Sambal Boet

31-sambal-boetNothing beats homemade sambal (Indonesian chili salsa). I used to buy sambal, but now my homemade sambal is an addiction. It seems so much extra work, but it’s not. You do not need a big amount and you grind it fastly in the mortar. Sambal Boet: enough for 4 people and done in 15 minutes. Worth to give it a try! Watch the video or read on for the recipe in detail.

Sambal Boet #31 translated from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch Kookboek, page


  • 10 red chilies unseeded
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 piece of asem the size of 3 walnuts (tamarind paste)
  • 5 kemiries (candlenuts)
  • 1 teaspoon of trassi (shrimp paste)
  • 3 teaspoons of Javanese sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon of galangal
  • pinch of kencur (Kaempferia galanga)
  • salt
  1. Remove the seeds from the chilies.
  2. Grind the tamarind paste with the kemiries, trassi, garlic, coriander, galangal, Kaempferia galanga (kencur) with the salt and half the amount of sugar into a paste.
  3. Then add the chopped chilies and grind it in the mortar until it is smooth and well mixed.
  4. Add half of the amount of sugar, add the rest later. Do not add all the sugar at once otherwise the sambal will grind well into a fine paste. 

This is a fairly complicated sambal. But it is, however, very fragrant and mild and can be preserved for a long time when kept in the refrigerator in a sealed jar.


Who’s Boet?

Online I see several chili paste recipes which are named ‘sambal Boet’. Those sites are all Dutch websites and the recipe seems exactly the same as in Beb’s book. I think sambal Boet is not a Dutch-Indonesian classic, but simply Boet’s favorite sambal. Boet was Beb Vuyk’s husband. The sambal Boet recipes online are probably taken from Beb’s book, but rarely stated that it’s her original recipe.

Beb married Boet in 1932. His full name is Fernand de Willigen. He was a tea planter, son of a Dutch father and a half-Ambonese mother. Read more about her life here.


Mild sambal

Because it’s a mild sambal you have to remove the seeds from the chilies. I chop up the peppers and scrape the seedy content away. Now I cut them up finely.

31-sambal-boet-tjobekMy regular Javanese sugar is finished, so I grate a slice of gula jawa with my special rasp, I got from a dear friend; specially made for nutmeg or lemon zest. But it works lovely with gula Jawa too. Terima Kasih.

The candlenuts I do not roast, but I use already ready paste from the shop 😉

31-sambal-boet-kruidenNow everything goes in to the mortar (cobek or tjobek). I slowly grind the ingredients bit by bit until it becomes a shiny paste.

This sambal was probably Boet’s favorite because of the kencur root (Kaempferia galanga). This amazing root adds so much to the flavor. This sambal is a very mild, but intensely flavored sambal. Totally different than sambal ulek for example.


According to Beb you can save this sambal well in a jar in the refrigerator. For all sambals you have to work extremely clean. Always scoop sambal out with a clean spoon and save small quantities. Then the sambal stays fresh and lovely in the refrigerator. But because sambal is easily made, you can make small amounts every time you need some.

More chili salsa recipes

Check out all the other sambal recipes on this blog here.

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