Sambal Prawns

Sambal Prawns

I made sambal tumis the other day for nasi lemak, still have about one cup in the fridge. Homemade sambal is similar to homemade jam, can be stored in the fridge for short period. I often keep a small jar of this sambal in the fridge either for cooking or as dipping sauce. A lot of Malaysian dishes are prepared with this sambal such as mee goreng, sambal ikan/sotong (fish or squid) and the list goes on. Today I cooked this sambal prawn, one of my favourite dishes. I can eat a lot of rice with the chili gravy, one of the "evil" dishes I should say.

Ingredients (2 servings):
200g medium prawn
1 large onion, sliced
2 clove garlic, chopped
1 tbsp cooking oil
2 tbsp sambal
2 tbsp tomato sauce
Salt to taste
Sprig of coriander for garnish

  1. Heat oil in a frying pan, stir in garlic and onion. Stir fry until onion softened.
  2. Add in sambal and tomato sauce, bring to boil over low heat.
  3. Add in prawn and stir to coat with sauce.
  4. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the prawn is almost done.
  5. Add salt to taste and remove from heat.
  6. Garnish and serve.


I promised one of my classmates for this sambal recipe long long time ago. Here is my sambal recipe after umpteenth times of experiment. You may want to adjust the amount of sugar and belacan to suit your tastebuds.

Ingredients (makes 3 cups):

  • 200g dried chili, seeded
  • 2 tbsp of tamarind paste, mixed with ½ cup warm water
  • 5cm belacan (shrimp paste) - add more if desired
  • 10 bulb shallots, peeled and chopped lightly
  • 1 head garlic, peeled and chopped lightly
  • 1 large onion, peeled and sliced
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup cooking oil
  • Salt to taste


  1. Wash and soak seeded chilies in warm water for about 30 minutes and drain.
  2. Meanwhile, sift the tamarind mixture to remove seeds.
  3. Blend together chilies, shallot, garlic and tamarind juice to form smooth paste. Set aside for later use.
  4. Heat a large saucepan over low heat, toast belacan until the colour started to change.
  5. Add in oil and stir in onion. Stir a little until onion is softened.
  6. Pour in chili paste, bring to boil on low heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
  7. Stir in sugar and salt to taste. Continue to let it simmer over low heat for 30 minutes or until it is thickened.
  8. Remove from heat and cool completely before bottled.

Comments :

4 comments to “Sambal Prawns”
qing said...

Hi Lydia

I tried your recipe but how come yours look more watery. I have to add water then watery.


Lydia said...

Hi Qing,
I used frozen prawns, maybe that's the reason. Frozen prawn tend to have some water in it.

My @ddictions said...

Hi Lydia,
Thanks for posting the sambal recipe.
I find it way too spicy! How can i reduce the spicyness? Thanks in advance.

Lydia said...


To reduce spiciness:

>Use big dried chilli - in Aust (perhaps other countries too), there are both big and small dried chilli available in the asian market. Small one is super spicy, I used once and I could not take the spiciness.

>Seeded - make sure dried chilli is seeded before soaking in the water.

>Tomato Puree - add some tomato puree (canned) to replace the amount of chilli, but taste will slight different.

>Apple - this one NOT tested with sambal yet, but I sometimes add apple (peeled and diced) in Japanese curry to reduce its spiciness.

Usually the spiciness of smambal is in the oil. Thus, discard oil on the surface will help to reduce spiciness too.

Hope these help.

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