Sambal Luat (Timor) – Chili Salsa

Doesn’t it look like Christmas already? This Sambal Luat from Timor is a little bit sweet (because of the sugar) and fresh (because of the lemon juice). The green parts in the salsa are fresh chives that go through the salsa at the end.

Beb Vuyk (I make all the recipes from her book) uses coriander powder (ketumbar). But this Sambal Luat can also be made with fresh coriander.

Because this salsa needs to fry in the wok for a while you can add it while super hot to a clean jam jar and keep it this way for months. Once opened, finish it within a week, because the fresh chives will go quickly.

This sambal is enough for a small jam jar and is ready in 30 minutes.

Sambal Luat (Timor) # 33 translated from Beb Vuyk Groot Indonesisch kookboek, page 64


10 chopped chili peppers (lomboks)
3 tablespoons of chopped up onions
1 teaspoon of trassi (fermented shrimps)
1/2 teaspoon ketumbar
1 teaspoon of regular white sugar
1 teaspoon tomato puree
juice of 1/2  a lemon
1 tablespoon of chopped chives

Rub chili pepper, onions, trassi, salt, ketumbar and sugar together and add the tomato puree. Sauté them until the onions turn yellow and add the lemon juice. Mix the chives before serving.

The ingredients are not difficult to find. Perhaps trassi is the most exotic ingredient in this salsa. Trassi is fermented shrimp pasta I buy it at my Asian store. Trassi is used in Thai cuisine as well.

Ketumbar is coriander powder but as I stated earlier, you can easily use fresh coriander.

10 chili peppers is a lot to rub fine. So I take the easy way and I get out my emersion blender.

First I cut my onions and peppers into smaller pieces. I do not deseed my peppers, I like my chili salsa spicy.

I add half a teaspoon of salt. Not more because trassi is already salted.

I add onions, trassi, salt, ketumbar and sugar in my plastic jug. I add the tomato puree too because that makes blending easier. I blend for a few seconds.

The smell is amazing already! Now I warm up a tablespoon of oil in the pan and I fry the sambal until the onions turn yellow.

My husband asks if I can open a window. This is hurting his eyes ;-). Sorry!

When I add the lemon juice the chilies turn bright orange. I love those colors and smells. Now I keep stirring until most of the moisture is evaporated.

Time to turn off the gas en mix in the chopped chives.

I keep some for dinner later, and to taste this sambal luat now. The rest I keep for Christmas… I love trassi. You can definitely taste the trassi in there. The sweetness of the sugar is nice and I think the color of the chives looks delicious.

I add my warm sambal immediately in to a super clean jam jar (I boil the jar and lid in water for 2 minutes at least).

Because it is added to a jar while boiling hot, the jar will pull vacuum. I can keep my sambal luat for months outside the refrigerator. I store it in a cool dark place.

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