1 small bowl


10 min


20-30 min

Sambal is a chilli condiment found in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Netherlands. There are many types of sambals such as sambal belacan, sambal goreng, and sambal tempoyak which are common in Malaysia. It can be served raw or cooked. Each household has their own way of preparing sambal. The traditional way of preparing sambal is by using a pestle and mortar, but nowadays using a blender is common and faster.

I use dried chillies, onions and just a teaspoon of roasted belacan (dried shrimp paste). Dried chillies are widely available, but I like making my own chilli ristras to dry my own chillies. It takes me about 2 months to get it fully dried.

Chilli Ristra

Chilli Ristra : One that I made a long long time ago back in my old apartment.

Dried Chillies

Dried Chillies


  • 12-14 medium sized Dried Chillies
  • 3 medium sized Onion
  • 1 teaspoon Belacan
  • To taste Salt
  • To taste Sugar
  • 1 cup Peanut or Vegetable Oil, for cooking


  1. Bring a medium sized pot of water to boil. Once it starts boiling, remove from heat.
  2. Cut dried chilli into halves and add to hot water.
  3. Allow to soak for 10 minutes. Reserve about 3 tablespoons of the water. Strain.
  4. In the meantime, wrap up belacan in a piece of foil and pop it into the oven for 10 minutes at 180°C.
  5. Crumble up belacan.
  6. In a blender, blend onions, chilli, and belacan with the reserved water.
  7. Blend till lightly course texture.
  8. Add peanut oil to pan and turn on to medium heat.
  9. Add chilli paste and fry till the oil separates from the sambal (about 15 minutes) and is darker than what you started with.
  10. Season with salt and sugar if needed. Sometimes onions are sweet enough, so sugar is not needed.
  11. Set aside and leave to cool.


  • Well cooked sambal can be stored in the fridge for about a month (in my experience)
  • Always use a clean spoon to scoop out sambal 
  • Belacan is known as terasi (Indonesian) and kapi (Thai)


Cherry's Signature




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One Comment

  1. This looks awesome! Thanks for sharing.

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