SAMBAL BAJAK (Indonesian Fried red-pepper sauce)
8 macadamia nuts
1/4 pound fresh red chilies, stems removed
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 tsp shrimp paste
1 Tbsp brown or palm sugar
2 Tbsp oil
1 salam leaf or curry leaf (optional)
1/4 cup water
To prepare in a mortar: Pound nuts to a coarse paste. Mince chilies,
onion, and garlic and add to mortar with shrimp paste and sugar.
Pound mixture to a coarse paste.
To prepare in a food processor: Combine macadamia nuts, chilies,
onion, garlic, shrimp paste, and sugar, and process to a coarse
paste. Add 1 or 2 Tbsp of water if necessary to facilitate blending.
In a small skillet or saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add
chili paste and salam leaf and cook, stirring until fragrant. Add
the water and continue cooking until water has evaporated and oil
begins to separate. Serve warm or at room temperature, or store
in a tightly covered jar in the refrigerator.