in thai and filipino cuisine a sambal can designate a multitude of sauces or sides. usually it's gonna be a scorching red sauce, but it varies greatly in components and there's green sambals too. the usual suspects are peppers or chillies and shallots. they can incorporate tamarind, fish sauce, mango leaves, all sorts of unexpected ingredients, depending on region. mine was gonna be a casual pineapple salsa, but i had this green tomato that had fallen to the ground during the last storm. (i think one more of those and my garden is going to rot from the roots up, jeesh). maybe it's a bit improper to name it sambal, because i can't add any heat to stuff i feed my daughter, but the methodology is the same - you chop up whatever you want in, and then you stir-fry it quickly on high heat.
the fish is a very simple story - you just rub some coarse salt on it, you heat up a tiny bit of oil in a pan, and when it's very hot you sear the fish about 2 minutes on each side. done. the sambal has a bold profile, so to avoid conflicting flavors we season the fish simply.
for the sambal:
2 shallots, or 1 onion, chopped finely;
1 green tomato, cubed, about 1 cup;
1 cup pineapple, cubed;
1/4 cup packed fresh pineapple sage leaves, minced, about 10 to 12;
1 hot pepper, finely chopped, optional;
2 ts sugar;
2 ts sherry vinegar.
once you have everything cubed bite-size, heat up two teaspoons of olive oil and saute the shallot. when it's soft, add the green tomato and the sugar. once it's melted stir in the vinegar, then add the pineapple and mix. finally, stir in the chopped sage and remove from heat. if you wish to add heat, use your favorite pepper - a mild poblano or a gutsy habanero - throw it in after softening the shallot. the whole thing will take you about 5 minutes, and it should all be done on high heat. spoon over the fish and serve.
this was a big hit over here. my daughter eats fish pretty well, but the great thing about this was that she ate the side rice, too. the rice had green beans, carrots and mushrooms, and she really doesn't like the green beans, but when i perched a piece of pineapple on top it had a whole new allure, and for once there was no drama.