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The Best Sambal Oelek Recipe: World Famous Sambal

Welcome to another great sambal recipe! Sambal oelek is a flexible chili paste that originates from Indonesia. Great for adding spiciness to any dish, or to use as the base of a complex flavor palate.

To make sambal oelek, simply grind some chillies, add salt and lime juice and that’s it! A very general spicy paste to add to a variety of dishes.

What is sambal oelek?

Sambal oelek is a type of spicy chili paste used in Southeast Asian cuisine. It is commonly made from ground fresh red chilies that are mixed with lime juice and salt to create a thick, spicy paste.

It can be added to many dishes to add flavor, heat, and texture. Sambal oelek adds a unique flavor to dishes such as stir fries, curries, soups, noodles, meats, and vegetables. It can also be used as a condiment on the side or as an ingredient in recipes like sambal-based sauces or marinades.

Let’s get started with this easy recipe!

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Step 1: Collect the ingredients

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Sambal Oelek

Damian
Sambal Oelek! World famous sambal that is widely used in various dishes. Find out how to make your own version to improve your cooking!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Sambal
Cuisine Indonesian
Servings 100 g
Calories 5 kcal

Equipment

  • Food processor

Ingredients
  

  • 6 red chili peppers
  • a splash of lime juice
  • salt to taste

Instructions
 

  • Collect the ingredients
  • Grind the chillies
  • Serve and conserve sambal oelek
Keyword Sambal Oelek

What to consider when choosing the ingredients

There are many variations of this sambal, and the ingredients you choose will affect the outcome of the paste.

Traditionally, sambal oelek is made with fresh red chili peppers, but you can also use dried ones if fresh ones aren’t available. The type of chili pepper you use will also affect the heat level of your sambal, so choose one based on your preference.

Some recipes call for the addition of sugar, vinegar, or garlic, but we’ll be making a basic version with just three ingredients: red chili peppers, lime juice, and salt. This paste is perfect for those who want a simple, spicy kick in their dishes.

sambal oelek ingredients

Step 2: Grind the chillies

Once you have your ingredients ready, it’s time to start grinding!

For less spiciness, remove the seeds by rolling the chillies in between your fingers, chop them roughly and us a lot of water to flush out the seeds before adding to a food processor.

chopped chillies

Alternatively, keep the seeds by washing the chillies first, chopping them roughly and then go to the food processor immediately.

Grind the chillies until they form a paste. Be careful not to over-process the paste, or it may turn into a sauce instead of a paste.

ground ingredients
sambal oelek ground

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Once you have the desired consistency, add a splash of lime juice and sprinkle some salt on top. Stir well and transfer the sambal oelek to a clean, airtight container.

Step 3: Serve and conserve sambal oelek

There are many ways to use sambal oelek in your dishes. You can add it to soups, stews, stir-fries, and marinades to give them a spicy kick. It also works well as a condiment for grilled meats, fried foods, and sandwiches.

Consider adding this recipe to the following recipes:

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Sambal oelek can last for up to two weeks in the fridge if you store it in a clean, airtight container. It can even last longer if you freeze it. If you want to try out some different sambals, consider the following:

I hope you’ve liked this recipe, let me know what you think and please leave a rating!

FAQ

What is a substitute for sambal oelek?

You can substitute sambal oelek with chili garlic sauce, sriracha sauce, or any other chili paste that you like.

Is sambal oelek gluten-free and/or vegan?

Yes, sambal oelek is gluten-free and vegan.

How to pronounce sambal oelek?

Sambal oelek is pronounced “sahm-bahl oh-lek.”

Where is sambal oelek from?

Sambal oelek is a traditional Indonesian chili paste.

Where can I find sambal oelek?

You can find sambal oelek in some grocery stores or Asian markets, or you can make it at home using this easy recipe!

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