Indonesian Hot Sauce Sambal Oelek

Mortar-Ground Intense Hot Sauce
Rice Table Essential

cooking with Indonesian hot sauce Sambal Oelek

Sambal Oelek

A spicy hot red sauce called Sambal Oelek may be the most popular of the hundreds of varieties of Sambals in Indonesian cuisine.

The name Sambal Oelek means a mortar-ground Sambal or savory sauce, because it is typically ground in a stone mortar.

Sambal Oelek is probably the most familiar hot sauce served to accompany Indonesian food.It’s probably essential for a Rice Table or Rijsttafel meal.

It is probably the most useful one to have on hand, and is sold ready-made in many Asian markets.

Unfortunately,m unless you use a lot of it, Sambal Oelek tends to have a short shelf life once opened, even in the refrigerator.

You can always make your own.  Here is a simple recipe, which produces a small amount for serving at a simple Indonesian meal or Rice Table. This recipe, like many home-made ones, tastes better, too, than what you can buy in a store.

Sambal Oelek


12 large Red Chilies
½ teaspoon Shrimp Paste
½ teaspoon Salt
1 tablespoon Tamarind Juice
1 teaspoon Sugar
1 teaspoon grated Lime Peel
2 Green Onions, white part only
2 cloves Garlic


First, seed and crush the Red Peppers and chop them coarsely.  Chop the Lime Peel finely, also the Onions and Garlic.  Combine all the ingredients and mix together in a blender or food processor.  If you have a mortar and pestle, you can use it.  You may want to add a little water to make the mixture smooth. This suac eis bestg when freshly made but will keep in the refrigerator for a few days.

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