I love sambal. I really do. There’s something magical to eat with sambal. It can transform ordinary rice into satisfying meal. I add sambal to my bowl of meatball soup to make adventure out of lunch.

Basically, sambal is a condiment to add spiciness to a dish. Chili pepper is a must. You can call ground chili pepper with a little bit of salt as sambal. Step it up a notch, add shallot or garlic, or both. You can cook it or eat it raw. Sambal is something very common in Indonesian cuisine.

This sambal recipe using salted small squid. I can eat it just with warm rice and I’d be happy. I like to make a big batch of it because it can be stored in room temperature up to a week. But it never lasted long in my home. Everyone love it,

Honestly, this recipe isn’t the healthiest out there, It using a lot of vegetable oil. But keep in mind that this is a condiment, you’re supposed to eat a little bit at a time,

To make this recipe, first I gather the ingredients. In the photo, I double the recipe so it look like a lot. The ingredients are shallots, bird eye chili pepper, chili pepper, tomato (to defuse the heat, for extreme heat forget the tomato and add lemon juice), terasi or shrimp paste, palm sugar, lemon grass and lime leave for additional aroma, and the salted squid. Salted squid can be kept for a long time, so I think it can be found online.

Since the salted squid is really salty, I reduced the saltiness by sink it in water for about fifteen minutes. Then I cut them to smaller size and remove the bone like thingy inside. Next, I cook everything except the salted squid, lemongrass, and lime leaf. I do it to make the taste milder and tastier.

When the shallot look rather translucent and those chili pepper sort of wilted, remove from heat and transfer it to blender. Add water so it can blend well. I didn’t even bother to wash the wok. I used them again to shallow fried the salted squid along with lemongrass and lime leaf. When the aroma spreads, add in the blended stuff.

Usually it is salty enough from the salted squid, but if it isn’t add salt. Continue cookin until the water reduced and you get this thick awesome sambal!

I let them cool before transfer the to a jar. In every meal time, I scoop one or two tablespoon. It is totally tasty!

PS: Switch salted squid with any protein you can think of for experiment. For example, use cubed and fried tempeh to get sambal tempeh! Or maybe use fresh squid instead (not sure about the shelf life tho).


Salted Squid Sambal

Salted Squid Sambal


  • 100 gr chili pepper
  • 150 gr small salted squid
  • 10 pcs shallot or about 100 gr
  • 10 pcs bird eye chili
  • 1 pcs tomato
  • 1 small block terasi of shrimp paste
  • 2 tbsp palm sugar (or 1 tbsp granulated sugar)
  • 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 3 pcs lime leaves
  • 100 ml vegetable oil


  1. Soak the salted squid in water for about 15 minutes, cut them into smaller pieces and remove the bone
  2. Halves the tomato and chili pepper.
  3. Heat up half of the vegetable oil and stir in shallot, chili pepper, tomato, bird eye chili, terasi, and palm sugar. Cook until shallot become translucent and chili pepper wilted.
  4. Remove from heat, transfer to blender, add some water and blend.
  5. In the same wok, add the remaining vegetable oil and saute the salted squid, lemongrass, and lime leaves. Wait until fragrant.
  6. Stir in the blended chili.
  7. Keep cooking and occasionally stir until the water reduced and the oil look separated from the sambal.
  8. Let it cool before storing in jar.