sambal rawit

How to Make Sambal Rawit (Bird’s Eye Chili Sambal)

Last Updated on March 26, 2024 by Damian

Welcome to another sambal recipe! Here I will you show you an amazingly simple and spicy recipe of the sambal rawit.

To make sambal rawit, simply take a bunch of cabe rawit (bird’s eye chili) and grind them with a food processor or hand grinder. After, you add some salt and (sunflower) oil and that is!

What is sambal?

Sambal is a collective term of spice pastes commonly used in Indonesian cuisine. It consists of a few main ingredients and spices, like the small cabe rawit or the bigger chili pepper, often called lombok in Indonesia. Commonly combined with shallot, garlic, tamarind paste, shrimp paste and this has gotten many variations. It is eaten raw or cooked, on the side and integrated in dishes.

What is sambal rawit?

Sambal rawit is a very basic type of sambal, it usually simply consists of ground red bird’s eye chillies seasoned with salt and (sunflower) oil. These type of chillies are very hot compared to ordinary red chili peppers, making the sambal a very spicy chili paste.

Basically, sambal rawit is closely related to sambal oelek, a well known sambal using ordinary red chili peppers instead of bird’s eye chillies. I’d recommend starting out with this milder sambal if you’re not sure what you are doing!

Let’s get started making some sambal rawit!

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Step 1: Collect the ingredients

served sambal rawit

Sambal rawit

Sambal rawit! A very spicy sambal variation using cabe rawits. Definitely the most spicy sambal on my site, try it out if you dare!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Course Sambal
Cuisine Indonesian
Servings 50 gram


  • Food processor or hand grinder


  • 20-25 cabe rawit (bird's eye chili)
  • a pinch of salt
  • a splash of sunflower oil


  • Collect the ingredients
  • Wash and grind the cabe rawit
  • Store and eat the sambal rawit
Keyword Sambal rawit

This is the very basic sambal rawit recipe, you can of course use additional ingredients and spices you would like. The recipe however probably will turn into another sambal variations, see all the sambals I made here.

Step 2: Wash and grind the cabe rawit

Simply use fresh cabe rawit or dried ones for this sambal rawit. Personally, I have a large amount of chillies hanging in my kitchen so they dry pretty quickly. I can recommend doing this if you use a lot of chillies as buying in bulk usually is cheaper.

Just use a needle and thread to make a chain of chillies through the green stem and hang it somewhere. It looks very nice I would say.

Chili chain

Now take the amount of chillies you want, remove the stems and seeds. To do this simply cut the chillies and wash them very thoroughly to wash away the seeds. You can also use your fingers to squeeze out the seeds, just be careful to wash your hands properly before rubbing your eyes!

used chillies
deseeded chillies

Removing the seeds will highly decrease the spiciness of the sambal rawit, I can definitely recommend it as the sambal is super spicy if you leave the seeds in. Even without the seeds the sambal packs a great punch!

Continue by adding them to your food processor of hand grinder. Again, I can highly recommend getting a food grinder if you don’t have one. This is the one I use. Grind until the sambal rawit has a consistency you prefer and add the oil and salt. Combine by hand or grind some more and that’s it!

chillies in foodprocessor
ground chillies

Step 3: Store and eat the sambal rawit

The sambal rawit is now ready to be stored or directly eaten. Use boiling hot water to clean a glass jar with an air tight lid to store the sambal rawit to let is conserve for as long as possible. The less bacteria are in the jar before storing the longer it will take to spoil.

stored sambal rawit

Seal the jar and store refrigerated, even freeze it if you want it to conserve for a long time (months). When you want to take a piece of sambal be sure to use clean utensils to remove it from the jar.

This sambal goes really well with fried rice dishes, like the nasi goreng cina or nasi goreng ayam recipes I made earlier. For a less spicy sambal, be sure to check out my sambal tomat recipe. A really nice sambal to start with if you don’t know what spice level you like!

That’s it! I hope you enjoy this sambal rawit, let me know what you think in the comments.

If you like this sambal, be sure to check out my other sambal recipes:


What is sambal?

Sambal is a spicy chili sauce or relish that originated in Indonesia. It can be made with various combinations of chili peppers, garlic, shallots, ginger, scallions, and other ingredients. Sambal can be used as a condiment for a variety of dishes including rice, noodles, and meats.

Is sambal oelek bad for you?

Since sambal typically contains chili peppers which contain capsaicin, it may contribute to heartburn and other digestive issues if consumed in excess. It is recommended to consume sambal in moderation to avoid unwanted side effects.

Do keep in mind that store bought sambals usually contain a high amount of salt. Generally speaking this makes sambal oelek unhealthy when not home-made.

What is the difference between sambal oelek and sambal badjak?

Sambal oelek is a type of sambal that uses fresh, crushed red chillies as its base ingredient. Sambal badjak is a type of sambal that is fried and has more complex flavors due to the inclusion of additional ingredients like shrimp paste, garlic, galangal, tamarind paste and palm sugar.

Is sambal oelek good for you?

Eating small amounts of sambal may provide some health benefits due to the presence of vitamins A and C from chili peppers as well as some minerals like iron and potassium. However, eating too much could lead to negative health consequences such as an upset stomach or heartburn.

Is sambal oelek vegan?

Yes; since there are no animal products present in traditional recipes for sambal oelek it is considered vegan friendly.

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