sambal oelek

Sambal Oelek

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Sambal Oelek is a fiery Southeast Asian chilli paste made from crushed chilli peppers and vinegar.

Always popular in Malaysian and Indonesian dishes, it is quickly becoming very popular in the Western hemisphere too.
It was invented mainly as a method of preserving chillies, long after the growing season had finished

The main ingredients are chilli peppers and a small amount of rice wine vinegar, but other ingredients  are often added, such as garlic, salt and lime juice. Just what you can add and still call it sambal oelek is a point for discussion in many kitchens around the world

While there are many “sambals” around the world, sambal oelek is one of the most basic. It doesn’t have the sweet or vinegary taste of most chilli pastes, and can be added to almost any dish where you want the taste of chillies and nothing else

Sambal Oelek from Keith Reilly on Vimeo.


200g/7oz assorted red chillies, roughly chopped
5 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar


Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until almost smooth

It really is that simple!

sambal oelek
sambal oelek

Once you have made the sambal oelek, put it in a clean, sealable jar and keep in the refrigerator
As long as your jar was cleaned properly and the lid is kept on, it will keep for up to 6 months

It ‘might’ keep for longer, but a jar has never lasted that long in my kitchen


    1. My pleasure Ann
      It’s so easy to make, I would never consider buying it again!
      I bought a jar once to try it and see what it was made from, then started making my own

      If you decide to make your own, pop back and let me know how it was

    1. I tend to use whatever chillies are in the shops when I decide to make it
      There are always at least a few bird’s eye chillies (Thai chillies) in there, but other than that, no preferences

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