Malay Sambal Udang…Some Sambal Fishballs Would Be Nice Too!

Sambal Prawn 3

Sambal Prawn 1

Sambal udang, or sambal prawns, is a characteristically Malay dish of prawns cooked with sambal belacan and chilli rempah. It tastes quite similar to Ayam Masak Merah, a dish of chicken that is cooked in a similar sambal sauce, except that there isn’t any tomato sauce in this prawn recipe.

My mum makes this dish once in a while too, but her sauce is a lot sweeter and thinner than mine, which is perfect for eating with rice. As I am making this for the first time (I rarely cook any prawn dishes!), I have decided to make the sauce a lot thicker (and spicier!!!), just to see how it tastes like first.

Warning: it is really really spicy.

In any case, I am looking forward to a great Hari Raya Puasa break that is coming up at the end of July. Selamat Hari Raya Puasa in advance to all my Muslim friends too!


  • Fresh red chillies: 4, deseeded
  • Dried red chillies: 50g, soaked in hot water for 15 min, drained
  • Yellow onion: 2, peeled & quartered
  • Shallot: 100g, peeled
  • Roasted shrimp paste belacan: 2 tsp
  • Oil: 4 tbsp
  • Lemongrass: 3 stalks, slightly crushed
  • Tamarind paste: 80g tamarind + 250ml water, sieved, pulp discarded
  • Salt: 2 tsp
  • Sugar: 4 tbsp
  • Prawn: 500g, deshelled with tail intact, deveined
  • Fried fishball: 500g
  • Milk: 200ml


  1. Blend chillies, onions, shallots & belacan together.
  2. Heat oil in wok. Fry paste with lemongrass on low heat for 30 min.
  3. Add tamarind paste, salt & sugar. Leave to boil.
  4. Stir in prawns. Simmer for 3 mins.
  5. Add fishballs and milk. Simmer for another 2 min.
  6. Serve hot with rice.

Sambal Prawn


  • I actually doubled the amount of blended chilli paste in the original recipe so that I could scoop out half the amount into a bottle for storage after the cooking. This can be stored in the freezer to be used as a similar paste for cooking dishes in the future, or simply stored in the fridge if you intend to have spicy sambal chilli as a condiment for your next meal.
  • I added in fishballs to make this dish a more substantial one. The sambal paste also goes well with other ingredients such as stingrays, eggs, squids and even chicken.


  • This recipe was kindly adapted from ‘Seasaltwithfood‘.
  • Refer to my ‘Ayam Masak Merah‘ recipe for another version of Malay rempah used for cooking.
  • I repeat, the combination of this rempah makes the dish really really spicy. Watch out!

8 – 10 persons as a side dish

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