Padang green chilli sambal

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

Fire Islands: Recipes from Indonesia

Fire Islands

By Eleanor Ford

Published 2019

  • About

Not blitzed to smoothness, rather the green chillies slump down to a silky, army green relish. Despite the scary quantity of chilli seeds it is the flavour, not the heat, from the chillies that shines through. Sometimes teeny salted fish are added too.


  • 5 large green chillies
  • 1-2 green bird’s eye chillies (optional for extra heat)
  • 3 small red Asian shallots, peeled
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 large green tomato
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 3 lime leaves
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt


Chop the chillies, shallots, garlic and tomato. Simmer in a pan with a large glass of water to soften the vegetables.

Drain and transfer to a mortar. Use a pestle to smash and grind the vegetables, just to encourage their flavours out, not to create a smooth paste.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and scrape in the pounded chillies. Add the lime leaves and season with sugar and salt. Fry for a few minutes until the sauce is collapsed and fragrant. Leave to cool.