Sambal Bongkot (Torch Ginger Sambal) is a unique sambal and originated from Bali.   Bongkot is Balinese word for torch ginger or other Indonesians call it kecombrang, honje, rias, kincung, rias, kencong, kincuang, sambuan, asam cekala, asam patikala depend on the area.   Sambal Bongkot is one the sambal that I’m unable to make due to where I’m located right now.  As I do want to know on how to make it and share with my readers, I brought Ira of Cooking Tackle to Indonesia Eats.  It’s undoubtable that Ira knows more about Balinese cooking than me thou we actually were born and grew up in the same city.  However, she has chanced to live on the Gods island, Bali where she has gained more knowledge about Balinese cooking.  Speaking about Bali, I would love to visit it again after my last visit which was in 1996.

Ira is one of many Indonesian talented bloggers that I have been presented as guest writers of Indonesia Eats. I adore Ira’s work in photography as I call her style as Earthy.  Why Earthy? It has a combination style between rustic and traditional in which Ira has made me drooling with all her Indonesian food props.  Also, it’s because Ira uses ample of brown and earth colors to her work.    Let’s welcome Ira with her beautiful artworks, Sambal Bongkot.

Today I’m Indonesia Eats guess writer, I am Ira and I live in the exotic land called Bali-one of the dreams place on earth to visit to most people in the world.

Thank you Pepy for having me here!  It’s a great pleasure to be able to write a post/recipe and I’m glad to be one of your guess writers on Indonesia Eats.

When Pepy requested me to write a guest post, I really have no idea what to offer as recipe, until she just simply said it that she loves anything with bunga kecombrang or honje *as Balinese called for bongkot, it could be Balinese sambal bongkot said Pepy. Hmm, I said of course, that would be good idea! revealing and sharing the most alluring typical Balinese home-cooking condiment that definitely very tough to find at any warung makan (small local eating place), restaurant or even the five star restaurants in Bali.

Bongkot /kecombrang/honje/torch ginger is a young shoot or bud from Etlingera elatior and commonly used in cooking.  They are inexpensive but its an indispensable ingredient used to flavour various kind of dishes. The characteristic describes at the pungent taste and aroma, one of the best smell in the world!

To be honest, the only way to have sambal bongkot is making it by your own at home and it’s just required a little work in the kitchen.

Sambal bongkot is very down to earth yet authentic condiment to the most Balinese, especially to all Balinese home cooking. If you go to the traditional market in Bali and ask for bongkot, the seller would definitely teasing you by spot on guessed that you’re absolutely gonna make sambal bongkot lol…I bet you in this!  Well, Its eternal all of time, the type of traditional condiment that would be most wanted by all people, once you have taste it, I give you my words that you would never ever forget! Never ever forget of Bali and never ever forget of sambal bongkot!

To me, sambal bongkot is one of a kind, typical Balinese home cooking—as simple, humble yet delicious sambal that could definitely turn my world up side down!

Sambal Bongkot
Balinese Torch Ginger Sambal

10-11 shallots, finely sliced
7-8 bird eye chillies, sliced*
2 bongkot (ginger torch/honje/kecombrang), finely sliced and chopped*
1 teaspoon toasted dried shrimp paste (terasi/belachan)
6 tablespoons coconut oil/canola oil
salt to taste

Heat the oil in wok over medium fire, add in slices of shallot, and fry until it just wilted.

Add in slices of chilli, stir and quickly fry and then add-in bongkot, fry for another few seconds.

Turn off the heat, toss in toasted dried shrimp paste (terasi) and season the sambal with salt. Using a fork, mix all ingredients until well incorporated.

Dish up and serve with your favorite fish dishes or seafood dishes.

Cook note:

  • Only slice the white part of ginger torch . Slice it finely. When you feel, you slice the hard part of ginger torch remove the outer layer. Do this step until all ginger torch is sliced up.
  • You can always adjust the spiciness as your desire, use red chilli *deseeds instead of bird eye chilli or you may use store bought flakes dried chilli.
  • Sambal bongkot can be serve with fried fish, grilled fish, grilled seafood or even fried tofu and tempe>I suggest always make it fresh as bongkot will turns darker colour too quickly.


    • Did you know Myoga? A Japanese foodie that I know told me that bongkot tastes pretty close to Myoga. After I googled, I found that Myoga is still the same family as bongkot, the ginger family.

  1. Super yummy! I would love to have this over fish. My teenage boys could handle the 7-8 bird chilies easily but for me might have to tone down the heat a little bit. Do you ever put in a little cane sugar or is that not traditional to this dish? Take care, BAM

    • In Indonesian cuisine, canesugar often adds into food to substitute MSG. However it’s mostly used by the Javanese. Sometimes people also add palm sugar or coconut sugar.

  2. As a Balinese i have had sambal bongkot since i was kid. Great to see this topic on your blog, Peppy. Ira, well done!!
    I would like to share two things related to bongkot (torch ginger). First, as an alternative, try to use the flower of torch ginger instead of the shoot. It is more tasty. Secondly, one day in Lovina beach i had fish soup with bongkot in it for lunch and it tasted fantastic. A day after that unique culinary experience i went home and i made my own baracuda fish soup. I mixed balinese style fish soup ingredient (red onion, garlic, chili, ginger, turmeric, etc) with slices of torch ginger shoot. Loved it!!!

    • Thank you for visiting and leaving me a comment! In the other part of Indonesia, the flower parts are more popular and I actually got those flowers last year and kept them frozen. Then when I had a cooking class where I presented sambal edition I recreated sambal bongkot with the torch ginger flower. It was a lovely and sexy sambal for sure!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.