Sambal: Indonesia’s “Ketchup”

Sambal. In Bali, most menu translations simply call it “Balinese spicy.”  They serve it just about everywhere and with just about everything in Indonesia, along with those ubiquitous shrimp crackers, or krupuk.  The recipe is quite simple.  Start with chiles.  Lots of chiles.  (About 20 for this recipe.)  Add a few teaspoons of salt and a few of brown sugar, grind it up in a mortar and pestle, and you’ve got your basic sambal oelek (ground chili).  You can spice it up (more like calm it down) with other ingredients such as garlic, vinegar, tomato, lemongrass, etc.  The freshly made sambal will keep in an airtight jar in the fridge for about a month.

If you’re feeling a lack of creativity, try this recipe, a complex blend that includes shrimp paste, garlic, tamarind and coconut milk, among other things:  Sambal Badjak by

2 Responses to Sambal: Indonesia’s “Ketchup”
  1. […] Sambal: Indonesia's “Ketchup” » the wanderkind […]

  2. […] feet. It’s really good, but I’ve had it so often I’m kind of sick of it. Sambal: the greatest condiment in the world. It’s like Tabasco ketchup. I eat it on everything, but […]

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL