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Sambal Terasi Recipe (Indonesian Chili Sauce with Shrimp Paste)

Sambal Terasi is a thick, fiery chili sauce from Indonesia made with dried shrimp paste and bird's eye chilies, served with fried foods or as a dipping sauce. Here is the recipe. Not for the faint of heart!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Course: Main Course, sauce
Cuisine: Indonesian
Keyword: bird's eye peppers, dried shrimp, spicy
Servings: 8
Calories: 46kcal


  • 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried shrimp paste Terasi, or Belacan
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar use shaved palm sugar or brown sugar, though white sugar will work as well
  • 12 bird's eye chilies stems removed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice or use lemon juice


  • Heat the oil in a small pan to medium heat and add the dried shrimp paste. Cook the paste for 45 seconds to 1 minute, mashing it down completely, until it becomes vary fragrant. Cool and set aside.
  • Add the cooked shrimp paste to a mortar or a small food processor, along with the garlic, salt, sugar and bird's eye peppers. Grind or process until smooth.
  • Stir in the lime juice or lemon juice and use immediately.


Some recipes call for dry toasting the dried shrimp paste, which is perfectly acceptable. Simply skip the oil but be sure to mash it down to cook through.
Use milder peppers for a sambal terasi that is not as spicy. This can be made with any type of pepper.
Sambal terasi should be used the day it is made.
Makes about 1.5 cups.


Calories: 46kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 218mg | Potassium: 229mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 644IU | Vitamin C: 98mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 1mg