Sambal Recipe (Classic)

Sambal is a special kind of sauce that has its origin in Indonesia. However it is largely used as a condiment to various dishes like Malaysian dishes, Singaporean dishes etc. This particular type of hot sauce can be made from the combination of various ingredients and the sambal recipe is very simple.

The main ingredient of classic sambal is onion or shallot, garlic and grounded chili peppers. In some sambal recipe, ingredients like fresh shrimps, dried shrimps, peanuts, cuttlefish etc is also used.

sambal recipe

Really easy sambal recipe

Sambal is often served raw or fresh but it is sometimes even cooked or fried depending upon the recipe. Traditional Sambal is made from fresh ingredients prepared with simple cooking tools like a stone mortar and pestle.

However, in the modern day scenario one can also find this particular sauce in glass jars and plastic bottles that are sold in super markets and other stores. But why would you buy it in a store when it is super easy to make at home?

Classic Sambal
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: condiment, hot sauce, sambal
Servings: 8
  • 8 pieces of small onions or shallots (chopped into pieces)
  • 5 cloves of garlic (chopped or sliced)
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass (only bottom pieces, finely sliced)
  • 7-8 pieces of red chilies (seeds removed, chopped or sliced)
  • 10 pieces of small dried chilies (soaked in hot water for 5 min.)
  • 1/2 ounce of tamarind (should be first soaked in a cup and then the juice should be poured through a strainer)
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 pinch of salt (according to taste)
  • 7-8 tsp of sunflower or peanut oil (optional)
  1. Ground the onions, fresh chilies, dried chilies, garlic and lemongrass together to make a paste. If you find it difficult to ground these ingredients together you may use a few teaspoons of sunflower oil to this mixture.

  2. Take a wok or frying pan and heat five table spoon of oil. Once the oil is moderately hot you can add the mixture and sauté. 

  3. Add the turmeric powder to the mixture. 

  4. Cook the mixture in low heat and constantly stir it to ensure that the mixture does not stick to the pan. (After some time the paste will leave a pleasant aroma.)

  5. Fifteen minutes after constantly stirring the mixture, add the sugar, salt and tamarind juice.

  6. Allow the paste to cook and remember to stir occasionally. When you see the oil from the paste floating on the top, you will know that the sauce is ready.

  7. After this you can can let the sambal cool down and taste it!

  8. You can also store the extra sauce after cooling it down. Put the sauce in a container and store it in a freezer to use for a few more days.

That was an easy sambal recipe, right? Your sambal is ready to enjoy! There are many variations of the classic Sambal. What do you think of sambal with banana and coconut or traditional sambal eggs?

Note: Remember to enjoy your sambal within 2-3 months and store it cold, otherwise it loses it’s freshness.