I have been cooking my way through a lot of South Asian cookbooks lately, and I love the strong influence of chili and coconut flavors in all these recipes. This recipe is based off of the potato sambal casserole recipe (sambal kentang) in The Malaysian Kitchen by Christina Arokiasamy. I was immediately drawn to the photo of a luscious red sauce slathered over roasted potatoes. Honestly, who can resist a saucy potato dish?
In my version, I simplified the recipe significantly. I roasted the potatoes completely as opposed to boiling the potatoes first before popping them into the oven for 10 minutes. I also reduced the amount of oil, coconut cream, and sugar and omitted the fish sauce. Even with all of my modifications, these sambal potatoes are still bold in flavor and highly addictive.
WHAT IS SAMBAL ULEK?
In this recipe, I use sambal ulek (also spelled sambal oelek), which is a spicy chili paste made with chili peppers, vinegar, and salt. Sambal means a hot sauce or paste made from chili peppers and ulek means to grind. Put together, sambal ulek refers to a chili paste that is made from grinding chili peppers together, usually with a pestle and mortar.
SAMBAL POTATOES COOKING NOTES
You should have plenty of sambal sauce leftover from this sambal potatoes recipe. Besides using it to flavor roasted potatoes, you can also use the sauce to flavor noodle dishes, fried rice and stir fries. It is a versatile sauce!
TOOLS USED FOR RECIPE
LOOKING FOR MORE POTATO RECIPES?
- Smoked Gouda Smashed Potatoes
- Spicy Crispy Roasted Potatoes
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- Turmeric Zucchini and Potato Fritters
Coconut Sambal Potatoes
- large baking sheet
- immersion blender or food processor
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 pounds yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
- kosher salt
- 1 cup canned crushed or diced tomatoes (see note)
- 3/4 cup chopped yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/3 cup sambal oelek
- 3 tablespoons full-fat coconut milk
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar or maple syrup
- sliced scallions and Thai basil for garnish (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF (205ºC). Position an oven rack in the center position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Toss the potatoes with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Spread the potatoes over the baking sheet. Bake the potatoes for 30 minutes, then carefully stir the potatoes and bake them for another 5 to 10 minutes, until they are golden and crisp.
- While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the sambal sauce. Blend the crushed tomatoes, onions, garlic, and sambal oelek in a food processor until you get a relatively smooth red sauce. Alternatively, you can add the ingredients to a wide-mouth mason jar and blend everything with an immersion blender.
- Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the tomato sauce to the pan and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes. The sauce will sputter. Once it starts sputtering and splashing everywhere, reduce the heat to a low simmer. Add the coconut milk, brown sugar, and about a teaspoon of kosher salt and stir until the coconut milk is combined. Cook for another 5 to 7 minutes. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning to your liking, adding more salt, sugar or coconut milk.
- Once the potatoes are done roasting, pour them into a bowl. Toss the potatoes with about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the sambal sauce. Add more sauce if you like.
- Garnish the potatoes with sliced scallions and Thai basil leaves, if using. Serve immediately.