A couple of years ago, when I was working for a daily, I stumbled upon the most delicious and fresh-tasting chilli side dish - at the publication company's canteen, of all places. I asked tall, strapping Raju, the canteen operator, what the reddish concoction was made from and he told me: "Pounded fresh chillies and sliced onion cooked in salt."
It was that simple. But it was also simply appetizing. You could wolf down spoonfuls of rice with just this 'sambal'. However, after serving it a couple of times, Raju stopped making it - despite my begging him to do so. He never told me why he didn't dish it out anymore, even though I talked football with him every so often. Since then I've dreamt of eating this fabulous chilli thing, but somehow or other never attempted to make it myself.
The weather these few days in and around Zug, Switzerland, has been hot, hot, hot. As Mrs HBT has said, in summer, whip up some spicy dishes to stimulate your appetite - not that mine ever needs stimulating (as it is, I must eat once every three or four hours due to 'low blood sugar' or hypoglycaemia).
A blogger from Guyana, Cynthia of Tastes Like Home http://www.tasteslikehome.org/ , has inspired me with her mouth-watering salt fish recipes. Today, I decided to break open the last pack of dried salted fish I'd brought from Malaysia and combine her tomato & onion inspiration with Raju's dream sambal into something satisfying yet low-caloried. (Who would have thought Cynthia and Raju would 'meet' like this?)
Tomato, Onion & Salt Fish Argussimo
3 or 4 pieces (roughly 50g) of dried salted fish, soaked in water for 10 minutes
2 tomatoes, cubed hugely
half a big onion, sliced quite thinly
1 red chilli, seeded and sliced thinly
1 tsp chopped or dried parsley
pinch of salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tbs of sunflower seed oil
Heat oil in saucepan. Add onion and stir-fry on medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Squeeze water from the salt fish and tear into smaller pieces, add them to the pan. Fry for another 2 minutes. Add tomato and fry till the liquid is reduced by half. Add sugar, salt and parsley, and cook for another minute. Serve hot with white rice.