Sambal Skewers

It was a Friday night and a group of friends were coming over for a potluck gamenight! I wanted to make something unique for dinner that none of us had ate before. I love going through different Pinterests and Yummly photos, which is where I came across an Indonesian dish that was noted or called Sambal. It looked so delicious, I had to make that! I LOVE spice, so do my friends! This dish was definitely not lacking any spice!

Sambal (Oelek) is a chili paste that packs a lot of heat, like the more-than-famous Sriracha Sauce aka Rooster Sauce that everyone loves! It’s mainly used in Indonesian dishes, but there are versions of this hot chili sauce, that varies from country to country. The main difference between the two sauces is that Sambal Oelek has only chilis, with their seeds, and is thick. Where as Sriracha has garlic and sugar in the ingredients and is more of a saucy consistency. Native Indonesians say that homemade Sambal Oelek is much better and tastier than the bottled version (of course, which food tastes better than freshly made food)!

As far as the dish I chose to make, I based it according to one of my best friend’s husband liking. His love for red meat is mystifying, especially because he is so skinny! Anyways, I decided to make Sambal Skewers with beef and not chicken. It was a hit! The spice was just enough.

Sambal Skewers

Servings: 5 Servings

Total Time: 20 minutes (10 Hours – for marinating)


1 1/2 lbs. Beef (raw, cut into 1 inch pieces)

2 tsp. Ginger (peeled, grated)

1/4 cup Fish Sauce

1/3 + 2 tsp. Sambal Oelek Sauce or Hot Chili paste

1/2 cup light brown sugar (packed)

1/2 cup Sherry Wine Vinegar or Red Wine Vinegar (If using chicken, use Rice Vinegar or White Wine Vinegar)

2 Tbsp. Chili Powder (optional, as needed)



Whisk the sugar, vinegar, sambal oelek, fish sauce, ginger, and chili powder (if needed) together in a large bowl.

Add the beef to the bowl and cover each piece evenly.

I decided to let the beef marinade in the mixture for about 9 hours (left in the morning for work and came back to cook it). If you don’t feel like marinating or think there is no need, then toss about 5 pieces, however many will fit, onto your skewer. Prepare the grill to medium-high heat. I live in an apartment where the kitchen is small and we are not allowed to grill on our balcony, so I used my George Foreman Grill.

If you like to pan-sear your meat before grilling you may do so also, but using the grill, I was set. I grilled each skewer for 8-10 minutes.

Remove and Serve!