Sambal oelek (Recipe: spicy turkey rolls)
In my files, I have dozens of photos of hot stuff.
I have dozens of photos, and I've got the goods to back them up.
In The Perfect Pantry, I've stashed sauces and spices, from every corner of the world, the use of which will make food hot hot hot. Everything from a mild tingle on your tongue to sweat-running-down-your-head, don't-try-this-at-home hot.
On the warmer end of the heat scale, sambal oelek derives from the Dutch spelling, which in modern Indonesian spelling has become ulek; both have the same pronunciation. According to Wikipedia, ulek is a kind of Indonesian (particularly Javanese) stone mortar (ulek-ulek) and pestle (ulekan) made from a mature bamboo root, used for crushing chiles, peppers, shallots, peanuts, and other ingredients.
Thicker than sauce, thinner than salsa, sambal oelek is a fresh-ground paste made of chile peppers, salt, and sometimes vinegar, lime juice, lemongrass, or brown sugar. The heat of the sambal depends entirely on the variety of peppers.
Huy Fong Foods, a California company, makes the brand of sambal oelek in my pantry; it's the most common brand in the United States, available in every supermarket and Asian grocery. Stored in the refrigerator, it will last almost indefinitely. Because its main contribution is heat, you can substitute chili paste, harissa, Tabasco, red pepper flakes, chile powder, or fresh Thai bird chiles.
Spicy turkey rolls
Remember the little cocktail hot dogs we used to call "pigs in blankets"? These little "pigs" can be made with ground pork, too. The inspiration for this recipe came from a cookbook (I don't remember which one) that I found at a library book sale many years ago. Makes 24.
6 scallions, each sliced lengthwise into four "ribbons"
12 oz ground turkey or pork
4 tsp sambal oelek, or to taste
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley or cilantro
1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
2 eggs, beaten with 1 Tbsp water
1/2 cup light soy sauce, for dipping (optional)
Put scallions in a bowl and add boiling water to cover. Let stand 1 minute. Drain and rinse under cold running water.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a bowl, combine turkey, sambal oelek, garlic, parsley or cilantro, salt and pepper. Put puff pastry on a work surface, and cut each sheet into 4 rectangles. Place a line of turkey mixture down the center of each pastry piece. Brush edges of pastries with beaten egg. Fold long ends of each pastry over turkey filling, overlapping slightly and sealing to form a neat sausage roll. Trim away any excess pastry. Cut each roll crosswise into three pieces 1-inch wide.
Place on prepared baking sheets. Brush tops with beaten egg. Tie a scallion around each piece. Brush again with egg. Bake until golden and crisp, about 15 minutes. Serve hot, with soy sauce for dipping.