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Sambal Bawang (Indonesian Chili Sauce)

Experience the fiery and bold flavors of sambal bawang with this easy recipe. Sambal bawang is a popular Indonesian chili sauce known for its intense spiciness and aromatic blend of flavors. This homemade version allows you to customize the heat level and create a versatile condiment that pairs perfectly with a wide range of dishes. Spice up your meals and embrace the vibrant taste of sambal bawang made right in your own kitchen.
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The Story

Sambal bawang is a spicy and savory chili sauce that adds a kick of flavor to Indonesian cuisine. This recipe guides you through creating a homemade sambal bawang that combines fresh chilies, aromatic shallots, garlic, and other spices. Whether used as a dip, condiment, or ingredient, this fiery sauce will tantalize your taste buds and bring a touch of Indonesia to your table.


10-12 red bird's eye chilies (adjust quantity based on desired spiciness)
5 shallots, peeled
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon shrimp paste (optional, for added depth of flavor)
1 tablespoon tamarind paste or juice
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt to taste
4 Servings

Prep Time:

0 Hrs 10 Mins

Cook Time:

0 Hrs 15 Mins

Total TIme:

0 Hrs 0 Mins



In a mortar and pestle or food processor, grind the red chilies, shallots, and garlic into a coarse paste. Leave some texture for added depth of flavor.


Heat the vegetable oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the ground chili paste and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes until the raw smell of the chilies dissipates.


If using shrimp paste, add it to the pan and continue stirring for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant.


Stir in the tamarind paste or juice, sugar, and salt. Adjust the seasoning according to your taste preference.


Cook the mixture for an additional 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the flavors meld together and the oil separates from the sauce.


Remove the pan from heat and let the sambal bawang cool down.


Transfer the homemade sambal bawang to a jar or airtight container for storage.

Tips for this recipe

Be cautious when handling the bird’s eye chilies, as they can be extremely spicy. Consider using gloves or wash your hands thoroughly afterward.

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