Sambal is chili condiment. There’s a lot of different sambal recipe out there. Many Indonesian will agree with me that eating with sambal would make any dish taste better. One sambal that is very famous from Bali is sambal matah.

Sambal matah is different with another sambal because no cooking necessary to make this sambal. Matah means raw. All we need is to mince or finely slice the shallot, chili, tomato and lemongrass. Yep, lemongrass is the other thing that make this sambal different.

Since everything is raw, the taste of this sambal is rather strong. So, it’s kinda need acquired taste. My husband for example, put all the sambal matah to his edge of plate and didn’t eat it. Well, as the cook, I tried not to feel hurt. He just has different palate.

A lot of people like sambal matah. A famous instant noodle that all Indonesian love even have a new variant of sambal matah. That showed that sambal matah already gained its fame nationally, not just in Bali.


To make sambal matah, I prepared all the ingredients. Next, I mince the shallot, garlic, chili, tomato. We do need some heat to cook the terasi (shimp paste). I heat up some cooking oil (about three tbsp) and cooked the terasi while crushed it until no lumps remained. I poured the hot oil to the minced ingredients. I did this to make the sambal matah last longer (I ate this for dinner too). Besides, the hot cooking oil kinda reduce the sharp taste of raw garlic and shallot. The final step is to add freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice and salt and sugar to taste.

Spicy, tangy, and fresh sambal matah!

Sambal matah usually is a condiment for balinese dish like chicken betutu or sate lilit. The first time I ate sambal matah was in Bali along with chicken betutu. I liked the spicy and sour taste of it. I think the taste will goes well with fish. Grilled fish charred with charcoal will be perfect. But who has time and will for making grilled fish at home? I don’t.

So, instead I opted for something easier and quicker. Pan seared dory. What I did is just seasoned dory fillet with salt and pepper and some lemon juice. Then with a bit of cooking oil I cooked the fillet for about 3-5 minutes on each side. That’s all.

I loved it! Super easy to make, but packed with strong flavor. I will make this again soon, even if my husband not a fan. He’ll just need to drizzle some kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) in his plate. Hehe..

I didn’t stop there. For a complete menu, I cooked some vegetables too. I cooked long beans and tempe stir fry. It became so much more interesting with that dark green color. My father told me that we ate not only with mouth, but with eyes as well (he was Korean. Have you see korean dish? Always colorful). That’s why I like to think ahead and make sure I have interesting enough menu.

Remember that color equals vitamin. I am talking about natural color, of course. So, don’t forget to eat colorful vegetables and fruits!

In the recipe, I wrote 600 gr of dory fillet. But I think you can use more or less fillet. For guidance, I use one recipe of sambal matah for 5 portions of fillet. And I used generous amount of sambal matah per serving.

So, this is my pan seared dory with sambal matah recipe. Enjoy!

Pan Seared Dory with Balinese Sambal Matah

Category: seafood

Pan Seared Dory with Balinese Sambal Matah


  • 5 pcs shallot
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 stalk lemongrass
  • 7 red bird eye chili
  • 6 green bird eye chili
  • 1 tsp terasi (shrimp paste)
  • 2 small size or 1 big tomato
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon or lime juice
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil
  • 600 gr dory fish fillet
  • salt, pepper, and lemon juice for the fillet


  1. To make sambal matah, mince the shallot, garlic, and chili. Finely chop tomato. Finely slice lemongrass (discard two outer layer of the lemongrass and use only the more tender part inside). Put in one bowl and mix.
  2. Heat up cooking oil and cook the terasi in it for about two minutes. With spoon, break down the terasi until no big lumps remain.
  3. Pour the hot oil and terasi to the bowl.
  4. Add lemon or lime juice, salt and pepper. Mix.
  5. For dory fish fillet, lightly season the fillet with salt and pepper and lemon juice.
  6. In non-stick pan, cook the fillet for 3-5 minutes for each side.
  7. Serve the filly with sambal matah.