What have the Dutch got that we ain’t got?
Well, besides signs like this.
Which is frequently accompanied by the words “Geen Honden Poep Op De Stoep”(no dog poop on the sidewalk).
I’ll tell you what they have—easy access to sambal oelek (SAHM-bal OO-lek). Sambal oelek is Indonesian for “dang good chili paste.”
And why I started this post with the dog sign, I don’t know. Probably not the best lead in for food. But put that out of your mind now.
You have avoided the dog, and are now sitting down to a delicious meal. And it’s been made even more delicious because you used sambal oelek. “Sambal” means something like “condiment” or “sauce.” There are a lot of different sambals, of course. Oelek refers to a type of Indonesian stone mortar and pestle used to grind things. So a rough translation is ground sauce.
And this sauce/paste is awesome. Now, I’m not a spicy foods guy. In fact, whenever we eat out, and I’m asked how spicy I want my food, I always choose mild. I hate super spicy food. But sometimes a little spice can transform a dish.
You want to perk up your stir fry? Sambal oelek.
You want to refresh your scrambled eggs? Sambal oelek.
You want to try a new kind of PBJ? Sambal oelek.
A spicy PBJ? Oh, baby.
I was introduced to this BPJ when I was on my mission in the Netherlands. BTW, it’s not by accident I became of fan of Indonesian food while on my mission. Indonesia used to be a Dutch colony, and so there are tons of Indonesians there. For almost a year, I lived in rooms rented out of the houses of Indonesian landladies who cooked our lunches or dinners for us.
So one day I watched one of my fellow missionaries spread sambal onto a piece of bread, then follow with peanut butter and a touch of jelly. At the time, I was grossed out. Then I tried it.
Have you ever had satay? It’s the Thai and Indonesian version of BBQ. It usually comes with this marvelous spicy-sweet peanut butter sauce. If you have, you know you love it. And this, well, this is what you call the sambal PBJ variation of satay.
If you like Thai, you’ll love this stuff.
So where did I find it?
And if you don’t have one close, you can get it on Amazon. Yeah.
But, wait. There’s another mild hot sauce that you don’t want to miss.
My two daughters just returned from their missions. One went to Kentucky. At the end of her mission, she was teamed up with one Sister Barajas from Mexico and assigned to work Spanish-speaking folks. And Sister Barajas introduced her to Cholula.
Heavenly Cholula. Not too spicy. No weird taste like Tobasco.
You want to perk up your stir fry? Cholula.
You want to refresh your scrambled eggs? More Cholula.
You want to try a new kind of PBJ? I don’t know. I haven’t tried that yet. But it’s good on steamed veggies. Good just about anywhere you want a fine little zing.
Where can you find it?
How easy is that.
If you like mild spice, the little bottle with a wooden top is going to become your friend.
Okay, so what if you don’t like sauces?
How about a great soup and sandwich. Here’s the freebie recommendation. If you live close to a Cafe Zupas (Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Utah), try to new Roasted Veggie and Quinoa soup along with a sandwich. I had the California Turkey. It was delicious. It comes with a little bit of French bread and a chocolate dipped strawberry.
Life is good.