Sambal Oelak (hot chile and lime condiment)

Dave DeWitt Recipes Leave a Comment

This basic, hot sambal, which has been called the “mother” of all sambals, is also spelled olek or ulek. Since “olek” means hot peppers, I’ll go with that spelling. This sambal goes well with meats and poultry as well as being a perfect condiment to just add heat to your meal. It can also be used as a base for creating other sambals or as a substitute for fresh chile peppers in recipes.


  • 1 cup dried red chiles, such as piquins or cayennes, stems removed

  • 6 cloves garlic

  • 3 tablespoons lime juice, fresh preferred

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, peanut preferred


Place the chiles in a bowl, cover them with hot water and let them sit for 15 minutes until softened. Remove the chiles, drain and discard the water.

Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Thin the sambal with more lime juice if desired.