Aside from its beautiful and challenging aquascape, Bali offers you choices of its authentic cuisine. In fact, the infamous sambal matah is one of them, which surely gives a fresh, good spicy flavor along with a delicious savory kick to your plate. Turns out, the sambal matah recipe is pretty simple to make. It is even one of the easiest Indonesian sambals to make.
So, let’s learn better about this flavorsome sambal.
An Overview of Sambal Matah
One of Indonesia’s prides is sambal, a spicy sauce used as a condiment that relies on chilies. There are numerous variants of Indonesian sambal recipes, ranging from cooked and semi-cooked to uncooked ones. Sambal matah is a semi-cooked variant of Indonesian sambal that originates from Bali.
The name “sambal matah” comes from the Balinese language, with “sambal” being translated from Indonesian as “sauce,” and “matah” (which means “mentah” in Indonesian) describing the use of mostly raw ingredients and a simple preparation process.
To make sambal matah, instead of grinding chilies, terasi, and other ingredients together using a mortar or food blender, you need to finely chop all of the spices and ingredients with a knife
after cleaning them.
Ingredients of Balinese Sambal Recipe
Besides the mandatory usage of chilies and terasi (similar to shrimp paste) as the main ingredient of Indonesian sambal-as-usual, there are distinctive ingredients that set sambal matah apart from other types of sambal from Bali, like sambal embe, or another Indonesian sambal. Here’s the ingredients you need for sambal matah!
As said earlier, chilis are a mandatory ingredient for most Indonesian sambal recipes. Yet, note that different kinds of sambal may require or allow you to use different kinds of chilies.
For sambal matah, Balinese originally use bird’s eye chilies which have a quite intense spicy, and hot kick to your mouth. If you are a newbie to eating sambal, remember to adjust the recipe
by using only curly red chili or cayenne pepper to minimize the spiciness.
If you want a medium level of spiciness, combining a smaller amount of bird’s eye chilies with cayenne pepper or Indonesian curly red chili is a good option. Make sure to use fresh chilies since older ones may have a slightly bitter taste.
In Indonesia, the form of shrimp paste is usually in the block shape and it is called terasi. It has a pungent, distinctive sea fragrance which is a bit unpleasant. However, after being roasted, this ingredient elevates and gives that delicious savory, umami taste to some Indonesian culinary menus.
You can use the roasted or raw terasi for sambal matah according to your taste.
3. Shallots and Garlic
These families of onions are also commonly used as ingredients in sambal. Shallot gives a hint of sweetness with a bit of refreshing spiciness. Garlic will also add a different dimension of spiciness and savoriness to sambal, enhancing its aroma.
The sambal matah recipe will fail if you don’t include lemongrass in the cooking process. This ingredient brings the citrusy flavor that provides freshness to this Balinese sambal. Remember to use the lower part of the stalk, which is near the white part.
5. Chunk of Kaffir Lime Leaves and Juice
Remove the core and stem of the kaffir lime leaves and finely chop them. Besides using them in the recipe, you can also extract the juice by squeezing the fruit after removing the seeds. The refreshing and aromatic leaves and juice of kaffir lime can enhance your appetite.
6. Cooking or Coconut Oil
Another key to making this sambal recipe is to pour pan-heated oil. You can opt for the usual cooking oil. If you want to take the sambal flavor to another level, use coconut oil.
How to Transform The Ingredients into Sambal Matah?
In general, you do not need many utensils to cook authentic this type of sambal. You only need a cutting board, a sharp knife, a stove, a pan, a spoon, a teaspoon, and a plate.
Recipe of Sambal Matah
- 15 shallots, chop them finely with a knife*,
- 3 garlic, slice them with a knife finely*,
- 7 curly red chilies, chop finely with a knife*,
- 3 bird’s eye chilis, slice them,
- 3 white part of lemongrass stalk, peel the leaves to get to the inner white at the lower part then slice finely,
- 5 kaffir limes leaves, chop them thin and fine,
- ½ kaffir limes, squeeze to get the juice,
- 1 small block of terasi (around a half teaspoon),
- 3 teaspoons of coconut or cooking oil, preheat in a pan with medium heat,
- ¼ teaspoon of salt,
- ¼ teaspoon of sugar.
*Please note not to dice shallots, garlic, and chilies.
Once all the ingredients are ready, put the finely chopped and sliced ingredients, and mix them all with a pinch of salt and sugar. Then, pour the pre-heated oil of your choice into the mixed chopped ingredients. Then, stir them together. For the last touch, add the kaffir lime juice.
What Kind of Food Goes Well with Sambal Matah?
Since sambal matah offers a fresh spiciness, it is good for cutting through the greasiness in most Indonesian seafood and meat dishes. Indonesian people often enjoy sambal matah with various dishes, such as a crispy omelet, shredded skipjack or tuna, crispy fried chicken, and Jimbaran-style grilled fish. It also pairs well with fried and grilled duck meat, beef jerky and tongue, or Indonesian chicken satay, making it a versatile condiment.
Let’s Make Your Own Sambal Matah Now!
Indeed, the combination of refreshing and aromatic sambal matah with various types of food creates a party in your mouth. Now that you know both the recipe for sambal matah and what foods pair well with it, you can jump right in and make it yourself.
Alternatively, you can order instant sambal matah from Nyahtewel to keep in your stock. Their sambal is freshly made and will tantalize your taste buds.”
- Does sambal matah last long?
Sambal matah is best eaten when freshly made. To give it a long shelf life, you should keep it in an airtight container and put it in the fridge. It is even better if you keep the fresh ingredients separate from the oil.
- How to keep sambal matah in the fridge?
After processing all the ingredients, let them rest to cool off. Afterward, you can wrap them in plastic wrap or a clean container. Put them in the deeper side of the fridge where they won’t be easily exposed when the door is open. Just reheat the oil if it is frozen after being kept in the fridge.
- What is the difference between sambal matah and sambal embe?
The most significant thing that differentiates both of those Balinese sambals is the usage of aromatic spice. For the sambal embe, you use lime juice to bring that aromatic sensation. As for sambal matah, aside from the kaffir lime juice and finely-chopped leaves, you need to add the lemon grass as well.
- Does sambal matah have any health benefits?
Since it uses fresh ingredients, medical experts from Klikdokter explain that those ingredients surely have health benefits when processed well. The shallots and lemon grass are the most beneficial ingredients. Its nutrition helps prevent digestive disorders and increases good cholesterol.