Easy Sambal


Sambal, a must-have condiment to add that extra “oomph” to your Asian dishes. It is a very versatile red chili paste that you can prepare ahead of time (and can be stored in the refrigerator for a long time). It can be used to cook meat, seafood, vegetables, or as simple as a condiment to go along with your “nasi lemak” or. A good balance of ingredients is important to achieve a flavourful but not too spicy sambal.

We have also published an article sharing some easy recipes you can make with sambal. Hope you enjoyed it!

How to make Easy Sambal


for 1 cup of Sambal

Main ingredients

  • 20 dried chillies, soaked with hot water
  • 10 small red onions
  • 5 large garlic cloves
  • 5 large or 10 smal kaffir lime leaves
  • 5 stalks lemongrass, use only the bottom 3 inches of the stalk
  • 20 g galangal
  • 20 g ginger
  • 10 g turmeric
  • 150 ml cooking oil


  • 3 tbsp tamarind juice, more if you like it tangy
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar or more to your taste
  • Salt to taste


  1. Using pestle and mortar, blender or a food processor, grind the first 8 main ingredients to form a paste. If the mixture is too dry or difficult to grind, add 1 or 2 tbsp of cooking oil.
  2. Heat up 150 ml of cooking oil on medium-low.
  3. Add chilli paste. Saute for about 15 minutes or until super fragrance. Keep the heat at medium-low and continuously stirring the chilli paste to prevent it from sticking on the pan/wok.
  4. Add tamarind juice, brown sugar and salt.
  5. Saute for a few more minutes.
  6. Let cool. Store in refrigerator in an air-tight container. In the coming episodes, we will show you a few recipes that call for Sambal. Do not discard the excess oil.