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Sambal oelek is a condiment, an ingredient or a dish which will always contain a large amount of chilis. The word is of Indonesian and Malaysian origin. Sambals are popular in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the southern Philippines and Sri Lanka. It is typically made from a variety of peppers, although the bright red, thin and sharp tasting chillies are the main ingredient. Some types of this variant call for the addition of salt or lime into the red mixture. Oelek is a Dutch spelling which in modern Indonesian spelling has become simply Ulek. Ulek is Indonesian special stoneware , something similar to a stone pestle (called ulekan) with a mortar (ulek-ulek) made from an old and matured bamboo root, that is used for crushing chilies, peppers, shallots, peanuts, and other kinds of ingredients. Sambal oelek is used as a condiment and as an ingredient for a variety of dishes. It is sometimes a substitute for fresh chilis. It can be extremely spicy for the uninitiated. Jars of sambal oelek can be bought in many Oriental shops and in some delicatessens, but it is quite easy to make your own.
How to select
Some ready-made sambals are available at exotic food markets or gourmet departments in supermarkets in many countries. A sambal can also be a pungent dish of its own in which a large amount of chili peppers is used., so it is best to prepare your own sambal oelek at home. Check the ebst before date before buying bottled oelek.
" Dishes called a sambal include sambal sotong (with cuttlefish), sambal udang kering (with dried prawns) and sambal lengkong (with herrings)
" This spice blend can be added to add heat to a dish without altering the other delicate flavours.
" Sambal oelek is usually used either as an accompaniment to rice and curried dishes, either as a condiment or as a side dish, or as a basis for a range of Indonesian dishes.
" Spread sambal olek slightly onto toasts with cucumber and place cheese slices on top for a tasty grilled sandwich.
" Sambal oelek can be added to pasta, noodles, red curry paste ( with coconut milk) and even to salads and stir frys.
How to store
Store sambal oelek in a glass or plastic bottle and keep it in the fridge.
" All hot chili peppers contain phytochemicals known collectively as capsaicinoids, which help in comabting the free radical activity.
" Sambal oelek is helpful in cases of rhinitis, alleviating pain and helps to release mucus during cold attack.
" Since it is quite hot and spicy, people suffering from colitis or ulcers should avoid or use it sparingly .