A Taste of Wakatobi

Published August 25, 2015 in Amenities, RESORT

Many of the ingredients needed to make a sambal can be found at a well-stocked produce department, while less-common items such as shrimp paste, dried anchovies or candlenuts are available at Asian markets. You could whip up a batch of sambal in a food processor, but if you want to duplicate the authentic textures of a traditional sambal, it might be worth picking up a stone mortar and pestle when traveling home from Wakatobi.

“I learned to make an authentic sambal recipe at a cooking class at Wakatobi. I love to share it with friends and family because it makes for great conversation and also because it brings back the many wonderful memories of our trip to Wakatobi.”

These traditional implements can be found in markets in Bali, and Wakatobi’s concierge staff can even assist in buying and shipping a set home with you. “I learned to make an authentic sambal recipe at a cooking class at Wakatobi,” says Nicki Miller. “I use it often because it’s very unusual and delicious. I also love to share it with friends and family not only because it makes for great conversation but also because it brings back the many wonderful memories of our trip to Wakatobi.”

You will always find a selection of freshly prepared sambals in the Wakatobi restaurant. Photo by Marco Fierli

You will always find a selection of freshly prepared sambals at Wakatobi’s restaurant. Photo by Marco Fierli

Wakatobi favorites

Even among sambals of the same name, there can be significant differences in the ingredients and proportions that go into the mix. We asked Wakatobi’s chef’s to share their recipes for two of the most popular sambals served at the resort dining room, along with a shrimp dish made with a third variety of sambal. Mixing up a fresh batch of any one of these savory concoctions could bring back fond memories of that last visit to Wakatobi–or get you excited about returning.

The flavors of Wakatobi await you. Come discover the unique, enriching and relaxing experience you have dreamed of and will treasure forever -and know your culinary pleasures will be met! Contact us at office@wakatobi.com or complete a quick trip inquiry at wakatobi.com.


Sambal Ulek

Sometimes called Sambal Oelek, this popular sauce takes its name from the physical process of pounding the chillis by stone mortar and pestle. It’s one of the most popular of all sambals, and the one you are most likely to see bottled commercially for sale internationally.

4 shallots, peeled
3 bird eye chilli’s (add more for extra spice)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 red chillis, deseeded and chopped
1 small ripe tomato, cut into small cubes
1 tbsp vegetable oil or palm oil
1 tsp shrimp paste
1/2 tsp palm sugar or crystal sugar
salt to taste

Preparation: Add oil to a heated pan, then add the garlic, shallot and chilli. Sauté until cooked before adding the shrimp paste. Stir the mixture and add the tomato; cook until the tomato is tenderized. Transfer from the pan into a stone mortar and add sugar and salt to flavor before pounding the mixture.

Sambal Matah

This tasty sambal is said to have originated on Bali’s Islands of the Gods, and is also known as Lemongrass sambal. Our chefs recommend Sambal Matah as a perfect compliment for grilled chicken or fish.

5 shallots, sliced
10 lemongrass stalks (use only the white section and slice finely)
1 red chilli, sliced
3 bird eye chillis (add more for extra spice)
1 tsp shrimp paste
½ cup of vegetable oil
1 kaffir lime leave
1 tsp finely sliced kaffir lime leaves
salt to taste

Preparation: Heat the oil in the pan, add shrimp paste. Cook until fragrant and then transfer to a mixing bowl. Mix with all the other ingredients together. Simmer until fragrant, transfer to a mixing bowl. Note: While the shrimp paste is very pungent, it does add a unique depth of flavor to the sambal, so be sure to use it.

Sambal Goreng Udang

This traditional Indonesian dish highlights the flavors of a garlic and nut sambal, adding a touch of spice to complement the mild flavor of the prawns.

Ingredients for spice paste:
12 shallots, peeled
7 garlic cloves, peeled
7 pieces candlenut or cashew nut
4 bird eye chillis, add more for extra spice
6 pieces red chilli, seeded, roughly cut
3 tbsp cooking oil

Ingredients for Goreng Udang:
20 prawns, shelled
1 tbsp oyster sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp brown sugar
Fresh coriander (optional) for garnish

To make the paste: Heat the pan, add cooking oil, garlic and shallots. Follow with the rest of the ingredients. Sauté at medium heat, stirring occasionally until the vegetables begin to soften and become fragrant. Blend with a food processor. The paste is ready when the fragrance mellows, is several shades darker than the raw paste and has separated a bit from the oil.

To make Sambal Goreng Udang: Heat a pan at medium, then add the oil. Add the prawns and stir gently; mix in the paste and the oyster sauce. Season with salt, pepper and sugar to taste. Cook only until the prawns just turn pink, usually about 4-5 minutes depending on the size of the prawns. Top with fresh coriander when serving.


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