Summers here tend to be scorchers, so fight the fire with fire by cooking up something sizzling on the grill. Use a sambal, an Indonesian chili sauce, as the fuel to set your tongue deliciously a-flame.
Chef Joncarl Lachman, owner of the Dutch-accented Vincent restaurant in Chicago, uses sambal to spike up various dishes, from steamed mussels to grilled pork ribs. Indonesia is a former Dutch colony and sambal -- made from chili, sugar and salt in its simplest form -- is a popular condiment in the Netherlands.
Lachman, who also owns HB Home Bistro in Chicago, plays up the spicy complexity of sambal by serving something simple, sweet and refreshing on the side. Watermelon works for Lachman, either sliced and served as is, or cubed into a salad with crumbled feta and fresh mint.
There are many forms of sambal available at grocery stores and Asian markets. The chef recommends home cooks buy the simplest blends so they can more easily customize the flavor as they're cooking.
Put 1 cup sambal, ½ cup soy sauce, ¼ cup each: molasses and sugar; juice of 2 limes; 10 cloves garlic and ¼ cup oil in a blender, and puree until smooth.
Head-on shrimp -- Marinate 1 hour in refrigerator. Grill about 10 minutes. Garnish with grated ginger, lime zest and chopped cilantro.
Pork tenderloin -- Marinate 6 to 8 hours in the refrigerator. Grill about 20 minutes. Pair with grilled mango.
Tuna or swordfish -- Marinate 1 hour in refrigerator. Grill about 5 minutes per side. Serve with a grilled corn salad garnished with fresh parsley and red onion.