Sambal Udang Balacan

Sambal Udang Balacan

I make this sambal udang balacan/belacan a few times a year. It is when we, the family kept asking me when I am making again or when my friends persuade me “when you next make sambal udang belacan can I book 10 jars please” then only I make.

Now I am not sure how to write a fix recipe as I have never measured my ingredients. I taste as I make and add a bit of this and that to make it resemble the taste I know. The taste of how my mother’s sambal used to taste like.

When I was a youngin’ when my mother made this, we always make them into sandwiches 😀 Do you know dried shrimps sambal that has a generous amount of dried shrimps taste amazing with buttered bread? If you have not try before, try it. My husband loves this on buttered brioche rolls.

Now as I said I have not measured my ingredients. when I asked my mother she will tell me a bowl of this and half a bowl of that. So I will attempt to tell you. However sambal is one of those dish you can make your own. There is absolutely no right or wrong. When I first started making I tried to add this and that (not mentioned by my mother) but in the end I do not like the taste. Not nostalgic lah. so I stick back to the basic ingredients. If for any reason I want to use this sambal to cook other things then I will add other ingredients as and when.

Take this recipe as a guide and make your own as sometimes our onions has a stronger taste or our chillies is hotter. I remember one time I bought some chilli powder that were so hot! I of course had to add more sugar. I will give you tips to adjust.

Oh yes when using the dried chillies, snip off the heads a bit and empty out as much of the seeds as you can. When I was young grandma use to say don’t let the males eat chilli seeds or they can’t pee – kekekekekeke Funny things I remember from young but now that I am all grown up I know that it is the spicy hot food that can increase bladder pain and inflammation in some people thus making it hard to pee for them. BUT there is some truth in so called ‘old wives’ tales after all!

Sambal Udang Balacan

5 from 1 vote


  • 1 bowl Onions (red)
  • 1 bowl Onions (white)
  • 1 bowl Shallots
  • half bowl Garlic
  • 1 bowl Chilli (Fresh)
  • half bowl Chilli (Dry)
  • 3 tbsp Chilli (Powder)
  • 100 g Belacan (shrimp paste)
  • half bowl Gula Malacca
  • 2 bowls Dried Shrimps (Udang Kering)
  • 3 slices Asam keping
  • 2 litres Oil


TIP – Covering your sambal with oil will make sure your sambal last longer – The oil must be in your wok from the beginning, not added in half way. So I make sure I filled more than half my wok with oil right from the start.
TIP – Toast your balacan dry either on the BBQ, gas fire or fry on a dry non stick pan.
TIP – Remember your jars, scope, funnel must all be dry and clean, If not your chilli will be mouldy within a week as we did not add any preservatives. When you open a jar and take some to eat make sure your spoon is clean and dry aka don’t lick and take 😛 
TIP – Cooking on low heat and longer time releases the taste more and keeps longer.
TIP – If you plan to keep a jar for a long time wrap with cling film then vacuum seal it. (I gave a jar of mine to my friend to take back to Canada and it was still ok a month later) I have also sent to France as presents for my friends to enjoy 🙂 
Remember – there’s no rules that says you have to cook yours like mine but this is the basic for you to improve to your recipe and your taste. 
Have fun

Part 1 – Get the ingredients ready.

Part 2 – Start blending and Cooking

Part 3 – Tasting and adjusting seasoning. Remember that your sambal will taste quite different when cooled down. So take a spoon and cool it down then taste. If too spicy add in more sugar. If it’s not spicy enough make a note so you know you can be more heavy handed with your chilli next time. I kinda know my family and those friends who like my sambal udang belacan are SPICY people but they like my sambal udang because of the generous amount of dried shrimps (udang kering) I have inside. I do not use candlenuts (buah keras) or any nuts to thicken.

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