Sambal Kecap: Sweet Soy Sauce Sambal

Recipe for sambal kecap — an easy, spicy condiment of sweet soy sauce, chilies, and shallots. It is potent and devilishly addictive.

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Nunuk Sri Rahayu
Nunuk Sri Rahayu
Nunuk hails from Solo, the historic royal capital and cultural centre of Java, Indonesia. She has been cooking since the age of 12, and also performs and teaches traditional Javanese dance. Her dream is to eventually write her own Indonesian cookbook.

Sambal kecap is just sliced chillies, tomatoes and shallots, mixed with a few tablespoons of kecap manis (sweet soy sauce). It’s one of the simplest forms of sambals — yet potent and devilishly addictive. Delectably sweet and spicy, this sambal is an important component of grilled foods. You’ll find it with satay, ayam bakar (grilled chicken), grilled fish or seafood, and all kinds of fried dishes/snacks.

Kecap Manis

As the name indicates, kecap manis is the base for sambal kecap. Kecap manis is a thick and dark molasses-like sauce made of palm sugar and soy sauce. It’s also flavoured with aromatic spices, giving it a robust, deep, fermented flavour.

By far, kecap manis is the most popular sauce in Indonesian cuisines. Lots of signature dishes include kecap manis as one of the main ingredients, such as semur, nasi goreng, sate, and the sambal kecap.


Everyone loves sambal kecap for different reasons:

  • It’s super simple! To prepare it, one doesn’t need cooking skills or complicated utensils. All you need is a knife and cutting board. Just chop and mix!
  • It’s fast! The whole process only takes 5 minutes. An amazing solution when you’re too busy, too tired or even too lazy to cook, but you still want to add some tasty heat for your meal.
  • A super low cost condiment with a cheering effect! When all you’re holding sadly and tightly is nothing but a plate of plain rice with a sunny side up on top of it, a few drops of sambal kecap will make you jump and everything will be much happier.
  • We just simply love it! 
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Sambal Kecap: Sweet Soy Sauce Sambal

Sambal Kecap: Sweet Soy Sauce Sambal (Vegan)

  • Author: Nunuk Sri Rahayu
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Category: Sauces & Sambals
  • Method: Stirring
  • Cuisine: Indonesian
  • Diet: Vegan


Sambal kecap is an easy and delicious sauce made using sweet soy sauce, chillies, and shallots. It’s enjoyed as a condiment with steamed rice, and is also used in grilled and fried dishes.


  • 3 green chilies, small, sliced
  • 2 red chilies, small, sliced
  • 3 shallots, peeled, thinly sliced
  • Half a firm red tomato, deseeded, sliced into small cubes
  • 5 tbsp sweet soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp lime juice (optional)


  1. In a small serving bowl, put together all ingredients.
  2. Gently stir until all is coated in sweet soy sauce.
  3. Serve immediately.

    Sambal kecap is ready


  • Compared to onions, shallots have a milder flavour. They’re preferable when available, but can be substituted with onion.
  • Lime juice will add tartness. It’s definitely optional.
  • If preferred, a tablespoon of water can be added to dilute the sweet soy sauce.

Keywords: Quick and easy, spicy, common ingredients

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