Balinese lemongrass sambal

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

Fire Islands: Recipes from Indonesia

Fire Islands

By Eleanor Ford

Published 2019

  • About

A vibrant raw sambal perfumed with citrussy lemongrass. Or if you find pointy pink buds of torch ginger flowers, finely slice and use these instead for their exotic, floral piquancy. This sambal makes a good counterpoint to rich food or a natural pairing for grilled fish.


  • 3 lemongrass sticks or ½ torch ginger flower
  • 8 small red Asian shallots, peeled
  • 2-3 red bird’s eye chillies
  • 1 lime leaf, finely shredded
  • juice of ½ a kaffir lime or spritz of lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, melted


Trim the woody green parts from the lemongrass, then bruise the stalk with the heel of the knife to release the fragrance before chopping finely. Finely chop the shallots and chillies and mix the three together.

Add the lime leaf, juice and a pinch of salt and massage the ingredients together well. Given the chilli seeds, I recommend sparing your hands and using the back of a spoon or plastic gloves. Stir through the coconut oil and taste for balance of flavours - you are after bright fragrance and spice.