Sambal Udang: Spicy Prawn Delicacy

Sambal Udang is a spicy prawn delicacy that has captured the hearts and taste buds of food lovers across Southeast Asia, particularly in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore. This mouth-watering dish features succulent prawns cooked in a tantalizing sambal sauce, a fiery blend of chili peppers and spices that adds a burst of flavor and heat to any meal. Sambal Udang is typically enjoyed with steamed rice, and its bold flavors make it a standout dish at gatherings and celebrations. If you’re a fan of spicy seafood, Sambal Udang is a must-try recipe that will undoubtedly become a favorite in your culinary repertoire.

Sambal Udang: Spicy Prawn Delicacy


  • 500g fresh prawns, cleaned and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste (or tamarind pulp soaked in water)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped cilantro or scallions for garnish (optional)
  • For the sambal paste:
  • 10 dried red chilies, soaked in warm water and drained
  • 5 fresh red chilies, roughly chopped
  • 3 shallots, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste (belacan)

Cooking Steps

  • To prepare the sambal paste, blend the dried red chilies, fresh red chilies, shallots, and shrimp paste in a food processor until a smooth, thick paste forms. Set aside.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic, and sauté until fragrant and slightly softened.
  • Add the sambal paste to the pan and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, until the paste is aromatic and the oil begins to separate from the mixture.
  • Add the prawns to the pan and cook for about 2 minutes, until they begin to turn pink.
  • Stir in the tamarind paste, fish sauce, sugar, and water. Mix well to combine and bring the sauce to a boil.
  • Lower the heat and let the sauce simmer for 5-7 minutes, or until the prawns are cooked through and the sauce has thickened.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt if needed.
  • Transfer the Sambal Udang to a serving dish and garnish with chopped cilantro or scallions, if desired.
  • Serve the Sambal Udang hot with steamed rice and your choice of accompanying side dishes.

To fully appreciate the vibrant flavors of Sambal Udang, it is essential to source fresh, high-quality ingredients. Opt for fresh prawns from a trusted seafood supplier or local market, as they are the star of the dish and significantly impact the overall taste. Additionally, using fresh chili peppers and shrimp paste will elevate the flavors of your sambal sauce, ensuring a truly authentic dining experience. In conclusion, Sambal Udang is a spicy prawn delicacy that offers a delightful blend of heat and flavor, making it a perfect addition to your culinary adventures. With its bold taste and impressive presentation, Sambal Udang is sure to leave a lasting impression on your guests and satisfy even the most discerning of palates.

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