Sambal Bajak, A Signature Hot Sauce From Nusantara, Is A Must-Try At Home!


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Sambal Bajak is one of the famous hot sauce varieties from Nusantara known for its fiery taste. Unlike other sambals, Sambal Bajak has a unique taste profile with a rich blend of various spices. It's typically served as a condiment with rice, vegetables, or other main dishes.

Despite its spicy kick, Sambal Bajak is quite popular among Indonesians and even in neighboring countries such as Malaysia and Singapore. You can find different variations of Sambal Bajak across Indonesia, each with its own unique blend of ingredients and cooking techniques.

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If you're a spice enthusiast, Sambal Bajak is a must-try at home. Not only is it easy to make, but you can also adjust the level of spiciness to your liking. In this article, we'll share a simple and practical recipe for making delicious and flavorful Sambal Bajak at home. Keep reading to discover how to make this popular Indonesian condiment that's sure to tantalize your taste buds!

Table of Contents:

1. What is Sambal Bajak and What Makes it Different from Other Sambals?

2. What are the Ingredients Used in Making Sambal Bajak?

3. How Do You Make Sambal Bajak?

4. Tips for Making the Best Sambal Bajak

5. Why is Sambal Bajak So Popular in Indonesia and Neighboring Countries?

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What is Sambal Bajak and What Makes it Different from Other Sambals?

Sambal Bajak is a type of Indonesian chili paste that is well-known for its fiery and bold flavor. What sets this chili paste apart from others is the unique combination of various flavorful spices, such as garlic, candle nuts, shrimp paste, red chili peppers, ginger, and more. Unlike other chili pastes, Sambal Bajak offers a complex taste that is not only spicy but also bursting with flavor.

The distinct blend of spices used in Sambal Bajak provides a more complete and satisfying taste. Additionally, this chili paste is typically made by blending or grinding the ingredients, resulting in a smoother texture compared to other chili pastes that are sliced or pounded. Sambal Bajak also has various regional variations that differ in taste.

For example, Sambal Bajak from Padang has a saltier and sweeter taste compared to the spicier Sambal Bajak from Java. Due to its pungent spiciness and distinctive aroma, Sambal Bajak is a popular condiment for Indonesian dishes like fried rice, satay, ketoprak, and more. However, this chili paste can also be enjoyed with other types of food, depending on one's preference.

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What are the Ingredients Used in Making Sambal Bajak?

Here are some common ingredients and measurements used in making sambal bajak:

  • Large red chili (curly red chili can also be used) - 200 grams
  • Garlic - 6-8 cloves
  • Shallots - 10-12 bulbs
  • Roasted shrimp paste - 1 tablespoon
  • Brown sugar - 1 tablespoon
  • Salt - 1 teaspoon
  • Lime juice - 1 tablespoon
  • Cooking oil - 2-3 tablespoons

How Do You Make Sambal Bajak?

Steps to make sambal bajak:

  • Heat cooking oil in a pan, then sauté garlic and shallots until fragrant and cooked.
  • Add red chili and sauté until wilted.
  • Add shrimp paste, brown sugar, and salt, stir until the shrimp paste is cooked and the seasoning is evenly mixed.
  • Remove from heat and let it cool.
  • After cooling, blend or grind the sambal bajak until smooth, then add lime juice and stir well.

Sambal bajak is ready to be served and can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for several days. The measurement can be adjusted to taste, depending on the desired level of spiciness and concentration.

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Tips for Making the Best Sambal Bajak

Here are some things to keep in mind when making sambal bajak to ensure maximum flavor:

1. Choosing the right chili

Red chili is the main ingredient in sambal bajak, so it's important to choose fresh and high-quality chili. Choose fresh red chili with smooth skin and not wrinkled.

2. Frying the ingredients correctly

Garlic, shallots, and red chili need to be fried until cooked and wilted, without blackening too much. This will help eliminate the bitter taste of the ingredients and give a more delicious aroma to the sambal bajak.

3. Blending the sambal well

Sambal bajak should be blended well using a blender or grinder, so that it feels smooth and soft in the mouth. Make sure the blended ingredients are smooth enough to avoid any rough texture in the sambal.

4. Adding sugar and salt in moderation

Brown sugar and salt need to be added in moderation to balance the flavor of the sambal bajak. Too much or too little sugar or salt can affect the taste of the sambal bajak.

5. Adding good quality shrimp paste

The shrimp paste used in sambal bajak needs to be of good quality, not smelly, and not too strong in flavor. If too much shrimp paste is used, it will give an unpleasant taste to the sambal bajak.

By paying attention to the above things, the resulting sambal bajak will have maximum flavor and be appetizing.


Why is Sambal Bajak So Popular in Indonesia and Neighboring Countries?

Sambal bajak is one of the popular foods in Indonesia and neighboring countries due to its rich, spicy, and delicious taste. Some factors that make sambal bajak so popular among the people are:

1. Variety of flavors

Sambal bajak has a rich and diverse taste, as it consists of various seasoning ingredients used in its making such as chili, garlic, shallot, shrimp paste, brown sugar, and salt. In addition, sambal bajak can also be adjusted to individual preferences by adjusting the seasoning and spiciness level.

2. Availability of ingredients

The raw materials used in making sambal bajak, such as red chili, garlic, and shallot, are readily available and relatively inexpensive in traditional markets as well as supermarkets. This makes it easier for people to make sambal bajak at home.

3. Suitable for various types of food

Sambal bajak can be served with various types of food, from white rice, side dishes, to snacks such as chips or crackers. This makes sambal bajak a flexible choice to enjoy on various occasions and times.

4. Culinary culture

Indonesia and neighboring countries have a rich culinary culture, and sambal bajak is one of the many signature dishes that is part of that culinary identity. This makes sambal bajak not only a dish, but also a part of the cultural heritage that is highly esteemed and preserved.

The combination of the above factors makes sambal bajak a popular and much-loved dish in Indonesia and neighboring countries, and is even starting to be recognized on the international stage.


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