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!
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.
Let's talk about how we make sambal matah, shall we?
Sambal Matah Ingredients
- FOR THE PASTE
- 1 teaspoon shrimp paste (use Belacan - see the Recipe Tips & Notes section about Belacan, 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 (Belacan). 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.
ASSEMBLE THE SAMBAL MATAH
Chop the Vegetables. Add the shallots, tomato, peppers, garlic and lemongrass to a large mixing bowl.
Stir in the Paste. Stir in the paste and toss to evenly coat the raw vegetables.
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!
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Belacan. Belacan 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!
Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes
- Sambal Oelek
- Sambal Terasi (Indonesian Chili Sauce with Shrimp Paste)
- Homemade Sriracha
- Homemade Harissa
- How to Make Chili Paste
- Sweet Chili-Garlic Hot Sauce
- Red Curry Paste
- Rujak - Indonesian Fruit Salad
- Nasi Goreng - Indonesian Fried Rice
- Mie Goreng - Indonesian Stir Fry Noodles)
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 Recipe
FOR THE PASTE
- 1 teaspoon shrimp paste use Belacan
- 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)
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.