Indonesian Chili Salsa 30+ Recipes

25 easy chili salsa Indonesian sambal recipes
OVer 25 easy chili salsa Indonesian sambal recipes

More than 30 homemade Indonesian chili salsa recipes are on this blog now! I never buy Indonesian ‘sambal’ anymore in the supermarket. When we fancy a sambal I make one on the spot, that matches our dinner nicely.

In the meantime, I have finished the chapter about sambals from the Indonesian cookbook by Beb Vuyk too (on this blog I make all her recipes).

If you want to see all the sambals on this blog immediately, go to my sambal overview here.

Basic sambal knowledge

I think I can truly state that I know the basics of sambal making now but I am not done by far. I will continue to collect delicious sambals on this blog. So far I have experimented mostly with ‘simple’ chili peppers. Sometimes I dare to use rawit or madame jeanette (much, much spicier). But there is so much more to discover. I truly love sweet and sour sambals, like pineapple sambal or carambola. 

The way in which sambal is made in Indonesia today is also fascinating. Their salsas can be very coarse and beautiful in color, smell, and flavor.

Difficult and easy chili salsa

Beb writes in her book she has collected sambals of ‘the simplest kind’. All based on the basic recipe of the sambal ulek and the sambal trassi.

Sambal Ulek

Ulek means ‘ to grind in a mortar’ (ulek). So a sambal ulek forms the basis for adding other herbs and spices in the mortar to make a delicious, signature chili salsa. But it is also possible to eat sambal ulek as it is.

I explain in this video how to make more complex sambals from 2 basic salsa’s.

Sambal Ulek

I try to have homemade sambal ulek in stock as much as possible. It can be kept easily for weeks in a clean jar in the fridge. But you can always make an ulek on the spot and then add your herbs and spices.

Sambal Trassi

Sambal Trassi - Terasi
Sambal Trassi – Fermented Shrimp Paste

The same goes for a sambal trassi. Trassi is fermented shrimp paste and is used extensively in Indonesian cuisine. Other kinds of trassi can also be seen in, for example, Thai or Burmese cuisine.

Homemade Chili Salsa

Making sambal yourself is not difficult at all. Beb always uses her mortar, but I regularly take out my emersion blender. The spice mix turns out a lot smoother. That can be extra tasty depending on the recipe it is used in.

Sambal Goreng Telor - Eggs in Chili Salsa
Sambal Goreng Telor

If you want to simmer eggs or fish in a chili sauce for example, a smooth sambal works the best. But with other recipes a crisp chili pepper that is still pretty coarse is better for the balance.

Making an Indonesian Chili Salsa
Sambal Tomato

Because I never buy sambal anymore, I like to make small amounts of sambal that I finish during one dinner. That way I can make sambal that matches perfectly with the food I make and most of the salsas are done in less than 5 minutes.

Sambals to preserve

You can, of course, make lots of sambal and keep it in jars, but that counts only for the ones that are stir-fried. When you scoop them blazing hot in super clean jars, it turns vacuum and you can keep them for a long time that way.

Indonesian Chili Salsa - Sambal Badjak
Sambal Badjak

List of preserved chili salsas:

I often make these chili salsa as a gift too.

  1. Sambal Bubuk Kering (dried shrimp)
  2. Sambal Teri (Tapanoeli) (ansjovis)
  3. Sambal Taoco (beans)
  4. Sambal Loeat (Timor)
  5. Sambal of Red and Green chili peppers
  6. Sambal Asem
  7. Sambal Petai
  8. Sambal Badjak
  9. Sambal Serdadu
  10. Sambal Malaka
  11. Sambal Brandal
  12. Sambal Kelapa
  13. Sambal Belimbing

Fresh sambals (sambals to make on the spot)

The sambals below vary slightly in difficulty, but are overall simple to make. One is ready in 3 minutes the other in 10. My favorite is sambal Boet. That is the one with the most complex flavor. I love it. It was the favorite sambal of Beb Vuyk’s husband: Boet!

List of fresh sambals you can make on the spot:

  1. Sambal Ulek (vegetarian)
  2. Sambal Oel
  3. Sambal Manis (vegetarian)
  4. Sambal Boet
  5. Sambal Pinda (vegetarian)
  6. Sambal Trassi
  7. Sambal Celery
  8. Sambal Jeruk (vegetarian)
  9. Sambal Onion
  10. Sambal Chives
  11. Sambal Tomato
  12. Sambal Petis
  13. Sambal Candlenut (vegetarian)
  14. Sambal Asem Kemamah (stockfish)
  15. Sambal Kelapa (kokos) / Djagoeng (mais)
  16. Sambal Mata
  17. Sambal Goang met Kentjoer
  18. Sambal Korek

How to freeze sambal

If I have a lot of (basic) sambal, I freeze it; for example in ice cube trays. This way I always have a bit at hand in the right quantity.

Indonesian Chili Salsa - frozen
Indonesian Chili Salsa

Do you ever make yourself an Indonesian Chili Salsa? I’d love to hear how you do it! Leave a message or photo on my social media and #pisangsusu! ;-).

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