If Lombok has sambal plecing, then Java has sambal berambang asem. They are both always paired with simply boiled greens. In the case of sambal plecing, the traditional pairing would be kankung (morning glory). For sambal berambang asem, the traditional pairing is daun ubi jalar (cassava leaves). Fresh cassava leaves are hard to find when you live outside of Indonesia, so I tend to substitute cassava leaves with spinach 🙂 You can use any greens of your choice, like kale, or even broccoli would be good.
- 100 gram shallot (Indonesian: bawang merah)
- 8 red cayenne chilies (Indonesian: cabe keriting merah) (*)
- 2 teaspoon toasted shrimp paste (Indonesian: terasi bakar)
- 3 tablespoon palm sugar (Indonesian: gula Jawa)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- tamarind solution from 2 tablespoon tamarind + 5 tablespoon hot water, remove pulps and pits
- 2 bunch of spinach (**)
- Grind shallot, chilies, shrimp paste, palm sugar, and salt together in a food processor (or a traditional mortar and pestle).
- Transfer the grind chili paste to a small sauce pan, along with tamarind solution. Stir together and bring to a boil. Adjust salt and sugar as needed.
- Turn off heat, and transfer to a serving bowl.
- Simply boil and blanch the spinach. Drain well, and divide into 4-6 equal portions, then make each portion into a spinach ball.
(**) Traditional pairing is with cassava leaves (Indonesian: daun ubi jalar). You can use other greens of your choice.