KitchenTigress: Sambal Udang (Prawns in Chilli Paste)

Sambal Udang (Prawns in Chilli Paste)

Sambal udang is a delicious Nyonya dish. Chilli paste is fried in oil till fragrant, then prawns are cooked in the aromatic paste. The gloriously red prawns nicely balance spicy, sour, sweet and savoury.

Sambal udang was the first recipe I tried from "Cooking for the President".

How was the presidential recipe for prawns smothered in chilli paste?

It was excellent!

The ingredients were simple, the instructions were clear and easy to follow, and the results were darn tasty.

The simple dish was a winner. It'd have been way too oily if I had followed the instructions to a T but that was a small fault.

If you want to try just one recipe from "Cooking for the President", sambal udang would be the one. It's quick, easy and very, very good.

This recipe is absolutely delicious yet quick and easy. It's great for beginners because prawns don't overcook easily in chilli paste.

sambal udang
  • 25 g dried chillies, soak in water till soft, about 1 hour, and squeeze dry
  • 40 g red chillies, discard seeds and rinse
  • 160 g shallots – peel, rinse
  • 20 g buah keras (candlenuts)
  • 180 ml vegetable oil (I used only 80 ml, which was plenty)
  • 2/3 tsp belachan, toast till fragrant, and grind finely
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 35 g tamarind paste, soak in 1 cup (240 ml) water, knead and discard seeds and pulp
  • 30 prawns weighing 1 kg, trim legs and feelers, devein, rinse and drain
  • 1 cup cucumber or winged bean slices

  1. Cut dried chillies, red chillies, shallots and buah keras into small pieces. Pound or grind till smooth. Fry in vegetable oil over medium-low to low heat till medium brown. Add belachan and stir through. Add sugar, salt and tamarind water. Simmer till thick and oil separates. Add prawns and heat till just cooked, stirring and turning as necessary to cook evenly.

    🦐 Medium size prawns are cooked once they turn red. Big ones would need a few more seconds. Add a bit of water if the sauce thickens too much.
  2. Taste and if necessary adjust seasoning. Serve at room temperature with cucumber or winged beans on the side.