If there is one dish that I can eat every day with just plain white rice, it’s probably sambal udang. It’s one of my favorite dish.

Every household would have their own version, but the basic ingredients are more or less the same – garlic, shallots, Chilli, tamarind, palm sugar and belacan. I like to cook the prawns with the shell and heads intact. Every bite is bursting with the briny flavor of the prawn and complex flavor of the sambal.


  • 500 gram prawns, head and shell on
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 to 2 teaspoon palm sugar
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind pulp, soak in 1/2 cup water
For the prawn marinade:
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
For the spice paste:
  • 5 to 10 dried chilli (add more if you want it spicier)
  • 4 shallots
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 to 2 teaspoon shrimp paste/ belacan

1. Marinade the prawns for 10 minutes. On a medium heat add oil and fry prawns for 1 to 2 minutes on each side until prawns are fully cooked. Set aside.

For the garnish:
  • Handful fresh coriander and spring onion


2. In a food processor, blend the spice ingredients until it becomes a paste.

3. Heat oil over medium heat, add the spice paste and onion. Sauté until fragrant. Once the oil separates, pour the tamarind mixture and sugar. Season to taste. Simmer on medium-low heat until it is reduced slightly. Then add the prawns and mix to combine.

3. Garnish with chopped spring onion and coriander. Serve with steamed rice.

Bon appétit!
If you’ve tried the recipe, don’t forget to tag us on instagram at #thespatulaandwok

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