Sambal Berambang Asem dan Bola Bayam - Chili and Tamarind Sambal with Spinach Balls

4.9 from 7 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 15 mins

Total Time: 30 mins

Serves: 4-6


  • Sambal
  • 100 gram shallot (Indonesian: bawang merah)
  • 8 red cayenne chilies (Indonesian: cabe keriting merah) (*)
  • 2 teaspoon toasted shrimp paste (Indonesian: terasi bakar)
  • 3 tablespoon palm sugar (Indonesian: gula Jawa)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • tamarind solution from 2 tablespoon tamarind + 5 tablespoon hot water, strain remove pulps and pits
  • Greens
  • 2 bunch of spinach (**)


  • Sambal
    1. Grind shallots, red chilies, toasted terasi/belacan/shrimp paste, palm sugar, and salt. You can use a food processor, or even a traditional mortar and pestle.
    2. Transfer the ground chili paste into a small saucepot, add tamarind solution. Turn on the heat to medium, stir, and bring to a boil. Adjust the amount of salt and sugar as needed.
    3. Turn off the heat. Transfer the chili sauce to a serving bowl and enjoy with your greens of choice.
  • Greens
    1. Wash and drain spinach to remove dirt. Add spinach to a wok/deep pot, cover, turn on the heat, and cook until wilted. Drain the cooked spinach well, and divide into 4-6 equal portions, then make each portion into a spinach ball.


  • (*) For less spicy sambal, use red Fresno chilies, or even 1 red bell pepper (Indonesian: paprika merah).
  • (**) Other than spinach, you can also try yam/sweet potato/cassava leaves (Indonesian: daun singkong), water spinach (Indonesian: kangkung), chayote (Indonesian: labu siam), or even kale and broccoli.

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