Sambal Terasi Bilimbi

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Growing up in the country where sambal is in every corner of food stalls or restaurants, I enjoy making my own sambal since moving to Canada.  Every household has a different style of sambal terasi and my family used to enhance with bilimbi as we grew a bilimbi tree on the backyard.  Sambal terasi belimbing sayur/wuluh (sambal terasi with bilimbi) was one of my fave sambals.

In my parents’ house, sambal was served daily on the dining table, breakfast, lunch and dinner.  At that time, sambal terasi was usually making fresh before lunch by my family’s helper.  Yes! Sambal terasi rule! It has to be there for daily condiment.  We enjoy it with fresh raw or blanched vegetables (lalapan) and grilled or fried fish/chicken/duck/tofu/tempe.  I also love adding it into my soup.

Note: If there are many Filipino immigrants in your city, a chance to get bilimbi at Asian market is greater. They call this small fruit as “kamias”.

Sambal Terasi with Bilimbi
– Sambal Terasi Belimbing Sayur/Wuluh


  • 150 g long red cayenne peppers (Indonesian: cabai merah keriting)
  • 5 -10 bird eyes chilies (more or less depend how spicy you want)
  • 6 bilimbis, sliced – since I used the frozen ones, I put more bilimbis
  • 2 1/2  tbsp terasi (dried shrimp paste)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
  • seasalt as desired
  • sugar if you like, but I don’t add any

Methods:I usually roast/toast everything except bilimbi, salt and sugar.  The reason why I do that, I make a big batch; so I tripled or more the recipe, keep it in a jar and store the jar in the fridge.

Slice the chilies before roasting.  In a baking pan, place sliced chilies and terasi.  Drizzle coconut oil over and roast in oven at 350F about 5 minutes or so.

After the roasting process, pound or crush or grind the chilies and terasi.  The best way to make sambal is using a pestle and mortar.  Add bilimbi, salt and sugar. Pound again until mix. Some people like to add a small amount of coconut/palm sugar or sugar.

Ready to serve. Selamat Makan (Bon appétit)!

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About the Author

An Indonesian-born who lived in Winnipeg Edmonton, Canada for more than a decade prior to move to Edmonton in 2017. Indonesia Eats is a memoir of her homeland.