Sambal belacan

10 minutes


  • 1 knob of shrimp paste, belacan variety, around 1.5cm
  • 9 red chillies
  • 4 bird's eye chillies
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp salt


Toast the block of belacan in a dry pan on all sides until it starts to break up. Keep doing this until it crumbles into small pieces (around 3 minutes). Set aside to cool
Deseed the chillies and chop them into small pieces
Add the chillies to a pestle and mortar with the salt and pound to a rough paste, then add the shrimp paste, shallots, sugar and garlic and pound until you have a paste (it may be helpful to do this in batches)
Squeeze in the juice of 1 lime and mix. Taste and add more lime juice if necessary
Finally, stir in the oil, which will help to preserve the sambal. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days