Sambal Potatoes

These sambal potatoes have it all—richness, spice and tangy flavor. Roasted potatoes are tossed in a delicious, mouth-watering sauce made of sambal oelek, tomatoes and spices. Enjoy the sambal potatoes with a side of rice!

Sambal Potatoes - an easy vegan side dish that is filled with Southeast Asian spices. It's spicy, tangy and so addictive!

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 (or any potato dish for that matter)?

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, this sambal potato dish is still bold in flavor and highly addictive.

WHAT IS SAMBAL OELEK?

In this recipe, I use sambal oelek (sometimes spelled sambal ulek), 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 oelek means to grind. Put together, sambal oelek refers to a chili paste that is made from grinding chili peppers together, usually with a pestle and mortar.

COOKING NOTES FOR THE SAMBAL POTATOES

  • You should have plenty of sambal sauce leftover from the 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!

Sambal Potatoes - an easy vegan side dish that is filled with Southeast Asian spices. It's spicy, tangy and so addictive!

TOOLS & INGREDIENTS USED

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Sambal Potatoes - an easy vegan side dish that is filled with Southeast Asian spices. It's spicy, tangy and so addictive!

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Sambal Potatoes

Sambal Potatoes - an easy vegan side dish that is filled with Southeast Asian spices. It's spicy, tangy and so addictive!

Sambal oelek is widely available in Asian supermarkets. I’ve even found it in my local Safeway and Raley’s. 

I like roasting the potatoes undisturbed for 30 minutes because it allows the side of the potatoes that is touching the baking sheet to get golden and crisp. 

  • Author: Lisa Lin
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 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*
  • 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)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Position an oven rack in the center position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Garnish the potatoes with sliced scallions and Thai basil leaves, if using. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • *I used the fire-roasted tomatoes, but any kind of canned tomatoes work.

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