My Island Penang

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Sambal Udang

Sambal Hei or Sambal prawns is a seafood dish cooked in sambal belachan

Sambal Udang, a Penang Nyonya Food is a lovely dish. Prawn Sambal is prawn cooked in fiery sambal and tamarind. Marinating some tamarind with enough water to make a thick creamy gravy for the dish is fairly important.

Some of us love your prawn deep fried with batter. But the Nyonya's love their prawns either cooked in tamarind called Assam Prawns or spicy creamy udang.

We love to take together with hot rice. Sometimes, we like to served it with Nasi Lemak. Or you can cooked it drier and have it spread for your sandwiches.

During my testing and blending research, I found adding lemon grass gives it some kick. It taste equally good. But if you are going to put Petai (Stink Bean) in it, don't use lemon grass.


  • 250gm Medium sized prawns, shelled and devined
  • 3 Tablespoon lime juice
  • or 25gm Tamarind 1/2 cup water
  • 1 round Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 6 ozs of oil

Pounded Ingredients

  • 1/4 ozs dried chillies
  • 4 fresh chillies
  • 4 ozs shallots
  • 1/2 ozs belachan
  • 3 buah keras (candle nuts)

Method of cooking

Nyonya Pearl's note:

If you cooked the prawns as per normal (that is not not high heat), it will not be crunchy.

  • Heat 5 ozs oil and fry rumpah, high heat. When begin to stick to pan, lower to medium heat.
  • Add tamarind juices and simmer for 5 mins, before adding bunga kantan or chean hong.
  • Add sugar, it matures the sourish taste and makes it taste.
  • Fry the prawns with high heat and fast to achieve the crunchy effect. Add in last and better before serving.

For thicker creamy consistency: Using the same recipe, add minus the tamarind and water, this dish gets thicker.

Variations: What we do, we add Petai (Stinky Beans).

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