Sambal Potato & Ikan Bilis, and Things that are Done during International Layovers

I feel like I’ve just done a naughty thing. Inspired by this post, I was bored during a layover while on a 30 hour plane journey (don’t ask, sometimes bad planning wins out). Everything was shut except the cosmetics store. So what did I do? I went in and picked out the yummiest sounding nail polish and whacked it on all my fingers using the tester bottle. It had cake in the name. Technically I suppose I haven’t done anything wrong, but since I had no intention to buy it I feel slightly guilty, almost as if I’ve shoplifted. Overactive conscience, can’t you go to sleep? It’s almost 3am in your time zone, all the good girls have gone to bed by now. I promptly smudged said nails by digging things out of my bag. Yes, this is me, not very patient. Or retribution in action? Perhaps I’m over-thinking this. I’ll probably do it again next time I’m in the airport in any case, so it doesn’t really matter.

On another airport related note, I really don’t understand why people queue for ages before the gate opens. I’m looking at a queue of easily 80+ people and the gate hasn’t even opened yet. I suspect they just enjoy queuing, you know how some people are. Things they appear not to enjoy include sitting on the airport floor like a hobo, judging by the looks I’ve been getting. Especially not if you’re wearing a dress. (Yes, I write to you from airports. I’m so dedicated.)

Anyway back to the food. No one wants to hear about airports, they’re sad places which usually mean someone is leaving. Unless you’re going on holiday, but that’s entirely different of course. In a good way. I digress.

Yes, anyway. Yet again, the attempt at this dish was the result of boredom and too much cold weather. I see certain conditions appear to make me more productive in the kitchen. Did you know that UK in the summer (where I’m going) is approximately the same temperature as Melbourne in winter? Interesting isn’t it. It’s not very nice of the Brits really. Talking about someone behind their back all the time, the way they do about the weather, is enough to make anyone pretty cranky. Forgive me, like I mentioned, it’s 3am in my head.

While trying to make a sambal potato dish, I actually made what tasted exactly like the tempeh madu recipe I was looking for a while back. To makes the switch, dry fry thin slices of tempeh until crispy, or grill them in a toaster oven, and substitute for the potato slices. I’ll probably do that next time, I like it better with tempeh. I still need to find the sambal potato dish I was looking for.

Sambal Potato & Ikan Bilis

Pinched from Love2Cook Malaysia and changed just a bit.

3 big-ish taytoes
3/4 cup ikan bilis – approximately.. a bit more, a bit less, it should be fine
1/2 a red onion – supposed to use 3 shallots. I was being cheap again and didn’t want to buy a whole bag.
3 cloves garlic
9 small dried chillies – use more for more heat, use less if your chillies are bigger, or if you want it less spicy
2 tablesp oyster sauce
3 teasp brown sugar – or you can use normal sugar, or a couple of tablespoons of honey, I didn’t have any on hand

  1. Slice your potatoes into wedges or strips. I chose strips for therapeutic reasons (no not really, I wasn’t thinking straight). You should do wedges,¬† they’re less work to fry. Fry them in a bit of oil until they’re light brown on both sides, and set aside on some kitchen towels if you have them.
  2. Wash the ikan bilis, you don’t know where they’ve been. Fry them until they’re crispy. Use a little bit of oil, and don’t put the heat too high. Set aside with the potatoes.
  3. Using your trusty chopper, chop the garlic, onion and dried chillies. Fry them in a bit of oil until they start to brown, and your eyes sting when you stand over the pan.
  4. Add the oyster sauce and sugar. Fry a bit longer. Taste to see if you like it, adding a little more oyster sauce or sugar depending on whether you want it a bit more salty or sweet.
  5. Remove from the heat, and add the potato and ikan bilis. Mix well, but don’t be too harsh! You don’t want to mash the nice potatoes.
  6. Eat! With rice. And other dishes. You can’t just eat potato and rice for dinner, even though that was one of my favourite meals when I was little.
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