When I first visited Ambon a couple of years ago, I went for a tour of the island and bought some grilled fish (I think it was bonito or small tuna) along the way, together with a spicy, somewhat tangy sauce. The fish was fresh, and the sauce was out-of-this-world delicious.
Turns out that the sauce I had is a local specialty called colo colo (pronounced cholo cholo). Dewa, one of the chefs at Maluku Divers, made the sauce for dinner a few nights ago (yes!).
Colo Colo sauce, made with chili, tomato, red onion,
lime juice, sale, hot water and fresh basil
The best way to describe the flavour is probably to say that it's somewhat like salsa with a Southeast Asian flair. Not quite accurate, but at least you get the idea.
Pak Dewa was kind enough to make some more today, and even to write down the ingredients for future reference (to stop me from pestering him, no doubt).
Pak Dewa and his delicious colo colo sauce
Ingredients for Colo Colo Sauce:
- Chopped red chili
- Sliced tomato
- Sliced red onion
- Lime juice
- Hot water
- Fresh basil
If you visit Ambon, make sure to try this sauce, which is primarily served with grilled fish. Be aware that it carries a bit of a punch from the chili peppers.
Pak Dewa cutting chili for the colo colo sauce
Incidentally, there's apparently a similar sauce in the Manado area called dabu dabu, with the primary difference being that colo colo is made with water, while dabu dabu is made with vegetable oil. Whatever the name, I can at least verify that colo colo is yummy yummy, so I'm confident dabu dabu is as well.
Oh…Hafes, one of the ever-jovial staff members at the resort, saw me taking photos of Dewa and wanted in on the action, so here's a portrait of Hafes giving his thumbs-up to the colo colo:
Hafes is always friendly and entertaining