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Lalap Sambal Terasi - Sundanese Vegetables with Shrimp Paste Chili Relish

Learn how to prepare lalap, Indonesian most popular vegetable platters, and serve it with sambal terasi, utterly delicious and umami-rich chili sauce.

Lalap is a Sundanese dish of an assortment of raw and lightly blanched vegetables served with a side of sambal terasi. This dish is really popular throughout Indonesia, and most Indonesian restaurants nowadays serve this as the de facto side dish with any of your Indonesian main dish. At home, we eat this all the time, and most Indonesian will tell you there is no greater way to eat fresh vegetables. :)

Lalap Sambal Terasi – Sundanese Vegetables with Shrimp Paste Chili Relish

Lalap Sambal Terasi – Sundanese Vegetables with Shrimp Paste Chili Relish

What are the common vegetables in a lalap?

There really aren’t any set rules to what vegetables can or cannot be included in a lalap. But, there are some vegetables that are indeed super popular and appear regularly, some always served raw, and some always served lightly blanched.

These vegetables are always served raw in a lalap:

  • cucumber (Indonesian: timun)
  • tomato
  • cabbage (Indonesian: kol)
  • lemon basil (Indonesian: daun kemangi)
  • snake/long beans (Indonesian: kacang panjang)
  • Thai green eggplants

While these are typically served lightly blanched/boiled:

  • spinach (Indonesian: bayam)
  • water spinach (Indonesian: kangkung)
  • papaya leaves (Indonesian: daun pepaya)
  • yam/sweet potato/cassava leaves (Indonesian: daun singkong)
  • chayote (Indonesian: labu siam)

Since I am currently living in the United States, I must make do with using what’s more commonly available here. Some of my favorite vegetables that I have added to my lalap include:

  • Thai basil (raw)
  • Brussels sprouts (raw)
  • iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, or butterhead lettuce (raw)
  • green beans (lightly blanched)
  • carrots (lightly blanched)
  • broccoli (lightly blanched)
  • zucchini (lightly blanched)
  • any greens that are appear in a salad

What goes into a sambal terasi?

There is no other sambal in the whole of Indonesia that is more popular and more well known than sambal terasi. If you want to learn to prepare just one Indonesian sambal, I highly suggest learning how to prepare sambal terasi.

A typical sambal terasi has these ingredients:

Which chilies should I use for sambal terasi?

In Indonesia, most people use cayenne and birds eye chilies to prepare sambal terasi. Those that really like the spicy kick of chilies may even add a little bit of habanero.

We love milder sambal in our family, so I usually use either 100% cayenne (seeded!) or even 100% Fresno for even milder sambal.

What is terasi and how do I use it?

Terasi is an Indonesian shrimp paste made from fermenting tiny shrimps called rebon. It has a dark chocolate color and is usually sold in a block. Indonesian terasi is super similar to Malaysian belacan, and this is what is more commonly available in the United States.

To use terasi, cut the amount called for in your recipe, and safely wrap the unused amount in several layers of papers (I usually use parchment paper) and then further store it in a sealed ziplock bag. Simply store unused terasi in the fridge and this thing can practically last forever.

Terasi must be toasted prior to using. You can either:

  • toast in an open flame on a gas stovetop
  • dry frying in a frying pan to toast
  • toast in an oven toaster
  • microwave, typically 30 seconds cooking time in a microwave is enough

My most preferred method is the microwave option. I usually place the needed amount of terasi in a microwave-proof bowl, covered with a microwave-proof plate, and cook for 30 seconds.

You will know the terasi is fully toasted when the color turns pale and the texture becomes dry and crumbly. You should even be able to crumble it easily with your fingers.

How do I make sambal terasi?

  1. Heat cooking oil in a frying pan, then fry tomatoes and shallots until softened. Set these aside.
  2. In the same pan, fry chilies until softened, and set aside.
  3. Toast the terasi.
  4. Using a food processor, grind tomatoes, shallots, chilis, toasted terasi, palm sugar, and salt into a smooth paste.
    Traditionally, we use cobek (mortar) and ulekan (pestle) to grind our sambal.
  5. Transfer this to a serving bowl, then add lime juice and stir. Feel free to adjust the amount of lime juice you use to suit your taste.

Can I store this sambal terasi?

This traditional version of sambal terasi is meant to be consumed within one day, maybe two days at most. Some would even insist on making a fresh batch every time you want to enjoy sambal terasi. If you wish to make a big batch of sambal terasi and store it, I would suggest using my sambal terasi matang recipe instead. With the matang (cooked) version, you can store the sambal terasi for weeks, and even months.

What can I serve with sambal terasi other than lalap?

Sambal terasi can be served with many Indonesian dishes, such as:

Lalap Sambal Terasi - Sundanese Vegetables with Shrimp Paste Chili Relish

5.0 from 2 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson

Categories:

Cuisine:

Ingredients:

Prep Time: 30 mins

Cook Time: 30 mins

Total Time: 1 hour

Serves: 8

Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • Sambal Terasi
  • 4 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 tomato, cored and seeded
  • 5 shallots
  • 100 gram red chilies (Indonesian: cabe merah keriting)
  • 1/2 tablespoon shrimp paste (Indonesian: terasi, Malaysian: belacan)
  • 2 tablespoon palm sugar (Indonesian: gula Jawa)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • Raw vegetables
  • 1-2 cucumbers
  • 1-2 tomatoes
  • 1/4-1/2 cabbage
  • 1 bunch lemon basil (Indonesian: daun kemangi)
  • 10-15 snake/long beans (Indonesian: kacang panjang)
  • 4-6 Thai green eggplants
  • Lightly boiled/blanched/steamed vegetables
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 bunch spinach/water spinach (Indonesian: bayam/kangkung)
  • 1 bunch papaya leaves/yam leaves (Indonesian: daun pepaya/daun singkong)
  • 1 chayote (Indonesian: labu siam), peeled, and cut into cubes

Instructions

  • Sambal Terasi
    1. Heat cooking oil in a frying pan, then fry tomatoes and shallots until softened. Set these aside.
    2. In the same pan, fry chilies until softened, and set aside.
    3. Toast the terasi. I usually place the needed amount of terasi in a microwave-proof bowl, covered with a microwave-proof plate, and cook for 30 seconds. You will know the terasi is fully toasted when the color turns pale and the texture becomes dry and crumbly. You should even be able to crumble it easily with your fingers.
    4. Using a food processor, grind tomatoes, shallots, chilis, toasted terasi, palm sugar, and salt into a smooth paste.
    5. Transfer this to a serving bowl, then add lime juice and stir. Feel free to adjust the amount of lime juice you use to suit your taste.
  • Raw vegetables
    1. Wash all the vegetables to be served raw. Cut into bite-size pieces.
  • Lightly blanched/boiled/steamed vegetables
    1. Wash all the vegetables to be served lightly blanched/boiled/steamed. Cut into bite-size pieces.
    2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch/boil the vegetables just until wilted. Drain well. Alternatively, you can use a steamer too to steam all the vegetables.
  • To serve
    1. Arrange all the raw and lightly blanched/boiled/steamed vegetables in a platter. Serve with sambal terasi.

Notes

  • This version of sambal terasi is meant to be finished within the day it is made. If you want to make sambal terasi that can lasts for weeks, even months, please use my recipe for sambal terasi matang.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen

Comments

  • Yenni Beuker Yenni Beuker says:

    Beautiful and looks delicious!

    • Anita Anita says:

      Thanks Yenni. If you happen to like the chili relish, it is quite tasty with fried/roast chicken as well.

  • Michael Suits Michael Suits says:

    If I make a lot of the sambal and want to freeze the excess, how would that turn out?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Michael, this particular version of sambal terasi is meant to be eaten and finished in the same day, at most maybe two days. If you want to make a big batch and freeze, it is better to use my sambal terasi matang recipe. Using that recipe, any sambal stored in sterilized jars should last for at least 1 month in the fridge. If frozen, they can easily last 3 months.

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