Make this delicious and famous sambal matah from the island of Bali that goes perfectly with your meat or seafood dishes, or pretty much anything if you ask me.
WHAT IS SAMBAL MATAH?
Sambal matah is originated in Bali. Many people do not know about or hear of Indonesia, but they sure know Bali 🙂 sambal matah is made with all raw ingredients. Sambal is a very “loose” term here. There are so many different kinds of sambal and usually, chilis are involved when it comes to sambal.
INGREDIENTS IN SAMBAL MATAH
1. LEMONGRASS STALKS
Get fresh lemongrass stalks if possible. This is one of the star ingredients in sambal matah, so it’s important to use fresh ones. They are available in the refrigerated sections in Asian store. Most non-Asian grocery stores carry lemongrass stalks too.
If you can’t find shallots, you can always use red/purple onion. Please take note that you don’t want to use a food processor to chop the purple onion as they turn bitter after a while. I recommend chopping by hands
Use fresh garlic when you can. I won’t recommend the pre-minced garlic that comes in a jar, not for sambal matah anyway.
4. KAFFIR LIME LEAVES
The aroma of kaffir lime leaves really contributes a lot to sambal matah. They are available at Asian grocery store
5. TORCH GINGER BUDS (BUNGA KANTAN / KECOMBRANG/ BUNGA KENCONG)
Some Balinese will use torch ginger buds in sambal matah. Torch ginger buds are only available in frozen form here in the U.S. I omit this ingredient from the recipe. If you have fresh ones, definitely use it. The aroma is AMAZING.
5. THAI CHILI
This is to add some spiciness to the sambal.
6. TERASI (SHRIMP PASTE)
Terasi might be difficult for you to get. In Indonesia, terasi comes in a block and they are usually dark brown in color. My mom will usually roast it until fragrant on a pan before using. I can’t find terasi here too and I just use the Vietnamese/Thai shrimp paste, which is in paste (wet) form.
7. KAFFIR LIME
We call it jeruk purut in Indonesia. It is highly aromatic and more intense. I can’t find kaffir lime here and so I have to just use regular lime
8. COOKING OIL
Use any neutral-tasting cooking oil such as canola oil, grapeseeds oil, avocado oil, etc.
HOW TO MAKE EASY SAMBAL MATAH FROM SCRATCH
1. Peel off the outer layer of lemongrass and use only the tender white part of the lemongrass. Finely chop them. Finely chop the shallots, garlic, chili, and kaffir lime leaves too.
2. Mix all the above together with the seasonings.
3. Optional step: Preheat 3 Tbsp of cooking oil over medium heat until it’s hot. Then pour this over the sambal matah. It will sizzle. Stir to mix.
Easy as that! and you just made yourself some sambal matah!
WHAT TO SERVE WITH SAMBAL MATAH
They are typically served with meat dishes like chicken and fish, but I use it on all kinds of meat dishes and seafood too. I even eat it with my salad, dip my tortilla chips in sambal matah too 🙂 It’s really like a kind of salsa if you ask me.
DID YOU MAKE THIS EASY SAMBAL MATAH BALI RECIPE?
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Easy Sambal Matah Bali (Balinese Raw Sambal)
- 2 fresh lemongrass stalks
- 3 fresh kaffir lime leaves
- 8 shallots or use one large purple/red onion, see notes 1
- 3 cloves garlic
- ½ tsp terasi (roasted) or shrimp paste
- 3 Tbsp cooking oil see notes 2
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- Peel off the outer layer of lemongrass and use only the tender white part of the lemongrass. Finely chop them. Finely chop the shallots and garlic too. Use a kitchen shears to cut the kaffir lime leaves into little pieces, discard the middle vein on the leaves
- Mix all the above together with the seasonings
- Preheat 3 Tbsp of cooking oil over medium heat until it's hot. Then pour this over the sambal matah. It will sizzle. Stir to mix. You can skip this part and just mix the oil into the sambal matah without heating it up too. This extra step helps to kick up the flavor up a notch
- Store leftover in a fridge for maximum up to one week
- If you use purple onion, I encourage to finely chop by hand. When you use a food processor to chop them, they turn bitter after a while
- If you want to use coconut oil, please note that coconut oil solidifies and turns white at room temperature or when you keep the sambal in the fridge. So it is best to consume the same day if it is made with coconut oil unless you reheat them very briefly to melt the coconut oil again
Serve this sambal matah with Ayam Betutu Bali!! Nom Nom Nom!! or pretty much with any food you want!
Hi- how many chilis do you use in this recipe?
It’s really up to you. I just made it yesterday, and use about 10-15 chilis, you can definitely do more or less,depending on how spicy you want it
Best to use coconut oil. Wangiiiiii ♡
Hi Debbie, oh yes….the coconut oil makes it even better 🙂
I lived in Bali a for a year or so and became OBSESSED with sambal matah. Thank you for this easy, delicious recipe for me to piece together now that I’m not there anymore <3
PS for anyone dong this recipe, I love this sauce/ salsa/ sambal raw or cooked – but its super rich if you cook it in the oil for just a few minutes, then pour all the contents (oil and all) on your food or in a little sauce dish.
(pps – I didn't have a couple of the ingredients (shrimp paste, keffir lime leaves) but it was still super delicious and reminded me of the real deal) 🙂
Hi Jasmin, I’m glad you like sambal matah. It’s one of our favorite too. I like the idea of cooking it in the oil for just a few minutes too, sounds delish!