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What is Sambal Oelek Recipe? Best Sambal Oelek Substitutes 2023

What is Sambal Oelek Recipe? Best Sambal Oelek Substitutes. The famous chilli paste used in cuisine, Sambal Oelek, is produced with a variety of ground chilli peppers, vinegar, and salt in this recipe for homemade Sambal Oelek. It is particularly well suited for flavouring noodle dishes and enhancing the flavours of sauces and dressings.

If you like sriracha – Homemade Sriracha, anyone? – then Sambal Oelek is for you. Have you ever cooked using Sambal Oelek? Perhaps it is time to get things started. You can buy Sambal Oelek at the grocery store and bring it home, but once you understand how easy it is to create your own, you’ll never want to buy the store-bought version again.

Fresh is always preferable, and it doesn’t get much fresher than this.

What Is Sambal Oelek?

While Sriracha is a Thai speciality, Sambal Oelek is an Indonesian delicacy that is simply a raw chilli paste that has been finely powdered. It is usually made with only a few components, including red chilli peppers, vinegar, and salt.

It can be used as a basis for sambals and other sauces, and it performs best when used as a condiment or flavouring element rather than as a direct sauce or hot sauce, as shown in the video below.

“Sambal” is a general term that refers to any chilli sauce or pastes that is produced from a variety of chilli peppers and may include a range of additional ingredients for flavouring purposes. Sambal is a general term that refers to any chilli sauce or pastes.

Of course, there are some variances. A search on the internet will reveal that other ingredients have been added to Sambal Oelek, such as garlic, lime juice, various vinegar, and so on. However, at some point, with such additions, the paste ceases to be Sambal Oelek and becomes something else entirely.

That’s perfectly OK!

This is exactly what Sambal Oelek is for: to be used as a base, a jumping-off point for the creation of new and intriguing flavours. I’ve also seen recipes where the paste has been somewhat boiled down.

The paste is generally crushed with a mortar and pestle; however, you may obtain a similar result with a food processor if you like.

Sambal oelek is available at a variety of stores. The Huy Fong Foods brand appears to be the most widely distributed. My purpose is to demonstrate how to create it at home, though. Definitely a step up!

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What Does Sambal Oelek Mean?

The word “sambal” is an Indonesian word that refers to a spicy sauce that is primarily produced with chilli peppers and spices. The term “oelek” (sometimes spelled olek or ulek) refers to a mortar and pestle set.

So, Sambal Oelek is Indonesian for a chilli sauce that is crushed with a mortar and pestle (mortar and pestle).

Sambal Oelek VS. Sriracha

When contrasted to sriracha, sambal oelek is more of a foundational recipe. Sriracha is sweeter than other hot sauces and typically contains more vinegar in the mix.

However, Sambal Oelek is often thicker and has fewer ingredients than other types of sambals. The fact that it is less processed means that it is frequently considerably spicier than your standard sriracha.

What Types Of Chilli Peppers Are Used For Making Sambal Oelek?

Let us discuss chilli peppers for a moment. Thai red peppers would be the best choice for this recipe, but there are a plethora of other possibilities available.

In the event that you are unable to locate Thai peppers or if they are too hot for you, substitute cayenne peppers, red serranos, or red jalapeno peppers. Of course, there are a variety of other possibilities, but these particular peppers, which are listed in descending heat degrees, work the best.

Example Of How To Make Sambal Oelek?

Making Sambal Oelek is a straightforward process. In a food processor or other grinder, pulse the chilli peppers, vinegar, and salt until they are finely chopped. A Molcajete is an excellent choice in this situation.

After that, grind the mixture until it resembles a coarse paste.

Fill a jar halfway with the resulting chilli paste, Sambal Oelek, and seal tightly. Allow sitting in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.

Suggestions For Serving Sambal Oelek

In reality, Sambal Oelek is a fantastic condiment for preserving peppers because it is so simple to make. The salt and vinegar will allow you to store them for an extended period of time. It may be stored in the refrigerator and then pulled out to be swirled into any type of soup or stew, or anything cooked in the slow cooker.

Stir it into a bowl of boiling noodles along with some soy sauce and fish sauce, and you’ve got yourself a quick and easy meal.

What is Sambal Oelek Recipe? Best Sambal Oelek Substitutes 2022

Top Sambal Oelek Substitutes

When it comes to cooking condiments, sambal oelek is a fantastic choice for those who want their meal spicy and tasty. However, it is an Asian spicy chilli paste that is primarily accessible in Asian markets – but you may be fortunate enough to come across it by chance.

What happens, however, if you don’t? What happens if there isn’t an Asian grocery store nearby?

If necessary, are you willing to abandon your dish in the middle of it and travel 10-15 minutes in search of chile paste? As for me, I’d rather save my time, energy, and petrol by using various Sambal Oelek substitutes instead of making the traditional recipe from scratch.

In addition, there are a plethora of choices to pick from, some of which are more flavorful and have a more enticing aroma than the standard ground raw chilli paste with the addition of dull vinegar and salt.

Cayenne pepper flakes, red pepper flakes, and fresh jalapenos are some of the most suitable alternatives to sambal Oelek. Other options include hot sriracha sauce, harissa chilli paste, hot Tabasco sauce, gochujang chilli paste, hot Tabasco sauce, cayenne pepper flakes, red pepper flakes, and fresh jalapenos.

Substitutes for Sambal Oelek

Take a closer look at each of these possibilities to see if they are a good investment of your time and resources.

1. Homemade Sambal Oelek

The addition of anything other than sambal Oelek is considered prohibited by the majority of people. We cannot argue with that, which is why a freshly prepared Sambal Oelek prepared by your own hands would be the ideal choice.

Without a doubt, you may purchase already prepared Sambal Oelek from your local supermarket, but nothing compares to the freshness of the ingredients. When you discover how simple it is to make your own spicy chilli paste, you will never want to buy it from a store again.

You’ll just need a few minutes and three key items to make this dish:

Chilli peppers weighing one pound

two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

a spoonful of table salt

To make a paste, combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. After that, place the mixture in a jar and place it in the refrigerator for a few hours before using it.

Still not convinced? What if I told you that the second substitute might be just as good as the original Sambal Oelek?

There is no cap! Take a look for yourself.

2. Sriracha Hot Sauce

This list would be incomplete without including Sriracha Hot Sauce, which is undoubtedly the most popular hot condiment on the market. Nonetheless, when a line is put in the sand between it and the spicy Indonesian condiment sambal oelek, the two scorching Asian flavours square off against each other.

The ingredients and heat levels are very similar across the two recipes. With regards to taste, Sriracha will provide a sweeter flavour with hints of garlic beneath the surface. Meanwhile, the sambal oelek relies primarily on the flavour of the chilli peppers, as well as a small amount of additional vinegar.

Furthermore, Sriracha is a sauce, whereas sambal oelek is more of a paste in texture and consistency. Both can be used interchangeably as dipping sauces, drinks, eggs/cheese, meats/marinades, and for noodle dishes, soups, and stews, among other things.

In contrast, if you’re seeking something to thicken up a meal, sambal oelek will be a far better choice. I’ve also observed several experienced cooks decrease the flavour of the Sriracha garlic sauce by adding a small amount of vinegar. As a result, you can as well.

3. Chilli Garlic Sauce

Although chilli garlic sauce does not have the same flavour as the original, it may be used in most Sambal Oelek recipes without difficulty. They are practically identical in terms of components, such as chilies, vinegar, and salt; the main difference is that the Chilli garlic sauce has sugar and garlic in addition to the other seasonings.

And this explains why they are hotter, slightly sweeter, and have a chunkier texture than most other curries.

To avoid the extra flavours, simply substitute sambal oelek for the amount of chilli paste called for in the recipe. You will not even be able to tell the difference.

Chilli garlic sauce can be used for a variety of dishes including noodles, stir-fries, grilled fish, pork, and tofu.

4. Tabasco Hot Sauce

Tabasco hot sauce, like sambal oelek, is created with the same key ingredients as sambal oelek, including chilli peppers, vinegar, and salt, making it an effective replacement.

Keep in mind that this option contains more vinegar than both the Sriracha sauce and the sambal oelek options combined. So, if you’re going to go for it, use only half the quality of sambal oelek that you would normally use.

Otherwise, your food will be overwhelmed by an excessive amount of acidity. Toss this Tabasco hot sauce over salads, curries, and pasta sauces; or use it to season fajita and taco meats, burritos and taco salads, pizza, garlic bread, and barbeque.

5. Harissa Paste

Harissa is a spicy chilli paste from Tunisia, which is located in North Africa. The harissa paste is a fantastic sambal oelek alternative when used as a meat rub on beef, hog, lamb, or poultry, and I can personally attest to this.

Despite the fact that they do not taste the same, they both have the same heat levels and sensations. Harissa paste is a slightly sweet, smoky, and tangy cumin taste that is slightly sweet, smoky, and sour.

And this is not always a good thing in cooking. You can, however, use it to flavour roasted vegetables, salad dressing, pasta, burgers, and hummus, among other things. However, start with a small amount and work your way up until you achieve the desired result.

6. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Red pepper flakes are yet another fantastic sambal oelek replacement that may be used in recipes. While it will never be able to replicate the flavour or consistency of Sambal Oelek, it will be able to simulate the pungency.

The crushed red pepper flakes will gladly fill in for sambal in locations where it has failed to have an effective additive effect. It can be used in a variety of dishes such as pickling mixes, spaghetti sauce, chowders, pizza sauce, beefsteak, soups, and sausage, among others.

It has a harsh, earthy flavour with a moderate amount of heat; it is advisable to use 14 tablespoons of sambal oelek for every one tablespoon of sambal oelek.

What is Sambal Oelek Recipe Best Sambal Oelek Substitutes 2023

7. Gochujang Chilli Paste

If you don’t have any of the other sambal oelek alternatives listed above, you might want to try using the Gochujang chilli paste instead. Gochujang is a Korean red chilli paste with a deep fermented savoury and somewhat sweet flavour that is used in a variety of dishes.

These pastes and sambal oelek have distinct differences in flavour because of the essential ingredients in each of them. If you want, you can use the Gochujang in place of the sambal oelek in all of your favourite Korean meals, such as Dakgalbi, Tteokbokki, Budae Jjigae, and many others.

Beyond that, it can be used to boost the flavour of dipping sauces, marinate chicken or meats, and thicken soups. Because it has a strong flavour profile, we recommend using only half the amount you would use for sambel to get the same results.

8. Cayenne Pepper Flakes

Another type of flake you might want to experiment with is Cayenne pepper flakes, which are similar to crushed red pepper flakes but can be used in place of sambal oelek in some recipes.

Unlike sambal oelek, this substitute does not have the same flavour or consistency as the original, but it does add a spicy kick to your cuisine. You’ll appreciate it even more in Mexican cuisine, where it may be found in typical meals such as tacos, enchiladas, and fajitas. Besides that, you may use it to flavour cheese omelettes, meat marinades, and spicy sauces with a strong kick. When it comes to crushed red pepper flakes, a quarter of a teaspoon should suffice.

9. Fresh Jalapeno

And finally, even if you don’t happen to have any of the sauces or pastes listed above, don’t despair; there is still hope. You can use a few diced FRESH Jalapenos peppers to add some heat and crunch to any recipe by chopping them up. You can use it as a sambal oelek alternative fresh in salsas, salads, chutney, or guacamole; cooked in main courses; baked into cornbread; and a variety of other recipes. It is also available in powder form.

Frequently Asked Questions are included below.

What Is Sambal Oelek Made Of?

Simple and spicy Indonesian chilli paste made with only three ingredients: hot red chilli peppers, vinegar, and salt. Sambal Oelek is a simple spicy Indonesian chilli paste made with only three ingredients: hot red chilli peppers, vinegar, and salt. Other ingredients that could be used include onion, garlic, lemon, sugar, and so on.

How Hot Is Sambal Sauce?

Sambal oelek has a gentle heat that is neither too powerful nor too sweet. Even the garlic-based varieties are not overpoweringly flavorful. In general, sambal oelek is quite spicy, similar to cayenne pepper or Holland Chile, with a Scoville heat unit (SHU) of approximately 30,000 to 50,000.

Let’s say you’re producing your own sambal sauce from scratch; you may experiment with different hot chilies depending on the level of heat you prefer or what’s available at the time.

Is Sambal Oelek Unhealthy?

When compared to spicy paste or sauce condiments, it is a healthier choice due to the lack of sugar content. You have a lower chance of acquiring type 2 diabetes if you consume this sugar-free sauce. It is also a low-calorie condiment that can be used to relieve pain, rhinitis, and the production of mucus during a cold attack, among other things.

Warning! If you have colitis or ulcers, this does not give you the green light to go ahead and do it. Either you avoid it or you use it sparingly, depending on your preference.

How Long Does Fresh Sambal Last in the Refrigerator?

Sambal is a highly perishable food. In this case, placing it in the refrigerator will assist to prolong its shelf life. However, the terrible reality is that this will not be the case for long. Large batches must be reserved for usage in the future between 2 weeks to 1 month of their creation. Simply make certain that it is stored in an airtight jar or container.


When you have so many Sambal Oelek Substitutes at your disposal, it can be difficult to decide which one to use. Of course, you won’t be able to pick them all! We recommend that you concentrate more on what works best for you and on the option that is now open to you. It will be much easier to make a decision in this manner.

Furthermore, all of the Chile pastes and sauces listed above will work well as a substitute for sambal oelek, while the consistency, flavour, and texture of some may differ from others. Or, even better, you can make your own sambal oelek at home with a few simple ingredients.

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Home » What is Sambal Oelek Recipe? Best Sambal Oelek Substitutes 2023

What is Sambal Oelek Recipe? Best Sambal Oelek Substitutes 2023

What is Sambal Oelek Recipe Best Sambal Oelek Substitutes 2023