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Malaysian Sambal Sauce


Sambal Sauce

The Malaysian Sambal Sauce is an extremely versatile accompaniment and can be used as a dressing for all kinds of meats, seafood and even hard boiled eggs. Fragrant and tasty, it can add excitement to any dish. The sambal is popular as a condiment in countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Make a whole tub and freeze extra portions for later use. Divide the sambal into 5 Tbsp portions before freezing – it keeps fresh frozen, for about 2 - 3 months.


  • 10 chopped shallots, or 8 small chopped red onions
  • 2 ounces or 8 fresh chilies, remove seeds and slice
  • 5 cloves sliced garlic
  • 1 stalk lemongrass thinly sliced (use only the bottom 3 inches of the stalk)
  • ½ ounce tamarind (soak in a cup of water and pour the tamarind juice through a strainer before use)
  • ½ ounce or 10 dried chilies (soak in hot water for 5 minutes), or 3 tsp chilly powder
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste


  1. Blend the first six ingredients into a paste. If they do not blend easily, add about 3 tsp of oil to the mixture.
  2. Heat 5 Tbsp oil in a wok / pan. When the oil is moderately hot, sauté the paste until it is fragrant. This should take about 15 minutes. Use only low heat and stir the paste constantly so that it does not stick to the wok/pan.
  3. Add the tamarind juice and the sugar.
  4. Let the paste cook while stirring occasionally. It is ready when oil from the paste floats to the top.
  5. Ladle as much of the finished sambal as you want onto your main dish. Let the rest of the sambal cool before storing it in meal-sized portions for freezing.

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