Saus sambal is like the ketchup’s cousin and is a staple in Indonesian kitchens. The perfect mix of sweet, savory, and spicy to add a kick to your palate.
What is Saus Sambal?
Indonesian people are known for their penchant for spicy food. For Indonesians, a meal does not feel complete without a side of sambal (chili paste or sauce) on the table. Sambal has been an integral part of Indonesian food culture for centuries.
Not surprisingly, you can easily find packaged mass-produced chili sauces everywhere in supermarkets and restaurants in Indonesia. They use tomato puree, chili peppers, sugar, salt, and some other spices or seasonings to give the spicy, but not too hot, taste. They have a thick, smooth texture and viscosity. Think of them as the ketchup’s cousin.
If you visit Indonesian supermarkets, you can see many varieties of saus sambal (chili sauce) in different brands and sizes, ranging from sweet, mild, to spicy. They can come in glass or plastic bottles, squeeze packaging, and small sachets. In addition, try going to any Western franchised fast food such as KFC, Pizza Hut, or McDonald’s and they serve saus sambal alongside the ketchup. It is a sight you can only see in Indonesia.
Sambal vs Saus Sambal
Sambal is a traditional chili paste or sauce, usually made with a mortar in pestle. Meanwhile, saus sambal refers to commercial chili sauce in Indonesia. However, unlike the coarse-textured and richly flavored traditional sambal, saus sambal has a smooth, gloopy texture similar to ketchup, and rather a simple hot flavor.
What To Serve With Saus Sambal
Saus sambal can be served as a condiment or as a dipping sauce whenever you need a little kick of spiciness in your food. Here are some foods commonly served with saus sambal:
- Macaroni Schotel (Indo-Dutch Macaroni Casserole)
- Mayonnaise Risoles With Smoked Beef and Egg