In Malaysia, Sambal Belacan is usually served as condiment for ikan bakar (grilled fish) along with assorted vegetables and herbs. I used to buy it from a local wet market regularly. A small tub (about two tablespoons) is priced at RM2.50 which I think is quite expensive considering it is only enough for one time consumption. Thus, I decided to make it at home.
It is easy to make with just handful ingredients but you do need a few practices to get the right ratio for all ingredients. The taste and the level of spiciness are very much depending on individual preferences. For the first few times I made it too spicy, we ate till as if our ears were smoking. From there, I learnt.
This sambal belacan recipe is adapted from Dapur Tanpa Sempadan, a blogger living in Southern Malaysia. Malay food lovers should head over to his blog for his wonderful traditional Malay dishes recipe.
8-10 Red Chili
5-10 Bird-eye Chili (add more if very spicy/hot sambal is desired)
1cm Belacan, toasted (5cm square)
Pinch of Sea Salt
Pinch of Sugar
Some onion slices for serving (optional)
Calamansi Lime for serving (can be substituted with lemon or other citrus juice)
- Pound two types of chili with mortar and pestle for a few seconds, then add in salt and sugar. Continue to pound until paste like texture is formed. It does not need to be very smooth.
- Add in belacan, pound and mix well.
- Serve with calamansi lime juice and some onion slices at the side.
- I like to use this sambal for cooking sambal vegetable such as kangkung and winged beans.
- Belacan must be toasted before use as this is a non-cook dish. Also, to enhance its aroma and taste.
- Beware, belacan can be smelly for the first timer. Well, even my mom does not like it.
- Serving guide: herbs/petai/winged bean - serve raw, okra - boiled, eggplant - grilled, seafood - grilled/deep-fried.