Popular as a type of chili paste or a hot chili sauce, Sambal Oelek has been able to win millions of hearts of spicy food lovers. In fact, all the Sambal Oelek ingredients are zesty, pungent, and flavorful enough to give you the best experience of a real spicy food.
The ingredients of this Indonesian chili paste typically include main spices such as hot chili peppers and garlic. In addition, other flavorings usually contain vinegar, shallots, salt, and lime juice. Occasionally, some Sambal Oelek recipes could also include lemongrass, tomatoes, shrimp paste, chicken powder, ginger, oil, palm sugar, etc.
So, continue reading our feature to learn more about Sambal Oelek ingredients and how they contribute to this paste with their flavor profiles.
What Is Sambal Oelek Made Of?
This tangy paste is basically a combination of ground/crushed fresh hot peppers and a few other savory ingredients. Being a staple in Indonesian cuisine, Sambal Oelek is used in many ways to complement a medley of dishes.
You can easily buy this from the store, while many traditional Indonesians make their own at home.
So, what ingredients make this relish so much special? You will learn about that from this section.
Spices In Sambal Oelek
01- Chili Peppers
The fiery, hot, warm, and pungent flavor profile of Sambal Oelek mainly comes from the hot chili peppers used in this paste as its base flavoring. Thus, the recipes could include one, two, or more types of chili peppers.
Usually, Thai red chilies are the type that is being commonly used. But in addition to them, bird’s eye chilies, jalapeno peppers, cayenne peppers, habanero peppers, and red serrano peppers work really well with it.
What are your options if you ever run out of Sambal Oelek? We have tackled the best 10 Sambal Oelek substitutes in this article. To read please click here!
Some recipes employ both green and red chilies, but most of the time, Sambal Oelek comes together with ripened hot red chili peppers. However, Thai red chilies carry a serious punch of spiciness ranging from 50,000-to 100,000 SHU on the Scoville Scale.
Therefore, the paste itself is spicy, and if you are putting together this at home and desire a less spicy version, you can go for other red chili peppers mentioned above. Moreover, all the other Sambal Oelek ingredients are paired according to the flavor of the chili peppers.
Garlic is another staple in this paste. The savory, aromatic, and robust flavor notes of this spice complement the spiciness of chili peppers. Garlic usually pairs with all the other ingredients used in Sambal Oelek, and it intensifies the quality of this paste.
You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces- just good food from fresh ingredients.Julia Child.
Most commercially made Sambal Oelek recipes employ dried garlic or garlic powder, while most homemade recipes use fresh garlic cloves. However, fresh garlic is more pungent than dried or powdered versions. Therefore, when you make this paste at home using raw garlic, you can get a fresher garlicky flavor.
Other Sambal Oelek Ingredients
In addition to these spices, some recipes might also include ginger and lemongrass. And, other ingredients come down to:
- Vinegar (rice vinegar/white vinegar/distilled vinegar)
- Lime juice
- Shrimp paste (occasionally used)
- Chicken powder (occasionally used)
- Tomatoes (occasionally used)
- Palm sugar/brown sugar (occasionally used in homemade recipes)
Moreover, your store-bought Sambal Oelek container could also have:
- Xanthan gum
- Sunflower oil
- Other additives and preservatives
Putting The Finishing Touches To Our Episode With Sambal Oelek Ingredients…
When hot chili peppers lay the foundation for the spicy taste profile of this paste, other ingredients like garlic, vinegar, salt, and shallots provide the backup flavor. Accordingly, Sambal Oelek has become a super flavorful and hot delicacy that most of you would love to include in your daily diet!