sambal petai

Sambal Petai: a Delicious Stinky Bean Recipe!

Last Updated on March 26, 2024 by Damian

Welcome to another great sambal recipe! Sambal petai is a very nice flavored sambal using petai beans. This complex flavor will leave you wanting for more!

To make sambal petai, simply grind some chillies, garlic and onion. Fry the paste, add chopped petai beans and spices and leave to simmer for 10 minutes! Very simple and delicious.

What are petai beans?

Petai beans, scientifically known as Parkia speciosa, are a popular ingredient in Southeast Asian cuisine, particularly in Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. They are often called ‘stink beans’ or ‘bitter beans’ due to their distinct aroma and slightly bitter taste.

These stinky beans are loved by many for their unique flavor profile: a complex blend of sweetness, bitterness, and nuttiness that brings a unique depth to the dishes they are used in.

The petai bean’s strong flavor is not the only good thing. It is also known for its health benefits, including high dietary fiber, antioxidants, and several essential nutrients.

petai beans

So, not only they enhance the taste of your sambal, but they also contribute to a healthier meal!

Let’s get started on how to make sambal petai!

Step 1: Collect the ingredients

sambal petai

Sambal petai

Sambal petai! A great addition to add complex flavors to various dishes. Definitely one to try if you love sambals and spicy foods. Get cooking and taste this stinky bean now!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Sambal
Cuisine Indonesian
Servings 250 g
Calories 5 kcal


  • Food processor


  • 10 green and red chili peppers
  • 1 red onion
  • 100 g petai beans
  • 3 garlic cloves


  • 1 tsp tamarind paste dissolved in water
  • 2 salam leaves
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 tsp dried galangal
  • 3 tsp terasi
  • 3 tsp palm sugar
  • salt to taste


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

Note: the kcal count is based on a 2 tsp serving.

What to consider when choosing the ingredients

When making sambal petai, it’s important to choose the right ingredients. Here are a few things to consider:

Chili peppers – You can use a combination of green and red chili peppers to add both heat and color to the sambal. If you want a milder sambal, you can use fewer chili peppers or remove the seeds.

Petai beans – Petai beans are essential to this recipe. They add a unique flavor and a crunchy texture to the sambal. If you can’t find petai beans, you can use regular green beans.

Spices – The spices add depth and complexity to the sambal. Terasi, or shrimp paste, is a key ingredient in Indonesian cooking. If you can’t find terasi, you can use anchovy paste or simply leave it out. Salam leaves, kaffir lime leaves, and dried galangal can be found at specialty Asian grocery stores.

Tamarind paste – Tamarind paste adds a sour note to the sambal. If you can’t find tamarind paste, you can substitute with lime juice.

sambal petai ingredients

Step 2: Grind the ingredients

To begin making sambal petai, start by grinding the chili peppers, onion, and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. You can add a little oil to help with the grinding process. Don’t add the petai beans, spices, or tamarind paste yet.

Remember to remove the seeds from the chillies if you wish!

grinding ingredients
ground ingredients

Step 3: Fry the sambal petai

Next, heat a little bit of oil in a frying pan on medium heat and fry the ground ingredients for a few minutes. Chop the petai beans roughly (once or twice) during these few minutes.

frying ingredients
adding spices

Add the spices (salam leaves, kaffir lime leaves, dried galangal, dissolved tamarind paste, palm sugar, salt).

frying ingredients and spices
adding petai beans

Fry for a few more minutes before adding the chopped beans and let it simmer until the sambal petai thickens.

fried sambal petai

Step 4: Serve and conserve sambal petai

That’s it! Your sambal petai is now ready. Directly serve it with various dishes on the side or stirred directly into the dish. I can recommend the following:

served sambal petai

You can also conserve it by storing it in a cleaned airtight container in the fridge for a couple of week. Freeze it to conserve it for longer periods (months). I always recommend to freeze it in portion sized container so there is no waste from spoiling.

If you want to try out different sambals, I highly recommend the following:

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

Frequently Asked Questions

What does petai smell like?

Petai has a unique, strong, and somewhat pungent aroma, akin to a combination of garlic, onions, and natural gas.

Is petai a bean?

Yes, petai, also known as stink bean, is a type of bean native to Southeast Asia.

What is petai in Chinese?

Petai is called ‘chòu dòu’ (臭豆) in Mandarin, which translates to ‘smelly bean’.

What are the side effects of petai?

While petai is generally safe to consume, it may cause some side effects like bloating and gas due to its high fiber content. Some people may also experience allergic reactions.

How to cook sambal petai prawn?

To cook sambal petai prawn, follow the same recipe as for sambal petai but add prawns during the frying step.

How to cook vegetarian sambal petai?

For a vegetarian version of this sambal, just omit any shrimp paste or fish sauce in the recipe.

What is sambal petai?

Sambal Petai is a spicy Indonesian condiment made from stink beans (petai), chilies, spices, and often includes shrimp paste. The mixture is ground and fried, and served as a side dish or a flavor enhancer for other dishes.


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