5 garlic cloves
4 to 6 fresh red jalapeno chilies, roughly chopped
2 small shallots, chopped
1 tablespoon toasted shrimp paste (page 000)
¼ cup canola or peanut oil
1 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
1½ pounds bone-in halibut steak (1 inch thick), cut into 4-inch pieces
1. Combine the garlic, chilies, shallots, and shrimp paste in a food processor. Grind into a smooth paste. Add a little water if necessary to keep the blades moving and bring to a paste-like consistency.
2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan pan over medium heat. Carefully add the spice paste and cook, stirring occasionally for 7 minutes. Gradually add the coconut milk, sugar, and salt and cook for another 10 minutes or until the oils come to the surface.
3. Add the fish and cook until the fish is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Taste, adding more salt if needed. Remove from the heat. Serve hot.
To save time, I sometimes cook the coconut sambal in advance and freeze it in freezer bags. To get dinner ready, I simply reheat the sambal with my catch of the day.