Sambal Oelek Ground Fresh Chili Paste: What Recipe Can I Use It In?

So I have this jar of Sambal Oelek chili paste and I have NO idea of how to use it, or what recipe it would be used in. So this is’s version of “”, where I’m asking you, the reader, to help me out with suggested uses for this chili paste.

Sambal Oelek
Sambal Oelek

It’s made of only 3 things: “chili, salt, distilled vinegar”, plus 3 preservatives – “Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Bisulfite and Xantham Gum“.

This rich, deep red sauce says:

Add GROUND FRESH CHILI PASTE to make any food mouth-warmingly spicy. Use it to “heat up” your stir-fry dishes, pizza, eggs, pasta, or anything you desire.”

Wow, sounds like there’s no limit… typical of the condensed marketing hype on any given bottle of sauce, I mean “mouth-warmingly”?… I like it! The hype that is.

I should add, this sauce is made and distributed by Huy Fong Foods, who make the awesome Sriracha Sauce I’ve gushed about on this blog time and again. So I’m sure it’s a quality product.

And sure, I could Google “sambal oelek recipes” to find recipes for it, but I want to hear from the experts out there… YOU. Have you ever used this concoction and what is your favorite way to use it?

Update: Oct 31, 2008 – Wow… this Sambal Oelek is very much like one of my favorite condiments for subs and pizzas – Tallarico’s Hoagie Spread. The Sambal Oelek is slightly thicker, and maybe sweeter – but it’s a great stand-in for Tallarico’s! And it’s definately hotter. Yay!

Leave a Comment and help me out.

Similar Posts


  1. Here are some of the the things I do with hot sauce:
    Add to BBQ and spaghetti sauce for kicks.
    Make excellent Bloody Mary’s, instead of horseradish.
    Mix with soy to dip my sushi into, instead of wasabi.
    Add to chili–of course.
    Mix with sour cream, cream cheese and various spices to make dip.
    Top scrambled eggs.
    Drizzle lightly on cut up wedges of pita bread, and then bake, to make chips.
    Add a smidge to hot chocolate, just for that little extra something…
    Use anywhere Ketchup (catsup) may go……….
    Thats all!

  2. @Daisy – thanks for the suggestions. Your idea for a dip is tempting, but I especially like the idea of pita chips. I love toasting pita wedges to make chips for salsa, dips, etc. Thanks again

  3. Brian – Thanks for pointing out the Primepress forum to me.
    As for that hot sauce, I actually got some of that stuff at an Asian market and we have used it as a dipping sauce for fried dumplings. I will also throw a teaspoon of it into my meat curry.

    Titos last blog post..Doh!

  4. @Tito – I finally opened the Sambal Oelek… wow! Nice, fresh taste with lots of heat!
    I think it’s similar to Tallarico’s Hoagie Spread, only a bit sweeter and hotter.
    I had it on the side, with Wifey’s homemade Egg Rolls, and a batch of Firecracker Chicken (Martin Yan – Quick and Easy p.138). Awesome!

  5. @Christine – Pad Thai is something I’ve never tried to make at home. I’m putting it on my to-do list. Thanks for the suggestion!

  6. Im really like chili especially with pasta! Sometimes I can eat it with fried eggs!

  7. I think you could probably stir fry some shrimp in it… Maybe thin it with a little bit of water. After it is done, spoon over jasmine rice…

  8. Sambal has a almost unlimited use 😀
    I add 1-2 ts to most beef or pork dishes like Gulash (not the american kind with hamburg but actually cubed meat seared, lots of chopped onions 2-3c beef broth and then boiled/simmered until meat is soft ~ 60-90 mins)
    I also use it to “kick it up a notch” in several Pasta sauces, beef stew and soups.
    or if you looking for a nice spicy sauce for Couscous..mix 3-4tb sambal with 1 stick melted butter and some salt (which is also a great sauce for hot wings)
    Experiment…obviously every dish that calls for chilies gains from Sambal 😉

  9. Has anyone ever made a dipping sauce for salmon or char called “fire sauce” made with sambal oelek, soy, olive oil, green onion slices, and sugar?

    1. Hey Jeff, never heard of that recipe, and a quick search turned up nothing. Let me know if you find something. ~brian

  10. I used to buy Sambal Oelek back in the early 90’s. Next to it in the grocery stores was also a jar of the same size. I believe it was chile garlic sauce. I am not sure if it was the same brand. It was a dark red color, the seeds were either ground or non existent and it had an oil base. Does anyone know what this is? I have been looking for it for years.

    1. Since you mentioned “oil base” I can only guess it was simply a garlic-chile-oil condiment. My first thought was a sriracha sauce. But I’m afraid I can’t venture a guess beyond this. Thanks Paula! I hope you find your sauce.

    2. Hi Paula,

      I think it’s SAMBAL BAJAK, you could get it at Asian groceries store, like 99 Ranch Market.
      Good luck

      1. From Wikipedia:

        Sambal ulek (oelek)
        Chili (bright red, thin and sharp tasting). Some types of this variant call for the addition of salt or lime into the red mixture. Oelek is a Dutch spelling which in modern Indonesian spelling has become simply ulek; both have the same pronunciation. Ulek is Indonesian special stoneware derived from common village basalt stone kitchenware still ubiquitous in kitchens, particularly in Java. The Ulekan is a pestle shaped like a hybrid of a dinner and soup-plate with an old, cured bamboo root mortar (ulek-ulek) employed in an ulek manner: a crushing and twisting motion (like using a screwdriver) for crushing lime leaves, chilies, peppers, shallots, peanuts, and other kinds of ingredients.””

    3. Hi – I think it is probably chilli oil… See-woo sell it (UK). I have a jar branded ‘way-on’.

      1. Thanks, Lesley… unfortunately, heavy (relatively) bottles of hot sauces are so expensive to ship from the UK to the US. But I will look for the See-woo brand elsewhere.

    4. Hi – just happened to come across this website and saw your question. We just bought a jar of both the Sambal and Chile Garlic sauce (side-by-side) today in Albertsons. Hope you see this and that that helps!

  11. I put smart balance butter in a pan with minced garlic and the chili paste heat it up then add grilled shrimp to the sauce and put it over whole wheat penne. I also top it off with some veggie cheese! It is great!

  12. Or use it to make “Vlam tostie”, a spicy toasted cheese sandwich which is a Dutch specialty:

    1/2 lb ground beef
    1 tsp sambal oelek
    salt and pepper to taste
    eight slices of cheese
    eight slices of white bread

    Melt some butter in a pan and saute the ground beef and sambal oelek (you can brown some chopped onions first and add the beef and sambal oelek to the onions if you want.)

    Put a slice of cheese on one of the bread slices, and then put one fifth to one quarter of the mixture in the middle of the slice of cheese. Put another slice of cheese and slice of bread on top of that and toast in a panini press.

    1. Thanks Peter! This looks like a great way to make a really spicy sandwich.

      What type of cheese do you suggest?

  13. I cut up a large boneless chicken breast, coated it with virgin olive oil and some Toney’s lemon and pepper seasoning and then cooked it slowly on top of the stove for about 3 minutes each side, then I added about a cup of water and let it cook for about 10 minutes and then I added two tablespoons of Sambol Olek Chili Pasted and let it cook for about 15 minutes on low heat and it was so good.
    And for you southerners or lovers of Soul Food, try it on peas and greens, taste wonderful, especially if you love pepper sauce (vinegar and pepper) , makes a wonderful substitute. I also add it to my seasoning when cookiing fried or baked chicken. Yummy!!

  14. You’re only going to get rid of the sambal oelek one teaspoon at a time this way, but I love this recipe for peanut sauce. It’s from a Food & Wine recipe for Indonesian-style shrimp salad, but it works great on rice/rice noodles too as well as raw veggies and protein.

    1/4 c. + 2 T. coconut milk (lite works fine too)
    1/4 c. + 2 T. peanut butter (creamy)
    1 1/2 T. Thai fish sauce
    1 1/2 T. fresh lime juice
    2 t. brown sugar (white is fine)
    1 t. sambal oelek

    Place all in a blender, whirr until smooth and voila. You can adjust for taste and add a little more sambal. It’s actually a thick sauce (I thin it out a little with a splash of extra coconut milk or lime juice) and you could probably use it on sandwiches in place of mayo/mustard, but I’ve not tried that. Yet!

    I’ve not tried this yet but think I might, since I too have an open jar. I like to make a dip of feta cheese, yogurt, and roasted red peppers (made smooth in a food processor), but think I may substitute the sambal for red peppers. Have fun!

    1. Thank you for the recipe! so sorry to be so late replying, but we’re about to make some garlicky spicy black wings. We were going to use the Sambal, but we apparently ran out and can’t find it in our local stores now. Going to try to substitute the Tallarico’s combined with Sweet Chili sauce. Stay tuned to see how they turned out.

  15. I found this ingreient in the “Boil and Bake” pork spare ribs, on the ALL-RECIPE site.

  16. I love the sambal oelek in soups – esp. udon! Good in some ramen too (ah, the diet of a poor grad student). I’ve also added it to pad kee mao (drunken noodles) recipes for a little extra kick. I’m going to add it to some left-over lentil curry and eat it topped with an egg for breakfast tomorrow. I think it will be good.
    You eat it on a sub? I’ll have to try that!

    1. Thanks for the Comment, Caitlin. I can’t believe “ramen” is still a staple in students’ diets. Wow. Guess some things never change!

      Hope you’ll be a regular reader of our !


Comments are closed.