Indonesian Sambal - Easy Chili Sauce with Mortar and Pestle

sambal recipe

Sambal is the umbrella term for any chili sauce or paste in Indonesia. There are hundreds of varieties of sambal from Indonesia alone, but you can also find sambal recipes all across South-East Asia. 

My name is Breda Fenn. I’m a recipe developer and food creative from Sydney. I adore food from around the world and I’m passionate about bringing flavors from around the globe into my home for my family to enjoy. I am half Indonesian. My Dad comes from a small village in South-West Sumatra and he never has a meal without sambal. I have been eating sambal since I was a toddler and can remember it always being a sign of strength if you could eat your sambal without wincing in pain from the heat of it. I was always stoic, of course, but I genuinely loved the intense spice of sambal back then and even more so now. My favorite is sambal belacan. This sambal is a simple, quick, fresh dish that goes nicely with grilled fish or curries.

Using the mortar and pestle to make sambal is the best way to release flavor from the ingredients. I find that simply chopping or using a food processor cuts through the ingredients, but doesn’t extract as much flavor. 


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