How to make easy Sambal Udang, or Malay-style spicy chilli shrimps or prawns.
Sambal Udang or Sambal Shrimps or Prawns is a Malay dish of prawns stir-fried in a rich, spicy sambal sauce. This dish goes amazingly well with some rice!
How to make the Dried Chilli Paste for Sambal Udang?
To make that base paste is extremely easy! Dump all the ingredients in a blender, and blitz it to a paste! This can be a super quick stir-fry, if you have some dried chilli paste already on hand in the fridge and ready to go.
If you are making this from scratch, then it will require the extra step of preparing the dried chillies for blending – although even then it takes a mere extra 5 minutes or so. All you do is pour boiling hot water over the dried chillies until it softens and rehydrates. Chop it up into smaller pieces for easier blending and that’s it! See my post on “how to make dried chilli paste” for more information on this.
Belachan or Dried Shrimp Paste for Sambal Udang
Belachan or dried shrimp paste adds umami-ness and salt to the dish. Of course, shrimp goes amazingly with, well, shrimp. Make sure you taste the dish before adding more salt, since belachan is salty.
I use mine untoasted – because I’m too lazy to take the extra step of toasting it. Personally I don’t find much of a taste difference whether I toast it or not, so I take the easier way out. If you want to toast yours first, feel free.
How to Prepare Tamarind Juice from Pulp
Tamarind is a typical ingredient used in Asia, and adds a nice sour tang that is mildly sweet. It’s not a sharp sour like lemons or lime. In this recipe I used Tamarind Pulp, which has seeds in it.
To prepare tamarind juice, simply add a couple tablespoons of warm water to the pulp, and work the pulp with your hands until the seeds are clean. Strain the mixture or discard the seeds and you should get a nice chocolatey-looking juice. Use only the juice.
In general, you want to use 2-3 tbsps of warm water to 1 tbsp of pulp, although don’t be shy to add a little more water to work it through even more.
Tamarind is also sold in ready-made paste form! I gather most of us modernites (aka supermarket shoppers) are more familiar with tamarind paste. Tamarind paste is the readily-prepared concentrated paste without pulp. With tamarind paste, you do not need to prep it beforehand, simply add to the dish as its final form. Tamarind paste will be more concentrated in sourness, so adjust accordingly. The dish should never be too sour. The general rule is 1 tbsp of tamarind pulp is equivalent to 1 tsp of tamarind paste.
How to Level Up Your Sambal Udang
If you want it to look impressive, do not peel the prawns! Keep the prawns intact, along with the attached heads. It will look more substantial than my “naked” shrimps – but don’t blame me if the people you’re feeding complain about having to peel prawns.
If you’re up for it, you can even deep fry or pan fry the prawns until crispy, and toss it in at the end of the sambal sauce. This will result in a crispy prawn mixture.
My recipe is more practical and made for everyday cooking! I simply add the prawns straight to the sambal and allow it to poach in the sambal. This means a quick, satisfying meal to the table in less than 30 minutes. I would like to think it’s healthier since we do not need to use any additional oil.
More Recipes Like This
If you love this recipe you might love these too:
- Singapore Chilli Prawns
- Sambal Sotong | Squid Sotong
- Sambal Goreng | Tofu-Tempe and shrimp stir fry
- Cereal Prawns
Sambal Udang | Sambal Shrimps or PrawnsCourse: Uncategorized
150 grams Shrimps or Prawns
2 tbsps Dried Chilli Paste
2 Shallots, pureed
1 clove Garlic, pureed
Juice from 1 tbsp Tamarind Pulp (soak tamarind pulp in warm water, and just use the juice)
1 Lemongrass stalk, bruised
1 tbsp or 10 grams Belachan (Fermented Dried Shrimp Paste)
1/4 cup Water
1 tsps Salt, or to taste
1 tsp Sugar, or to taste
2-3 tbsps Vegetable Oil, with extra in the side.
- In a pan add oil and turn on the heat.
- Once hot, and over low heat, add the dried chilli paste and pureed shallots and garlic. Alternatively blend dried chillies with shallots and garlic to form the paste. Add the belacan, and crush with a spatula, if not already in powder form. Stir to incorporate into the dried chilli paste.
- Continuously stir fry the dried chilli paste for about 5 minutes, or until it turns a darker hue and the oil turns red. See: How to properly cook dried chilli paste or ‘pecah minyak’. Add in bruised lemongrass and stir until fragrant.
- Add shrimps or prawns, and water. Adjust water according to gravy preference.
- Add tamarind juice, sugar and salt, to taste. Stir to combine.
- Once shrimps finish cooking, the dish is done! Serve immediately.