Pronunciation: [SAHM-bahl]

Popular throughout Indonesia, Malaysia and southern India, a sambal is a multipurpose condiment. Its most basic form is sambal oelek, a simple mixture of chiles, brown sugar and salt. Another popular blend is sambal bajak (or badjak), which adds candlenuts, garlic, onion, trassi, galangal, tamarind concentrate and coconut milk. Sambals have a multitude of variations, however, depending on the ingredients added, which can include coconut, meat, seafood or vegetables. Sambals are usually served as an accompaniment to rice and curried dishes, either as a condiment or as a side dish. Sambal oelek and bajak, as well as some variations, can be found in Indonesian and some Chinese markets.

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

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Off the Beaten Aisle: Sambal

Throughout Asia there are numerous condiments referred to as sambals. Most are made by grinding together chili peppers and vinegar. Read on for tips and recipes.

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