Appears in
Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

sambal the Indonesian/Malaysian word for a wide range of side dishes and condiments, mostly hot and spicy. Some are uncooked, others are cooked.

The term can mean, specifically, a hot chilli condiment or sauce. Or it can mean (as in the phrase sambal goreng, fried sambal) the mixture of chillies and other spices fried together as the basis of a highly spiced savoury dish. In the broadest sense it can indicate any side dish (of meat, fish or vegetables) to accompany rice.

Finally, it sometimes refers to a main dish, for example sambal goreng cumi-cumi, which is squid in a sauce of the fried sambal referred to above.