With a large batch of sambal goreng (fried chili paste) at home, you can quickly whip up sambal goreng dishes with fish, chicken, eggs, and even potatoes.
Sambal goreng (fried chili paste) is a basic multi-purpose chili paste that can be the base of many delicious Indonesian spicy dishes, plus it can be enjoyed as is. This chili sauce is especially great with fried food, such as ayam goreng/fried chicken, bakwan/fritters, bakso goreng/fried meatballs, tahu goreng/fried tofu or perkedel/potato fritters.
What do I need to make sambal goreng?
I want my sambal goreng to be full of umami, and for this, I usually use all of these to make my trusted fried chili paste:
- dried red chilies. My Asian market typically stock chilies from China and from Thailand, the Chinese are usually slightly milder than Thai ones, so choose according to how hot you want your chili paste to be.
- shallots. I use smaller Chinese/Asian shallots, but regular French shallots are okay too.
- onion. Choose yellow/white, though, in a pinch, you can use red onion too.
- terasi/belacan/shrimp paste. This stinky and pungent block of fermented shrimps is the key to umami-rich chili paste, so definitely try to hunt it down. In a really short pinch, you can use fish sauce, but the final chili paste is definitely inferior to the one using terasi/belacan/shrimp paste.
- kaffir lime leaves. This adds that lovely citrusy fragrance to the chili paste, sub with lime zest in a pinch.
- tamarind. I usually buy a wet seedless tamarind packet and add water as needed to make my own tamarind paste. In a pinch, you can use tomato paste too, but it will taste slightly different from our traditional chili paste.
How do I make sambal goreng?
Making your very own sambal goreng is quite easy. You will need:
- a blender
- a saucepot/a soup pot/a wok
Here is the step-by-step process to cook sambal goreng:
- Boil dry chilies in a small pot. Simmer until chilies are soft. This should take about 10 minutes.
- Toast terasi/belacan/shrimp paste. The easiest method is using a microwave and cooks for 30 seconds.
- Place boiled chilies, shallots, garlic, onion, toasted terasi/belacan/shrimp paste, and water in a blender. Process into a smooth paste.
- Transfer the smooth chili paste into a saucepot/soup pot/wok, cook on medium-high until the paste is thicker and drier.
- Add oil and kaffir lime leaves to the paste. Stir to mix, and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to a medium-low and cook for another 20 minutes, or until oil starts to separate from the chili paste. We call this phenomenon “pecah minyak” in Indonesian/Malaysian.
- Season with salt, sugar, and tamarind juice. Stir until everything is incorporated into the chili paste. You may adjust the amount of sugar/salt to suit your taste.
And our sambal goreng is done! You now have the option to store them for longer storage or enjoy the chili paste immediately.
How to store and use Indonesian sambal goreng?
This recipe will yield about 4 cups of sambal goreng. I usually divide the chili paste into 4 portions, 1 cup each, and store in sterilized glass jars. Any unopened jar of chili paste should last for up to 2 months in the fridge. Once opened and used, you want to finish it within a week.
How do I use this sambal goreng?
Sambal goreng is basically one of Indonesian handy instant sauce. Arm with this, we can make delicious dishes within minutes. The guide to make a sambal goreng dish is like so:
- 1/2 cup of sambal goreng/fried chili paste
- 500 gram (1 lb.) of meat, seafood, vegetables, egg, tofu, or tempeh
Basically, you need to only heat the chili paste in a frying pan/wok, then add your choice of protein/vegetables. Stir, cook, and toss until the protein/vegetables are cooked and coated. If you want some examples of authentic Indonesian dishes made with this handy chili paste, you can try some of these recipes:
- sambal goreng ikan - fish in spicy chili sauce
- sambal goreng telur - eggs in spicy chili sauce
- sambal goreng kentang - roast potatoes in spicy chili sauce
Based on these examples, feel free to create your own sambal goreng dishes. Have fun and enjoy. :)
Sambal Goreng - Fried Chili Paste
- 60 gram dried red chilies (use Thai chilies for hot version, and Chinese chilies for a slightly milder version)
- 100 gram garlic
- 200 gram shallots
- 300 gram onion
- 30 gram shrimp paste (Indonesian: terasi, Malaysian: belacan), toasted
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- 10 kaffir lime leaves (optional)
- 200 gram sugar
- 40 gram salt
- 20 gram tamarind + 4 tablespoon water, massaged into thick paste, strained
- Remove seeds from the dried red chilies, then soak in hot water for 15 minutes to soften the chilies.
- In a food processor/blender, grind together chilies, garlic, shallots, onion, toasted shrimp paste, and water into a fine paste.
- Transfer the paste to a wok/frying pan. Cook the chili paste on medium-high until the paste becomes thicker and drier, i.e. we want to evaporate the water as much as possible before adding oil to prevent splattering. Stir every so often.
- Add in the oil and kaffir lime leaves. Cook for 5 minutes. Stir to mix well.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for another 20 minutes, or until the oil starts to separate from the chili paste. Stir every so often.
- Add sugar, salt, and tamarind juice. Cook until everything has been incorporated into the chili paste. You can adjust salt and sugar to taste.
- Turn off heat. Let the chili paste cool, then transfer to glass jars to store. Since this recipe makes 4 cups of chili paste, it is best if you can store in multiple glass jars. Any unopened jar can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 months. Any opened jar should be used within 1 week.