I’ve got just about the last of the ripe chilies in, and while I like’em fresh, I also want to have some for later.

Sambal is Malaysian for Sauce – Oelek indicates it is made with Chilies. I go through Sambal Oelek from the store pretty quickly, so I figured I’d make some sambal to take advantage of this harvest.

While sambal oelek is often made with the additions of lemon grass and garlic, I wanted to preserve it for use later. I couldn’t find a recipe for canned sambal oelek, so I adapted a recipe for chili relish and cut way back on the sugar and omitted the lemon grass and garlic. If you want, you can certainly make this and freeze it instead of canning it.

Here’s what I did.

Jalapeno Sambal Oelek

1.5 quarts of ripe red chilies
1 tablespoon salt
1.5 cups white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
Juice of 1 lemon


    *If canning – prepare the jars and lids while the mixture is simmering.

  1. Rinse peppers
  2. Remove stems from the peppers and chop very fine. A food processor makes quick work of them – just be sure not to liquify them
  3. Add salt and stir – allow to sit for 3-4 hours or overnight
  4. Add vinegar, lemon juice and sugar, stir and in a sauce pan over medium heat bring to a boil
  5. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring often for 30-45 minutes. (If you’re canning this is a great time to prep your jars)
  6. Ladle hot pepper mixture into 1/2 pint jars leave 1/4″ head space
  7. Process in hot water bath for 15 minutes


I waited overnight to give this a try. As usual it blows away what you buy in the market. Slightly sweet, fruity with a nice amount of heat. Add a dollop to plain white rice, try some on eggs, pizza or even a burger. This stuff is delicious! 

This recipe has become a staple in my pantry.