Sambal Ulek is an Indonesian savoury paste.
One of the most common of Indonesian Sambals, it is relatively mild as Sambals go.
It is made from fresh hot red chiles (chopped, but seeds left in them), ground to a paste. Other ingredients can include garlic, salt, shallots and / or tamarind.
A very simple version is just 10 birds eye chiles, ground up, plus 1 teaspoon of salt.
You can buy it already made.
Literature & Lore
“Out of Java the sambals, oelik an oelik trassie, 60 and 65 cents respectively for the 4 ½-ounce bottles, offere by C. Henderson, 52 East 55th Street. These hot sauces are of many kinds but chief bigwig is oelik, without which no rijsttafel is ever complete. The Dutch are the folks on the lookout for sambals, which they use in preparing the Javanese dishes.” — Paddleford, Clementine (1898 – 1967). Food Flashes Column. Gourmet Magazine. October 1947.
“Olek” means “hot peppers.” The Dutch word “Oelek” became “Ulek” in Indonesian.