Komkomer Sambal (Cucumber Relish) Recipe

Komkomer Sambal (Cucumber Relish) Recipe

In my search for other South African dishes to pair with bobotie, I stumbled across a curious site: As someone who is constantly in search of obscure recipes from foreign countries or totally foreign recipes from obscure countries, I was delighted and a bit puzzled by this find.

Komkomer Sambal immediately jumped out at me on the South African page. “Sambal,” particularly used to describe a spicy sauce, made me think of Indonesian cooking, but the main pepper employed in this preparation was jalapeno, a decidedly New World foodstuff. Perplexing, but in the end simple, delicious, and quickly gobbled down.

Prep time: 10 minutes (1-2 hours standing time)
Serves: 8 (as a relish)
Adapted from Food in South Africa

Note: I have parred down the spiciness a bit due to some complaints about the un-godly fiery nature of my cooking, but feel free to add more chili.


  • 2 large cucumbers
  • rice vinegar
  • a jalapeno pepper
  • garlic
  • sea salt


  1. Peel the cucumbers and cut them in half.
  2. Scoop the seeds out with a spoon.
  3. Using a large pyramid grater, grate the cucumber on the biggest circular hole size available.
  4. Generously salt the cucumber and allow it to rest for 1-2 hours.
  5. Finely chop 1 clove of garlic and the jalapeno pepper and soak them in 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar.
  6. Pour the mixture into a colander, rinse with water, and drain out the liquid.
  7. Add the vinegar mixture to the cucumbers and serve with potjie.


Note: Though this relish is incredibly simple and no-cook, since it requires time for the cucumber to rest, it is best to start it before your other dishes.