Sambal Is The Secret To Spicing Up Your Morning Egg Sandwiches

If you think coffee is the ultimate morning jump-starter, you might just change your mind. All it takes is a spoonful or spread of spicy red sambal paste to transform your day, or at the very least, your breakfast. And there's no easier way to get the earthy, multidimensional, flavor depth of sambal than in something you routinely whip up without a second thought: a morning egg sandwich. The idea of a breakfast sandwich may never again hold the same meaning and certainly not the same tantalizing aroma.   

There are several ways to incorporate sambal into your warm, toasty, handheld wonder sandwich. Sambal can be quite spicy, depending on which of the hundreds of versions you're lucky enough to find or make. Unless scouring Southeast Asian markets or ordering authentic samba from overseas venues, you'll likely be using the commercially available Indonesian sambal oelek, the name referring to sambal, the word for chili-peppers sauce, and oelek, indicating the mortar and pestle traditionally used to crush the red peppers. The heat level of ones sold in the United States is generally milder than other versions but still carries a flavorful energizing kick.

Creating a sambal-enhanced egg sandwich can take a couple of twists or a little combination of each. Some purists say the sambal sauce or paste must remain only on the toasted bread. Others believe in stirring the light, zingy goodness directly in the eggs as they cook. But it's simple, and delicious, to have it both ways.

Incorporate sambal throughout a morning egg sandwich

An ideal approach as you grow comfortable making this morning egg sandwich is to crack an egg into a frying pan as usual, and lightly break the yolk. Then add a small spoonful of sambal into the center of the yolk as it begins to cook. But you're not done with chili-pepper madness yet: Toast two slices of bread and spread a thin layer of sambal on each. When assembling the sandwich, you'll smash the saucy, spicy sambal flavor into every bite.

Crucially, the bread must be sturdy enough to hold its own amidst a saucy invasion, yet not so thick that it overpowers the coveted chili-pepper sensation. A crusty fresh loaf, when sliced, provides a sturdy rim for grasping your breakfast egg sandwich while remaining soft and sambal-ready across the center. Alternatively, a flaky, toasted brioche bun allows more absorption of the sambal flavor. Just be sure to toast it, and seek out a true sambal paste for this sandwich, rather than a thinner chili sauce typically used as a condiment

It's unlikely that a sambal breakfast sandwich would ever be boring, but feel free to pile on with other morning favorites –– anything goes. Grate some cheese over the eggs, toss in some chopped cilantro, add a tomato slice, or pile on with bacon, ham, or a meat alternative. The goal is to add dimension with Indonesian sambal sauce and find the magical marriage of ingredients that thrive under its spicy influence.