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Part 2/38 in a series exploring one dish from each province of Indonesia.

Often called ‘Maluku’s sambal’, this isn’t really a sambal at all but more of a raw salsa reminiscent of pico de gallo. It’s simple and fresh and works perfectly with a nice bit of grilled fish fresh off a smokey barbecue. My recommendation would 100% be to serve it with ikan bubara, the giant trevally, but that’s hard to get hold of in most places. Let me know of you have a good substitute for this fish because I’m still searching.

There’s definitely no standard recipe for this. Every single place you go will be different, with some even using soy sauce as the base, but I feel that this is a solid representative example of the colo-colos that I’ve enjoyed the most.

Adapted from here.



  • 10 red bird’s eye chilli
  • 9 Indonesian onions (3 shallots)
  • 2 green tomatoes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp MSG if you’ve got it
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • 150 ml water
  • 4 tbsp calamansi juice (or just lime)
  • ½ tsp oil
  • ~8 lemon basil leaves


Thinly slice the chilli and shallots, dice the tomatoes, roughly rip up the basil leaves.

Mix everything well.