I recently bought some Sambal Jolokia Badjak, which is made from the Bhut Jolokia and thus quite spicy.

Sambal Jolokia Badjak

I couldn't find any Scoville rating for it, but the Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Pepper) is rated at somewhere from 855,000 - 1,041,427 SHUs, according to WikiPedia.

So I was wondering, how does the Scoville rating of sambal compare to the peppers it's made of? Is it generally more, or less spicy?

  • There are different types of sambal -- cooked, uncooked, with sugar, with other ingredients, etc. Badjak is cooked & has other ingredients in it, so I'd expect it to not be as strong as oelek.
    – Joe
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 21:37
  • 4
    Oelek is the process. Effectively, 'crushed'. It doesn't actually say anything about the pepper that went into it -- it's whatever's typical for that region. It's like saying 'salsa verde' ... okay, it's green, but that tells me nothing about the heat level. I'd expect a sambal oelek made from bhut jolokia to be hotter than a sambal badjak made from bhut jolokia.
    – Joe
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 23:49

1 Answer 1


By logic, I would assume the Scoville rating of any sambal to be at most the same as the peppers it's made of. It can never get hotter than it was, and in general, and certainly for store-bought sambals, there will always be stuff added, lowering the (perceived) hotness.

Badjak always implies fried peppers. It also tends to include onion and garlic, and whatever else the local tradition or family recipe dictates. And it tends to be milder than the Oelek (or Ulek) variant, both because of the frying, and because of the additions.

The Oelek/Ulek variety is plain, hardcore, grounded peppers, with most likely a touch of salt and a souring agent for preservation. Oelekan/Ulekan actually is the "pestle" part of a mortar and pestle. For store bought oeleks, I simply look at the ingredient list and percentages, and take the one with the highest amount of peppers, and least amount of additions. Current record is 96%, with salt and vinegar making up the remaining 4.

Wikipedia actually has a very nice article on sambal.

  • 1
    "It can never get hotter than it was" - that's not so. It would only be true under the assumption that 1) the ratio of pepper fruit parts used for making the sauce is the same as the ratio in a whole pepper fruit, and 2) the sauce was not subjected to any treatment which might concentrate it, such as pasteurization. Both assumptions are unlikely for a commercially produced sauce.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Feb 21, 2016 at 14:53
  • @rumtscho: We're talking about sambal here. If you want to include customized industrial preparations of sambal, or, really, anything, feel free to ask a separate question. Commented Feb 21, 2016 at 15:07
  • I am talking about the sambal the OP bought, which was clearly not homemade. We cannot know how it was processed, so it is very much possible that it has a different capsaicin concentration than the average jolokia pepper.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Feb 21, 2016 at 15:07
  • Which I answered. And I'm positive my answer holds true, although scientifically, and without knowing the actual production process, I can't be sure of it. Feel free to add your own more accurate answer. Commented Feb 21, 2016 at 15:09

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