The fact that sambal keeps for a long time is without a doubt the main reason for its popularity with pirates. Another reason is Sambal Badjak’s careful balancing of the 6 flavors: the double cooking reduces the intensity of the chilies, the sugars, garlic and shallots add sweet-sour tanginess with the lime, it’s supported by a good dose of salt, umami comes from the trassi, and there’s a hint of bitterness from the caramelized aromatics.
¾ cup coconut oil or vegetable oil
½ cup red Thai chilies
½ cup garlic cloves
½ cup shallots
½ tsp trassi (fermented shrimp paste)
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp lime juice
Heat oil in a wok.
Add chilies to the wok and dry until brown. Remove with a skimmer and set aside.
Repeat with garlic, then shallots.
Place chilies, garlic, shallots, trassi, and salt in a food processor and purée.
Return purée to the wok and cook in the oil on medium heat until caramelized.
Add lime juice and salt and cook for 1 minute more.
Place in a jar. It keeps for weeks in the fridge.