The Best Sambal Goreng Tomat

Sambal Goreng

Sambal Goreng

So many people now have asked me for my sambal recipe and how I do it. If you have not tried it then all I can say is make it, because unless you have been to Bali, there is nothing that can prepare you for this. Nothing you have ever bought in the supermarket will taste like this.

This sambal can be made very spicy or less spicy, depending on the amount of the small spicy chilies used. I usually make it as a mild sambal (that is how it was intended) to be used as a dip for krupuk (shrimp or vegetable crackers) or to accompany any asian rice dish requiring sambal. If you like spicy sambal, just add more chilies.

The great thing about this sambal is it will last weeks (I’d say up to 2 weeks) in the fridge and you can just warm it up when you want to use some.



4 candlenuts
6 garlic cloves
3 red shallots (quartered)
3 small red chilies (use 5 or 6 if you want it very spicy)
4 long red chilies, deseeded and roughly chopped
1/2  teaspoon of shrimp paste
3 tomatoes (diced)
80 ml  coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
2 lime leaves or a squeeze of lime
1 teaspoon salt


Put the candlenuts, garlic cloves, red shallots, small and long chillies, and shrimp paste in a food processor or using a hand blender, turn to a coarse paste.

Add the mixture to a hot pan with 1/3rd of the oil. Add the lime leaves (if using lime, add it last, before serving). Fry till fragrant and throw in the tomatoes. Add the salt (you will need to adjust seasoning at the end) and the rest of the oil. Cook on low so it just simmers away for about 30 min or till the tomatoes have pretty mush broken up and the oil has risen to the surface. Stir it up occasionally.  Do not worry about the amount of oil, the oil is critical in a good sambal.

Once it is all ready, I like to adjust for salt. A sambal should be just over seasoned slightly, you want to taste the salt, so go slow and taste at every step.

And that’s it.

You can serve it with a bit of lime and fried shallots to reach perfection. Or put it into a jar and let it cool before storing in the fridge for later.


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