Sambal Taoco – Chili salsa with Taoco Soy Beans

Taoco is fermented soybeans. I had to look it up too ;-). Beb’s recipe #39 is a sambal taoco; an Indonesian chili salsa with a fair amount of soybeans. Two tablespoons of the soybean mixture go through the hot mix (and a few other ingredients).

I buy toaco at my local Asian store. It smells very savory; a bit like marmite. It indeed tastes like soybeans but it is also deliciously salty and umami.

I like to add a lot of onions or tomato paste to a sambal. This makes the sauce slightly milder and I taste the flavor of the peppers better. I am fond of the somewhat more complex sambals of Beb such as sambal Boet, or sambal malaka. And now also on this sambal taoco ;-).

Sambal Taoco #39 translated from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch Kookboek, page 68

10 finely chopped lomboks (chili pepperes)
100 grams finely chopped onions
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
5 pieces of kemiri (candlenuts)
1 teaspoon of Javanese sugar
1 teaspoon of terasi (shrimp paste)
2 tablespoons of taoco
asem the size of a walnut (tamarind)
3 tablespoons of oil

Crush the roasted kemiri. Rub onions, garlic, terasi, salt and sugar together with the kemiri. Roast this mixture in the oil. Add the lombok and the taoco when the onions are yellow. Finish with asem water, made from asem that is diluted with 3 tablespoons of hot water. This sambal must stay slightly moist.

I use mixed peppers this time. A few yellow Spanish chili peppers, and some green and red rawit. Rawit is a lot hotter than the big chilies, but because of the onions, candlenuts (kemiri) and sugar, this sambal is a pretty mild. I like to spice it up with a slightly hotter chili.

Kemiri are candlenuts that – if you want to use them fresh – have to roast, otherwise they are a bit poisonous. I buy a jar at my Asian store. Then the nuts are already roasted and finely ground.

Trassi is a slice of fermented shrimp. It is used in Thai cuisine as well. Asem is tamarind and has a sour and sweet flavor. If you cannot buy tamarind use a nice vinegar.

Of course, you can change the Javanese sugar (gula Jawa) for brown sugar or regular sugar even.

I do not use much salt (less than half a teaspoon) because the taoco is already pretty salty. Salt is useful for rubbing in the mortar later. It helps with the grinding.

Do you want to make the sambal a little less spicy? Take out the white part where the seeds are attached to. That will take out almost all of the hot flavor, but you keep the flavor of the peppers themselves.

I rub onions, garlic, terasi, salt and sugar together with the candlenuts in the mortar (cobek). The peppers do not have to be rubbed for this sambal toaco.

I fry this mixture in some tablespoons of oil.

When the onions turn yellow I add the finely chopped peppers and the taoco too.

After a few minutes, I pour in the diluted asem. This makes the sambal a bit wet and that is good!

I’ll let it thicken for a few minutes. But Beb clearly writes that it can stay petty moist. So I’m going to fill my jar now.

Before I fill my jar I have boiled everything intensely for at least 5 minutes. very well. I make sure the jar is still hot, just like the content, when I fill it up. This way the vacuum will preserve the sambal toaco and it has a longer shelf life – probably a month or two. Unfortunately, my sambal doesn’t last that long. I eat a jar like this in a week 😉

The sambal has become much more of a sauce because of the taoco. The extra beans make the overall flavor silky but intense. I have already been testing my sambal taoco on a sandwich with peanut butter and on a cracker with sesame paste. Oh, and also on a pancake btw … haha. Love it!

Check out all the other sambals I’ve made here.

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