Of all the wonderful dishes we sampled on our road trip through Malaysia this summer, the beef sambal tumis I had on Perhentian Besar was the one I was most anxious to try out myself once we’d made it back to Belgium. Lo and behold:
It’s not much of a looker, granted, but to be honest, neither was the original:
I added the onion and peppers on the side, btw. And while my beef may not have been quite as crunchy as its (presumably deep-fried) Perhentian counterpart, I nailed the sambal tumis itself. Mine was even a bit spicier, but so, so good…
Enough dawdling! Let’s get cooking!
BEEF SAMBAL TUMIS (adapted from Nasi Lemak Lover)
Serves 2 (with some leftovers, but who doesn’t love leftovers)
- 300g beef mince, divided into two portions and flattened
- 15g dried chillies (deseeded, cut into 2 or 3 pieces and soaked in boiling water)
- 100g fresh red chillies
- 250g shallots
- 1 large onion
- 10g ginger
- 15g galangal
- 30g garlic
- 15g belacan (shrimp paste; called terasi in Indonesia – toasted)
- 1.5 cup groundnut oil
- 40g tamarind pulp + 1/4 cup water (= assam water)
- 100g palm sugar, grated
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 yellow or red pepper, roughly chopped
- 1 shallot, cut into small strips
- 8 cherry tomatoes, quartered
- white rice, to serve
- Blend dried chillies, fresh chillies, shallots, onion, ginger, galangal, garlic and belacan with 1/4 cup of water to a smooth paste.
- Pour chillie paste into a big wok and stir-fry (without adding any oil!) for 10 minutes over medium-low heat until slightly dry.
- Add oil and continue stirring over low heat for 30 minutes. (This is the long and boring but necessary bit, I’m afraid. The name “tumis” means “stirring”, or so I was told in Malaysia.)
- Add assam water, sugar and salt. Continue stirring for another 5 minutes. Take off the heat. This is what it should look like:
- Meanwhile, cook the rice. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan and fry the onions and peppers for a few minutes until softened. Add the tomatoes and fry for one minute more.
- Next, fry the beef over medium/high heat for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side.
- Top each slice of fried beef with some fried shallot, pepper and tomatoes and ladle over a good helping of sambal.
- Serve with steamed white rice.