Sambal Belacan Paste

This is a pungent shrimp based chilli paste, a full blown South East Asian flavour in your face mouth. It’s highly versatile and very fragrant to be used in almost any stir fried dishes.

The most popular dish to utilise this Sambal Belacan is the Kangkung Sambal Belacan. Kangkung is known as water glorybind, water spinach, water convolvulus and swamp cabbage (I only know these terms after some research done online), which I am going to whip up in the next entry. Check back soon, say the next day!

Now, let’s focus on this paste first. It’s not hard, not laborious (I have a way if you want it to be) and certainly fast.

Ingredients (good for 2 – 3 stir fried dishes)

  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 6 – 8 cloves of shallots
  • 10 – 12 medium sized hot chillies (bird’s eye) or 8 fresh long chillies
  • 2 cubes of belacan cake (cube size of 2 cm X 2 cm X 2 cm), toasted
  • 2 tbsp of dried shrimps, reconstituted (or dried shrimp powder)
  • 1 tsp of sugar

You have a choice here whether to use pastel & mortar or food processor. I use the former ( a tad more laborious way)  simply because I don’t have the latter here.

If using food processor, just pulse until the ingredients are well mixed with bits, don’t refine it into a smooth paste.

Ok, here comes the procedures …


belacan cake

  • Break off two cubes from the whole belacan cake.
  • Belacan has crumbly texture. So, toast in a wok over medium heat until fragrant, at the same time, break them up into almost powdery form. Leave aside.
  • Bring the rest of the ingredients including toasted belacan powder (except sugar) to a food processor to pulse until just mixed.

toasting belacan in a wok

  • If using pastel & mortar, do the same. Start with dried shrimps –> shallots –> garlic –> chillies –>toasted belacan powder.
  • Simply add sugar with a spoon when the paste is formed to mix in.
  • That’s it! The sambal belacan paste is done. Keep it for any stir fried dishes. Best with SE Asian ones.



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