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Sambal Udang (Prawn Sambal)


Sambal Udang Recipe (Prawn Sambal)

3 tablespoons oil
600g (1.5 lbs) prawn/shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 cups water
2 tablespoons tamarind pulp, mixed with 1/2 cup water and strained
3 kaffir lime leaves, sliced thinly
2 teaspoons salt or to taste
1 teaspoons sugar or to taste

Spice Paste

10 dry red chilies, deseeded
10 shallots, peeled
30g (1 oz) belacan


Pound the spice paste using a mortar and pestle or grind with a food processor. Set aside.
Heat up the cooking oil in a wok. Add the spice paste and stir-fry until aromatic.
Add the prawn and continue to stir-fry for about 2-3 minutes.
Add in the water, tamarind juice and bring it to a quick boil. Add in the kaffir lime leaves, salt, and sugar. Dish out and serve immediately.

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45 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Brings back such great memories for me, cause this is first dish I cooked for my (future) husband. He brought over fresh caught baby shrimp. Only thing was I had to shell and devein, yuk. One of my all time favs too, my mom made a mean one too. I’ll have to try your recipe.

  2. Zaidey

    The spiciness of the chilli, the fragrant kuah (gravy)… the sweetness of the fresh prawn! Ah almost a pleasurable sin!

  3. kiran k

    looks delicious…surely goin to give it a try.but i’d like to ask 1 thing,what if one doesn’t have belacan,as u don’t get it easily in India?is there any substitute for it n?pls let me know.thank you

  4. kiran kirpalani

    looks delicious,will definately try it.however i’d like to ask 1 thing,what if one doesn’t have belacan as its not easily available in India?is there a substitute for it?pls let me know.thank you.

  5. Siew Gin Mills

    Do you have a particular brand/type of dried chili you use in the US? The one i have is super spicy and it’s hard to get my sambal to look red without becoming too spicy for my consumption. In Malaysia we have the red chili which is not hot. Is there a similar variety in the US or a good substitue??

  6. Sam Pugeda

    Is the belacan shrimp paste the same as the filipino bagoong? We also call it shrimp paste, but it leaves a brown color as opposed to the bright red in your picture.

  7. I absolutely LOVE sambal udang. Especially if it’s paired with coconut rice. :P Am back in Penang now, wish you were here! I think I just missed you by a few weeks…

  8. Alex

    Looks so great!
    Just one question: no fish sauce? Not even salt? No lemongrass?
    It sounds so easy I just have to try it!

  9. borneogirl

    OMG i love sambal prawns….u r my hero for posting this recipe…would u be able to post the Malay version as well?

  10. caitlin2032

    It’s a mouth watering recipe. I love shrimp. One of my favorite recipe is mustard shrimp, shrimp cooked in mustard powder and whole mustard seeds.

  11. susan

    I tried this tonight and it does taste awesome! I had reduced to 1.5 cup of water and yet it was quite watery so I add some wet flour. The prawns looked a little overcooked in spite of cooking for less than 2 minutes, maybe I should reduced the heat?

  12. SharonTXQ

    Hi, reply me asap if you see this comment :)
    This recipe is for how many people?
    Is kaffir lime leaf the same as lemongrass? if it is not, can kaffir lime leaf be replaced by lemongrass?
    Thanks! ^^ Really looking forward to make this dish ^^

  13. Gordon

    that looks spectacular – have prawns in the fridge and kaffir lime and chilli in the garden will make on the weekend for sure.

  14. Gene

    Tried your Assam prawn recipe on Monday and it was awesome! Going to try this one today..but I’ve only got belacan powder .. Do I use the same amount as stated 30g or less?

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