The secret to sambal eggs is to fry the hard-boiled eggs before simmering in the sauce. The egg whites blister and acquire a crust during frying which makes them less slippery. That’s how to make the sauce stick to their surface better.
Sambal… Is this a Malaysian or an Indonesian dish? Both Malaysia and Indonesia have versions of sambal eggs.
The difference lies in the way the sambal is made. Indonesian sambal eggs will likely have kecap manis and tamarind paste in the sauce, most Malaysian versions do not include those ingredients but, instead, has shrimp paste added to the sambal.
This recipe is more Malaysian than Indonesian.
There are a lot of recipes on the web for sambal eggs, and most of them skip the part about frying the hard-boiled eggs before they are thrown into the spicy sauce. That saves time and effort, naturally, but without frying the eggs, they don’t acquire a good texture.
In cooking, texture counts. Always. So, I don’t recommend taking short cuts. Fry the eggs or don’t do the dish at all.
- 2 stalks lemongrass lightly pounded and thinly sliced (white and light green portions only)
- 4 cloves garlic peeled
- 4 shallots peeled and roughly chopped
- 8 medium tomatoes
- juice from one lime or lemon
- 4 bird’s eye chilies trimmed (use less for a milder sambal)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon shrimp paste
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 8 hard-boiled eggs
- cooking oil for deep-frying
Make the sambal
- Pound the lemongrass.
- Peel the garlic.
- Peel and cut the shallots into halves.
- Plunge the tomatoes in boiling water for a few minutes to loosen the skins. Peel off the skins and discard.
- Place lemongrass, garlic, shallots, tomatoes, lime juice, chilies, fish sauce, shrimp paste and sugar in a blender or food processor and puree.
Deep fry the eggs
- Heat enough cooking oil in a wok to reach a depth of at least two inches.
- When the oil starts to smoke, add the hard boiled eggs and fry over very high heat, rolling them around, until the egg whites are lightly browned in spots and blistered. Remove with a slotted spoon.
Cook the sambal
- Take about two tablespoonfuls of the hot oil and pour into a sauce pan. Reheat then pour in the chili tomato sauce. Cook, stirring, for a few minutes or until very fragrant.
Cook the eggs in your sambal
- Add the eggs. Lower the heat, cover and simmer until the sauce is thick and coats the eggs well.
- Taste the sambal. Adjust the seasonings, if needed, before serving.
If you cooked this dish (or made this drink) and you want to share your masterpiece, please use your own photos and write the cooking steps in your own words.