Sambal Brussels Sprouts: Stir-fried sprouts with spicy and sour chilli sambal sauce. I like to add crunchy bacon and loads of fresh herbs to my version!
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Sambal Sprouts

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Malaysia Kitchen for the World. All opinions are 100% mine.

When it comes to Asian sauces, I’ve been in a bit of a rut lately. A delicious rut, but a rut. I tend to use the same things to flavor my dishes and they include: sriracha, chili garlic sauce, fish sauce, and soy sauce. Plus, I’ll toss in oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, or plum sauce occasionally.

I’m always hesitant to add a new sauce to my fridge because, well, that’s one more sauce that will sit in my fridge. But, I think chilli sambal sauce earned a spot.

If you’ve never had sambal before, it’s a Malaysian chili spice that packs a punch. It’s like some mad scientist cross between chili garlic sauce and fish sauce, but then spiked with some fresh citrus.

In other words, it’s way good and goes well with big, sturdy flavors like this stir-fry!

Serves 4.
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...


Spicy Sambal Sprouts

Stir-fried spicy brussels sprouts with chili sambal sauce, crunchy bacon, and loads of fresh herbs.


3 pounds brussels sprouts halved
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
6 ounces bacon, chopped
6 scallions, chopped (garnish)
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped (garnish)
White rice, for serving

Sambal Sauce:

1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1-2 tablespoons hot chilli sambal sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Pinch of sugar

Helpful Equipment

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1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Half Brussels sprouts and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread out sprouts on a baking sheet. Roast until browned and crispy in spots, 15-20 minutes.

2) Meanwhile, cook rice and prepare sauce by mincing garlic and ginger and whisking everything together. Start with 1 tablespoon of sambal sauce and taste. Feel free to add more to your liking.

3) Add chopped bacon to a large wok over medium low heat and cook slowly to render out fat until bacon is crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove crispy bacon bits.

4) Pour off all the bacon grease left, but leave 2-3 tablespoons in the wok.

5) Turn heat up to medium high and add roasted sprouts to wok with sambal sauce. Toss to combine and stir fry for 2-3 minutes.

Serve sprouts with fresh chopped herbs over rice, sprinkled with crunchy bacon and extra sambal sauce on the side.

Spicy Brussels Sprouts Prep

While you could stir-fry your sprouts right away, I like to roast mine first before stir-frying them. Since I like to stir-fry really hot (as one should), I like to make sure they are mostly cooked through and then I just crisp them up in the stir-fry.

Roasting spicy brussels sprouts.

Ready to roast.

So I just tossed my halved sprouts with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread them out on a baking sheet.

Fifteen minutes at 350 degrees and they are looking good.

Roasted sprouts.

Good just like this!

The Sauce

Anytime there is a big ass chili (or chilli I guess) pepper on the label of something, take it as a warning. It packs a punch.

Chilli sambal.


I feel like I’ve probably had this sauce before and didn’t know it, but I tried some straight to get a good taste. It has an intense, clean chili flavor, but is also slightly sour (like fish sauce). It has fermented shrimp paste in it along with lime juice, garlic, and powerful stuff.

It will knock your taste buds off… in a good way.

Spoon of sambal.

Spoon full of delicious.

To be honest, you could just toss this in the stir-fry as is and be in good shape, but I wanted to make a more complex sauce using the sambal so I combined it with some soy sauce, water, cornstarch, ginger, garlic, and sesame oil.

The finished mixed sauce had this crazy color. It just looked spicy and wonderful.

Spicy Sauce done.

That color…

Cooking the Stir Fry

Bacon and sprouts go hand in hand so I knew I wanted to use some in this stir fry. I just rendered a few strips down in my wok over low heat. No oil needed.

Bacon cooking.


After 10 minutes or so, the fat will be rendered out and you’ll have crispy little bacon bits. You can toss those on top later as a garnish.

bacon cooked.

Crispy bits.

You’ll have more bacon fat in the pan then you need so pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of fat. Then turn your heat up to medium high heat and toss in your roasted sprouts and sambal sauce!

Sprouts cooking.

All together now.

Since the sprouts are cooked already, you are really just trying to cook the garlic and ginger in the sauce a bit and crisp up the sprouts. A few minutes of cooking is all you should need.

It’ll make your whole neighborhood smell amazing.

Sprouts done.

A quick toss.

To freshen up the dish a bit, I serve it with loads of fresh cilantro and scallions. Don’t forget to sprinkle those bacon bits on top also!

If you’ve ever used sambal before, leave a comment! I want more sambal ideas!

If you haven’t used it before and like spicy food, hunt it out!

Sambal Brussels Sprouts: Stir-fried sprouts with spicy and sour chilli sambal sauce. I like to add crunchy bacon and loads of fresh herbs to my version!


This post is sponsored by Malaysia Kitchen for the World. Check out Malaysia Kitchen on Facebook for great recipes and follow @MKPUSA on Twitter and @MalaysiaKitchenUSA on Instagram!

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6 comments on “Sambal Sprouts

  1. Hey Nick! I tend to rotate between sambal, sriracha, chilli garlic, and sweet chilli (e.g. mae ploy brand) for any time I’m doing an asian dish, so I’d say that anywhere you find yourself using sriracha you could probably sub in sambal.

    That being said, sambal is indespensible in making a good spicy peanut sauce for dipping (sambal, lime juice, water, maybe some fish sauce, maybe some mirin, soy sauce, peanut butter, give or take a few ingredients). I make it for spring rolls or on top of lettuce wraps and then usually end up dunking all sorts of goofy things in there — potstickers, chicken, tofu, carrots, celery, etc.

    It’s also good as part of a marinade for pork loin or to mix in with ground pork for a stir fry. Sauces for pork tend to be a little bit sweeter, but I think the savory-sour of sambal brings it to a whole different level.

    1. Thanks for the comments and suggestions Zach! I can see how it would be great in peanut sauce. Now I just need a reason to make some which shouldn’t be too hard!

  2. This looks like “East meets West” kind of dish. Sprouts with bacon are addictive but after awhile get a little boring, I will try them with sambal. Also like Zach’s suggestion to use sambal in peanut sauce, thanks for the idea!

  3. Hi Nick, roasting the sprouts is a wonderful idea n looks great too. Will try this out def.
    Sambal goes great with fish, prawns, squids, chicken, pork – but you need to boil up the sambal with some tamarind juice before adding in the meat. You won’t regret.

  4. This looks awesome. BTW tamarind comes in a paste that lasts forever. There are 2 types, tart (cooking) and sweet. If you can find the sweet pods at the farmers’ market, buy them, they are delicious.

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