Sambal Matah: An Indonesian Condiment - Chef Cynthia Louise
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Sambal Matah: Fiery & Flavoursome Addition For Your Veggies

Sambal Matah is a Balinese dish that means “raw sambal” or “raw chili sauce”. And when I first tried it, I nearly died. It was so hot in my mouth that it burnt all the way my eyes and a river of tears flowed down my face. I immediately ran for a jug of water to put out the fact that my whole face was on fire. That was nearly the end of a beautiful love story before it even began.

After living in Bali and hanging out with a bunch of home cooks and chefs, chili slowly started finding its way into my culinary world. Over time, I absolutely fell in love with this Indonesian condiment.

Deliciousness of This Condiment Comes From The Seasoning In Your Hands

The brilliance of this little pocket of joy comes from just two elements. Element number one is real, wholefood ingredients (well that’s nothing new!). They give the recognisable fiery flavour with an aromatic scent of the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. 

All that is rounded off with tangy shallots and refreshing lime that breaks the richness of coconut oil. It’s epic!

And element number two is the seasoning in your hands. I know, right?! Imagine all the ibus (mums) across Bali who use the same ingredients from the same village each time, but they make this dish with their hands and (more importantly) with intention, love, and care for their families. This is what makes each version of sambal matah unique. 

It’s incredible! I couldn’t believe it at first and spent days sitting on the floor eating this glory and trying to solve the puzzle – how come it tastes differently even though the same ingredients are used? This is when these kind and caring people, who are magnificent cooks, by the way, taught me about the vibe of #intention. 

Now I have different people making it and I can recognise who made it based on the taste.

I want you to experience the joy of sambal matah but I have one tip: start with mild chilies, like those long, fat ones. Then build your way up to those small, fiery chilies for a proper explosion of hot flavours.

Sambal Matah

Sambal Matah Recipe!



  • 1-2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 chili, sliced (the hotter your chili is, the better, at least for me)
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 kaffir lime leaf, thinly sliced

  • 1 lemongrass stalk, thinly sliced
  • 1 cheek of a lime
  • Salt, to taste
  • A pinch of #EASEANDFLOW


Add all the ingredients to a bowl and mix with your hands.

Massage and crush the ingredients while rubbing them with your fingers.

Serve with anything you like. I always go with rice and salad.


Serves: 1-2

Prep Time: 5-7 mins

Freezer Friendly: No


Sambal matah, along with a number of other condiments, is a recipe that you can find in my new cookbook Plant-Based Love Stories. Grab your copy and treat yourself and your loved ones with a number of dishes that serve your health.

I’m so impatient to hear your Sambal matah stories! Let’s connect on my YouTube channel, and let me know how this burger patty recipe turned out for you. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

With love from my kitchen to yours,

Chef Cynthia Louise xx

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About the Author

Chef Cynthia Louise is an Internationally acclaimed MasterChef, speaker, author, restaurant consultant, teacher and television presenter in wholefood, dairy-free cooking. She also has the worlds first online cooking classes focused on dairy-free plant-based whole foods with recipes that people are raving about and changing people's health, one delicious bite at a time. Chef Cynthia loves nothing more than educating people about the simplicity and vitality of a plant-based, whole foods lifestyle. Each dish is like art on a plate and her flavour combinations nourish the soul and get everyone talking.