Sambal Belacan Recipe

If you love spicy Malaysian food, then this is a recipe you want to learn. I encourage readers to be creative in experimenting this recipe, as I did.

You can find most of these ingredients from Asian supermarkets or grocery stores. Have fun!


1 cup dried shrimp, 3 cups dried and de-seeded Thai chilies, 7 shallots, 7 garlic cloves, 1 small onion, 1 tbs brown sugar, 1 tbs tamarind pulp, 0.5 cup warm water, 1 tsp belacan, 3 tbs vegetable oil and salt to taste


1. Soak dried and de-seeded Thai chilies to re-hydrate them in some water (approximately 10 to 15 mins)

2. Soak tamarind pulp in warm water (approximately 10 to 15 mins)

3. Blend together dried shrimp, Thai chilies, belacan, shallots and garlic cloves in a food processor till mixture turns to pulp

4. Heat oil in pan over medium heat

5. When you see slight smoke, lower heat to low and add blended mixture

6. Stir the mixture occasionally for 15 minutes, taking caution not to burn it

7. Slice the small onion into rings and add them into the mixture. Stir occasionally

8. Squeeze the tamarind pulp for its juice. Add the juice and brown sugar into the mixture. Stir occasionally until the juice has evaporated and the mixture is slightly browned. Remove pan from heat to cool

9. Store the sambal belacan in an air tight container and freeze until use

Sambal belacan cooking in pan. Beware of seriously hot stuff! Check out my mum's version of sambal.

Sambal belacan can be eaten as a condiment or served as a base for stir-fry, sauce, soup and many more.

Shrimp and water spinach (aka kangkung) sambal stir fry. For 2 servings, I used 1 tbs of the hot stuff and salt or soy sauce to taste.

Grilled squid, broccoli and green beans sambal stir fry. I used 1 tbs sambal paste.