Smoked sambal badjak

We love sambal. If we eat Asian, we always add sambal. At home, we have several different kinds of sambal. Sambal manis and oelek, but also brandal and badjak. The latter mixes well with everything.

When we make meatballs, a teaspoon of sambal badjak works wonders. Badjak is not that spicy but gives just enough heat and flavor to enjoy it. We researched how you can make sambal yourself and came up with this recipe for sambal badjak.

There are different types of sambal and hundreds, if not thousands, of recipes. And you can make it as hard and as easy as you want. Basically, there are a dozen types of sambal of which oelek, manis, brandal and badjak are the best known.

Badjak is the milder form of oelek because the peppers are baked. As a result, it loses some heat. Make no mistake. Sambal badjak can still sting. We made a smoked version by smoking the peppers first. Just because we can, and we are curious about what the result will be.

That is why we keep this sambal simple in terms of ingredients. This way, we hope that the smoky flavor will come out the most. The only strange element in this recipe is tomato. We once tasted sambal tomato, and it was delicious.

As mentioned, we will smoke the peppers first. Because we love smoked garlic, we add it too. Cut the head off the whole bulb. Fold a small bowl from aluminum foil where you place the bulb in. Then pour some olive oil over it and sprinkle some salt over it. We smoke them until the peppers and garlic cloves have softened.

When the peppers are smoked, we cut them into pieces before we blend them. With half of them, we leave the seeds and stems. You first cut them in half, and then you can easily scrape out the seeds and stems with a sharp knife. Do not press too hard because then you will also push the meat off the skin.

You can easily press the garlic cloves out of the bulb when they are smoked. We use 6 cloves in this recipe. You can keep the rest of the cloves for a long time and use it for other dishes. Use them in soup or to flavor sauces.

Then we mash the peppers, garlic, shallots, and tomatoes. We’ll leave it relatively coarse for now. That is easier when we bake it. When everything is baked, we blend it till smooth.

Badjak means that the sambal has been baked. Initially, because it gets a longer shelf life. That is why they call sambal badjak pirate sambal. Sailors took sambal badjak with them because it would last for months when they were at sea.

The shrimp paste and palm sugar are added during baking. We use liquid palm sugar because it can be found almost everywhere. Most supermarkets have it on shelve.

Bake the sambal until the peppers darken. Be careful not to overcook it, otherwise, the palm sugar will burn, and the sambal will become bitter. This sambal badjak goes with many dishes, but you can also use it to marinate chicken, for example.

If you have worked a clean, you can keep this sambal good for at least 2 months if you keep it cold and dark. You can also freeze it very well. Make smaller portions in plastic bags and freeze them. Let it thaw a few hours before you start using it.


150 grams of red chilies (12 or 13 pieces)
75 grams of cherry tomatoes (6 or 7)
100 grams shallots (5 or 6)
1 whole garlic bulb. We use 6 cloves in the sambal.
1 tbsp shrimp paste
4 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp Gula Jawa (palm sugar)


Smoke the red chilies and the garlic bulb at 120C (248F) until the peppers, and garlic cloves have softened.
Cut the shallots into quarters and fry them in a little olive oil with the tomatoes.
Remove the seeds and stems from the peppers if you are concerned that it will get too hot.
Cut the peppers into pieces and mash them with the shallots and 6 cloves of garlic.
Fry this pepper puree with the rest of the ingredients in a pan.
Then puree the whole sauce until it has become smooth.
Season with the juice of half a lime and a little salt.

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