- 1 What is in Sambal Oelek That Makes It Tasty And Healthy?
- 2 Replacing Sambal Oelek In Your Kitchen
- 3 DIY Sambal Oelek Alternative: How to?
- 4 Summing Up
For the past few years, Sambal, as well Sriracha sauce have piqued the interest of many people. But why? The answer is pretty simple – the taste! Sambal Oelek is a fantastic sauce that makes any meal so much more delicious and even unique in a way. So if you manage to get your hands on a bottle of this delicious paste or sauce, you’re in luck as these babies are flying off the shelves.
But when you’re in a situation when you can’t find this sauce, don’t be discouraged! There are actually plenty of Sambal substitute options that will make your meal just as delicious and healthy – most known are Tabasco and Sriracha sauces, chili pastes and cayenne pepper flakes. And today, we’ll be excited to share with you some of these chef’s tricks on how can you replace Sambal!
What is in Sambal Oelek That Makes It Tasty And Healthy?
Popular in Indonesian and Malasyan cuisines, Sambal is chili pepper paste that makes every meal so much more delicious and spicier. While there are many varieties of it, the classical Sambal is a mix of several sorts of chilli peppers, garlic, lime or lemon juice and salt. A lot of Sambals are hand-made, and there are literally hundreds of varieties of this sauce. However, Sambal Oelek is the most popular one.
Sambal Oelek is native to Indonesia, and it’s name comes from the way it’s prepared – with the help of pestle (oelek) and mortar (ulek). This sauce is mostly made from red chillies, salt and any type of vinegar. And these are what makes this sauce taste so amazing and too spicy.
At first, the Sambal Oelek did not leave the borders of Southeast Asia, but with time it quickly became popular in many parts of the world, where many called it the hottest hot sauce in the world. But it’s not the taste alone that makes Sambal Oelek so popular, it’s also the plethora of health benefits. It’s enriched with:
- This sauce has Carotenoids, which are the source of Vitamin A. And Vitamin A is very important for the lungs, kidneys, heart and it also is healthy for our vision.
- It also has a lot of Vitamin C, which is used by our body to synthesize protein and form collagen. It has multiple benefits for the skin and fastens the process of healing. Vitamin C also boosts our immunity and helps delay cancer.
- Sambal Oelek provides Vitamin K, which makes bones a lot stronger.
This sauce is enriched with Sodium and Potassium that balance the fluid volume in blood cells.
- Potassium also contributes to a healthier nervous system. It helps in the transmission of signals to the brain and also helps in muscle contractions.
- Research also says that Capsaicin can prevent prostate and breast cancer. It also helps to reduce bad cholesterol.
- It blocks a gene that leads to the contraction of arteries, thus lowering the chances of blood flow blockage. That alone can protect you from strokes and improve your vascular system.
Some other health benefits include:
- No Additional Sugar: Sambal Oelek is a sugar-free sauce. Hence why many people opt for it, over other sauces like Sriracha. As a result, it’s lower in calories and is also fit for consumption of type 2 diabetic patients.
- No Cholesterol: This vouches for zero risks of heart attack, stroke and blockage of arteries.
Using Sambal Oelek in Cooking
Before finding Sambal Oelek chili paste substitute, you must first understand where this sauce/paste is used.
First of all – in curries, meats, stews, soups, rice, tofu, noodles, and stir-fries. You can also make a hot and spicy dip, marinades, or eggs. Craving for a super hot and spicy burger or wrap? Add it to your ketchup or mayo and relish the heavenly flavor.
If you are craving a dominant flavor of this sauce always add it to your recipe at the start. And if you try a new brand of Sambal Oelek, we advise you to start with as little as a quarter of a teaspoon.
This paste was innovated to preserve chilies for a long time. So, you can use this sauce easily as a substitute for dried or fresh chilies in all your recipes. Run out of jalapeno? Take a tablespoon of this amazing savory, and use it as an easy replacement.
Recipes to Try
Here are some mouth-watering Sambal Oelek uses:
- Hot and Grilled Spicy Chicken Breast: Add it to the Thai chili sauce used in preparing the grilled chicken breast. It will give you the most delicious smoking hot chicken!
- Spicy Tuna: Making tuna dishes might be tricky at times, but in the end it’s all worth it. And adding this chili paste shall bring out the perfect flavor of tuna apart from working as a flavor enhancer.
- Burgers/ Wraps: Want your beef patty spicy and super hot? Add a little to your sauce and your meal will be 10x times more delicious!
- Hot Chicken Wings: Craving for hot and spice? Use this paste as a condiment and serve yourself the hottest chicken wings to set your taste buds on fire.
Replacing Sambal Oelek In Your Kitchen
When you can’t find any of this sauce, you can try some Sambal Oelek replacement. For example:
One of the best Sambal Oelek alternatives is Tabasco, made of salt, vinegar, and hot peppers.
Tabasco is an Edmund McIlhenny brand from 1868, produced on Avery Island in Louisiana. However, Tabasco did not have a journey of revolution. Even on this date, the peppers are grown in Avery Island and are then exported to places including Latin America.
When ready for harvest, the peppers are handpicked and then mashed with salt twice in the barrels. These barrels are then sealed and left for as many as three years. After three years, vinegar is added to the mash. It is then stirred for a month after separating the pulp and seeds, and the final product is bottled to be sold.
So as you see, Tabasco contains a good amount of vinegar. Thus, add half the amount of Tabasco as a replacement, otherwise it will make your dish too sour and acidic.
While it comes from the same brand as Oelek, the texture of Sriracha sauce is quite different. Despite that, this garlic, vinegar and chili mix can be a great substitute for Sambal Oelek. The slight difference in flavor comes from the additional garlic and vinegar of Sriracha. Other than that, the texture of Sriracha is typical of a sauce. So, you can use this in recipes that require sauce and not paste.
Thus, you can easily use Sriracha as a Sambal substitute. To do that, start with adding half the amount as an alternative. Add more as per the flavor and what says in the recipe.
The Sambal Oelek is pretty similar in heat to the Gochujang and Harissa pastes. So the heat and consistency will make these the perfect alternative. However, the flavors hugely vary, which will impact the taste of the dish.
You can make hot and fiery stews, bread, and couscous with harissa. The main components used in Harissa are vinegar, chilies, garlic. There are also spices like caraway, coriander, cumin, and nutmeg added. And sometimes the mint is added there too.
Since you are looking for a Sambal Oelek substitute while choosing it to read the label carefully. Choose the one with the least number of extra spices. And since the Gochujang is quite sweet and fermented, it’s best not to use it solely.
Cayenne/ Red Pepper Flakes
The last resort to finding a Sambal Oelek substitute is using some chili flakes. You can add a quarter teaspoon of it to your recipe for heat. But do keep in mind that this sambal oelek alternative doesn’t provide any flavor.
Make It At Home
You always have some hot chilies at home, right? So make yourself a fresh chili paste substitute at home without running to the groceries.
Remember this sauce is made up of fiery Thai chilies. Thai chili peppers used in this recipe include over 80 different types of peppers. Red, hot, highly pungent, and little heat-bombs are also referred to as “Kashmiri Peppers”. The two primary Thai pepper varieties are “bird peppers” and “chili pepper”, also called prik khee nu and prik khee fah by the locals.
The heat range of these peppers is unbelievably high ranging from 50000 to 100000 Scoville Heat Units! This means it is 15 times hotter compared to jalapeno peppers. So never forget your rubber gloves and be very vigilant and careful! A little splash on your skin can cause intense irritation.
If you do not prefer super hot Thai peppers then go for Fresno chilies. They are a lot less hot than Thai variety. To enhance the heat to twice what Fresno offers, you can also pick Red Serrano. Red jalapeno or cayenne peppers are also a good alternative.
DIY Sambal Oelek Alternative: How to?
Here is your detailed 10 easy step-by-step guide to preparing this hot sauce at home. These measurements are for 10 servings:
- 0.5 pound of red chilies (seeded and chopped).
- Vinegar – 1 Tablespoon
- Salt – 0.5 Teaspoon
- Salt – 1 Tablespoon
P.S. Never forget your rubber gloves while chopping and seeding. Contact with skin or splash will lead to extreme skin irritation and burning.
|Step 1||Put the chilies in the food processor|
|Step 2||Add water to it|
|Step 3||Get a coarse paste prepared after pulse chopping|
|Step 4||Put this paste in a pan|
|Step 5||Stir very frequently on a medium flame for three to five minutes. Be careful of splashes|
|Step 6||Add salt to the pan|
|Step 7||Put some vinegar and stir very well|
|Step 8||Stir for ten more minutes. The stirring must be very frequent|
|Step 9||Use it directly to your recipe|
|Step 10||Take it off the pan. Give it some resting time to cool. Bottle it and put it in your refrigerator. (Refrigeration shall enhance the flavor.) Storing it in a proper air-tight container is very important|
You can also add some crushed garlic for additional flavor depending on your preference.
Now that you know what is sambal oelek substitute, you can always enjoy your meals, no matter if you have this divine sauce or not. The easiest and perfect flavourful alternative would be putting the fresh ingredients in your processor and getting yourself a homemade mix. However, you can always experiment with various Sambal Oelek substitutes, and go with the one that’s perfect for you!
So, have you tried any Sambal Oelek subs before? Which is your favorite?