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5 from 14 votes

Fermented Sambal Oelek

A fermented take on the Indonesian chili paste Sambal Oelek, from my cookbook Fermented Hot Sauce Cookbook. Packed with probiotics and a good dose of heat and flavor! Naturally vegan and gluten-free.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time0 mins
Fermentation Time7 d
Total Time7 d 10 mins
Course: Condiments
Cuisine: Fermentation, Indonesian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 14 servings
Calories: 7kcal
Author: Kristen Wood


  • 32 oz Mason Jar


  • 8 ounces fresh Thai chiles approx. 200 peppers, stemmed
  • 8 dried cayenne peppers approx. 0.1-ounce
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon non-iodized salt iodized salt hinders the fermentation process
  • 1 teaspoon non-chlorinated water home-filtered or spring water works well
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar


  • In a food processor or blender, combine the Thai chiles, cayenne peppers, garlic, salt and water. Blend until a pepper mash (paste) forms. Pack the mash into a clean jar.
  • Place a cartouche, if using (see Notes), then screw the lid on tightly and store the jar at room temperature to ferment for 1 week. Burp the jar daily by briefly removing the lid to release any gases formed.
  • Once fermentation is complete, transfer the mash into a blender or food processor along with the lime juice and vinegar. Blend until well combined.
  • Keep the sauce stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. Enjoy!


A cartouche is basically a protective layer you can add over the top of a more solid ferment to protect it and prevent bad bacteria when oxygen is present. While not necessary, it does make for a more foolproof ferment. To make a cartouche, simply cut out a circle parchment paper to fit the jar and press into the top of the pepper mash before sealing the jar.
You might also like: Fermented Pomegranate Rose Hot Sauce.
You might like: A Guide to Asian Spices.
You might like: Honey Sriracha Sauce.


Serving: 1ounce | Calories: 7kcal