Sambal Matah

Jason Vito -

My experience in Bali always revolves around sea food. Bali is an island abundant in its sea delicacies and they are world class quality too!

One of my favourite is the clam. the ones that you have in Singapore are always the small puny clams used for sauteing and soups. Here in Bali, the clams are gigantic and satisfying. great for grilling over charcoal to soak up all that smoky aroma and with added spices and a touch of balinese “Sambal Matah” which translates as salsa of the southeast asian orient, this particular dish is a gem!!

Grilled Spiced Clams with “Sambal Matah”

Live Clams (blanched in salted water and lemon, discard unopened ones and half shells of the opened ones)

Sambal Matah


Coriander seed, crushed
Kenchur roots (omit if unavailable) Lemongrass
Birds eye chilli
Red chilli
Turmeric (fresh)
Shrimp paste (belacan), toasted Garlic
Black peppercorn, crushed
Oil to blend
Kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)


  • Lemongrass, chopped
  • Shallot, chopped
  • Birds eye chilly, chopped
  • Red chilli, chopped
  • Kaffir lime leaves, chopped
  • Lime zests
  • Lime juice
  • Extra virgin olive oil


  • Blanch the live clams in salted water with a few half lemons and shock in ice bath, drain and chill immediately (discard the unopened ones and the half shells off the opened ones)
  • Make the Sambal Matah by mixing all the ingredients, seasoning with salt and pepper.
  • Make the spice paste by blending the ingredients raw and cook the paste in a pot on a medium heat until some oil separates from the paste. Add some kecap manis towards the end and cook 
further stirring occasionally as you go to prevent burning, the end result should be a thick 
brown oily paste.
  • Heat the grill and reheat the clams shell side down adding the paste on top as you go, you’ll 
know its done if the paste is drying on the sides of the shell and the clams heated through.
  • Garnish with some Sambal Matah and serve!!