Sambal Goreng Terasi: Indonesian Sambal Belacan Recipe

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Sambal goreng terasi literally means fried chilli sauce with dried shrimp paste. It’s a must-have condiment in Indonesian cuisines that tastes deliciously hot with a slightly-fishy aroma.

Sambal Goreng Terasi

This Sambal Goreng Terasi is a chili condiment with a slightly-fishy taste as it has dried-shrimp paste. But it is deliciously hot. A perfect hot sauce for the chili lover

Homemade chili sauce with dried-shrimp paste

There are many homemade chili sauces in Indonesian cuisine. And Sambal Terasi is one of the most popular ones. 

The name means chili sauce with dried-shrimp paste. 

jars of chilli sambal

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Here, I am sharing with you the cooked version of the sauce. Hence, the name is Sambal Goreng Terasi which means fried chili sambal with dried-shrimp paste. 

And this recipe is rooted in the West Javanese (known as Sundanese) Sambal. 

Spicy condiment 

Sambal is a must-have condiment in Indonesian cuisine. You almost always see it in the food spread. Whether it is at home or at a restaurant.  

The idea is that anyone can enhance the spiciness of the food they enjoy because not all food tastes spicy. Similarly, not everyone loves spicy food. 

So, having this condiment on the side will give an option for those who love chilies when you serve a not-spicy food.

In Indonesia, there are numerous versions of Sambals across the country. Each region has its traditional recipe. Sambal Lampung, Sambal Medan, Sambal Tomat, Sambal Ijo, and Sambal Dabu-Dabu are some names of the varieties. 

Foods to enjoy with 

You can have this condiment with almost any Indonesian food that doesn’t taste spicy or slightly spicy. As long it is savory food or meals. 

I would recommend you have it with Lontong Sayur or Nasi Kuning. Or, you can have it as a dipping sauce for Indonesian fried chicken – Ayam Goreng Bumbu

And you can be more adventurous by smothering your chicken sandwich with fiery-kicking chili sauce. Feel free to choose whatever savory food you want to enjoy with this sauce. 

However, one of the most well-known ways to enjoy this Sambal Goreng Terasi is by having it as a dipping sauce for raw or blanched vegetables. And the Sundanese are very famous for their love of sambal with their fresh raw salad called Lalap/ Lalapan. 

Terasi is a must Ingredient that you may skip

sambal ingredients

As the name implies, this chili condiment uses Terasi in its ingredients. It is a dried shrimp paste called Belacan by other South East Asians. 

Because it has a pungent smell, it is not something for everyone.

If you are one of those who can not stand its smell or just dislike it, you may skip this item. So, your chilies will simply be called Sambal Goreng which means fried chili sauce. Minus Terasi. 

Or, you can put it little by little and see how you like it. All I can say is that the Terasi will enhance the umami of your sambal. 

The equipment needed

  • Blender/ food chopper/ food processor.
  • Mixing bowl.
  • Small cooking pan.

How to make Sambal Goreng Terasi

Traditionally, Indonesians use a pestle and mortar to pound the sambal ingredients. It seemed hard work to do it when you have to grind quite a bit of chili. 

fresh red chillies
Fresh red chilies
dried red chillies
Dried-red chilies

So I suggest you use a blender, a chopper, or a food processor to make it easy and quick. 

Put the chilies, onions, tomatoes, garlic, and a cup of water in the blender, then blitz it until all blended smoothly.

sambal ingredients in a blender
Blended chillies and spices

Then place the chili mixture in a cooking pan, together with the Salam leaves, galangal, lemongrass, Terasi/ Belacan, sugar, and salt. 

Let it cook at moderate-high heat and keep mixing now and then so that it won’t get burned at the bottom of the pan. 

blended chillies and herbs in a cooking pan
adding oil into blended chillies

Continue cooking until you get a nice thick Sambal with the oil separated from the edges.

It takes me about an hour to cook at moderate-low heat. 

What you want is that all the liquid from chili juice and water to evaporate thoroughly and leave you with a thick sauce in shiny oil. 

cooking blended chillies in a pan
a bowl of ready cooked Indonesian chilli sauce with shrimp paste

Storage matter

And because of how it is cooked, this Sambal Goreng Terasi keeps well in a tight-lid jar and stores at a cool room temperature for about 2-3 weeks. Just make sure you always use a clean spoon to take the portion you need from the jar. Never use used or dirty cutlery.

And if you refrigerate the sambal, it keeps for about one month. 

You can also freeze it. However, once you thaw it, you will have to consume it within three days. So, if you want to freeze it, make sure you store it in small plastic containers/ jars. Then you can take a jar whenever you need one and finish it. 

a bowl of Sambal Goreng Terasi - the Indonesian chilli sauce with dried shrimp paste

Recipes that go with Sambal

Thank you for checking this Sambal Goreng Terasi. I hope you are now tempted to try making this hot but delicious chili sauce. When you do, can you share what you think about the recipe in the comments below (leave in a reply box)? 

And please follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Pinterest. To sneak a peek at what’s cooking in my kitchen. 

Last but not least, here are more ideas for Indonesian food recipes to enjoy with your sambal:

Ayam Kecap – Indonesian sweet soy chicken

Opor Ayam – Indonesian chicken in spiced coconut milk.

Sop Buntut – Indonesian oxtail soup.

Soto Betawi – Indonesian beef stew from Jakarta.

Thank you and all the best.

Recipe for Sambal Goreng Terasi

Indonesian sambal goreng terasi - fried chilli sauce with dried-shrimp paste
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4.91 from 10 votes

Sambal Goreng Terasi

Sambal Goreng Terasi is Indonesian fried-chilli sauce with dried-shrimp paste. It's hot but delicious. But it's only for chilli lovers who don't mind the pungent smell of the shrimp paste. Or, you can skip the paste altogether.
Author: Devy Dar
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Course: Sundries
Cuisine: Indonesian
Servings: 2 Jars

Equipment

  • Blender.
  • Cooking pan
  • Wooden spoon

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces dried red chillies.
  • 2 ounces fresh red chillies.
  • 3 small red onions.
  • 5 cloves of garlic.
  • 3 medium-sized tomatoes.
  • 1- inch galangal peeled.
  • 2 lemongrass.
  • 2 salam leaves see the note.
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt I use Himalayan salt.
  • 2 teaspoons terasi/ belacan/ dried shrimp paste.
  • 3 teaspoons sugar.
  • ¾ cup cooking oil.

Instructions

  • Soak the dried red chillies in a cup of hot boiling water (from the kettle).
  • Then cut the fresh red chilies into big slices, and roughly chop the tomatoes. Peel and cut the onions into big chunks. And peel the garlic. 
  • When the dried chillies are softened enough, and the water is cool enough to touch, cut the chillies into big chunks as well.
  • Place all the chilies, tomatoes, onions, garlic and the water from soaking the chillies in a blender or a food processor. Then blitz/ process the ingredients until you get a nice chilli smoothie.
  • Put the blended chilies mixture in a cooking pan. Then add the galangal, lemongrass, salam leaves, sugar, salt, Terasi/ Belacan and oil. 
  • Cook the chilli mixture at moderate heat until you get a nice thick chilli sauce with oil separated from the edges. It takes me about an hour to get the consistency that I want. Keep checking and stirring the sambal mixture now and again. To prevent it from burning at the bottom of the pan. Do take care as the boiling sambal may splitter as you stir it. 

Notes

  • Make sure to cook the chilli mixture until all the liquid evaporates and the oil separates from the edges.
  • Some chillies can be hotter than others, so feel free to add or reduce the flavouring items such as sugar and salt. In the end, what you aim for is chilli sauce with Terasi flavour that tastes hot, salty, and a bit sweet.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 16kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 51mg

Disclaimer

Nutritional info in this recipe is only estimate using online calculator. You should refer to it as a guide only. Please verify with your own data if you seek an accurate info.

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6 Comments

  1. Hi Devy. I definitely like the sound of this, but … I’ve never heard of or even seen salam leaves. Are they anything like lime leaves? Is there a substitute I could use?

    Thanks

    1. Hi Susan, Salam leaf is an Indonesian bay leaf that has a very unique aroma. If you can not obtain it, you can omit it altogether or swap it to one ordinary bay leaf and 2-3 curry leaves. Granted the aroma will be different to Salam leaf, but in my opinion, this combo is the closest substitute. Let me know how you get on and good luck.

      1. Thanks for that Devy! I’ve got 3 bags of fresh curry leaves in the freezer and have always got Bay leaves hanging around. Time to get cracking …

        1. You’re most welcome. All the best for trying. Hope you like it 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    I had the best chillie sambal when in Bali and have been trying to find that taste again. Just made this and it looks great. Can’t wait to try it. Thanks for the recipe :).

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