25th July 2016

Sambal – A chilli sauce with Indonesian roots

By MaitreMarcel

The other day we saw a big bag of fresh red peppers at the greengrocer’s for just one euro because some had a few spots. We did not hesitate to buy them to make homemade sambal. Sambal is a chilli sauce from Indonesia. Perhaps sauce is not the right word, it is more a paste. A thick sauce. There are many varieties and recipes, you can add many ingredients from tomatoes to shrimp. Here I kept it simple with just an onion, garlic, soy sauce and brown sugar as well as some sunflower oil.

I added the oil because I did not have a blender handy and I needed something to make the mass more manageable. In the end we went to a neighbour who had a blender…I took the oil from the recipe.

Fresh sambal does not keep very long. That is why I cooked and reduced the sauce and put it in sterilised jars.



  • One kilo of red peppers
  • One onion
  • Five cloves of garlic
  • Three tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 10 cl of soy sauce, preferably a thick Ketjap Manis


  1. Open the peppers with a knife and take out the seeds, then cut them in small slices (It is good to wear plastic gloves in this phase)
  2. Cut an onion and the garlic.
  3. Divide the peppers in two bowls.
  4. Blend one bowl of pepper with the onion, garlic, sugar and soy sauce.
  5. Put the mass in a pan and heat it up. When it bubbles, stir and add the remaining peppers. Cook for some 15 minutes while stirring, taste and add salt if necessary.