By Marcus Samuelsson | January 3, 2011

Photo: avlxyz

Perhaps this New Year, you’re looking to break away from ketchup and mustard and to expand your repertoire of kitchen condiments.  Sambal Oelek is one of my favorite ingredients. This sweet, spicy Indonesian condiment balances salty and sweet in a fantastic way.  I use it to spike this noodle-based dish that takes it’s cue from the ubiquitous ramen, but this is much tastier than your average cup-o-noodles, it’s fresh, tasty, and packs a punch from the Sambal Oelek.  You can dress it up by substituting soba noodles and tossing in some grilled shrimp.

Noodles with Sambal Oelek Recipe

Servings: 4-6


  • One 10-ounce package instant ramen noodles
  • 1 tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kernels cut from 2 ears fresh corn, or 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
  • 2 baby bok choy, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 4 scallions, white and light green parts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced
  • Sambal Oelek (recipe follows)
Sambal Oelek
  • 2 Jamaican chilies, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
  • 4 jalapeño chilies, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp light brown sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled


Sambal Oelek Recipe

1. Toss the Jamaican chilies and jalapeños with the salt and brown sugar in a small bowl and let sit for 4 hours.

2. Heat a saute pan over high heat. Add the chile mixture and saute for 4 minutes. Transfer to a small food processor, add the garlic, and puree until smooth.

Can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

For Noodles:
1. Bring 6 cups water to a boil in a large pot. Add the noodles and cook until al dente, about 3 minutes. Strain and reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

2. Heat the peanut oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, corn, and jalapeño and saute until the garlic is golden, about 4 minutes. Add the bok choy and scallions and saute for another 2 minutes. Add the cooked noodles, soy sauce, and the reserved cooking liquid. Toss well.

3. Transfer the noodles to a large bowl. Top with the iceberg lettuce and the sambal oelek and serve.

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