by Novia D Rulistia
The Klungkung red chili, which grows in the Klungkung region of Bali, has the reputation of being the hottest of its kind; so does the jumbo cayenne pepper of Cibiuk in Garut, West Java.
These reputations were made based on those who sampled the signature sambal (chili condiment) of these regions, without reference to the Scoville scale.
Instead of using the formal Scoville heat units (SHU) system, sambal makers typically note the fieriness of their sauce with numbers from 1 to 10, according to the amount of chili they have used.
The higher the number, the more diabolical the taste.
Street food vendors selling nasi goreng (fried rice), tahu gejrot and rujak (spicy fruit salad) usually ask customers how many chilis they want in their sauce before making it.
One is the safest answer.
Such a privilege, however, doesn't exist in restaurants where sambal is the signature dish.
The following is a selected list of restaurants in Jakarta famous for their homemade sambal.
Rawon Setan (The Devil's Rawon) is a special beef stew from Surabaya, East Java. As the name suggests, foodies will find the dish tastefully rich and extremely hot.
The stew is black as keluak (black nuts) is the main spice.
The restaurant is named after the devil because initially it was just a small food stall that opened at midnight-the time when devils appear, according to local people.
Apart from beef stew, the restaurant serves other local delicacies, such as rib stew, iga penyet ('smashed' ribs marinated in sambal), tahu telur (tofu with eggs), and tahu campur (fried tofu with fresh lettuce, boiled noodles, bean sprouts and a sweet and sour sauce).
Rumah Makan Cibiuk
The sambal in this restaurant, which serves the cuisine of the Sundanese people of West Java, is no ordinary sambal.
It is rich with history and famous for its heat - which will burn your mouth.
The first restaurant in the business was established in Garut, West Java. Its secret recipe for chili paste has been passed down for decades among the members of the family of Sheikh Jafar Sidik, a respected figure in the region.
Cibiuk sambal is made of jumbo cayenne peppers mixed with tomatoes, shallots, lemon basil, aromatic ginger, salt and shrimp paste. Unlike typical sambal, which is ground into a smooth paste, Cibiuk sambal is coarse.
There are several sambal choices on offer the Cibiuk restaurant. The favourites are the green and red sambal, mango samba and the super-hot sambal ceurik (which means "to cry" in Sundanese).
The meals served include various types of pepes (steamed and grilled meals) and ayam bambu (bamboo-cooked chicken).
Nowadays, Cibiuk has more than 40 outlets in several cities in Indonesia, including Jakarta; nearby Bogor, West Java; and the city of Bandung, also in West Java, about 150 kilometres from the capital.
Remboelan is a restaurant in Jakarta known for serving traditional, home-cooked Indonesian meals.
Located in Plaza Senayan, Kota Kasablanka and Pondok Indah shopping malls in South Jakarta, Remboelan is always full, and many are willing to wait for a seat.
It offers the sambal connoisseur a host of choices, such as sambal terasi (shrimp paste), sambal hijau (green), sambal roa and sambal penyet (smashed sambal). Meals include nasi bakar peda (grilled fragrant lemon grass rice, wrapped in a banana leaf and stuffed with peda fish), lontong cap gomeh (rice cakes served with chicken or vegetable curry), asem-asem iga (spicy, sour beef rib soup), and sop buntut (oxtail soup).
The food, and of course, the taste offer a distinct value for the money.
You'll leave the restaurant with a happy tummy. — Jakarta Post
A spicy dish for cooler weather
by Novia D. Rulistia
As the rainy season begins in Indonesia, the appearance of warming (some would say fiery) sambal on the dinner table has become more imperative.
The most common sambal found in households is stir-fried chili paste mixed with shrimp paste, or sambal terasi. It can be consumed as a dipping sauce for fried chicken or fish, mixed into soups or used to add flavour when slow cooking food.
Another favourite sauce for the season is sambal rujak, which goes with any kind of fruit.
Here's how to prepare the sauces.
The spicy taste of this sambal is greatly loved because the condiment can make a simple dish taste extravagant. What makes it better is that it is easy and fast to make.
What you'll need:
- 10 red chilis (adjusted to taste)
- 5 shallots
- 10 cayenne peppers (again, to taste)
- 1-2 tsp salt
- 1 teaspoon (tsp) shrimp paste - palm sugar
- 1 tomato
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 lemongrass stalk, cut
- 3 galangal (ginger roots)
- 5 tablespoons of cooking oil
How to make it:
- Grind the chili, onion and shrimp paste with a pestle and mortar, or in a blender
- Heat the oil in a wok or saucepan, add the chopped tomato and let it fry for a while before putting in the chili paste and other ingredients
- Fry it all on medium heat, stirring for about five minutes
- Lower the heat and the sambal is ready to serve
- It is spicy, sweet and sour. Rujak is one of the best snacks for afternoon breaks while having light conversation with your friends, colleagues or family.
- Jicama (Mexican yams), young mango, ambarella, water apple, pineapple, papaya and any other fruits you would like to have on the plate.
What you'll need:
- 4 (more or less) cayenne peppers
- 200 grammes palm sugar, shaved
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 150 grammes ground roasted peanuts
- 2 spoons of tamarind pulp
- 1 tsp shrimp paste
How to make it:
- Combine all ingredients, grind with mortar and pestle until the shaved sugar starts to dissolve, then add peanuts and grind again
- Add water and mix it all together
- Serve with cut fruit
(Compiled from various sources)