Sambal is a hot sauce that is popular in many Southeast Asian countries, especially Malaysia and Indonesia. Its earthiness and spiciness might tingle your taste buds. Its main ingredients that comprise of chili peppers, lime juice, shallots, salt, sugar, and salt are easily found in this region. Other elements, such as belacan (shrimp paste), may be added to twist it.
The traditional method of making the sambal starter paste is by using a mortar and pestle. It is labor-intensive, but the advocates of this method believe that the slower grinding releases the essential oils of the spices better. However, the modern approach of making this is by using a blender.
How to use sambal?
Sambal is an all-purpose condiment. It may be added to other dishes such as noodles, soups, stews, meat, and rice. Sambal is often used to add flavor and spices to marinades, dips, sauces, and spreads.
What are its health benefits?
Chili pepper, which is the main ingredient of sambal, is said to be among the healthiest food on the planet. Carol Turner, who is a nutrition specialist, mentioned that chili peppers offer endless benefits. Also, chili peppers contain capsaicin, a colorless plant compound that gives hot peppers their heat and is used for its analgesic properties. Capsaicin is potent that it’s often used in pain-relieving topical creams.
1. Antioxidants and Nutrition
Chili peppers pack a healthy punch. It is very rich in nutrients such as vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, enabling it to destroy free radicals that enter and damage cells. It is known to promote healthy skin, teeth, and bones and even prevent scurvy. Vitamin C is linked to fast metabolism, the development of connective tissues, biosynthesis of neurotransmitters, immune function, healing wounds, and iron absorption. Hot chili pepper does not relent. It also contains carotenoids (vitamin A), flavonoids, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. All these nutrients confer health benefits such as anti-aging, anti-inflammatory properties, lower blood pressure, and DNA protection.
2. Diabetes Prevention
A study published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” found that participants who consumed a meal with capsaicin had more normalized insulin levels as compared to those who had lunch without it. This was incredibly true for overweight participants. Through this study, it was found that frequent consumption of meals containing capsaicin might be useful in preventing increased insulin levels or meal-induced hyperinsulinemia, which can lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
3. Weight Management
Consuming sambal can boost your metabolism for hours after you eat it. An article in the “Lost Angeles Times” in June 2007 noted that hot sauce could help weight management and also prevents obesity. Spicy food is also believed to be able to help curb your appetite because setting your mouth of fire has a prohibitive effect on consumption. This encouraged scientists to study its effects further. UCLA researches conducted a 34-person study and found that the participants burned more energy when a form of capsaicin was added to the participants’ low-calorie liquid diets.
It also promotes the body to use more fat as fuel. A separate study, which conducted on animals was published in the “European Journal of Nutrition.” Through this study, it was found that eating a meal with hot sauce reduces the levels of ghrelin (a hormone that stimulates hunger). Also, it raises GLP-1 (an appetite-suppressing hormone) levels. Thus, you might be able to take in fewer calories and better manage your weight by consuming food with hot sauce.
1. Food containing capsaicin can decrease your ability to taste other flavors.
2. Getting capsaicin on your skin and rubbing it in your eyes might cause you to feel an extreme burning sensation resulting in discomfort.
3. Hot peppers may upset your stomach more than other foods.
4. Certain sambal might contain vinegar, which is acidifying. Consuming too much acidic food over time can cause a condition called acidosis, which can be dangerous if untreated.
5. Sambal also contains salt. Thus, you should not consume sambal in excess. According to the American Heart Association, your sodium intake should be less than 1 500 mg daily to reduce your risk of high blood pressure and heart diseases.