served sambal terasi

How to Make Sambal Terasi

Last Updated on March 26, 2024 by Damian

Welcome to another sambal recipe! This one is on sambal terasi, sambal with quite some fermented shrimp paste. A really nice and easy spice paste to add to your favorite dish.

To make sambal terasi, simply grind a bunch of chillies. Add some teaspoons of terasi and a little bit of lime juice and that’s it!

What is sambal terasi?

Sambal terasi originates from Indonesia and uses terasi as its main ingredient. Terasi is made of dried and fermented shrimp paste and heavily used in Southeast Asian cuisine. In Malaysian, it’s called belacan, don’t confuse this sambal terasi with sambal belacan!

Terasi is used a a flavor enhancer in many dishes, especially sambals. It adds an umami flavor to food and is very traditional in Indonesian cuisine.

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

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Step 1: Collect the ingredients

served sambal terasi

Sambal Terasi

Sambal terasi! A very rich tasting sambal to add complexity to any dish. Enjoy!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Sambal
Cuisine Indonesian
Servings 200 g


  • Food processor


  • 10 red chili peppers (~10cm)
  • 8 bird's eye chillies (cabe rawit)
  • 4 tsp terasi
  • 2 tsp palm sugar
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt to taste


  • Collect the ingredients
  • Grind the chillies and spices
  • Serve and conserve
Keyword Sambal terasi

What to consider when choosing the ingredients

As you can see this ingredient list is very short! I really like this super easy to make sambal as you can make it fresh just before serving a course. Play around with the amount of chillies as you wish, keep the seeds if you want a super spicy sambal.

Add some ingredients if you wish, just keep in mind you will probably end up with a sambal that was given another name at some point!

I can recommend frying this sambal terasi, a cooked version I imagine could be very nice! It might also extend the time the sambal stays conserved.


That’s is for this recipe list, not a lot to it! Let’s continue with the steps.

Step 2: Grind the chillies and spices

The recipe get’s super easy from here. Roll the chillies between your hands or fingers to break up the seeds inside. Chop the seeds roughly and add to a drainer. At this point, thoroughly wash the chillies, using the water to flush out the seeds. Keep some seeds for more spiciness.

chopped chillies

Add the chopped chillies to a food grinder. Like always, I highly recommend getting one if you don’t own one. Invest in a high quality product as this equipment is so heavily used for great food, especially when making sambal. Click here to order the one I have.

ingredients in food processor
ground sambal terasi

Next to the chillies, also add the spices that are listed and grind it all to a paste!

That’s it! have a taste and add some salt if the taste it empty.

Step 3: Serve and conserve

At this point, serve the sambal if you want to eat is fresh. If not, add it to a glass, sealable container which is rinsed with boiling water. Seal airtight and keep it in the refrigerator, it should conserve for a week or 2.

served sambal terasi

If you want to keep it for longer, I recommend using portion size containers, divide the sambal over these containers and freeze them! Single portions defrost very quickly so this should work quite nicely!

Serve this sambal with any dish you want to give a spice upgrade. I can recommend the following:

If you like this sambal, definitely check out these ones as well!

I hope you enjoyed this sambal terasi, leave a rating if you’ve made it!

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