Sambal Udang (Prawn Sambal)
April 18th, 2011 44 Comments

Sambal Udang (Prawn Sambal)

Sambal Udang (Prawn Sambal)
Sambal Udang (Prawn Sambal) pictures (2 of 3)

If there is one dish that I can eat every day with just plain white rice, it’s probably sambal udang (prawn sambal)—a popular Malay or Nyonya prawn dish that is much-loved by many people. Made with a sambal paste and flavored with belacan (Malaysian shrimp paste), the gravy of sambal udang is best when drizzled on a serving of steaming hot rice…

There are many variations of sambal udang (prawn sambal), but the basic ingredients are more or less the same. This version is our family’s sambal udang recipe, passed down to us from my late mother. She would always add some thinly sliced kaffir lime leaves to perfume the dish with its aroma. Every bite is bursting with the briny flavor of the prawn, follows by the complex flavor of the fiery sambal, and ends with a citrusy note of the kaffir lime leaves.

Here is my sambal udang recipe, which I made when I was in Penang, Malaysia. Try it out and I am sure you will want it every day!

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44 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. Helene says:

    Your shrimps looks so tempting!

  3. Same goes to me. I love gulai assam and I love prawns. Hence I can eat this every day with rice. :)

  4. Zaidey says:

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

  5. Heather says:

    This sounds absolutely amazing.

  6. This is my all time favourite! I remember a friend’s mom, who is Nyonya, cooked really yummy sambal udang!

  7. Joy says:

    That looks just lovely.

  8. kiran k says:

    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

  9. kiran kirpalani says:

    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.

  10. Siew Gin Mills says:

    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??

  11. Mzungu says:

    I’ve never had prawn sambal before, but it looks delicious. Def going to have to give it a try this weekend. Try.

  12. zenchef says:

    Bee, I miss you!!
    Your food looks scrumptious as always!

  13. JudyC says:

    are the prawns weighed b4 shelling, or after?

  14. Mmmm, so long didn’t cook this liao!
    Add some petai in it…….mmm, taste heavenly!

  15. Sam Pugeda says:

    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.

  16. Su-yin says:

    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…

  17. Alex says:

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

  18. borneogirl says:

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

  19. Binthi says:

    your sambal udang looks tasty. mmmmmmmmmm.

  20. caitlin2032 says:

    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.

  21. susan says:

    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?

    • Not supposed to add wet flour to the sambal udang. If you don’t like too much gravy, reduce the water. How big is your prawn, they shouldn’t be overcooked in less than 2 minutes.

  22. Meowmee says:

    Hi there… Would love to try this recipe! Looks so yummy! May I know if tamarind pulp is also known as Assam?

  23. SharonTXQ says:

    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 ^^

  24. SharonTXQ says:

    Oh, and how long do we take to make this dish ? Thank you (:

  25. archie says:

    Hi your dish looks yummy. Can we replace or make a paste with the dried shrimp for belacan?

  26. Anna says:


    Can I substitute belacan with anything else?

  27. Gordon says:

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

  28. becky says:

    Can I use tamarind concentrate? If so, how much would you suggest?

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