(Gallery updated with sambal asparagus with prawns/shrimps.)
Sambal is core to many signature Malaysian recipes. In its most basic composition, sambal is a condiment or chili paste made with chilies and belacan (Malaysian shrimp paste), although other ingredients such as garlic, shallots, lemongrass, galangal, etc. might be added to suit each individual recipe. Traditionally pounded with a mortar and pestle, sambal is the magic ingredient for numerous scrumptious local fares: sambal udang (prawn), sambal sotong (squid), sambal telur (eggs), sambal okra, asparagus, and the list goes on.
Sambal asparagus can be made with either shrimps or scallops. (I have pictures of both versions in the gallery.) For the asparagus, I simply chop off 1 inch to 1.5 inches (depending on the toughness) of the bottom stem and slice all stems into half so the asparagus cooks evenly. You can also use a peeler to remove the skin of the stems. I usually skip this step merely because of convenience.
This is my sambal asparagus recipe, including my sambal recipe. Sambal asparagus is delicious with a lot of depth in its taste and it goes extremely well with steamed white rice. I finished two servings of rice just by drenching it with the sambal sauce. Yummy!