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Smoked Chilli Sambal

Sambal is a spicy Southeast Asian chilli based condiment. There are lots of variations, incorporating many different flavourings and spices.

You can add sambal to boiled or fried potatoes, omelettes, fish, prawns, chicken or meat, you can also try it on crackers or in sandwiches. Τhere is actually no limit to the way you can use it, just follow your imagination!

It is time consuming, but worth the effort. Cooled and stored in airtight jars, this sambal will keep in the refrigerator for several months. You can also freeze it in small batches.

For the Smoked Chilli Sambal , based on the recipe of “The Modern Pantry” cookbook, by Anna Hansen, you will need:

  • sunflower oil for deep-frying
  • 250g red peppers, sliced
  • 250g onions, sliced
  • 250g cherry tomatoes
  • 80g fresh ginger, cut into fine strips
  • 80g garlic, sliced
  • 25g dried prawns, ground in a grinder
  • 1 tsp hot smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 125g tamarind paste*
  • 40ml fish sauce

In a deep saucepan heat some oil to 180°C. Deep-fry the red peppers, onions and tomatoes separately until almost burnt looking. Drain them on kitchen paper. Deep-fry the ginger and garlic in separate batches until golden brown.

In a small frying pan, fry the ground shrimps in 2 Tbsp of the already used oil until fragrant. Add them to a bowl along with the fried peppers, onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

Blend the sambal in batches in a food processor until smooth. Store in airtight jars and refrigerate or freeze until needed.

*You can buy tamarind as a ready to use paste or in a sticky, dense block of pulp and seed, which is very easily transformed into a paste. I followed this technique.


  1. Pingback: Sambal Chicken | the food interpreters

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