Sambal Tomat (Tomato Chilli Paste)

Sambal is… like a staple to Indonesians and South East Asians (besides rice). It’s a chilli paste that elevates any kind of food you’re having – be it bakso (meatball soup), noodles or just rice with fried lauk (side dishes). It comes in many varieties, some people like to put terasi (shrimp paste), anchovies or peanuts. In this recipe, I am putting a tomato and a dash of lime juice.


5 shallots

3 cloves of garlic

1/2 tbsp of coriander seed (ketumbar)

1 candlenut (kemiri)

10 red chillies (adjustable depending on how spicy you want it to be)

1 medium-sized tomato

1 lime

1 tbsp vegetable oil

  1. Start with frying your shallots, garlic, chilli, coriander seeds, candlenut in a bit of oil. Make sure your things are dry, or there’s going to be oil splatter. Prepare a lit for your wok/pan just in case it happens. You can put whatever amount of red chillies you want, depending on how spicy you want the sambal to be (don’t put nothing… that would defeat the purpose of this recipe).
  2. Once the aroma comes out and they start to soften, add the tomato in. The reason this comes last is because tomato has a lot of water, and if it was added first then the rest of the ingredient wouldn’t cook properly. Cook for about a minute.
  3. Transfer all of the ingredients in a mortar and start grinding with your pestle. If you don’t have one then a food processor will do just fine. Add salt and sugar to flavor.
  4. Once they’re soft, add a dash of lime just and it’s done! Delicious sambal, can be eaten with fried tofu and tempe, or in soups.

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