Sambal Bubuk Kering

This is my new favorite chili salsa: sambal bubuk kering. This sambal is a mix of dried shrimps and chilies. I buy dried shrimps at my local Asian store. Ebi it is called.

I love this sambal too because kencur is added. Kencur is a tasty root, like galangal or ginger but tastes completely different. Kencur is one of my favorite flavors. It has a very strong taste so you do not need much.

Besides kencur, jeruk purut is added as well. Jeruk is a small tasty lime and jeruk purut its aromatic leaf.

This sambal is enough for a medium-sized jam jar and is ready in 30 minutes.

Sambal Bubuk Kering #36 translated from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch kookboek, page 66.


3 tablespoons of ebi (dried shrimps)
2 teaspoons of sambal ulek
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon of kencur
1/2 teaspoon of terasi (shrimp paste)
1 tablespoon of white sugar
3 jeruk purut

Rub the sambal ulek, garlic, kencur, terasi, jeruk purut leaves and the sugar together.

Then add the finely chopped ebi and mix it together. Make the oil hot. Remove the pan (use a skillet or a wok with a thick bottom!) from the heat and stir in the mix.

Then turn the fire down to the lowest setting (use an astbestos plate for gas). Place the pan back on the stove and stir the sambal for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Let it cool on a plate and when cooled transfer the sambal into a well-sealed jam jar. As jeruk purut leaves are still visible, remove them before serving.

I do not have fresh sambal ulek left so I just mix in three chopped chili peppers. I leave the pinch of salt out of the sambal ulek because there is already enough salt in the shrimps and the trassi.

To make sambal ulek yourself and keep it for weeks check out this recipe.

Trassie is a fermented shrimp paste and smells strongly. It think it only enhances the taste of the shrimps even better. This sambal turns into a lovel salsa in smell in flavor. Yummy!

Beb wants us to add white sugar into this sambal. She never does in her recipes! 😉 I think because in other sambals regular salt is added in the mortar to help with the rubbing; it grinds the chili.

But adding more salt to this sambal is not nice at all. That’s why she suggest rough white sugar to help to make it nice ans smooth and to add some sweet flavor as well.

I start to grind the garlic in my cobek (mortar). I use two thick cloves; I love garlic.

I chop my chil peppers and place them in the mortar with a spoonful of sugar. The grinding goes fast indeed.

I do not cut the jeruk purut leaves, but I rub the leaves as much as possible; juices will come out this way.

I chop my ebi fine with my chef’s knive. They are quite firm so be carefull.

All ebi goes through the mix in my cobek and I stir and rub until it is well mixed.

I stir-fry this mix in two tablespoons of oil. Beb talks about super low heat and an asbestos plate to spread the heat when you use gass. I think she might be afraid everything will burn.

I do not remove the pan from the (low) fire and I stir constantly but I do not use an astbestos plate (ofcourse not).

I continue untill everything is well warmed up and changes in color.

The result: a deliciously fragrant sambal with lots of strong flavors. It think this is an excellent basis for other dishes. I have some quail eggs laying around and it inspires me to make a ‘sambal goreng telor kecil’!

The ebi remains crisp and I taste the sweetness of the sugar against the spiciness of the chilies. This sambal bubuk kering has a lovely balance in flavor.

I keep it in a clean jar in my fridge, but I think it will be finished soon…;-)

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