Recipe of Sambal Belacan

I would show you how to make sambal belacan from scratch–a must-have Malaysian condiment and the basic building block for many delicious Malaysian recipes.

Sambal belacan consists of chilies, belacan (Malaysian shrimp paste), kalamansi lime (limau kasturi), and salt and sugar (to taste or optional). In the US, kalamansi lime is scarce so lime can be used as a substitute. However, in reality, kalamansi lime is made for sambal and lime is inferior when it comes to sambal belacan. So, if you have access to kalamansi lime, please use it, or if you have some, please give them to me.

20130902-122310 AM.jpgSambal belacan as a condiment is something that I can’t do without. I eat my rice and noodles with it, and some Malaysian dishes such as my favorite sweet and sour eggs (masak belanda), Penang char hor fun, grilled fish with banana leaves are total awesomeness with sambal belacan.

Anyway, learn how to make sambal belacan with my recipe below. 🙇


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Sambal Belacan

4 oz seeded chilies (sliced thinly)
1 tablespoon belacan (shrimp paste)
1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons kalamansi lime juice/lime juice
Salt (optional or to taste)


•Clean chilies with running water, seeded and sliced. Transfer the chilies to a mortar.

•Heat up a wok or pan on low heat and “toast” the belacan until aromatic. The texture of the belacan would turn dry and powdery after toasting. Transfer out and add to the chilies and start pounding with the pestle until fine. (Some people like their sambal belacan somewhat coarse so it’s personal preference.)

•Transfer out to a bowl, add salt and sugar to taste and add lime juice (or kalamansi lime juice). Blend well. You can keep the sambal in the refrigerator for up to a few days.

Cook’s Notes:

•If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can use a mini food processor to grind everything.
If you like extra fiery kick in your sambal, you can add a few bird’s eye chilies.

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