Replacement for Sambal Oelek

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Sambal Oelek is a fiery red chili paste mixed with vinegar and salt. This chili paste originated in Indonesia, but it has now spread to many other nations throughout the globe. While the paste has garnered the admiration of chefs, a sambal oelek replacement may be used in a pinch.

Several ingredients may be added to sambal oelek in addition to the chili, vinegar, and salt to make variants of this chili paste. In Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, sambal oelek is usually served as a condiment or side dish. The paste is traditionally produced using a cobek, a stone mortar, and an ulekan, a stone pestle.

This post will look into appropriate sambal oelek alternatives as well as the optimum application scenarios.

What Is Sambal Oelek?

Sambal Oelek is a traditional Indonesian chili paste prepared from chili peppers, vinegar, and salt. To improve the taste, ginger, garlic, lime juice, shrimp paste, scallion, shallot, and palm sugar are sometimes used.

This chili paste has a stinging fiery taste with a faint sweetness from the chilis. It is often thick with a viscous texture and brilliant crimson in color.

In addition to handmade sambal oelek, this chili paste is manufactured and sold in jars at Asian grocery shops. Nonetheless, both variants of this chili paste may be used in soups, noodles, and stir-fries. It’s also delicious as a dip for grilled squid, spring rolls, fried chicken, and beef strips.

Sambal Oelek Substitute

This list includes various alternatives to sambal oelek that may be used in dips, stir-fries, noodle soups, and other dishes. Regardless of whether you wish to use sambal oelek as a condiment or as the primary component, any of these replacements will work.

1. Sriracha Sauce

Huy Fong Foods, the world’s largest manufacturer of sambal oelek, also makes sriracha sauce. Apart from its characteristic sweetness, this red sauce may be used as a sambal oelek alternative in a variety of meals.

Chili peppers, garlic, sugar, salt, and distilled vinegar are used to make Sriracha sauce. This spicy sauce is thinner than sambal oelek and has a ketchup-like sweetness. It also has a Scoville Heat Unit value of 1000 to 2500, making it rather moderate.

Sriracha sauce is an excellent basis for meat marinades, but it may also be used on pizzas, fried meals, and sandwiches.

2. Jalapeno Chili Peppers

The Mexican jalapeño is a moderate chili pepper with a Scoville heat unit value of 2500 to 8000. It’s also a great sambal oelek substitute.

The spiciness of jalapeno chilis is similar to that of sambal oelek, but with an extra crunch. Mix a little garlic and onion with your jalapeño chili peppers for a delicious replacement for sambal oelek. This chili pepper may be used in soups, pizzas, salads, and almost any other sambal oelek meal.

3. Gochujang Chili Paste

Gochujang chile paste is a staple in many Korean households, since it is the major component in many of their spicy recipes. This chile paste is similar in color and consistency to sambal oelek, but it is sweeter. It has a Scoville Heat Unit value of less than 1000, indicating that it is very mild.

At stores, you’ll most certainly find a variant of this chili paste with extra savory and spicy characteristics. Any gochujang chile paste may be used in spicy marinades, stir-fries, noodles, and rice dishes. When substituting gochujang for sambal oelek, use half the amount of sambal oelek specified.

4. Thai Chili Paste

Thai chile paste originates in Thailand and is an important component of their traditional dishes. The ingredients for this paste are dried Thai chilies, garlic, oil, shallots, tamarind, sugar, shrimp powder, and fish sauce. It has a Scoville rating of 50,000 to 100,000 Scoville Heat Units.

Thai chili paste has a more powerful taste than sambal oelek due to its numerous components. Use very little of this replacement and adjust to taste since it is really spicy. This paste is ideal for stir-fries, soups, fried chicken, and other dishes.

5. Harissa Chili Paste

Harissa, which originated in Tunisia, is an important ingredient of Tunisian cuisine, with a Scoville heat unit value ranging from 1000 to 5500. This chili paste is created from serrano, red, and baklouti peppers, as well as additional seasonings like garlic and cumin.

Harissa chili paste’s varied components give it a taste akin to sambal oelek. Since it has the same red color and consistency as sambal oelek, it may be used in many sambal oelek meals. It’s also great in soups, grilled foods, stir-fry dishes, and as a marinade.

6. Chinese Chili Sauce

Chinese chili sauce is a popular way for Chinese cooks to add heat to their meals. This sauce has a Scoville Heat Unit rating of 50,000 to 75,000.

Chili peppers, cooking oil, lemongrass, and other complimentary ingredients are used to make the sauce. Because of its oiliness, it is best used as a sambal oelek alternative in fried meals. Nonetheless, because of its spiciness, it should be used sparingly.

7. Tabasco Sauce

Tabasco sauce is one of the most popular chili sauces in the world, therefore you can get it at almost every store. This red chili sauce is created with tabasco peppers and vinegar, which gives it a powerful, fiery, and sour flavor. This sauce comes in a variety of heat levels, ranging from mild to hot (up to 35,000 Scoville Heat Units).

Because of the strong vinegar flavor, don’t use too much tabasco sauce in your food. We suggest using a quarter of the amount of sambal oelek. Tabasco sauce goes well with pizza, fried rice, spaghetti, fried noodles, beef steak, and other dishes.


Sambal oelek is a chili paste that has become a favorite in many Indonesian and Asian recipes. If you can’t locate it or want a little extra heat, you may substitute it in your recipe. In any case, the appropriate sambal oelek alternative may be found above to improve your cuisine and amaze your dinner guests.


What sauce is similar to sambal?

Sriracha (a chili garlic sauce) is the most easily accessible alternative to sambal oelek, and it also has a very similar taste profile. The key taste distinctions are a touch of garlic in Sriracha (which sambal oelek lacks) and less vinegar tang.

Is sambal oelek the same as chili garlic sauce?

Chili garlic paste is similar to sambal oelek, but it contains vinegar, garlic, sugar, and other flavors. It’s similar to a chunkier, spicier form of sriracha, but with less sweetness and more heat.

Is sriracha the same as sambal oelek?

Sambal Oelek is less refined than Sriracha. Sambal is thicker and has less flavors, such as garlic. Sambal’s pure chili taste appeals to many hot sauce enthusiasts. Because of its clean taste profile, Sambal Oelek has garnered the admiration of many chefs and found its way into numerous restaurant kitchens.

What is sambal oelek made of?

What Exactly Is Sambal Oelek? Sambal Oelek (pronounced zam-bahl U-lek) is a hot Indonesian chili paste produced with just three ingredients: chili peppers, rice wine vinegar, and salt. It’s a popular chili paste in Malaysia, where it’s used as a condiment and an ingredient in a variety of meals.

Why is sambal oelek discontinued?

Huy Fong Foods Inc., the creator of one of the most popular condiments in the United States, has been forced to halt manufacturing of its signature hot sauces — Sriracha, Chili Garlic, and Sambal Oelek — owing to a shortage of chili peppers.

What is the flavor of sambal oelek?

Sambal oelek, often known as sambal, is thicker and chunkier than other spicy sauces in the United States. It generally has pepper fragments and entire pepper seeds. The vinegar taste is sharp and tangy, with a nice degree of spice. A little amount goes a big way!

Is sweet chili sauce the same as sambal oelek?

Sweet chili sauce is traditionally prepared using fresh red chiles, but I couldn’t find any at the market, so I took a shortcut. I made a sambal oelek sauce out of red chilies and vinegar. While vinegar is another key component in sweet chili sauce, employing sambal oelek is a terrific way to save time.

Is sambal oelek very spicy?

Is sambal oelek hot? The most frequent commercially available forms of sambal oelek marketed in the United States are typically modest in terms of overall heat, albeit it is somewhat hotter than sriracha.

Can I substitute sambal oelek for sriracha?

Sambal oelek is by far the greatest replacement for the thick, spicy sriracha sauce. It is quite popular in large supermarket shops and offers a comparable heat impact. It’s produced with many less components than sriracha.

Is sambal oelek the same as chili bean paste?

What exactly is Sambal Oelek Chili Bean Paste? In Indonesia, sambal oelek refers to a chile paste produced from red chiles. The dish is easy to create since it comprises of fresh red chilies, salt, spices, and vinegar.

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