Taste of Indonesia – beauty of sambals

One of the first words you will hear in Indonesia is sambal. It is a spicy sauce that Indonesians can not imagine their meals without. And although they love their dishes hot and spicy, they add some more spiciness with sambal.

And this is where the story begins since there are some many wonderful kinds of sambal once your palate gets used to this spiciness. Almost every area in Indonesia has their own special sambal they adore. Actually, in the Indonesian archipelago, there are as many as 300 varieties of sambal! So if you are a fan of spicy food, let’s take a look at some of the most popular and best sambals for you to try in the first part of our guide through this Indonesian gastro delight.

Sambal Matah
Oh, yes! We should definitely start with this one. It is a famous raw sambal from Bali and adored all over the island. It is made from raw ingredients such as shallots, chilies, tomatoes, lemongrass, and one special ingredient: ginger or kecombrang. This is a great sauce that can really be used with any dish, even just a bowl of rice with sambal matah is wonderful.

Sambal Belacan or Sambal Terasi
This is one of the most popular Indonesian sambals that you can find almost everywhere. The raw sambal is made from fresh chilies, tomato, shrimp paste, and shallots. It is perfect to be eaten with deep-fried fish, chicken, or duck and lalapan (raw vegetables).

Sambal Kacang
This is a peanut sauce and it is usually used in nasi uduk, satay, siomay or dumplings, and gado-gado. It is made from ground peanuts, garlic, chilies, and candlenut that are mixed with water.

Sambal Bawang
It has distinctive garlic aroma that is guar- anteed to make your taste buds happy. It is made from fresh chilies, garlic, and salt that are crushed together using mortar. Hot veg- etable oil is mixed into it before serving. Per- fect with fried chicken, tofu or tempeh.

Sambal Kecap
This kind of sambal is not ground or crushed. It is made from the mixture of chopped chil- ies, sometimes with tomatoes and chopped shallots, together with sweet soy sauce and lime juice. Goes well with grilled foods such as grilled fish and chicken.

Sambal Hijau
Hijau means green in Indonesian and it has distinctive aroma and flavor because it is made from green chilies. Chilies, garlic, and shallots are fried and salt and sugar are added before using mortar for crushing. Usually, sambal hijau is always available in restaurants that serve Padang food.■

Bali Pocket Magazine