My appreciation for Malay food developed in college where I met friends who were amazing cooks. One of my favourite Malay sauces is sambal belacan, made with chillies and shrimp paste. It is a wonderful accompaniment for a meal of rice, vegetables and chicken or noodles.
I don’t eat it often as it would most probably burn a hole in my stomach lining. In fact, the last time I had sambal belacan was years ago. The recipe I’ve used below is a very basic one, but satisfying nonetheless.
- 5 red chillies
- 1 tsp shrimp paste
- juice of 1/2 lime
- a pinch of salt
- a pinch of sugar
- Place the shrimp paste in the centre of a large piece of foil. Fold into a square parcel and heat in the oven at 160 degrees for 20 minutes
- Roughly chop the chillies and pound using a mortar and pestle for 3 minutes
- Add the toasted shrimp paste and pound the chillies into a fine paste
- Add the lime juice, and season with salt and sugar
- Mix well to combine