Sambal Udang a Traditional Dish

Sambal Udang is one of traditional dish in Malay households.

This dish has made its way into many households and becomes a choice to serve for the bride and groom serving at wedding receptions.

The basic knowledge of Sambal Udang

Sambal is a basic gravy.

Normally, the Malay cook sambal for lunch dishes as a basic gravy to put with any kind of seafood inside.

Example of seafood such as squid, scallop, fish, anchovies and prawn.

Hence, variety of sambal can be made with the main seafood can be change according to preferences.

This Sambal Udang is a favourite for many and was prepared years ago from generation to generation till today.

The best way to have Sambal Udang is to eat it with hot rice.

Sambal Udang also known as Prawn Sambal
The colour of well-cooked sambal udang.

How to cook Sambal Udang

Selection of prawn

Use fresh prawns because the sweet taste of fresh prawns makes the sautéed sambal gravy more delicious.

You can use either sea prawn or farm prawn. Sea prawn colour is lighter and from the ocean, while farm prawn is darker and grown in the pond. 

How to know your sambal is already cooked ?

Ingredients for sambal are dried chilli, onion, garlic, tamarind juice, belacan, cooking oil, sugar and salt.

Cook the sambal gravy until reddish in colour.  The colour of sambal can determine if it is well cooked.

The well-cooked sambal may be kept for three days at room temperature.

The good sambal must have a sweet taste and oily texture.

To make the sambal well cook is by using plenty of cooking oil.

Sauté the sambal gravy over slow heat for half and hour.

The longer period is needed to drain the water in sambal gravy.

Without the water the sambal can last longer while the extra cooking oil being used to protect the sambal from burnt.

The sambal well cook if the oil raise to cover the gravy on the surface.

Let it cool and keep in the air tight bottle if you wish to bring it while travelling.

Sambal Udang


  • 500g shrimp, cleaned
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 4 onion
  • 10-12 stalks of dried chillies, discarded seeds
  • 3cm belacan
  • ½ cup cooking oil
  • ⅓  cup tamarind water
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt


Cut the dried chillies and soak for 10 minutes. Drain the water and finely grind with garlic, onion and belacan.

In a skillet, heat ½ cup of cooking oil and then sauté the ground ingredients, cook until fragrant and bursting with oil.

Pour the tamarind juice. 

Then add the shrimp, salt and sugar to taste.

Cook briefly in approximately five to seven minutes or until boiling. Pick up and serve.


  • Make sure you don’t cook the shrimp for too long as the shrimp can become hard.
  • When sautéing the ground ingredients, make sure the oil raise to the surface otherwise, the sautéed sambal gravy will not cook perfectly.

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