Sambals are Indonesia’s essential condiments. Not a meal goes by in our house without a sambal being served alongside. Sambals come in all shapes and sizes, cooked in all sorts of ways and they vary from island to island. Some of these are also sold bottled in Asian food stores.
Kecap manis is one of Indonesia’s most popular sauces that can be used to flavour a thousand dishes. Mix a few chopped green chillies with some kecap manis and you have a great sambal.
Sambal goreng literally means fried sambal and is a mix of crisp fried red shallots, red and green chilli, shrimp paste and salt. It is a deeply-flavoured full-bodied condiment that compliments just about anything, especially red meat.
Sambal matah is one of Bali’s most popular sambals. You can almost think of it as a salsa or finely sliced chilli salad. There are many variations but the basic sambal matah contains fresh red or green chilli, roasted shrimp paste, red shallots and shredded lime leaves mixed with coconut oil. It is particularly fabulous with seafood and grilled white meat.
Sambal tomat is a supremely delicious tomato-chilli condiment that is a perennial favourite in our household. Red chillies, tomato, garlic, shrimp paste, red shallots and candelnut are ground into a paste and fried until thick and unctuous. It is superb with Indonesian and Mediterranean dishes.
Sambal hijau is a well-known Sumatran sambal. Only green chilli is used along with garlic, dried shrimp, red shallots and garlic. It is one of those taste sensations that’s hard to beat with a unique fresh flavor that compliments the richness of Sumatran food so extremely well.