Five easy recipes to save you time!  
Nyonya Cooking
Become Member
Member Features
My Account
Registered members
Sambal Nasi Lemak

Watch Now

Sambal Nasi Lemak



Total Time
Total Time
Prep 10 M / Cook 50 M

4 Servings

Grace Teo
Grace Teo   thegraceteo
Published on January 3, 2014

  Based on 3636 ratings  Watch Now


garlic clove(s)
chilli peppers (fresh)
chilli peppers (dried)  
20 g
100 ml
125 ml
1 tbsp
coconut milk
1 tsp
tamarind paste


Sambal is a type of hot sauce or paste which serves as a condiment. It is a generic term used for a spicy condiment used countries in the Southeast Asian region. Chilli is the main ingredient in sambal.

How to eat sambal?

Sambal is so versatile that it can be served with noodles, rice or even flat bread roti canai. I especially love sambal when it is cooked with seafood or meat. Besides nasi lemak, sambal goes well with noodles such as Mee Goreng (fried noodles) or Nasi Goreng (fried rice). It can also be served with roti canai (Malaysian flat bread). Each sambal has its individuality due to different ingredients used. Like curries, sambal has many variations such as sambal belacan which is raw.

Ingredients in sambal

Usually blended or pounded with other aromatics such as ginger, garlic, onions and more, the paste will be either served raw or sautéd in hot oil until it changes into a darker shade of red. This recipe requires the use of coconut milk. Although coconut milk is not commonly used in Malaysian sambal. However, this is my preference as it makes it spectacular! Another ingredient that really makes this condiment different is the blended anchovies. It gives the dish its individuality and makes it really delectable. This is possibly the best sambal recipe you can find online and the feedback from viewers who had tried this are very positive and encouraging.

Preparing sambal in advance

I would always cook this in large amount and store in containers and kept frozen. Cooking sambal is quite a task as the heat needs to be well-controlled while balancing the amount of sweetness, sourness and saltiness that goes into the dish. Above all, cooking this requires quite a bit of oil because the chilli paste needs to be fried until it is fragrant.

How spicy is sambal?

Sambal can be very spicy or almost not spicy. It all depends on the chillies used and how it is processed. Cayanne chillies are the chillies commonly used in Malaysia. Sometimes, bird eye chillies which are much spicier are selected. Chillies can also less spicy if the membrane and seeds are removed. Read more to see how dried chillies are made to be less spicy.

How to store sambal?

Sambal can refrigerated in a clean and dry air tight container up to 5 days. Otherwise, freeze it up to 6 months. It is best to store sambal in smaller containers. When stored in bigger containers, leave it out the freezer for 10 minutes before using a fork to scoop out the desired amount. To consume, you may steam sambal for 15 minutes or more, depending on the amount.

Sambal Nasi Lemak is also known as: Malaysian SambalMalaysia Hot and Spicy Condiment



Step 1/3

Blend garlic, fresh and dried chillies and half of the anchovies.


Step 2/3

  • 10 g anchovies
  • 100 ml oil

Sauté the remaining anchovies in heated oil until crispy over medium heat. Remove anchovies from pan. Then, add the blended ingredients and stir-fry until it changes to a darker shade of red.


Step 3/3

  • 1 shallot(s)  
  • 125 ml water
  • 1 tbsp coconut milk
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • salt
  • sugar

Add sliced shallots and water. Stir well. Then, pour coconut milk and add tamarind paste to the pan. Continue cooking for about 4 minutes. Turn off the stove and add the fried anchovies. Add salt and sugar to taste. Mix well before serving.

Food Snaps