Sambal is a spicy pepper condiment that originated in southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Singapore. While it is traditionally made daily with a mortar and pestle, this recipe uses a food processor and is aimed at longer term storage. In temperate climates, fresh peppers from the garden are only in season a few months each year. Because hot sauces keep an amazingly long time in the fridge, it’s a good idea to process your hot peppers in the fall or early winter so that you can use them all winter long.

We spend a lot of time during the summer and early fall processing the most perishable vegetables like green beans and tomatoes. Therefore, hot peppers tend to sit in waiting for a month or two before we have time to deal with them. This recipe works best with fresh or relatively fresh peppers, but still works even if the peppers are starting to dry out and shrivel up.

Like with any hot sauce preparation, make sure the kitchen has adequate ventilation before getting started.


-1 cup of coarsely chopped cayenne peppers (use a blend of peppers if you don’t have enough of one type)

-1/2 cup of coarsely chopped garlic (a great use of hardneck garlic that might need to be used up in the early winter before it starts to dry out!)

-3 Tbsp vegetable oil

-1 tsp coarse salt

-2 Tbsp vinegar


1. Cut off the tops of the peppers 2. Finely chop the garlic3. In a skillet, heat the oil on medium heat4. Add the garlic to the oil and cook for 30 seconds5. Add the peppers6. Sprinkle salt over the mixture7. Lower heat and cook for 15 minutes8. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature9. Pulse in food processor to desired consistency10. Put mixture back in skillet, add vinegar and cook for 5 minutes11. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature12. Store in the refrigerator