How to make Sambal Cabe Ijo, or Indonesian green chilli paste.
If regular spicy sambal intimidates you, then give this Sambal Cabe Ijo (sambal ijo/sambal hijau/sambal cili hijau), or green chilli sambal sauce a go! It’s milder than regular sambal, and also packs a different heat. I want to say it’s a more ‘fresh’ zing, rather than a burn.
Quick language lesson:
- Sambal = Spicy Sauce
- Cabe = Chilli
- Ijo = Green
What Ingredients to make Sambal Cabe Ijo
The ingredients required are minimal; green chillies, shallots, garlic, pinch of sugar and salt – that’s it! In this recipe, I added a little bit more to level it to my tastes. I used Thai Green Chillies for extra heat, but it’s optional. In Indonesia, green tomatoes are also used. I didn’t include it in since green tomatoes are not that easy to find here in Singapore… and honestly I prefer my Sambal Ijo without tomatoes. An alternative would be green tomatillos.
How to make Sambal Cabe Ijo
Sambal Ijo is unique because it uses green chillies instead of the usual red! The method to make this is the same as if you used red chillies to make sambal.
Why Green Chillies? Green chillies offer up a different flavour than regular red chillies. While red chillies are a sweet, sharp spice, green chillies are milder in heat, but no doubt still full of flavour. When eaten raw, it is a fresh, mild heat.
To make Sambal Ijo, pound the ingredients in a pestle and mortar… or blitz in a food processor!
Add some oil in a pan, and add all of the green chilli paste. Continuously stir, until the chillies wilt in colour. It should turn a faded green. Sambal Ijo is ready to eat!
How to make GOOD Sambal Cabe Ijo
While simple, there are a few tips and tricks to get your Sambal Cabe Ijo to restaurant-level perfection:
1. Use LOTS of oil.
Don’t be shy with oil with this one. The oil helps to cook off the chilli, plus that resulting chilli oil is full of flavour!
2. Stir fry the green chillies until it fades in colour.
I know you think you want that bright green… but we have to cook this one off until the chillies fade in colour. This ensures that the raw chilli flavour is completely removed.
3. Use chicken powder (or MSG) to really give it that boost of flavour.
Optional, but you KNOW all the good restaurants/best street side eateries all add a dash of *something something* to their sambals.
4. That dash of lime juice at the end
Lime juice adds a slightly sweet acidity to the sambal, and balances out the flavours. Make sure to add lime juice with the heat turned off. A high heat might turn the lime juice bitter.
What to eat Sambal Cabe Ijo with?
If you’ve lurked on my blog enough, you recognise the Sambal Cabe Ijo from my Ayam Cabe Ijo recipe.
The most straightforward way of eating Sambal Cabe Ijo is as a condiment to rice! It goes amazingly well with a side of Ayam Goreng, or crispy fried chicken especially.
I recommend making a big batch of this, and storing it in the fridge. Sambal Ijo lasts long.
More Recipes Like This
Sambal Cabe Ijo | Indonesian Green Chilli SambalCourse: Recipes
5 Green Chillies
2-3 Green Thai Bird’s Eye Chillies
1-2 Green Tomatoes (optional, I did not use this)
1 clove Garlic
1/2 tsp Salt, or to taste
1 tsp Sugar
1/4 tsp Chicken Powder (optional)
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Lime Juice
- Add green chillies, bird’s eye chillies, green tomatoes, shallots, garlic in a food processor or pestle and mortar. Blitz to a rough paste.
- Add oil to a pan, and add the paste. Continuously stir fry in the oil, until the chillies soften and slightly fade in colour. This is to remove that raw chilli flavour.
- Once chillies soften, add salt, sugar, chicken powder and stir to combine. Adjust seasonings as needed.
- Turn off the heat. Stir in lime juice. Serve!