Singaporeans love our spices and we love to cook many things using these various spices, chillies and condiments available locally and regionally. Given that we live in a tropical and warm country, this aspect of our eating habit never fails to interest me because what we need are food that cools our bodies and minds, but instead, we love our spices and hot chilli padis so much we add it into almost every single dish we eat on a daily basis – rice, noodles, vegetables, stir-fries, seafood, stews – you name it, we have it.
A lot of us grow up eating plain rice with various condiments, and one of the more popular ones is the dried shrimp sambal a.k.a. hae bee hiam. For this recipe, we use a very simple and commonly available ingredient – dried shrimp – and we cook it with a delicious combination of spices to churn out a lovely mix of dried shrimp sambal that’s spicy, fragrant and great to have as a condiment with rice and noodles. Personally, I eat this with almost everything; in my dried bak chor mee spicy sauce, with my plain rice, on my plain slice of bread (toasted or not), with my crackers; sometimes, I just eat it as it is without anything else.
- Dried shrimps: 250g, soaked till soft, pound into fine floss
- Candlenut: 5
- Dried red chilli: 20 pieces
- Shallot: 30, peeled
- Belacan: 1 tbsp
- Oil: 125ml
- Kaffir lime leaves: 20 leaves, torn up in halves
- Sugar: 2 tbsp
- Tamarind: 2 heaped tbsp mixed with 1 cup water, strained to form assam juice
- Dry-fry dried shrimps in wok (without oil) till dry and light. Remove and set aside.
- Blend together candlenuts, dried red chilli, shallots and belacan to form rempah.
- Heat oil in wok. Add rempah and lime leaves to oil. Stir over low fire till fragrant.
- Mix in shrimp floss, sugar and assam juice.
- Stir till mixture becomes a moist spreadable consistency.
- Remove from heat. Leave to cool before storage.
If you cannot finish this amount of hae bee hiam in one serving, you can store it inside the fridge for up to one month. Use it once in a while to cook your dishes such as ‘Sambal Long Beans‘.
2 medium-sized bottles