HOW SWEET’S BB-SHOWER! MOM’N BABE SPICY SAMBAL SUB

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IF THERE’S ANY SHOT AT PRE-DETERMINED HAPPINESS IN LIFE,

IT WOULD BE TO ACQUIRE A TASTE FOR SPICY FOODS… EARLY IN THE WOMBS

OH relax, it’s not for me.  This is for Jessica.

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Some 2.5 years ago, voluntarily jobless and air-dropped to a place where I found mostly disagreements, I fled into the universe of food-blogosphere shielded behind self-loathing, desperation, and above all, in an impenetrable armour of cynicism.  In the mist of not knowing what to expect, I kindly assured myself that there’d be absolutely nothing, not a cunning whiff of hope, don’t you dare, that could pull me out of the comfort of negativity.  I was going to cook, record, and wither anonymously into early menopause.

Some 2.5 years later, this universe has turned out to be more unpredictable than I thought.  Not fame, not money, not even a humble sense of accomplishment that came, but from this most unexpected of places, I found… a group of friends.

Friends whom I have never met, never actually talked to, whom I don’t know a lot or any personal details of, but more genuine, generous and sincere than most I’ve actually met in real life.  Stranger friends, like Jessica.

Jessica is, for the lack of better words, an odd number by normal standards.  Nowadays when the mere act of holding the door for the people behind you can feel troublesome, it takes more than cultivating social relationships to offer compliments or helps to total strangers.  But Jessica is kind of girl who, out of the mere kindness to inform, would write you an email, a full email, to offer encouragement and support.  This is for her and many other dear strangers, whom I would never have the pleasure to call friends, if I hadn’t started this url.

So when I was invited to join Jessica’s awesome cyber baby shower, it wasn’t excitement or party-fever that I felt.  Instead, I felt touched.  Touched, in an unconventional yet familiar kind of way, that I’m considered part of an awesome community.  More than an assignment, this is the first time actually, that I wanted to contribute to a party.

But enough about me.  Let’s trash up this party real good.

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Well… more than a party.  A baby shower!

At first, I had the most adorable idea of chicken sausage Scottish eggs, you know, “mother hens” wrapping her “babies” inside, then dropped into a tub of boiling-hot grease, fried to crispy perfection with a burst of hot baby yolks?  Well, in a tad bit gruesome in hindsight, but nonetheless guaranteed tasty metaphor, don’t you think?  But what happened, as it turned out, was that I didn’t ultimately feel in-sync with Scottish egg’s anatomy.  The problem with it, if I may, is the ratio between the sausage and the egg is inherently… off balance.  The unseasoned eggs are wrapped with too little meat to acquire enough flavour, but making it any bigger than it already is – the hassle that comes with it and loss of cuteness – is just one more reason not to make it.

So I changed tactic.  Although the mom’n babe/chicken’n egg concept has grown a stubborn root, it will be delivered in an entirely different form, which comes with the one and only true parenting advice available for human kind:

If there’s any shot at pre-determined happiness in life for babies, it would be to acquire a taste for spicy foods… early in the wombs.

So I hope that made it clear, that if you approach this enormity with the expectation of a simple tomato sauced-meatball sub, it would be pleasurably… painful mistake.  You’d be kicked, left and right, with unexpected boldness and flavours that will set your taste-buds on fire.  This is a spicy chicken meatballs sub, playing in a mean kiddy-pool of hot red, pineapple and orange sambal, with sauce-poached eggs.

The childish looking meatballs are in fact, aromatic taste-bombs made with truck-loads of lemongrass, shallots, ginger and herbs, with the ground chicken thighs merely acting as a glue to hold everything together.  Then the seemingly harmless “red sauce” that they swim in, as you should be warned, is a firey concoction of pureed nuclear Thai red chilis, pineapples, orange zest, garlics, tomatoes, and the unmistakable punches from good douses of fish sauce, and fermented Thai shrimp paste (the soul within the sauce).  Then of course comes the “babies”, with the egg-whites just set and the yolks still thick and runny… it is all together, with a zing from a squeeze of lemon juice, the most glorious and ultimate sloppiness of yum that you can stuff inside a toasty baguette, worthy of our mom-to-be.

But save a bit of room, if you can, because you may need to loosen up a button or two for this party.  Thankfully, a tummy-bump is barely out of place today.

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And here is the rest of this awesome gang:


TRASHED UP SALAD:

  1. Gimme Some Oven – Asian Broccoli Salad with Peanut Sauce
  2. The Lemon Bowl – Brussels Slaw with Tahini Dressing and Za’atar Crostini
  3. With Style & Grace – Kale Salad with Apple, Hazelnuts & Bacon

TRASHED UP COCKTAILS:

  1. Dine & Dish – Hot Buttered Rum Cocktail
  2. Food For My Family – Cranberry Orange Dark and Stormy Cocktail
  3. Minimalist Baker – Bourbon Pumpkin Milkshakes
  4. Stylish, Stealthy & (sometimes) Healthy – Apple Cider Shandy
  5. A Spicy Perspective – Preggy Punch Mocktail
  6. Girl vs. Dough – Boozy Maple Peanut Butter Cup Milkshake
  7. Honestly Yum – Maple Bacon Pisco Sour
  8. Cookin Canuck – Pink Grapefruit Margaritas
  9. A Thought For Food – Mezcal Citrico Cocktail
  10. A House in the Hills – Pomegranate Rosemary Spritzer
  11. The Novice Chef – Ginger Bourbon Apple Cider
  12. Bran Appetit – Citrus Cider Punch Floats

TRASHED UP BURGERS:

  1. Edible Perspective – Meatloaf Veggie Burgers with Mashed Potatoes + Gravy
  2. The Little Kitchen – Salmon BLT Sliders with an Avocado Aioli & Brie
  3. Daisy At Home – Balsamic Beef Burger with Mac and Cheese
  4. Cookies & Cups – Candied Bacon Maple Cheddar Burger
  5. Climbing Grier Mountain – Trashed-Up Steak Burger with Chicken Fried Bacon & Dijon Gravy
  6. Dessert For Two – Bleu Cheese Burgers + Sweet Potato Fries
  7. Country Clever – Fig Rosemary Roast Chicken Brie Brussels Sprout Panini
  8. Foodie Crush – The Best Cheeseburger Soup
  9. Lady and Pups – Spicy Sambal Chicken Meatball Sub with Eggs
  10. Two Peas & Their Pod – Sweet Potato and Kale Grilled Cheese
  11. Bake Your Day – Ultimate Breakfast Sandwich

TRASHED UP TACOS:

  1. Spoon Fork Bacon – Crunchy Ground Beef and Cheesy Tacos
  2. The Fauxmartha – Boozy Beef and Butternut Tacos
  3. With Food + Love – Harvest Hash Breakfast Tacos
  4. Mountain Mama Cooks – Crispy Kale and Brussels Sprout Tacos with Bacon
  5. Heather Christo – Bahn Mi Tacos with Spicy Sriracha Honey Sauce
  6. A Couple Cooks – Loaded Huevos Rancheros Tacos
  7. Fitnessista – San Diego Lobster Street Tacos

TRASHED UP DESSERTS:

  1. Table for Two – Salted Caramel, Dark Chocolate, and Brown Butter Shortbread Bars with Sprinkles
  2. My Name is Yeh – Mini Vanilla Loaf Cakes, All Trashed Up
  3. Picky Palate – Pumpkin Spice Butterscotch Sprinkle Cupcakes
  4. Sprinkle Bakes – Cake Batter Confetti Cupcakes
  5. Averie Cooks – Easy Homemade Funfetti Cake with Vanilla Buttercream
  6. Sweet Phi – Trashed Up Shortbread Cookie Bars
  7. Love & Olive Oil – Loaded Junk Food Brownies
  8. Lauren’s Latest – Bakery Sugar Cookies
  9. Cookie + Kate – Peanut Butter, Banana, Honey and Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies
  10. Flourishing Foodie – Triple Layer Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting
  11. The Sugar Hit – Salted Caramel Popcorn Ice Cream Cake
  12. Hummingbird High – Breakfast Cereal Cake Donuts
  13. Top With Cinnamon – Triple Chocolate Vanilla Swirl Crumb Cake
  14. Bake at 350 – Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sundaes
  15. Simple Bites – Lemon Layer Cake
  16. Bakerella – Baby Block Cake Pops
  17. She Wears Many Hats –  Chocolate Covered Grapefruit

TRASHED UP PIZZAS:

  1. Bev Cooks – Beer Battered Fried Calamari Pizza
  2. Rachel Cooks – Apple and Chicken Sausage Pizza with Macaroni and Cheese Stuffed Crust
  3. Foodie With Family – Trashed Up Barbecue Turkey Pizza
  4. Shutterbean – Pesto Potato Bacon Pizza
  5. i am a food blog – Grilled Cheese Pizza
  6. My Life as a Mrs – Chili Cheese Dog Pizza
  7. Simply Scratch – Steak + Blue Cheese Pizza with Crispy Fried Shallots and Honey Balsamic Drizzle
  8. The Beeroness – Beer Cheese Tater Tot Pizza
  9. Yes I Want Cake – Roasted Pumpkin Pizza
  10. Two Red Bowls – Bacon Mashed Potato Pizza
  11. Dula Notes – Pork Bahn Mi Pizza
  12. Weelicious – Trashed Up Mexican Pizza Pockets
  13. Take a Megabite – Roasted Beet Pizza
  14. Hungry Girl Por Vida – Hard Cider Braised Pork with Sour Cherries and Cheesy Polenta
  15. Bakers Royale – Trash’d Street Tacos

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The key to this recipe, is lots and lots of super-finely minced lemongrass.  You’ll almost think that this is too much lemongrass, almost 2/3 of the volume of the ground chicken!  But that’s precisely what’s going to give these meatballs the impossible fragrance and textures.  It’s also important to only use the soft, white parts near the roots of the lemongrass, so you don’t get a mouthful of woody-ness in your meatballs.

Then, a warning if you will, that this recipe is spicy.  For me it’s like… just-hit-the-sweet-spots-of-Thai-food-lovers spicy, but could potentially, for you, be like holly-mother-of-earth-my-face-is-melting spicy…  The heat mainly comes from the 4 small Asian red chilis (the long Asian red chilis are just for show), so you can adjust it accordingly.  And try your best best to purchase Thai shrimp paste either from Asian groceries or online, as it is the “soul” behind the sauce.

* For extra careful pregnant ladies, you might want to fully cook the egg yolks.


MOM’N BABE SPICY SAMBAL SUB

Yield: Four 6" subs

Ingredients

    LEMONGRASS CHICKEN MEATBALLS:
  • 17.6 oz (500 grams) skinless/boneless chicken thighs
  • 3~4 stalks of lemongrass, soft/white parts only (110 grams/approx 1 cup)
  • 3 medium-size shallots, minced
  • 2 grated garlic
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • SPICY PINEAPPLE SAMBAL SAUCE:
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) diced pineapple, fresh or canned
  • The zest and flesh of 1/2 orange
  • 9 long Asian red chili (115 grams), diced
  • 4 small Asian red chili (8 grams), diced
  • 7 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp Thai shrimp paste
  • 4 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 can (400 grams) peeled tomatoes
  • TO FINISH:
  • 2 crusty baguette (I used multi-grain)
  • 4~6 large eggs
  • Wedges of lemon

Instructions

  1. TO MAKE THE LEMONGRASS CHICKEN MEATBALLS: Flash-freeze the chicken thighs for 2 hours until firm. Cut into small chunks, then in a food-processor, pulse/grind until finely minced. Trim off the tough ends on both sides of the lemongrass, then cut and mince the soft white parts as finely as you can. If you have a stone-mortar or spice-grinder for this job, great, use it. Mix the ground chicken, finely minced lemongrass, minced shallots, grated garlic, grated ginger, chopped mint, chopped cilantro, fish sauce, white and black pepper until even.
  2. I like to pre-bake, or poach the meatballs before browning so they retain their nice, round shapes. Pre-heat the top-broiler on high, then make 11 ~ 12 meatballs (dab your hands with water if the meatballs are sticking to your hands) and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until the meatballs are set in shape and slightly browned. Or to poach, bring a large pot of water to boil, then carefully cook the meatballs until set in shape, then remove and drain. You can make the meatballs up to 2 days ahead.
  3. TO MAKE THE SPICY PINEAPPLE SAMBAL SAUCE: Zest the orange, then slice off the peels. Remove the orange-flesh from the segments without the fibrous membrane. In a blender, puree diced pineapple, 1/2 of the orange zest and segments, diced long red chili, diced small red chili, garlic, fish sauce, Thai shrimp paste (if absolutely unavailable, substitute with 2 tbsp of fish sauce), white vinegar and dark brown sugar. Run the blender for at least 1:30 ~ 2 min to ensure a smooth consistency.
  4. In a large non-stick skillet, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the partially cooked meatballs until nicely browned on all sides, then remove and set aside. Add the pineapple/chili puree, and cook until the mixture's reduced by 1/3 (cover the skillet partially with lid if it splatters). Then, puree the canned tomatoes in the same blender and add to the skillet, along with the browned meatballs. Simmer with the skillet partially lidded, until the sauce is reduced by almost 1/3 again.
  5. Clear spots in the skillet to make way for the eggs. Careful drop the eggs then cover the skillet completely, simmer until the egg whites are set with the egg yolks still runny. Turn off the heat and sprinkle with more chopped mint/cilantro, and a good squeeze of lemon.
  6. TO ASSEMBLE: Slice the baguette across in half, then toast under broiler until slightly browned. Fill the baguette with meatballs, sambal sauce and eggs. Serve immediately.
http://ladyandpups.com/2014/11/02/momn-babe-spicy-sambal-sub/
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36 Comments

  • This is the most beautiful sub I have seen. Nothing a cake can come too. This call for lots of beer, friends and an any excuse to party. You are so lucky to have formed such a bound with great bloggers; no fame can compare with that.

  • Not only are your pictures here as beautiful as ever, and this recipe as crazy delicious as ever, but I loved this post too! I feel the same way about the blogging community, the best thing is meeting like-minded invisible internet friends. Lovely post, and love your blog.

  • Making friends via the internet would’ve sounded crazy to the cynical old lady that lives in me..up until 3 years ago.. Such a great group of people that have teamed up for a wonderful lady! This sub is the truth and “If there’s any shot at per-determined happiness in life,
    it would be to acquire a taste for spicy foods” and a runny egg.. :)

  • THANK YOU.
    i am so floored. i don’t think it’s any secret just how big my girl crush is on you and the fact that you participated in this AND said these very kind words about me means everything. you are seriously one of a kind. XOXO

  • I have only recently discovered your blog, and I have DEVOURED it. I read the recipes and think, what is this CRAZINESS?! You are awesome.

  • I am so happy and grateful you do what you do. Your gift is tremendous and I owe you a thank you for all of the inspiration I get every time you post your jaw dropping photos and totally innovative recipes. Also, this sub is ridiculous- in a really, really good kind of way.

  • There’s a beautiful message in this post, Mandy; about friendship, a like-minded community, encouragement, support, cheers, a helping hand, and shared moments of both sadness and joy. Thank you for doing what you do in this space. I wouldn’t want to miss it.

    AND LOOK AT THIS SUB!! Blowing my mind! And that banner! Love it. Gosh, I’m so excited about this beautiful mess.

    Cheers,
    Sini

  • Aaahhhhh EVERYTHING about this post just makes my day. Your words on the blogging community & your sweet words about Jess are all things I second wholeheartedly, and this SIGN and this SUB with that melted cheese and those spicy meatballs, I’m just. I can’t. This is the most perfect tribute, Mandy — you’re the best kinda people. <3

  • This looks ah.may.zing. Like, I want to dive into your pictures and have a piece of that right now. Messy food is the best.

  • I’m literally speechless. All of your posts are phenomenal, funny, and so stunningly photographed as to leave mere mortals breathless. You have not only found friends, but a calling. Hats off to you, and the whole virtual posse.

  • OK, I literally JUST had lunch and am ravenous for this sandwich after reading this post! THIS IS INSANE! I can’t think of anything more delicious in the world right now!! I’ve yet to buy meat here in Indonesia — simply because it’s sometimes sketchy — but this sandwich NEEDS TO BE MADE! My god.

  • Holy hell, this looks amazing. I’m going to try it with a few less chiles (because I’m truly pathetic when it comes to spice), and use that sauce as a base for slowly increasing my tolerance, because I want to experience this sub in it’s intended form!

    Lemongrass meatballs = awesome.

  • oh my fuck. you win. this is some kind of crazy amazingness. it’s brilliant conceptually, so thoughtful and appropriate for the event, and maybe most importantly, it looks incredibly delicious. i can has? seriously, i can’t get over this!

  • It really is amazing how friendships form through blogging, isn’t it?! And man ohhhhh man…..I’m really starting to think we were separated at birth, because your food is literally some of the ones I desperately want to try. This is one of the most luscious and mouth watering recipes I’ve seen as of late, so awesome!!!! Ps: I totally gasped when I saw the BABY sign….thought it was YOU, hehe.

  • This sub looks straight up MENTAL. It would take me 3.25 hours to eat. But dammnit it looks so drippingly (childish meatballs and all – that made me chuckle) DELICIOUS. it is so wonderful what the interweb can bring! i have met so many great pals online, too – through the blog community. who woulda thunk. happy baby shower, jessica, too! that woman has definitely made many, many blog friends, judging from that insanely talented list!! (the gruesome scottish eggs idea sounded great, too!)

  • I adore your food! Love the way your mind works with putting all those flavours together and then a runny egg on top too. Ridiculously hungry now. And your flavours are as vibrant as your writing. Totally identify with joining a wonderful community too – so many brilliant friendships made since I dipped a toe into the www space.

  • I saw this recipe and made my mind cooking it. And, I did it last night, partly, just the meat ball. I tasted one while precooking them in broth, it is so delicious. I love the hint of fish sauce in the background and like the texture of ground chicken thigh. Thank you for sharing the recipe, Mandy.

  • Just came across your work; I love your rhetoric. This bomber looks out of this world. The pennant banner brings it up like a gajillion notches. I’ll be back for more.

  • Made the SPICY PINEAPPLE SAMBAL SAUCE for shrimp tacos today and it was amazing! Subbed in fish sauce for shrimp paste and it worked great! Will try the chicken meatballs soon

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