Sambal belacan

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


  1. 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
  2. Roughly chop the chillies and pound using a mortar and pestle for 3 minutes
  3. Add the toasted shrimp paste and pound the chillies into a fine paste
  4. Add the lime juice, and season with salt and sugar
  5. Mix well to combine


One thought on “Sambal belacan

  1. Pingback: Fried chicken (ayam goreng) « Chronicles of a cookbookworm

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