Sambal

Sambal is a chili sauce that is a beloved condiment in several Asian countries, notably Indonesia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. It is served raw or cooked, and can be smoothly puréed or coarsely textured. Sambals are used to enliven rice dishes, noodle dishes, soups, stews, and meat, fish or egg dishes. There are hundreds of ways to make sambal; all contain ground chili peppers, but recipes may also include any combination of: tomatoes, vinegar, ginger, galangal, garlic, shallots, shrimp paste, fish sauce, tamarind, basil, fruit, and other ingredients. (If you keep kosher or cook for someone with shellfish allergies, read the label carefully for shrimp paste and/or fish sauce, which itself can be made with shrimp paste.)  Traditionally, sambals were made by grinding the chilies with a mortar and pestle. Today, there are many bottled varieties available in Asian markets, well-stocked supermarkets, and online.