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Sambal Lampung - Lampung Chili Sauce

Most Indonesian enjoy savory food with a side of sambal (chili sauce). This practice is so ingrained in our psyche that even western food franchises such as KFC, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, e.t.c. are forced to serve their food with a bottle of chili sauce alongside the requisite bottle of tomato ketchup.

I always thought that the pairing of sambal and tomato ketchup is a universal thing, and it only dawned on me that this is not so when I came to the United States for my college education.

Ye gods, I don’t want to talk about the chili withdrawal syndrome back in those days, you have no idea how happy I was when I finally got a hold of a bottle of chili sauce.

Sambal Lampung - Lampung Chili Sauce
Sambal Lampung - Lampung Chili Sauce

Sambal Lampung or Indonesian bottled chili sauce

There are many kinds of sambal in Indonesia, but the one paired with tomato ketchup to serve alongside western food is derived from sambal Lampung, and since this sambal always comes in a bottle, we lovingly call them sambal botol (bottled chili sauce).

If you visit any supermarket in Indonesia, you will see many varieties of sambal botol, from spicy to mild to sweet. The one I present here is probably what I will call the normal version, which to me has a balanced amount of sweetness, sourness, and spiciness. You can adjust the amount of chilies, tomatoes, and sugar to suit your taste.

Sambal Lampung - Lampung Chili Sauce
Sambal Lampung - Lampung Chili Sauce

Sambal Lampung - Lampung Chili Sauce

5.0 from 8 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 30 mins

Total Time: 45 mins

Serves: 2 cups

Print Recipe


  • 100 gram dried red chilies
  • 100 gram garlic
  • 200 gram tomatoes, peeled
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon rice flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 80 gram sugar
  • 5 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoon fish sauce


  1. Remove the seeds from dried chilies, soak in hot water for 15 minutes to rehydrate. Drained.
  2. With a blender, puree soaked chilies, garlic, tomatoes, and 1/2 cup of water into a smooth paste. Transfer the chili paste into a saucepot.
  3. Mix together corn starch, flour starch, and 1/2 cup of water. Add this to the saucepot, along with sugar, soy sauce, and fish sauce. Mix well.
  4. Bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 25-30 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Transfer to clean and sterilized glass jar(s) or glass bottle(s). Store in the fridge. The sauce actually tastes better if you let them sit in the fridge for one day. It should keep for up to 3 months in the fridge.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen


  • Tuty Tuty says:

    Hi Anita, Thank you for sharing this recipe since I've been trying to minimize the use of manufactured food. I have a couple questions: 1. Is vinegar necessary (as preservative and added tanginess)? 2. What is the purpose of rice flour since the amount is quite small? Will the texture be that much different if we only use corn starch? I appreciate your feedback.

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Tuty, I don't think it is necessary to add vinegar since the tomato already provide enough tanginess. From my experience, the chili sauce can last up to 3 months in the fridge, but I do store in multiple smaller jars so at any one time I only open and use one jar. You can skip rice flour and just add more cornstarch, and yes the texture difference shouldn't be too noticeable :)

  • Irina Irina says:

    I am sure we would enjoy this flavorful Chili Sauce. I love to add some spiciness to dishes. Bookmarking for later.:)

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    I could think of so many uses for this sambal chili sauce! I love the vibrant red color of this, not to mention the wonderful spicy chili flavors mixed with garlic and tomatoes. Great recipe!

    • Anita Anita says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Jamie! This chili sauce is indeed very versatile, we use this with so many things. Basically, whenever we think we need Sriracha, it almost always turns out better if we use this chili sauce instead. :)

  • Dannii Dannii says:

    I would happily put chilli sauce on everything. This one sounds delicious.

  • Danielle Danielle says:

    Thanks for sharing this recipe! My husband loves eating sambal, so can’t wait to make it.

    • Anita Anita says:

      Mine too! At any one time, we have at least three different sambals in the fridge so he can choose whichever one he likes. :)

  • Tisha Tisha says:

    This chili sauce sounds like the perfect condiment addition for the fridge!

    • Anita Anita says:

      Indeed. This can last for a long time when stored properly in sterilized jars. I always make sure to divide into multiple smaller jars to prolong the shelf life.

  • Ryan Ryan says:

    Can we use fermented chilies? Also is it ok to strain the paste? I remember eating Indofood's lampung chili sauce and it was a lot smoother so can I strain the mix before adding the starch?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Ryan, we usually either use dried chilies or fresh chilies. I don't think I've ever seen an Indonesian sambal recipe made with fermented chilies, so I'm not sure if it will work or not. If you prefer a smoother sauce, feel free to strain it. :)

  • Milky Milky says:

    What a delicious condiment! On a whim, I made a pizza and I really slathered it on: I already love Tabasco on pizza, so this was a nice change of pace. Since it's so ubiquitous, it's a great hot sauce for any cuisine. Perfect for fans of sweet/spicy.

    I was apprehensive as I collected my ingredients- the chilies were enough to fill a liquid 2-cup measuring glass (honestly, most of my chilies were old, I really cleaned out the pantry with this) and the seeding took a while. Dealing with chilies makes me sneeze like crazy!

    I didn't have enough fresh tomato, so I used a (14 oz) can of whole tomatoes and less water. I'm sure my result is a bit more "tomatoey" but I didn't make this to compare to a favorite brand or anything, so seemed like a reasonable substitution in a pinch.

    I was afraid it would be too hot for me, but the finished result was just right. My finished sauce was about enough to fill a large jar (like the kind for pasta sauce). I really look forward to seeing what else it's going to be good to eat with!!

  • Hsin Hsin says:

    I've lamented the discontinuation of ABCs Chili Lampung for years now!!! Do you know if this has a similar taste per chance??

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Hsin, my favorite is actually Sambal Cap Jempol and I think this is pretty close to that.

  • Mariama Mariama says:

    Thanks for the recipe. I'm making this sauce today, can't wait to see how it tastes. Much love!

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