Spicy Quince Sambal

This tart and fiery condiment was inspired by the sambal of Cape Malay cooking, brought to South Africa by Indonesian and Malaysian slaves.

Spicy Quince Sambal
Photo: © John Kernick
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
30 mins
makes 1 1/2 cups


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 4 garlic cloves, very finely chopped

  • 3 red Thai chiles, very finely chopped

  • One 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced

  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons salted roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

  • 2 small quinces—peeled, halved, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice (see Note)

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped mint

  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped cilantro


  1. In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Add the garlic, chiles, ginger and onion and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the peanuts and cook until sizzling, about 3 minutes. Add the quinces, lime juice, sugar and salt. Cover and simmer, stirring a few times, until the quince is barely tender, about 3 minutes. Let cool slightly. Stir in the mint and cilantro and serve.

Make Ahead

The sambal can be refrigerated overnight.


Quinces are available at most supermarkets from October through December.

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