Sambel Pecel Lele: A Spicy and Delicious Indonesian Dish

Indonesia is a country known for its rich and diverse culinary heritage. Among the many dishes that have captured the hearts and taste buds of locals and tourists alike is the Sambel Pecel Lele.

What is Sambel Pecel Lele?

Sambel Pecel Lele is a traditional Indonesian dish made from fried catfish (lele) and sambal pecel. Sambal pecel is a spicy sauce made from a blend of chili peppers, shallots, garlic, and peanuts.

The dish is typically served with rice, vegetables, and additional sambal pecel on the side for those who prefer their food extra spicy.

The History of Sambel Pecel Lele

The origins of Sambel Pecel Lele can be traced back to the Central Java region of Indonesia. The dish was initially created as a cheap and filling meal for farmers and laborers during the rice planting and harvesting seasons.

Over time, Sambel Pecel Lele became a popular street food and was eventually adopted into the culinary mainstream throughout the country.

The Ingredients of Sambel Pecel Lele

The key ingredients in Sambel Pecel Lele are:

  • Catfish (lele)
  • Chili peppers
  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Peanuts
  • Lime juice
  • Palm sugar
  • Kaffir lime leaves
  • Bay leaves
  • Salt
  • Oil for frying

The combination of these ingredients gives Sambel Pecel Lele its signature spicy and savory flavor.

How to Make Sambel Pecel Lele

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to make Sambel Pecel Lele:

  1. Clean and prepare the catfish by removing the scales, head, and internal organs. Cut the fish into serving sizes and marinate with salt and lime juice for at least 30 minutes.
  2. In a blender or food processor, combine the chili peppers, shallots, garlic, peanuts, kaffir lime leaves, bay leaves, palm sugar, and a pinch of salt. Blend until smooth, adding a little water if necessary.
  3. Heat oil in a deep pan or wok. Fry the catfish until golden brown and crispy.
  4. Drain the excess oil from the catfish and serve with rice and vegetables. Pour the sambal pecel over the catfish and enjoy!

The Health Benefits of Sambel Pecel Lele

Although Sambel Pecel Lele is a rich and indulgent dish, it does have some health benefits:

  • Catfish is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation and improve heart health.
  • Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a compound that can boost metabolism and reduce appetite.
  • Garlic has antibacterial properties that can help fight off infections.
  • Peanuts are a good source of healthy fats and fiber, which can help lower cholesterol levels and improve digestion.


Sambel Pecel Lele is a spicy and delicious dish that is a perfect representation of the rich and diverse cuisine of Indonesia. Whether enjoyed as a street food or a homemade meal, Sambel Pecel Lele is sure to satisfy your taste buds and leave you wanting more.