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19 August 2020

This sambal matah recipe is a popular raw sambal from Indonesia that is much like a salsa, perfect for spicing up grilled meats and other dishes.

We’re whipping up some sambals lately in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen, my friends. A “Sambal” is essentially a sauce with chili peppers as a primary ingredient, so perfect for spicy food lovers. You’ll find them primarily in Asian cuisine, particularly Indonesia and Malaysia, though they have spread far and wide throughout the world.

As you may have guessed, there are many, many different ways to make sambals, and there are as many variations as there are cooks and ingredients.

It is interesting to note that any particular dish with “sambal” in the name simple means it is a dish where the sambal sauce is a main focus.

The particular recipe we’re making today is called Sambal Matah, which means “raw sambal”, and I think you are going to love it. I surely do!

Spicy Sambal Matah in a bowl

What is Sambal Matah?

This sambal matah recipe is a raw sambal originally from Bali, Indonesia. It is made with spicy chilies, shallots and more with a flavorful mixture of shrimp paste and other fresh ingredients. It is very much like a salsa, a perfect condiment for spicing up many meals.

You’ll often find it served over grilled fish or chicken or other meats, though it’s really sort of a wonder condiment, at home on many different possible recipes. Think of it as a unique, all-purpose salsa.

Sambal Matah in a bowl

Let’s talk about how we make sambal matah, shall we?

Sambal Matah Ingredients

  • FOR THE PASTE
  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste (use Belecan – see the Recipe Tips & Notes section about Belecan, including substitutions and where you can buy it)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (try it with coconut oil for an interesting flavor twist)
  • Juice from 1 small lime + zest (about 1 tablespoon lime juice)
  • ½ teaspoon sugar (I use palm sugar)
  • Salt to taste
  • FOR THE SAMBAL MATAH
  • 5 medium-sized shallots, chopped
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 6 bird’s eye peppers, chopped (use Thai peppers to sub, or cayenne, or others available to you)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 stalks lemongrass, finely chopped (green parts only – you can use some of the white parts, if desired)

How to Make Sambal Matah – the Recipe Method

MAKE THE PASTE FIRST

Dry Toast the Shrimp Paste (Belecan). Heat a small pan to medium heat and add the shrimp paste. Dry toast it for 2-3 minutes, mashing it down as it heats. It will become quite fragrant.

Mix the Sambal Paste. Transfer the toasted shrimp paste to a small mixing bowl and add the oil, lime juice and zest, sugar and salt to taste. Mix with a spoon to form your paste. Set aside for now.

Flavorful shrimp paste on a spoon for making Sambal Matah

ASSEMBLE THE SAMBAL MATAH

Chop the Vegetables. Add the shallots, tomato, peppers, garlic and lemongrass to a large mixing bowl.

Sambal Matah ingredients in a bowl, ready for mixing

Stir in the Paste. Stir in the paste and toss to evenly coat the raw vegetables.

Sambal Matah ingredients mixed in a bowl

Boom! Done! Your sambal matah is ready to serve. Super easy, isn’t it? You can have this ready anytime you’d like it in no time. This recipe will make you about 2.5 cups.

How are you serving yours? Let’s hear it!

Chunky Sambal Matah, or raw sambal, in a bowl

Recipe Tips & Notes

  • Belecan. Belecan is a dried, fermented shrimp paste commonly used in South Asian cooking. It comes in a block form and you can slice off pieces, which need to be dry toasted before using. You can buy belacan here at Amazon (affiliate link, my friends). If you can’t find it, use terasi (another dried shrimp paste) or any other wet shrimp paste.
  • Other Potential Ingredients. You can include other ingredients to your preference. Other popular ingredients include ginger, lime leaves, kaffir lime, tomato, fish sauce, white pepper, coconut oil and other seasonings.
  • The Chili Peppers. Bird’s Eye Peppers are commonly used to make sambal matah and other sambals, as they are local to the area. Use other peppers more available to you, such as Thai peppers, cayenne peppers, red serrano peppers or others to your preference. This recipe can realistically work with any chili peppers.

That’s it, my friends. I hope you enjoy this sambal matah recipe. Very tasty! So many great ingredients! Let me know if you make it. I’d love to hear how it turned out for you. Keep it spicy!

Sambal Matah on a spoon, ready to serve

Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes

Sambal Matah on a spoon

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

Sambal Matah on a spoon, ready to serve
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Sambal Matah Recipe

This sambal matah recipe is a Balinese raw sambal made with spicy chilies, shallots and more with a flavorful mixture of shrimp paste and other fresh ingredients. It is very much like a salsa, a perfect condiment for spicing up many meals.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Course: Appetizer, Salsa
Cuisine: American, Indonesian
Keyword: sambal, spicy
Servings: 6
Calories: 48kcal

Ingredients

FOR THE PASTE

  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste use Belecan
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Juice from 1 small lime + zest about 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon sugar I use palm sugar
  • Salt to taste

FOR THE SAMBAL MATAH

  • 5 shallots chopped
  • 1 small tomato chopped
  • 6 bird’s eye peppers chopped (use Thai peppers to sub, or cayenne, or others available to you)
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1-2 stalks lemongrass finely chopped (green parts only - you can use some of the white parts, if desired)

Instructions

FOR THE PASTE

  • Heat a small pan to medium heat and add the shrimp paste. Dry toast it for 2-3 minutes, mashing it down as it heats. It will become quite fragrant.
  • Transfer the toasted shrimp paste to a small mixing bowl and add the oil, lime juice and zest, sugar and salt to taste. Mix with a spoon to form your paste. Set aside for now.

FOR THE SAMBAL MATAH

  • Add the shallots, tomato, peppers, garlic and lemongrass to a large mixing bowl.
  • Stir in the paste and toss to evenly coat the raw vegetables.
  • Serve!

Notes

Makes about 2.5 cups.

Nutrition

Calories: 48kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 33mg | Potassium: 142mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 206IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg

 

Sambal Matah Recipe (Indonesian Raw Sambal)
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