sambal tumis

Sambal Tumis: Amazing Stir-Fried Chili Paste

Last Updated on March 26, 2024 by Damian

Welcome to another great sambal recipe! Sambal tumis a stir-fried type of sambal that is very quick to make and uses only a small amount of ingredients.

To make sambal tumis, simply grind some chillies and stir-fry on high heat. Season with some salt and that’s it!

What is sambal tumis?

Sambal tumis is a spicy chili paste commonly used in Malaysian and Indonesian cuisine. In English, sambal tumis can be translated to “sauteed chili paste”.

It originated from the Malay word “tumis” which means to stir-fry, and “sambal” which refers to a condiment or sauce made with chili peppers.

It is often used as a dipping sauce for various dishes such as seafood, chicken, vegetables, or added into noodle and rice dishes for extra flavor.

Step 1: Collect the ingredients

sambal tumis

Sambal tumis

Sambal tumis! This amazing chili paste is stir-fried to make a great spicy base to add to dishes. Definitely try it out if you're into some very spicy foods!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Sambal
Cuisine Indonesian
Servings 2 servings
Calories 50 kcal


  • Food processor


  • 4 red chillies (~10 cm)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil


  • Collect the ingredients
  • Chop and grind the ingredients
  • Fry sambal tumis
  • Serve and conserve sambal tumis
Keyword Sambal tumis

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

What to consider when choosing the ingredients

The heart of this sambal is the chili, so selecting the right variety is crucial. Look for red chilies; the ripe ones pack the most heat and tend to be sweeter, striking the perfect balance.

Look for vibrant colors and a healthy shine for freshness. If you’re craving a milder sambal, de-seeding your chilies before grinding can tone down the spice without sacrificing the characteristic smolder.

While sunflower oil is a commendable option for its neutral flavor, you can also experiment with oils like coconut for a hint of the tropics, or peanut for a robust nuttiness.

The key is to use a generous amount of oil to ensure proper frying and preservation. Remember, the oil you choose will impart its own unique undertones to the sambal, so pick one that complements your desired culinary palette.

sambal tumis ingredients

Step 2: Chop and grind the ingredients

Start by cleaning the chillies well. Chop them roughly to speed up the grinding process. Add the chili pieces to a food grinder and grind until a consistency of your liking.

Keep in mind that keeping or removing the seeds will affect the spiciness. If you want it hot, keep the seeds. If you prefer a milder taste, discard the seeds before grinding.

grinding ingredients
ground ingredients

Step 3: Fry sambal tumis

To prepare chili paste, start by heating oil in a pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chili paste and stir-fry it diligently until it transforms into a rich, deep red color.

frying ingredients
fried ingredients

Once achieved, carefully remove the pan from the heat source. Add salt to taste and that’s it!

Step 4: Serve and conserve sambal tumis

Serve this sambal with various dishes. Spoon it generously over rice, pair it with fried meats, or mix it into a curry. Here’s some recipes I can recommend serving with:

sambal tumis zoomed

Alternatively, try out some of my other sambals:

To preserve sambal tumis, store it in a clean airtight container. Ensure the sambal is entirely covered with oil to create a protective barrier against spoilage. Your sambal can now be a faithful ally for enhancing meals, lasting several weeks when refrigerated.



What is Sambal Tumis in English?

Sambal tumis translates to ‘stir-fried chili paste.’ It’s a cornerstone of Malaysian and Indonesian cuisine, adding depth and zest to a multitude of dishes.

Is sambal tumis spicy?

Sambal tumis is spicy, but it offers more than just heat. Its smoky, savory, and slightly sweet flavors complement its spiciness, pleasing both spice enthusiasts and novices.

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