Simple Sambal Chilli Paste

This is simple, really. A simple sambal paste that you will use for cooking. It’s simple (if you use the food processor), but I am a big fan of pounding the chillies in the lesung (pestle and mortar). It’s quite cathartic, and you get an amazing red paste of . I usually add more ingredients after to make it into a wonderful accompaniment/sauce. Example, fresh shredded coconut to make Sambal Kelapa (my mother’s favourite!) that makes an excellent relish.

Ingredients: (makes 1 teaspoonful of paste. Multiply for more.)

3-4 big red chillies, or 10 small Bird’s Eye Chillies (but they pack a mightttyy punch!)
1 tsp of water (only if you are pounding it in the pestle and mortar.)


  1. De-seed the chillies, and chop into small pieces. Wear gloves, wear gloves, wear gloves.
  2. In the lesung, pound the chillies, occasionally adding a pinch salt to help draw out the liquid, and water to make it easier to mash. Until smooth.
  3. If you’re using the food processor, add the chillies and a pinch of salt. Blitz until fine.
Eh voilà! Ready to use!


Here, I added some Ikan Bilis to the lesung while pounding, and I am eating it as a dip/relish with some crunchy unripe mangoes. The sour tanginess of the mango goes really well with the spicy savoury sambal!


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