Sambal Oel

Sambal Oel

As you probably know, I make all the recipes from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch Kookboek (1973). Now that I have made all (25) sambal recipes from Beb, I dare to come up with sambals myself, such as this sambal Oel.

One of Beb’s sambals is called sambal Boet. Boet is the nickname of Beb’s husband, Fernand de Willigen. Nowhere does Beb explain that this sambal is Fernand’s favorite sambal, but Sambal Boet is not an Indonesian classic. The recipe and name can be found only in Beb’s book. Since I read that Fernand was called “Boet”, this must have been Boet’s favorite sambal.

Samba Boet
Sambal Boet

I think it is so beautiful and sweet that Beb has placed this sambal between her sambal recipes. And Boet was also right; it is the one of the best sambals I know. Read more about Beb’s history here.

Fresh sambal

My husband, nickname Oel, certainly deserves his own version. He likes bright flavors such as jeruk purut, lemongrass and lime. Those are the basic flavors of this sambal. I add umami through the shrimp paste and fresh galangal. This sambal is half fresh because I pour over boiling hot (rice) oil at the end.

Ingredients Sambal Oel

  • 5 chili peppers (preferably in multiple colors)
  • 4 jeruk purut leaves (kaffirlime leaves)
  • 5 cm fresh ginger
  • 5 cm fresh galangal
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • half stalk of lemongrass
  • 1 teaspoon of trassi (shrimp paste)
  • 1 teaspoon gula Jawa (Javanese sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds (coriander seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • pinch of kencur (kencur root powder)
  • a quarter of a lime
  • 1 teaspoon of tamarind
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  1. Finely chop the peppers, lemongrass, galangal, ginger and garlic.
  2. Remove the petiole and the midrib from the jeruk leaves and cut the leaves superfine
  3. Place all in a mortar, together with the trassi shrimp paste, gula Jawa, ketumbar, salt and kencur and grind this together very well.
  4. Then add the tamarind and stir well.
  5. Transfer everything to a heat resistant dish.
  6. Pour over boiling oil and sprinkle lime juice over it

Ingredients sambal

The quarter lime is not in the picture, just like the oil by the way. I use rice oil to pour over the salsa at the end. Rice oil is neutral in taste and smell.

Kencur is an important ingredient. You use very little of this powdered root, because Kencur can easily be overpowering in flavor.

Because I want to make a fresh sambal, lemon leaves (jeruk purut), lemongrass and ketumbar (coriander seed) are important; these are all bright flavors.

chili pepers deseeded


In order to be able to control the spiciness of this sambal properly, I extract the lining (white part) of the seeds from two peppers. This will make them immediately less spicy.

Cobek bumbu

I will add the other 3 in their entirety. Each pepper has its own ‘heat’; also within one batch. If I dare, I sometimes taste how strong the peppers are before I determine how many peppers I will add to my food.

It is important to chop the lemongrass superfine before adding it to the mortar.

grinding herbs and spices with ulekan

Now that everything is well grinded, the tamarind can be mixed in.

In the meantime I heat up 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan. I put my sambal in a heat resistant container and pour it over with the oil. It sizzles well. This way this sambal is cooked a bit.

Now squeeze that quarter of a lime over it and serve.

My husband loves his own sambal! And I. We can’t get enough of it.

Do you ever make sambal yourself? View all sambal recipes on this blog here and watch my video about the 4 (basic) sambals.

Sambal Oel with spoon

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *