The Jakarta Post
A jar of 'sambal koja' is seen among tomatoes, 'salam koja' (curry leaves), crackers, grilled chicken, satay and boiled eggs in yellow soup. (JP/Muthi Kautsar)
As we are familiar with the idea of plant-based food being fried and enjoying its taste, we are likely to be open to a new addition to this fried plant vocabulary. The Jakarta Post recently had an encounter with salam koja, which translates to curry leaves.
Commonly used in Aceh cooking, salam koja are small and aromatic. Among the Aceh cuisine cooked with these leaves is ayam tangkap, fried chicken seasoned with various local herbs and spices. Those who love ayam tangkap, will also very much enjoy crispy fried salam koja alongside chicken.
Considering that the leaves often stand out alongside ayam tangkap, JW Marriott Hotel Jakarta used the leaf as a base to develop a new sambal (chili sauce), hence sambal koja was born.
According to a statement released by JW Marriott Hotel Jakarta, sambal koja was first introduced as their sambal of the month at Sailendra restaurant during the previous Ramadan month. It became so popular that the hotel came up with a new business model featuring sambal, namely Sambal of Sailendra, a series of sambal that can be purchased in jars.
Undoubtedly, sambal koja was the first of the series to be launched, together with six dishes that include the sambal as an ingredient.
“Sambal koja is a multi-functional condiment that can also be used for seasoning when cooking a dish,” said Adeza Hamzah, cluster director of marketing communications at JW Marriott Hotel Jakarta and The Ritz-Carlton Jakarta, Mega Kuningan.
Meanwhile, the six dishes that incorporate sambal koja offered at the hotel are ayam bakar (grilled chicken), telur begana (boiled eggs in yellow soup), bubur pedas (spicy meat and vegetables congee), nasi goreng kambing (lamb fried rice), lamb and chicken satay and a mix of anchovies, tempeh and nuts. These dishes are rotated through the daily buffet at Sailendra restaurant.
Kalimantan style spicy meat and vegetable congee, or 'bubur pedas'. (JP/Muthi Kautsar)
Read also: Three common myths about Indonesian sambal
Adeza has fond memories of salam koja, which grew on a tree outside his childhood home, with almost all meals cooked at his house using the leaves.
“If ayam tangkap was served in the house, everyone could eat more chicken than me, but the fried salam koja was all mine,” Adeza recalled, during a media luncheon at Sailendra restaurant, JW Marriott Hotel Jakarta.
Sailendra restaurant has partnered with GrabFood to enable people to buy the sambal using the GrabFood app. The sambal is also available for purchase at several e-commerce sites, while a mini cookbook featuring six simple recipes with sambal koja will be available as a gift for every purchase of five jars. (mut)
Editor's note: The first version of this article noted that the six dishes that incorporates sambal koja is available at the hotel. It has been corrected that the dishes are rotated through the daily buffet at the hotel's restaurant Sailendra. It was also noted that a mini cookbook will be available as a gift for every purchase of five jars of sambal koja. It has been corrected that the mini cookbook in question features six simple recipes with sambal koja.