Sambal Goreng Perentil (Pasarminggu)

This is genuine winter food for me: meatballs in a spicy coconut sauce. Beb Vuyk (I make all her recipes from her cook book) calls this dish sambal goreng perentil. Online I see that this is also called sambal goreng printil (Indonesian spelling).

According to Beb this recipe is from Pasarminggu. That literally means the Sunday market but is also a neighborhood in South Jakarta.

This dish consists of small meatballs cooked in a coconut broth together with potatoes and snow peas. The modern sambal goreng printil is made in the same way I learn online. The balls are sometimes made from minced chicken meat or a hard-boiled egg is added to the dish. Sounds yummy too!

But today I follow Beb’s version.

This dish is enough for 3 people and is ready in 40 minutes.

Sambal Goreng Perentil (Pasarminggu) #79 translated from Beb’s Groot Indonesisch Kookboek, page 93.


1/2 kg minced beef
1 large potato
50 grams of snow peas
3 tablespoons of sliced onion
2 cloves of sliced garlic
1 teaspoon sambal ulek (or one chili pepper and pinch of salt)
1 egg
1 teaspoon of laos (galangal)
1 salam leaf (Asian bay leaf)
1 teaspoon of Javanese sugar (gula Jawa)
asem the size of a walnut (tamarind)
1/8 block santen (100 ml coconut milk)
4 tablespoons of oil

Season the meat with the salt, add the egg and roll balls the size of soup balls. Cut the potato into cubes and the snow peas into pieces of about 1 cm.

Rub onions, garlic, sambal, laos and the sugar into a paste. Make asem water from the asem with 1 dl of water.

Sauté the spice mixture in the oil until the onions turn yellow. Add the meatballs and gently spoon them through.

When the balls are half way done, add the pieces of potato and snow peas and let them simmer for a few minutes. Then add the asem water, the piece of santen and the salam leaf. Let this simmer for a while.

I have leftover mini potatoes from yesterday. They are already done, so they do not have to be in the sauce for long.

Beb uses santen (coconut cream), but I go for coconut milk (100 ml). That’s about the same amount ;-).

Salam is Asian bay leaf. I buy fresh leaves from the freezer at my Asian food store. You can also use curry leaves or regular bay leaves. It is not a huge problem if you do not use bay leaves in this dish. You can leave them out.

Rolling the balls

The balls are simple to make. They just need some salt and one egg. I use 1 teaspoon of salt on 500 grams of minced meat.

In Holland we can buy meat that is half pork half beef. I like this mix better than pure beef meat (less dry), but anything goes.

I mix the meat briefly. Definitely not too long, otherwise, the balls become too compact in texture.

I try to roll small balls, but they have become just a bit bigger than soup balls. That’s okay.


Bumbu is the spice paste that is always used as a base in Indonesian food. I’m going to make my bumbu today with my emersion blender.

That produces a smooth sauce and I think works nicely for this sambal goreng perentil.

Laos or galangal

My supermarket does not always sell fresh galangal, but sometimes they do like today. Powder galangal is fine too but fresh galangal delivers an extra kick in flavor. I cut a 4 centimeter piece fine before I let the blender do the rest.

I put the onions, garlic, Javanese sugar, galangal, chili and a pinch of salt in a plastic jug and blend it to a fine paste mix.

Gula Jawa

Javanese sugar is gula Jawa and is often sold in beautiful blocks or discs. If you can not buy it, use a teaspoon of plain sugar or brown sugar.

Sambal ulek is easy to make yourself and is nothing more than blended fresh chilies with some salt. Because I do not have fresh sambal ulek at hand, I add a chili to the mix with a pinch of salt.

Look how nice it has become. It smells delicious!

I clean my potatoes and snow peas and cut them into small pieces.

First, I sauté the bumbu in some oil. When the onions turn to a yellow color I add the meatballs. They are fragile so I gently mix them into the bumbu.

The herbs stick well to the meatballs and give them loads of flavor. Yummy.

When the balls are half done I add the potatoes and the snow peas.

Then the coconut milk and the tamarind water can be added together with the salam leaf.


Asem is tamarind. Usually, I use tamarind from a jar (Asian food store), but at the Markthal in Rotterdam they sell fresh tamarind. I think fresh tamarind is slightly less acidic and somewhat sweeter, than the tamarind I buy in a jar.

Cleaning a tamarind pod is some work. Remove the seeds and the fibers and push out the soft, sticky part. I dissolve that in warm water (1 dl water, as Beb prescribes) and I add another half teaspoon of tamarind from the jar. If you do not have tamarind, use a good quality vinegar. About two teaspoons.

Now let everything simmer until the meat is done. That goes pretty fast; after about 5 minutes I check.

I switch off the gas and leave the balls covered in the sauce for a while (about 10 minutes) before I serve. This way the meat has some time to suck up more of the lovely sauce.

The meat is tender, the sauce slightly spicy and the snow peas still crisp. We love it.

We eat our sambal goreng perentil with stir-fry broccoli and red rice but white rice will be nice too. Selamat makan!

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