Monday, September 29, 2008

Belado (and Belado Vegetables)

"Without chile, there is no appetite."

Great words, indeed.

I can't say enough how we enjoy the show Food Safari: we've learned a little bit more about a variety of different foods, even being occasioned to make Thai food (here and here), Lebanese, Turkish and Spanish food, just to name a few.

This time, the episode from which we drew inspiration was their Indonesian episode. All the dishes featured were quite drool-worthy, but I thought it would be good to start with what seems like a basic sauce: belado.

I had never heard of belado before. Searching for it on the Internet didn't yield much; I was a little surprised.

Apparently, it's usually spelled BALADO in Indonesia. Food Safari led us astray!]

In plainest terms, it is a chile sauce. Quite versatile, it seems. As per the Food Safari episode, it can be used for fried prawns, squid, fish, chicken, fried boiled eggs, eggplant, tofu, tempeh or potatoes. In other words, everything! Indonesian bloggers, perhaps you can enlighten us about it. =)

It so happened that we grabbed a bag of these beautiful peppers from the market. Ooh, colors. So pretty. I was all set!

To make belado, chile peppers, shallots and tomatoes are blended together. Oil is heated, then the mixture is seasoned with salt and sugar and cooked until it is slightly thick. Lime juice finishes it.

Originally, I wanted to make a red chile pepper belado and a yellow chile pepper belado, then layer those in a jar.

When I puréed the yellow peppers with the onions and tomatoes, however, I realized that the resulting color would still be red. I scratched that idea.

All the peppers, regardless of color, were puréed together.

Here is the chile peppers, red onions (we didn't have shallots on hand), tomatoes, sugar and salt cooking away. I had to let it cook longer than the recipe stated because my mixture seemed to be more watery than on the show. I added the lime juice to finish it shortly thereafter.

Let me tell you, the fumes while this was cooking were quite something! Having successfully braved the fumes (barely making it out unscathed), I turned to tasting my belado.


I'm not quite the heat-freak, but I believe my heat tolerance isn't typically low. Tasting this, however, I had to take the necessary precautions and properly label it.

I don't know how that Indonesian woman on the show could've used a whole lot for her prawns! (On the other hand, she was the one who uttered those words above about chiles and appetites.)

Having made belado, it really is quite versatile. One usage is for stir-fried vegetables.

Green Beans Belado

Spinach Belado

I've also used it in a Thai-ish Beef and Gailan stir-fry (pad gka-prow).

I use it to make other condiments: like mixing a little bit of it in pho, or adding it to soy sauce, rice vinegar and water to make a dipping sauce for CSC's dumplings.

Basically, it has become the hot sauce of choice around here.

Now we're just waiting to use it as a topping for deep-fried hardboiled eggs.
(Deep-fried hardboiled eggs! How cool is that!?)

Food Safari website
Food Safari: Indonesian
Belado recipe

[eatingclub] vancouver dishes inspired by Food Safari episodes:
Spanish: Tortilla de Patatas
Thai: Waterfall Beef Salad
Lebanese: Tarator-style Sauce
Thai: Thai Basil Stir-Fry (gka prow)
Lebanese: Lamb Kafta (Turkish: Lamb Kofte)
Indonesian: Belado
Moroccan: Preserved Lemons
Moroccan: Chicken Tagine

We're submitting this post to Waiter, there's something in my... Indonesian. This edition is hosted by Andrew of SpittoonExtra.

Info about Waiter, there's something in my...
on The Passionate Cook
on Cook Sister!


  1. baby, as a former heat freak (as i stated in my blog), i'll probably cry eating this balado...although i am sure i'll still go for it hehehe

  2. Wow... Belado is hot stuff... maybe too hot for me, I'm not used to spicy flavours... but love seeing others cooking with them ;D
    Beautiful colours and dishes!

  3. Looks like a very versatile condiment that packs a lotta heat. I'm down! And of course those pics are great - as always.


  4. Oh, sounds like that might be too hot for me. I don't believe we have Food Safari here

  5. as a self proclaimed heat freak (though I will lose to rita hee), I so want this jar of killer chile sauce, hee... I think you just have to stamp the eatingclub logo on the bottle and they will fly off the shelves :D

  6. This looks fantastic, and incredibly versatile. I'll have to try making this sometime soon - we're both heat freaks, so this will be a new way to enjoy our scoville units.

  7. This looks so good! Hot is usually not my piece of cake, but just a little would not ruin my palate, so I would be willing to try:) Isn't it great learning about other culture's cuisines! I find it very exciting! Thanks for sharing!

  8. This kinda reminds me of Harissa Sauce...which I love! I must try out this Belado stuff immediately! Beautiful pics!

  9. Mochachocolata Rita:
    Haha, yeah, I read that. But, you just need to build up your tolerance once again. Make a jar of this, and every night, eat a little bit, increasing by 1/4 teaspoon increments. =D

    I thought I would be "OK" with the heat, but it was very hot, hehe.

    Darius T. Williams,
    Fearless Kitchen:
    Might as well make one's own hot "sauce", right?

    The videos they have on their website is GEOBLOCKED for me. Maybe one can view them only in Australia? In any case, they show is really good because they usually go into people's home and have them make a dish. Seems very authentic... and there are a lot of things I've never heard of before!

    Hey!! That's an idea! Teehee.

    Yeah, that's why we like Food Safari so much. We always find out something we've never known before.

    Thanks! =)

  10. Mmm. This DOES resemble harissa... one of my absolute favorite things.

    But, then, I'm a hopeless chile-head who can't get enough! Tears are good!

  11. Growing up in Medan with Padangnese 'genetic' from my dad's side, balado is literally on almost every dish! It is just yummy, isn't? Spicy hot yes, but yum! :) Delicious with eggplants, or potatoes too.

  12. I love chillies and could not live without them! Your sauce looks delicious! What gorgeous dishes! Yummy!



  13. oh!!now I know this belado really look like our sambal b4 cooking!!..I don't mind eating anything with super hot chili everyday!!

  14. Lo:
    Haha... I like heat as well and am always annoyed with something is too hot for me. I just have to keep building up my heat resistance.

    OK, so it really does go on everything! Soon enough we are going to try deepfrying hardboiled eggs to eat with it.

  15. Making your own hot sauces sounds like a lot of fun.

  16. That is so much more hardcore than I could ever be.

  17. another popular chilli sauce to make at home is the XO Chilli Sauce. It's more of a chilli oil but mixed with minced dried seafood like shrimp and scallop.

  18. Kevin:
    It's actually a good way to use up a lot of peppers... instead of letting them spoil before we get a chance to use them =)

    Sweet Bird:
    It's not so bad, haha. But, I only used 1/2 treaspoon for that whole dish of green beans! Didn't want to kill everybody.

    Style Dish:
    Oh, we've only ever had XO sauce in restaurants. Have never tried making it at home. Hmm, interesting idea! Will save us money! XO Sauce us expensive.

  19. Sounds a bit too hot for my delicate English stomach but looks great!

    Many thanks for the entry to Waiter; a great recipe.

  20. Im just catching up on 9 of your posts. I would love to make my own hot sauce. This looks incredible!

  21. hi, i think it's just the spelling. in indonesia, it is usually written as balado, you'll find a lot of recipes in the internet. this dish is from west sumatera where it's well known for the fiery hot dishes.

  22. Andrew:
    The topic was good! =) Good timing, hehe.


    *14* by Regina B:
    Oh! Thanks for the explanation! I thought it was realy weird that there were barely any info on "belado". =)

  23. its spelled balado actually.
    and yes i also cant live without chili in my life =(
    i bring a bottle of it in my purse everywhere i go

  24. anonymous:
    Thanks! Yeah, we were so confused as to why we couldn't find it using google!

  25. try using yellow tomatoes to make yellow belado!!!!!i believe they r seasonal!!

  26. anonymous:
    Oh hey, what a GREAT idea! Teehee... maybe I'll be the first to make a yellow one! =D


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