiment, that aspect of the taste is pretty hard to discern and, indeed, it is the Belecan that seems to dominate the Umami flavor component. That is a little disappointing for me but, that being said, the overall effect is quite nice and the mild, generic nature of the fishy taste, along with the smooth texture, actually make this quite a versatile variety, with appeal to a wider consumer base than more traditional types.

 

Sambal Ikan Bilis 3

As I mentioned, Sambal Ikan Bilis is a popular accompaniment to the rice dish known as Nasi Lemak, which is rice cooked in coconut milk (and generally flavored with Pandan Leaf). It also goes well with plain rice too, however, and in the little lunch you see pictured above, I served rice in much the same way as the Malaysian specialty, except that my accompaniments (in addition to the sambal), include sliced Chinese Sausage, rolled omelet slices, and garlic peanuts. The Sambal Ikan Bilis provided just the right fillip and pulled the whole together very nicely

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Now that you say sambal resembles tomato sauce, I’m thinking it’d be great in a pasta! I’ll need to do more things with sambal, it’s definitely underused in my kitchen :).

    November 23, 2016

Comments, thoughts or suggestions most welcome...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Meet & Eats

The food that I've had the pleasure of meeting and eating.

Uncle Grumpy's Playroom

Current events, humor, science, religion, satire

Food Travel Lover

走过的地方 尝过的美食 留下的回忆

The Odd Pantry

Essays on food

Reputable Sources

Organizing ferments since 2013

that Other Cooking Blog

. food . photo . sous vide .

REMCooks

My Virtual Cookbook to Share My Love and Joy of Food and Cooking One Recipe at a Time

lola rugula

my journey of cooking, gardening, preserving and more

Yummy Lummy

I cook, photograph and eat food with the occasional restaurant review!

Eye Of the Beholder

A pair of eternally curious eyes and a camera...Life is beautiful.

gluten free zen

Taking The Stress Out Of Gluten-Free Grain-Free & Dairy-Free Living

Clayton's Kitchen

Big flavors and fun cooking from a cubbyhole kitchen

Bunny Eats Design

Happy things, tasty food and good design

DENTIST CHEF

Dentist chef, just a dentistry student who practice the dentist's cooking recipes in a dentist's kitchen

Mad Dog TV Dinners

Guess what's coming to dinner?

Chefsopinion

Real Food & Real Opinions

Bento Days

Making bentos for kids

Garden to Wok

Fresh and tasty!

Bam's Kitchen

Healthy World Cuisine

Trang Quynh

everyone is special in their own way :)

Farm to Table Asian Secrets

Full-Flavored Recipes for Every Season

HolyPrettyApple

If people say that life is too short to drink bad wine, it means also that life is too short to eat crappy food!

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

The Unorthodox Epicure

Confessions of an Aspiring Food Snob

The 好吃 Challenge

1 girl, 273 days, 100 recipes

Rabbitcancook

a recipe sharing and bento blog

benleeirene

Just another WordPress.com site

The Food Nazi

Never try to eat more than you can lift

Expat Chef in Barcelona

From my kitchen to yours

Keeping Up With the Holsbys

a journey into my head and my pantry

Nurul's Culinary Adventures

I Love Food, the Universe and Everything!!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

home-cooking recipes, restaurant reviews, International cuisine ,

Naked Vegan Cooking

Body-positive Vegan Goodness

Bites of Food History

Sharing my Experimental Archaeology of Food

Stefan's Gourmet Blog

Cooking, food, wine

FOODTRAIL

A Journey About Food, Recipes And Destinations

bcfoodieblogger

Fresh, exciting and adventurous food journey

One Man's Meat

Multi-award winning food blog, written in Dublin, Ireland.

%d bloggers like this: