The Balinese Chilli Sambal And Its Spice!

A trip to Bali wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the tantalizing Balinese cuisine that sets your taste buds on fire. One dish that stands out among the many flavors of Bali is the Balinese Chilli Sambal.

Bali, a paradise on Earth, is an Indonesian island that has captured the hearts of travelers worldwide. Its rich culture, breathtaking landscapes, and pristine beaches are just a few reasons why visitors keep coming back for more.

In this article, we will explore this delightful condiment and guide you through making your own at home. So let’s get started!


What is Balinese Chilli Sambal?

Sambal is a Southeast Asian hot sauce or paste made from ground chillies or peppers mixed with various spices and herbs. It is a staple in Indonesian, Malaysian, and Singaporean cuisines.

In Bali, sambals play an essential role in enhancing the flavor of local dishes, adding spiciness and depth.

There are several types of sambals in Bali, including sambal matah (raw chilli sauce), sambal ulek (mortar-ground chilli paste), and sambal terasi (shrimp paste chilli sauce).

The Balinese Chilli Sambal we’ll focus on today is characterized by its combination of fresh chillies, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, shrimp paste (optional), palm sugar, salt, and pepper.

This savory mixture results in a spicy yet slightly sweet condiment often used as a dipping sauce or accompaniment to various dishes.

How to make your own Balinese Chilli Sambal

Ready to bring the taste of Bali into your kitchen? Gather these ingredients and follow the simple steps below.


    1. 10 fresh red chillies

    2. 5 shallots

    3. 3 cloves of garlic

    4. 2 stalks of lemongrass, chopped

    5. 3 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded

    6. 1 teaspoon of shrimp paste (optional)

    7. 1 tablespoon of palm sugar

    8. Salt and pepper to taste

* Cooking Instructions:

  •    Step 1:

Cut the chillies in half and remove the seeds to reduce the spiciness (optional). Then, chop the chillies roughly.

  •    Step 2: 

Peel the shallots and garlic, then slice them thinly.

  •    Step 3:

Using a mortar and pestle or a food processor, grind the chillies, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves into a smooth paste.

  •    Step 4: 

If using shrimp paste, heat it gently in a pan over low heat until fragrant, stirring continuously for about two minutes.

  •    Step 5:

Add the ground mixture to the pan with shrimp paste (or without if you’re going vegetarian), and cook on low heat for about ten minutes.

  •    Step 6:

Stir in the palm sugar until it melts and combines with the sambal. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Your delicious Balinese Chilli Sambal is now ready! Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Where to find the best Balinese Chilli Sambal in Bali

If you’re fortunate enough to visit Bali soon, make sure you don’t miss out on trying authentic Balinese Chilli Sambal at these popular spots:

  •  Warung Babi Guling Ibu Oka – Famous for their succulent roast pork (babi guling), this local eatery also serves a mouthwatering sambal that perfectly complements their dishes.
  • Naughty Nuri’s Warung – Known for their finger-licking BBQ ribs, Naughty Nuri’s serves a delectable sambal that adds a spicy kick to your meal.
  • Warung Mak Beng – A legendary seafood spot in Sanur, where the spicy sambal goes perfectly with their famous fish soup and fried fish.

Dishes that pair well with Balinese Chilli Sambal

Add some excitement to your meal by pairing Balinese Chilli Sambal with these traditional Balinese dishes:

  1. Nasi Goreng – A popular Indonesian fried rice dish often served with a side of sambal for an added kick.
  1. Ayam Betutu – Slow-cooked chicken in a rich blend of spices and herbs, made even more flavorful with a dollop of sambal.
  1. Be Siap Mesanten – A Balinese-style chicken curry that pairs perfectly with spicy sambal to enhance its depth of flavors.

Health benefits of eating Balinese Chilli Sambal

In addition to being delicious, Balinese Chilli Sambal also offers numerous health benefits thanks to its nutrient-rich ingredients:

  • Chillies are packed with vitamins A and C, which boost the immune system and promote healthy skin.
  • Garlic and shallots contain compounds that promote heart health and may lower cholesterol levels.
  •  Lemongrass has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help prevent chronic diseases.
  • So not only will your taste buds thank you, but your body will too!

There’s no denying that Balinese Chilli Sambal is a must-try for anyone visiting Bali or those simply wanting to bring a taste of the island into their home kitchen.

This versatile condiment adds heat, flavor, and depth to any dish, making it an essential part of the Balinese culinary experience.

As someone who has been captivated by the beauty of Bali and its cuisine, I encourage you to try making and tasting Balinese Chilli Sambal yourself – I guarantee it’ll become a new favorite!

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Read more about Cooking, Cooking Style

About the Author

Luca and Melisa, a couple from Australia with a love for Bali and Cooking.

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