Vegan Sambal Sauce Recipe

Vegan Sambal Sauce - Farahs Vegan Foods

Servings: 15

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 1 Hour

What is Vegan Sambal Sauce?

Sambal is a popular condiment in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore. You can easily make it with blended fresh or dried chillies as the main ingredient. Other ingredients, such as onions, garlic, ginger, and tomatoes, are also widely available. 

I have been making sambal sauce for years because it is simply my favourite dip with rice or noodles. Making sambal sauce is so easy. Just follow the step-by-step process that I am about to share with you.

You may find sambal in jars at your local Asian stores, but I find that making sambal at home is the best. Nothing beats homemade sambal with fresh and high-quality ingredients without preservatives. You can also tailor the taste of the sambal sauce to your liking. 

This recipe yields about 15 servings, so get some small food containers ready to freeze it in, as we did when we made my Vegan Satay Sauce. It lasts for months in the freezer. You can defrost it when you want to eat it for another day.

I hope you enjoy my recipe and happy cooking!

Ingredients (for about 15 portions)

  • 10 fresh chilies
  • 8 medium-sized tomatoes (alternatives: cherry tomatoes)
  • 2 red onions
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 2 inches ginger
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste (Alternatives: 2 tbsp lemon or lime juice)
  • 1 cup cooking oil
  • 4 tbsp palm sugar (alternatives: brown or muscovado sugar)
  • salt to taste
  • 3 green chillies (optional)
vegan sambal sauce ingredients - Farah's Vegan Foods - raw ingredients ready to be cooked

Steps to Make it

Shallow Fry the Ingredients

  • First, roughly chop fresh chillies, tomatoes, red onions, yellow onions, garlic, ginger, and green chillies. 
  • Heat the cooking oil in a pan.
  • Once it is hot, put all the roughly chopped ingredients and shallow fry it for 5 minutes on medium heat or until they are soft.
vegan sambal sauce shallow fry - Farah's Foods
vegan sambal sauce blend paste - Farah's Foods

Blend the Ingredients

  • Take the ingredients out of the pan and let them cool. 
  • Add the ingredients and some oil to the blender or food processor.

Cook the Paste

  • Now let’s do the final cooking. In a pot, add 1 cup of oil (drained from the shallow fry). I know it seems like a lot, but you need to use a generous amount of oil to properly cook the spices and chilli. You can easily scoop the excess oil out later on. 
  • Cook the blended paste on medium heat and stir occasionally to prevent burning.
vegan sambal sauce cook paste - Farah's Foods
vegan sambal sauce tamarind paste - Farah's Foods

Add Tamarind Paste

Add tamarind paste to the pan. Feel free to adjust the sourness to your liking!

Add Palm Sugar and Salt

Finally, add palm sugar and salt to taste. Again, adjust the sweetness and saltiness to your liking!

vegan sambal sauce palm sugar - Farah's Foods
vegan sambal sauce oil seperated - Farah's Foods

Cook Until the Oil Starts to Separate

Cook it until the oil separates and forms a layer on top. Malaysians call this ‘pecah minyak’. This is how you know when the blended spices are cooked thoroughly. This usually takes about 15 to 20  minutes on medium heat.

Cook Until The Paste Turns Darker

Cook it on medium heat and continue to stir it occasionally until the paste turns darker in colour. That’s how you know the sambal sauce is ready.

vegan sambal sauce turns darker - Farah's Foods


Vegan sambal sauce boxed Farah's Foods
Our Vegan Sambal Sauce Boxed and Ready to Enjoy


  • You can adjust the level of heat to your liking by adding more onions and using fewer fresh chillies.
  • Pro tip from my aunt, blend the paste with oil instead of water. This will shorten the cooking time by at least half!
  • I like to scoop the oil out of the sauce when it is done to keep it in a small container and use it in stir fries. 
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