Balado is a specialty of West Sumatran culinary. Balado spice is actually like sambal (chili paste); it greatly depends on the use of chili to kick your taste buds ;p. I remember one of foodie friends says that Sumatran food, particularly the West Sumatran, is greatly based on chili and shallot for the spices ^^. Indonesian food based on Balado spice is numerous since Balado spice is quite fertile to be combined with any ingredients. For daily home cooking for example, we love to have eggplant Balado, chicken Balado, sunny side up fried egg Balado, fried oyster mushroom Balado, fish Balado, tofu/tempeh Balado, potato Balado, anchovies Balado, shrimp Balado, and many more (we love to Balado-ize everything :D). Shrimp and fried oyster mushroom Balado are my most favorites ^^. But, the most popular one in Indonesia is actually 'Dendeng Balado'. Dendeng is thinly sliced dried meat. It is preserved through mixture of sugar and spices and drying through frying process (Wikipedia). Dendeng Balado is a combination of Dendeng and Balado spice, of course ^^; it originates from Padang, West Sumatra.
Talking about the level of spiciness, this Beef Balado is not that hot for me actually. Those torn pieces of red chili on the photo were actually not as hot as they might seem. I used only cabai merah besar (In Bahasa Indonesia it’s loosely translated: big red chili). Indonesian cabai merah besar is less hot than bird eye chili. So, next time when I manage to make another Beef Balado, I have to make sure that I add a good amount of bird eye chilies LOL!
Daging Balado (Beef Balado)
500 gram top side beef
600 ml water to boil
½ tablespoon of tamarind
Salt to season
8 cayenne peppers, seeded
Cooking/vegetable oil to fry
1. Slice the meat approximately 2cm thick.
2. Bring to boil water, the sliced meat, tamarind, and salt.
3. After the meat slices are done and tender, turn off the heat and cool them down.
4. Pound the meat with pestle ‘til get bruised. For a cleanliness purpose, put in the beef into a plastic bag before pounding it.
5. Fry the bruised meat (not too crispy), set aside.
6. Coarsely pound cayenne peppers and shallots then sauté them by adding a pinch of salt. When it is done, remove from heat. Sprinkle it with adequate amount of lime juice and add in the fried meat. Mix well.
Now talking about West Sumatra, it's one of provinces in Sumatra that I really want to visit besides Nias and Toba Lake of North Sumatra. Those places are just AWESOME!!!! West Sumatra is not only popular for its rich culinary, its dazzling traditional house architecture and natural beauty are also a heart winner. I REALLY REALLY WANT to go there, but I wish when I have that chance I have already had a DSLR to take photos of those beautiful places hehehehehe ;D