If any of you are fans of Cooking Light magazine, you may come across a unique ingredient in the Asian dishes that they publish – “Sambal Oelek“**. What on earth is that, and where do I find it? It sounded so…exotic…that I didn’t believe I could find it anywhere up here.
Sambal Oelek is a chili paste that packs a lot of heat and flavor, and tastes along the lines of Sriracha sauce (also known as “Rooster Sauce” to many). The main difference between the two is that Sriracha also has garlic & sugar in its ingredients, whereas SO features solely chilies. Sambal Oelek is also thicker, with chili pepper seeds in it; the sauce thins out as you mix it into a hot dish that you’re in the process of cooking.
Sambal Oelek is a great addition for stir frys and Asian dishes that need some ‘heat’. I’m a huge fan of spicy food, and this really helps take many of the Asian dishes I cook to the next level, instead of just simply adding sriracha all the time. Sriracha is a great condiment, where sambal oelek is a great background tool, so to speak.
I had difficulty finding SO at first – and ended up ordering it on Amazon for way too much money. Once I stopped looking for it, I found it in many different places that I shop – it’s actually relatively inexpensive on store shelves, too. In my opinion, you shouldn’t need to pay any more than $2.25 for this product – and it should last you a while, too.
If you really enjoy making stir frys and Asian-inspired dishes, I highly recommend adding this sauce to your pantry list – especially if you are a spicy food fan like me! 🙂
** I was NOT contacted nor paid by Huy Fong Foods for this post. I simply wrote it because I had absolutely no idea what this ingredient was, and since it was included in many recipes I want to try, I decided to buy it, and tell you a bit about it – just in case you are in the same boat as I was!