Wednesday, 18 February 2009


This is the essential Peranakan (Nyonya) and Malay sambal, without which a Nyonya or Malay dining table is totally naked. I used to love the sound of my neighbours’ mortar and pestle permeating through the walls of my house when I used to live in the army flats throughout Malaysia – it was a sign that lunch or dinner time was not too far away!!!!

In my opinion, the use of a food processor in making this dish is utterly sacrilegious!!! So invest your money, time and effort in a mortar and pestle, preferably in granite/stone.


1 tbsp shrimp paste (belachan) – toast on an open flame until crispy or wrap in foil and toast in a low oven for 5 mins (see my GLOSSARY post on SHRIMP PASTE)
5 red chillies and 5 red bird’s eye chillies – chopped (I used 10 red cayenne chillies – it was hot!!)
3 kaffir lime leaves – central vein discarded and finely sliced
1 tbsp hot boiled water
3 tbsp or to taste freshly squeezed lime juice – in this instance, do not use commercial lime juice….it spoils the taste of the sambal!
Pinch of salt


In a mortar and pestle, pound the chillies until very fine.

Add in the belachan and pound again until completely incorporated into the chilli paste and next, add in the lime leaves and pound again to blend. Mix in the hot water, lime juice and salt.

Serve immediately as an accompaniment to Nyonya or Malay dishes such as my FRIED RICE WITH THREE SOY SAUCES.


inahar ali said...

dear VG, ur sambal belacan looks so delicious!!! fuiyooo...

VG said...

Thank you Inahar. I used cayenne chillies to make this batch; what a kick. It made the tip of my tongue numb, but it did not stop me from eating, that's for sure...LOL!

Pushpa said...

I love sambal belacan. Whenever I am in Melaka, for sure I will eat at one of the Nyonya Rest and ask for extra sambal. Beside this sambal there is another version of Sambal Belacan which is famous with Chinese Noodle. Wonder if you or any of your friends have the recipe for this version. Thanks

VG said...

Hi Pushpa ~ I will need to search my files...I know I had a recipe that I used to use but since finding the 'GLORY' brand sambal nyonya, I have been using this to have with my noodles. I think it works really well.