Eggplant Sambal (Sambal Terong)

Yields: 4 Servings Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 10 Mins Cook Time: 20 Mins Total Time: 30 Mins

Sambal is a spicy sauce made from chillies, spices, herbs and aromatics. It is a very popular condiment in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Sambal as we know it is said to have originated from Java. However, there are now hundreds of different varieties and recipes for sambal catering to local ingredients and tastes.

This is not the typical sambal terong. Usually, eggplant is fried with sambal and served as a side dish. Here, the eggplant melds with the spice paste and onions, creating a gooey and flavourful spicy condiment. This eggplant sambal is perfect for the destruction of white rice! In addition, the budget-friendly ingredients mean that you can stretch your meals a long way.

Check out A Basic Sambal For Everything for a basic sambal recipe. For more Southeast Asian flavour, I also recommend Eggplant in Spicy Sweet Soy Sauce.

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0/11 Ingredients
Adjust Servings
    Main Ingredients
  • For Spice Paste


0/9 Instructions
  • Slice your onions and sauté them in 2 tbsp of oil over medium-low heat in a non-stick pan.
  • While the onions are cooking, slice the eggplant into fingers. The longish shape is important for texture later, so don't cut them too stubby.
  • Add the eggplants to the onions in the pan and toss them around. The eggplants will absorb all the oil in the pan, but don't worry, they'll give it back later. Sprinkle 1 tsp of salt over the eggplants to get them to release their moisture. Cover the pan and let it cook, stirring occasionally. A bit of charring is nice for flavour, so it's not the end of the world if you forget to stir often enough.
  • While the eggplant is cooking, dice all your spices. For the lemongrass, you only want to use the white part on the inside of the stalk. When that's done, stick them all in the blender with 1 tbsp of oil and blend well. If you have a mortar and pestle and feel like pounding the shit out of something, you can use that instead.
  • Check on your eggplant, and you should see that it has started to release moisture back into the pan. Continue to cook covered, stirring periodically, until the eggplant and onions are soft and a little caramelised. Smoosh the eggplants with the back of your spatula for some harmless violence.
  • When all the moisture has cooked out of the pan, add the spice paste, and mix well into the eggplant and onions.
  • It will be quite wet at this point. Add 1 tbsp of sugar, and salt to taste. If it is not spicy enough for you, this is also the time to add more chilli. At this point, you should either sneeze or cough or cry when you inhale the cooking vapours.
  • Turn the heat to low and cook uncovered until all the moisture is gone and you are left with a glorious mush.
  • Serve eggplant sambal with whatever the hell you want.


Muscovado sugar is unrefined cane sugar that contains natural molasses. It is a beautiful rich brown color and a sticky toffee flavour. If you cannot find muscovado sugar where you are, or if it is ridiculously expensive, just substitute with whatever.