Sambal Belimbing

Sambal belimbing

Fruit and spiciness is a delicious combination. That is why my eye fell upon this sambal belimbing recipe. This sambal is made with star fruit or carambola. In Indonesia, it is called: belimbing. This sweet and sour fruit fits very well with hot peppers.

In Indonesia, this sambal is mainly made with belimbing wuluh. These are small star fruits that are known for their sour taste. Belimbing wuluh are closely related to ‘regular’ star fruit as we know it.

I have finished the chapter sambals from Beb Vuyk. Beb has 25 sambal recipes in her Groot Indonesisch Kookboek; all equally delicious and easy.

This sambal belimbing recipe is enough for 5 people and ready in 30 minutes.


  • 5 red chili peppers
  • 5 anchovies, with 2 tablespoons of oil from the jar
  • 1 star fruit
  • 2 tablespoons red onions
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of trassi (fermented shrimp paste)
  • 3 teaspoons or quarter slice of (Javanese) sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • quarter lime
  1. Grind in a mortar or grind the chilies, onions, garlic, trassi, sugar, and salt in a food processor
  2. sauté the anchovies in 2 tablespoons of oil until they are tender
  3. add the chili pepper mix and sauté for at least 10 minutes on medium heat
  4. cut star fruit into 2 cm cubes and into the pan with the rest until and sauté until the star fruit pieces are tender
  5. add half a cup of water if the mix threatens to become too dry
  6. squeeze out a quarter of a lemon over the mix

sambal ingredients

Anchovies and sambal go great together in this sambal belimbing. The anchovy produces a lot of umami flavor and the trassi reinforces that even more. Trassi is fermented shrimp paste.

Red onions are a bit sweeter than white ones. I think that fits well with the star fruit and the hot peppers.


I start frying the anchovies. It provides a wonderfully savory base.

I place chili peppers, onions, garlic, trassi, sugar and the salt (a bit because the anchovies are already salty) in a jug and grind it with my hand blender. Today I am too lazy for grinding in a mortar and because the chili pepper turns out mix ​​nice and smooth the belimbing will get tender in it easily.

sambal saute in pan

When the anchovies have dissolved a little, I add the chili paste and stir fry until the fat separates from the peppers and onions (after about 5 minutes). If the mix becomes too dry, I add half a cup of water.

I cut the belimbing into small 2 cm cubes. I leave the seeds, because they will become tender and they are edible.

chili salsa with star fruit

I stir-fry the belimbing with the sambal and wait until the fruit has softened. That happens at about 5 minutes of simmering.

I finish with a quarter of lime. I squeeze the juice over the sambal and scoop it through. Now it’s done.

You cannot store this sambal belimbing long (in the fridge for a week). It doesn’t matter because I am the first to add a thick layer on my peanut butter sandwich! Delicious. This sambal is also delicious in addition to crispy fried tofu or a tender meat dish.

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