Most often sambal is bought pre-ground. It comes in a wide range of varieties and recipes with a sliding scale of spiciness, saltiness, fishiness, sourness and sweetness. The most common is the simplest Sambal Oelek, a blend of fresh chillies, vinegar and salt.
Sambal is eaten as a condiment alongside many dishes, but is especially popular alongside Nasi Lemak, a simple rice plate that can feature fish, curry, eggs and more. A little Sambal unifies all the flavours under one sweet, spicy hit. It’s essential!