Sambal is a condiment or sauce that's highly valued and used daily in Indonesia. It's generally more or less pedis, which means hot as in spicy; that's because the main ingredient is peppers. A good, not too hot base pepper is lombok; rawit peppers are hotter.
If you're not used to eating very hot peppers, use nothing but lombok peppers to make your first sambal. You can always upgrade by adding some rawit or other varieties to a later batch.

There are probably as many sambal recipes as there are Indonesian aunts and grandmothers. This one here is a fairly basic sambal recipe, but not the most basic there is; that would be sambal oelek, which is pretty much ground up lombok peppers and not much else. Boring, right?
So this version uses onions and garlic to add some aroma. And also, the onions help dilute the peppers somewhat, so this sambal is not crazy hot. That makes it suitable for daily use, if you like that kind of thing.
For extra flavour, I've added ginger (djahe); feel free to leave that out if you don't like it. Experiment! Making sambal is easy and fun!

I learned to make this from KKN-Peter at Hack42. Remember kids, brush your teeth, and support your local hackerspace!

Step 1: What you'll need

  • 250 grams of peppers (if this is your first sambal, use lombok or a similar run-of-the-mill red pepper)
  • one or two onions depending on their size. I used red ones, they're slightly more aromatic.
  • three cloves of garlic
  • a piece of fresh ginger the size of your thumb
  • cooking oil (I used coconut and sunflower)
  • salt
  • good sharp knife and chopping board
  • garlic press
  • blender or other food processor
  • frying pan or wok or wadjan
  • spatula
  • clean glass jars with lids
Word to the wise: if you're a dude, it's smart to wear gloves. You'll know why, the next time you go pee.
Whatever your gender, DO NOT rub your eyes or pick your nose during or right after making sambal.

The best way to get capsaicin (the stuff that makes peppers hot) off your hands is to dissolve it in oil first, then to wash the oil away with soap. Use cooking oil: rub it on your hands before washing them with soap. Memorize this information. You'll thank me later.
Glad you like it!
Made a batch of this yesterday. With red banana and habanero. Great stuff. Just had a bowl with 1dl yogurth and 1 tbspn sambal. Grrreat, as the tiger would say.
may I add some salt?i really love sambal, makes me sweat :D
Definitely! It's even in the recipe.
I'm indonesian and i dont know you guys love sambal
Well, now you know! :-) <br>Many Dutch people love Indonesian food, and I'm one of them.
<strong>&nbsp;</strong><br> We've run out of summer here in the UK so I've harvested my chillies, most of which didn't get to fully ripen. &nbsp;I think I'll have a go at this recipe with the green (but very hot) ones I've got.
That sounds like an excellent way to use them. If by any chance you are worried that your sambal will turn out too hot, you can add some sweet bell pepper to the recipe.
I wanna try it so much! :O
You totally should! It's easy.
Awesome! I fell in love with a dish in a local restaurant that has a base of Sambal. I've been looking for a good recipe for it, so thank you!
You're welcome! Glad to know I helped someone.

About This Instructable


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Bio: I like to tinker. I'm a co-founder and active participant of my local hackerspace: Hack42 in Arnhem, the Netherlands. You can also find me ... More »
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