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How to Make Sambal Manis (Sweet Sambal)

Last Updated on March 26, 2024 by Damian

Welcome to another fried sambal recipe! Sambal manis, or sweet sambal is a great way to implement a sweet and spicy flavor to any dish you’d like. I will give a list of recommendations on what dishes to use later!

To make sambal manis, simply grind and fry some chillies, onion and garlic. Add palm sugar and various other spices to add flavors, specifically sweetness. Very easy!

If you want to know more on sambal manis, scroll down to the FAQ section. If you’re here to make sambal manis, let’s get started!

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

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Sambal manis

Sambal manis! Amazingly sweet sambal that covers spiciness with sweetness. Definitely try this one out if you love a milder, sweet sambal!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Sambal
Cuisine Indonesian
Servings 300 g
Calories 5 kcal


  • Food processor


  • 10 red chili peppers (~10cm)
  • 5 bird's eye chillies
  • 3 red onions


  • 2 tsp dried loas powder or fresh
  • 3 candle nuts
  • 2 tbsp palm sugar


  • Collect the ingredients
  • Grind the ingredients
  • Fry the sambal manis
  • Serve and conserve sambal manis
Keyword Sambal manis

What to consider when choosing the ingredients

Like always, adapt the amount and type of chillies to your liking, removing or keeping seeds to adapt spiciness. I generally remove mine to make a more approachable sambal, as not everyone can keep up with such spice level.

Next, play around with the garlic and onion types or amounts if you want, just make sure to create a sweet flavor in the end using the right spices.

Regarding the spices, you want to use quite a lot of palm sugar or any other you’d prefer. Palm sugar is the traditional ingredients to use here and gives a very nice caramelized flavor.

The rest of the spices are also traditionally used, consider adding or removing some if you want. The current list of spices yields a very nice sweet and spicy sambal manis.

sambal manis ingredients

Let’s continue with the next steps!

Step 2: Grind the ingredients

Start by removing the seeds from the chillies, simply roll the chillies in between your hands and fingers to break up the seeds on the insides. Next, roughly chop the chillies and add them to a drainer straight after.

Now use a lot of water to wash the chillies and to flush out the seeds, very simple! Continue peeling and chopping the garlic and onion roughly, your food processor should do the work.

Chopped ingredients

Add the garlic, onion, chillies and candlenuts to the food processor and grind to a consistency of your liking.

grinding ingredients
ground ingredients

I highly recommend investing in a high quality food processor if you don’t have one. I heavily use mine and it’s a must have for anyone trying to do some serious cooking. Check out the one I have here and order!

Step 3: Fry the sambal manis

As a final step before serving, heat up a frying pan on medium-high heat with some (sunflower) oil. Once hot, add the ground ingredients and lightly fry for a few minutes.

frying ground ingredients
adding spices to pan

Add the spices after a few minutes and stir well, give the spices time to integrate and add a splash (~50-100 ml) of water to help the integration.

fried ingredients
adding water to pan

Stir well and let the ingredients and water simmer until the water has evaporated (~5 min). This step is just to make the sambal homogeneous, or making sure the flavors are well integrated.

Once the water has evaporated the sambal manis is done!

fried sambal manis

Step 4: Serve and conserve the sambal manis

Congratulations on making sambal manis! To serve, directly add a serving to the side of a dish to your liking or to the cooking process if you want to stir it into a dish. You can also serve it separately on the table for people to serve themselves.

served sambal manis

I can recommend the following courses or side dishes to serve this sambal with:

To conserve the sambal, clean an airtight container with boiling water. Dry the container properly and add the sambal. Store the sealed container in the refrigerator and keep the sambal conserved for a few months. Alternatively, store in the freezer to conserve for many months, I would recommend storing in serving sizes to conveniently defrost the serving only when using.

Use clean utensils to remove servings from the container, working clean will elongate the time of conservation!

If you like this sambal, definitely check out my other sambal recipes:

I hope you enjoyed this sambal recipe, let me know what you think and leave a rating!


What is the difference between sambal oelek and sambal manis?

Generally stated, sambal oelek is a very basic ground chili paste with little or no added spices. It is the base for any sambal in fact. Sambal manis uses a similar ground chili paste but is fried and various spices are added!

How to use sambal manis?

As stated, use sambal manis to implement a sweet and spicy flavor to your dish or recipe. I like to use sambal scooped on the side of my dish to add to a bite so you really taste the sambal. When stirring into a dish I like to use a basic sambal oelek to add spiciness.

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