Sambal is a traditional Indonesian condiment made primarily with chili, which gives it a spicy taste. Other key ingredients include terasi, candlenut, shallot, garlic, and lime. If you are living abroad and are missing sambal, here is a substitute you can try.
8 Ingredients to Substitute Indonesian Sambal
Sambal is also popular in Malaysian, Bruneian, Singaporean, and other Southeast Asian countries. Most Southeast Asian countries are familiar with sambal oelek. Sometimes, living in any country outside Southeast Asia makes it hard to find sambal.
If you’re having trouble finding sambal oelek to buy, or if it’s not available in your area, you can easily make a substitute yourself using the alternative ingredients. Here is a recipe for a
Sriracha is originally from Thailand. The ingredients for sriracha are chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt. These ingredients are then mashed into a paste and fermented to strengthen the taste.
Its ingredients are similar to sambal ingredients, except for the vinegar. But, some sambal uses lime or tamarind to get acidity.
One of the dishes that is similar to sambal and is very popular is Harissa. It originated in Tunisia but is also popular in South Africa. You can also find Harissa in France, Germany, Libya, and Algeria.
The ingredients are similar to the sambal oelek recipe, such as chili, garlic, turmeric, paprika, cumin, and coriander. All of the ingredients are mashed and mixed to get a sauce consistency.
The following substitute for sambal is Gochujang, a red chili paste from South Korea. Gochujang is made from fermented glutinous rice, garlic, soybean paste, corn syrup, and chili powder. Despite having different ingredients than regular sambal, you can still get the spicy and sweet taste of this sauce.
4. Chili Garlic Sauce
Chili garlic sauce is a typical sauce used in Chinese food. It has a similar taste to Sriracha, but chili garlic sauce is chunky, with visible chili seeds and pepper pieces. It differs from Sriracha, which has a smooth consistency, but the ingredients are similar to sambal oelek recipes, such as chili and garlic.
5. Tabasco Sauce
The easy-to-find substitute for sambal in Western countries is Tabasco sauce. It is a condiment often used to add a spicy taste to pizza, pasta, or other foods.
If you go to Western restaurants, you will see Tabasco sauce in a red or green bottle. Apart from being bottled, Tabasco sauce has a variety of flavors, from spicy to not too spicy.
Tabasco is a hot sauce made from tabasco peppers (tabasco pepper) from Mexico. Tabasco sauce is manufactured and sold by McIlhenny of America. Because the sauce is a registered trademark of the company, other companies cannot sell this sauce.
Tabasco sauce itself is made from a mixture of vinegar, salt, and chili. This sauce tastes spicy and slightly sour.
6. Thai Chili Paste
Thai Chili Paste, also known as Nam Phrik Pao, is a traditional sauce from Thailand. It can be an excellent substitute for sambal because the ingredients and texture are similar.
Nam Phrik Pao is made from two types of chilies, shrimp paste, shallots, and tamarind. All these ingredients are roasted and blended, making the sauce spicy, sweet, and smokey.
It is used in many Thai dishes, such as Tom Yum Goong, and gives the dish a delicious orange color.
7. Chili Crisp
Chili crisp is quite different from sambal, but it can still be used as a substitute. It’s a popular condiment for Chinese cooking and is often used as a topping for noodles or soups. It’s also great as a dipping sauce for dim sum or fried foods.
To make chili crisp, you typically chop up chilies, ginger, garlic, shallots, and other aromatic ingredients and then fry them in hot oil until the flavors are fully infused. Similarly, chili
oil is made by frying these ingredients in hot oil until the flavors are fully extracted.
8. Processed Chili Sauce
If you can’t find sambal, you can replace it with processed chili sauce, which is easy to find no matter where you live. Chili sauce is a processed chili product made with other ingredients
added in. It’s different from ketchup, which has a sweet and sour taste. Chili sauce is great with fried chicken, French fries, and other fried foods.
What’s Your Favorite Substitute for Sambal?
So, those are several options that you can choose from to substitute for sambal. What is your favorite spice to replace sambal? If you are still struggling to find a sambal substitute, we recommend that you try an instant sambal from Nyahtewel.
Nyahtewel is a company that offers high-quality and fresh instant sambals from Indonesia, which will give you a traditional taste. Additionally, their packaging is excellent and clean, making it safe to transport worldwide.
- What’s the difference between sambal and sauce?
The sauce is an additional condiment, such as oystersSauce, usually added to seafood or vegetable dishes as a flavor enhancer. At the same time, sambal is a typical Indonesian dish made from chili, which is a main part or can also be a condiment for a portion of food. Some sauces can be substituted for sambal.
- Does chili have benefits for the body besides delicious food?
Chili sauce not only enhances the taste of food, but it also offers a range of benefits for the body. It aids in boosting metabolism and reducing inflammation. Additionally, the consumption of chili sauce can lead to an increase in the production of hormones that promote relaxation in the body.
- Why is sambal spicy?
Chili contains capsaicin. Capsaicin is the active chemical compound in chili peppers, giving them a hot and spicy sensation.
- How many types of sambal are there in Indonesia?
Indonesia has at least 119 types of raw chili sauce and 138 types of cooked chili sauce. Although the variety reaches 257, there are only 122 variations of the seasoning. The main ingredients of Indonesian-style sambal are chilies, salt, and shrimp paste.