Stored sambal

How to Make an Authentic Sambal Bajak (Sambal Badjak)

In this post I’d like to teach you how to make your own sambal bajak also spelled sambal badjak. This is a really easy recipe and super delicious.

To make sambal badjak, simply grind the main ingredients (chillies, garlic, onion), fry it in a frying pan and add spices!

A lot better tasting, healthier and cheaper compared to store bought versions. The main reason for this is the ton of conservatives added in the store bought versions. The advantage of this is that you can store it for a much longer time.

What is sambal badjak?

The sambal badjak orignates from Banten, located on the island Java, Indonesia. The meaning of badjak refert to the specific method of preparation of the sambal.

Originally, sambal badjak uses the longer, milder chillies called lomboks. This makes the sambal less spicy compared to various types of sambal. Especially removing the seeds from the chillies before use reduces the heat significantly.

Conserving the sambal badjak

As I mentioned, a homemade version does not have to contain as many conservatives as a store bought version has. Therefore, homemade versions last less long. The variations I made will conserve for a month or two in the fridge.

The main consideration will be to work clean, removing all bacteria from the container you will use to store the sambal. However, freezing the sambal will conserve it for a lot more months. Especially freezing in batches of 1 serving will let you enjoy this sambal badjak for a long time!

Considering the store bought versions, these will tend to conserve for months anyway, even after opening and using. Remember to use clean utensils when scooping some of that delicious sambal, to not add bacteria to it!

Let’s see how to make sambal bajak!

Disclosure: please note that some of the links below may contain affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase.

Step 1: Collect the ingredients

Stored sambal

Sambal bajak

Sambal bajak! Very popular sambal and widely used for many dishes. Enjoy!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Sambal
Cuisine Indonesian
Servings 400 g


  • Food processor


  • 20 red chili peppers (~10cm)
  • 2 onions
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp tamarind paste
  • some water


  • 2 candle nuts
  • 3 tsp shrimp paste (terasi)
  • 2 leaves of salam
  • 1 tsp lemon grass powder (or fresh stick)
  • 1 tsp laos (galangal) or 2 fresh slices
  • 2 tsp palm sugar
  • salt to taste


  • Collect the ingredients
  • Chop and grind the ingredients
  • Frying the sambal bajak
  • Storing and using the sambal bajak
Keyword Sambal bajak

If you are having trouble finding all of the ingredients and spices, try your local Asian supermarket and I imagine you will be able to find most of it. 

What to consider when choosing your ingredients and spices

As usual with specific sambals, you will not have a lot of freedom to experiment like I usually implement in my recipes.

Starting with the base ingredients; the chillies you can tryout different types. The mild variation used here is a really nice one to start with. Adding quite a bit of volume to the sambal bajak. Remember to remove the seeds when you make this for the first time, I imagine keeping the seeds might be too spicy.

The spice list is very authentic, definitely use the terasi shrimp paste. Highly used in Indonesia cuisine. I really like the candle nuts as well. One of my favorite sambal variations, the sambal kemiri (candlenut, coming soon). Uses a lot in the recipe! Definitely check it out.

To balance spiciness, the salam, lemon grass, laos and palm sugar beautifully contribute to a complete palate. In the future I might try around with kaffir leaves and the wonderful taste it implements!

Let’s continue with the steps to make sambal bajak!

Step 2: Chop and grind the ingredients

From here on the recipe will be super simple. If you managed to collect all your ingredients it should be smooth sailing from here.

Start by rolling the chillies in between your hands, breaking up the seeds on the insides. This will make washing them out super easy after chopping. Roughly chop the chillies, peeled onions and garlic. Add the chillies to a drainer and wash them very thoroughly, washing away all seeds.

washed and chopped chillies

Remove impurities and add all to your food processor. This is a tool I heavily use in my cooking (and recipes). If you don’t have one, I highly recommend investing in a high quality product. Find the one I use here.

Also add the candle nuts and shrimp paste (if not in powder form) and grind it to have a texture of your liking. You can of course use a hand grinder, this will be a lot more effort and the outcome will be a lot more chunky (it is of course the authentic way of doing it).

Chopped ingredients
Ground ingredients

Step 3: Frying the sambal bajak

Now heat a cooking pan with sunflower oil on medium heat and add the mixture from your grinder. After a couple of minutes add the ingredients from the spice list and stir well.

After a minute, dissolve the tamarind paste in some water and add it to the pan. Stir and let it simmer until the water is evaporated.

The sambal is done at this point! Turn off the heat and let it cool down.

Cooked sambal

Step 4: Storing and using the sambal bajak

Let the sambal badjak cool down completely (in the cooking pan) and remove the fresh spices you used.

As mentioned, I can recommend two options for storing: store in a properly cleaned and airtight container in the refrigerator or store in bite sized volumes in the freezer. Clean the containers with boiling water to kill all bacteria.

I recommend saving small food containers you get when ordering food. Typically they hold sauces, no need to throw them away!

Stored sambal

This sambal badjak goes great with a lot of dishes, like rice based dishes, in sauces, as sandwich spread, in soup. It doesn’t necessarily need to go with a specific meat or fish, it is an all rounder for that matter.

I would recommend using it with any of my rice dishes:

Also, I highly recommend checking out different sambals to make the next time. It is just such a nice flavor boost to your kitchen and really contributes to easy and spicy dishes!

Be sure to try this recipe out and let me know what you think of it. Please rate if you make this sambal bajak!

Leave a Reply

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

Recipe Rating