Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Spicy Balinese Long Bean Salad with Pan-Seared Tuna

Tim and I tried another recipe from my Lobong culinary experience in Ubud, Bali since many of the ingredients overlapped with the chicken satay and peanut sauce...  tonight's recipe was a pan seared tuna steak on top of a spicy, fragrant long bean and cabbage salad.  

And by "spicy," I really mean, "burned our faces off."  Oops.

Despite the excessively pedas salad, this dish was still good.  Perhaps next time I would use fewer chilis.  Far fewer. 

The recipe seems to be Chef Dewa's riff on the traditional Balinese dish, ikan bakar sambal matah, which is grilled fish with a raw chili sambal.  He put the sambal and fish on some veggies and made it into a healthy and fresh tasting salad.

Here's the recipe, adapted and with my notes:

Ikan Bakar Sambal Matah Salad


100 grams of tuna (Tim and I upped the tuna factor and got one super fresh tuna steak each)

15 shallots, halved and sliced super thin (This measurement is for the tiny Indonesian shallots... if using regular French style shallots, maybe more like 4 or 5)

10 bird's eye chilis, minced (Based on my experience, I would recommend fewer unless you want to lose functionality in your lips and tongue) 

5 kaffir lime leaves, shredded

4 lemongrass stalks, tender center white part only, thinly sliced

1 piece torch ginger (My grocery store was out of this, so I improvised by grating/micro-planing about an inch long chunk of regular ginger)

100 grams of cabbage, shredded (Chef Dewa says crunchy romaine is a good substitute, too)

100 grams of long beans, sliced into pea-sized pieces (You could substitute regular green beans here)

Handful of cherry tomatos, halved

90 ml of coconut oil (I used the fresh coconut oil made by the Lobong family, which was delicious. The only problem: it had solidified in our air conditioned apartment, so I had to dip the bottle in warm water to loosen it up... didn't that problem when cooking outside at the Lobong compound... don't substitute this with another oil, though, as the coconutty flavor is essential)

Squeeze of lime juice (my addition)


1. Toss all ingredients except tuna together in a salad bowl.

2. Lightly salt and pepper tuna steak, then sear both sides briefly in vegetable oil over medium-high heat.

3. Either top the salad with the tuna, or break the tuna up and gently toss it with the salad.

4. Enjoy and cross your fingers that you don't blow up from the heat of the chilis.