Sambal Belachan Recipe

Oct 3, 2011 3:15 pm

A Malaysian staple with a spice that burns

We caught up with four NYC chefs who recently visited Malaysia, detailing their favorite dishes.

From Matt Lambert: "Sambal belachan is something I experienced in all three cities – Penang, Melaka and Kuala Lumpur — with the southern style being thicker and hotter (a quality I enjoyed). In Melaka I was reduced to tears, literally, with a raw form of sambal. I had pounded out the ingredients by hand in a cooking class and missed a bird’s eye chili, which I later ate in a salad. New levels of heat."

Sambal Belachan
Photo: nicholaschan on Flickr
Sambal belachan is perfect to serve with seasonal fresh fruit.

Recipe courtesy of Matt Lambert, Chef de Cuisine of Double Crown in New York City

Servings: 15 ounces


40 red chilies, sliced
12 scuds, sliced
10 tablespoons belachan
3 ounces lime juice
3 ounces tamarind liquid
12 large blue prawns, shelled; heads removed; and tails on
  1. Toast belachan.
  2. In vita prep blitz ¾ of the chili and the belachan.
  3. With the remaining ¼ pound in a mortar and pestle.
  4. In a wok with around 6 ounces of oil place chili paste and shrimp. 
  5. When the mix becomes tight, add the lime juice tamarind water blend. Reduce until you have a thick coating of chili goodness! 
  6. Best served with sweet fruit, depending on what’s in season, pineapple and mangos are great but most sweet stone fruit are also good. Fresh Coriander and cucumbers are also a prefect accompaniment.  
Level of Difficulty: 
Prep Time: 
15 minutes
Cooking Time: 
5 minutes
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