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Prawn Sambal: A Spicy Malaysian Delight

If you love seafood and spicy food, then you must try prawn sambal. Prawn sambal, also known as sambal udang, is a popular Malaysian dish that is easy to make and bursting with flavour. It is a spicy relish made with prawns, sambal, belacan, and tamarind.

A plate of prawn sambal sits on a banana leaf, surrounded by steamed rice and slices of cucumber. The spicy, aromatic sauce glistens on the prawns, enticing the viewer with its vibrant colors and rich flavors

Making prawn sambal is a straightforward process that requires only a few key ingredients. The prawns are cooked with the sambal, which is a chilli paste with a balance of spicy, savoury, and tangy flavours. Belacan, a type of shrimp paste, is the key to giving the dish its subtle savoury flavour. Tamarind is added for a citrusy note, while sugar and salt are used to balance out the spiciness.

Prawn sambal pairs beautifully with nasi lemak, the national rice dish in Malaysia. It can also be served as a side dish or as a main course with steamed rice and fried vegetables. If you're new to prawn sambal, you may have some questions about the dish. Here are some frequently asked questions to help you get started.

Key Takeaways

  • Prawn sambal is a popular Malaysian dish that is easy to make and bursting with flavour.
  • Belacan is the key to giving the dish its subtle savoury flavour, while tamarind is added for a citrusy note.
  • Prawn sambal pairs beautifully with nasi lemak and can be served as a side dish or as a main course with steamed rice and fried vegetables.

Making Prawn Sambal

Prawns simmer in a rich, spicy sambal sauce, with onions and tomatoes sizzling in the pan

Ingredients Breakdown

To make delicious prawn sambal, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Prawns
  • Tamarind juice or paste
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Kaffir lime leaves
  • Red chillies
  • Dried shrimp
  • Belacan (shrimp paste)
  • Vegetable oil

You can also add coconut milk, palm sugar, brown sugar, and dry red chilies to enhance the flavor.

Preparation Steps

To prepare the prawns, clean them thoroughly and devein them. Then, boil them in water for a few minutes until they turn pink. Drain and set aside.

Next, prepare the spice paste by blending together shallots, garlic, dried shrimp, red chilies, toasted belacan, and ground turmeric. You can also use fresh turmeric, dried chillies, and lemongrass stalks for added flavor.

Cooking Techniques

To cook the prawn sambal, heat vegetable oil in a wok or pan. Add the spice paste and stir-fry until fragrant. Then, add the tamarind juice or paste, water, salt, and sugar. Stir to combine.

Add the cooked prawns and stir-fry until they are coated with the sauce and heated through. You can also add coconut milk to make a creamy gravy.

Garnish with kaffir lime leaves and sliced red chilies before serving hot with steamed rice.

Some tips to keep in mind when making prawn sambal are to use fresh ingredients, adjust the amount of spice to your liking, and be careful not to overcook the prawns. With these simple steps and techniques, you can easily make a delicious prawn sambal dish in no time.

Serving Suggestions

A plate of prawn sambal with steamed rice and a side of fresh cucumber slices on a wooden table

Accompaniments

When serving prawn sambal, it is best to pair it with some steamed rice, such as nasi lemak. The fluffy texture of the rice complements the thick, spicy sauce of the sambal prawn. You can also serve it with a side dish of water spinach or eggplant to balance out the heat.

To add some variety to your meal, you can also include a boiled egg or two on the side. The egg yolk can help to tone down the spiciness of the sambal sauce.

Presentation Tips

To make your prawn sambal look more appealing, you can garnish it with some chopped coriander or spring onions. This adds a pop of colour to the dish and makes it look more appetising.

When serving, make sure to spoon the sambal sauce over the prawns evenly. This ensures that every bite has a good amount of sauce and flavour.

To keep the dish warm, you can place it on a hot plate or in a slow cooker. This will prevent the sambal prawn from getting cold and keep the sauce from thickening.

Remember to be mindful of the calories when serving prawn sambal as it can be quite high in calories due to the use of fermented shrimp and fish sauce. However, it is still a delicious and satisfying side dish that can be enjoyed in moderation.

Frequently Asked Questions

A plate of prawn sambal with steaming hot sauce, surrounded by aromatic herbs and spices, on a rustic wooden table

How do you make a simple prawn sambal?

Making a simple prawn sambal is easy. All you need is sambal paste, prawns, belacan (shrimp paste), and tamarind. Heat up some oil in a pan and fry the sambal paste until fragrant. Add in the prawns and belacan, and stir until the prawns are cooked. Lastly, add in the tamarind juice and stir well.

What ingredients are needed for a traditional Malaysian prawn sambal?

A traditional Malaysian prawn sambal requires prawns, sambal paste, belacan (shrimp paste), tamarind juice, sugar, salt, and water. Some recipes may also include onions, garlic, and lemongrass.

Can you suggest a prawn sambal recipe that pairs well with nasi lemak?

Sure! You can try this recipe: Heat up some oil in a pan and fry the sambal paste until fragrant. Add in the prawns and stir until the prawns are cooked. Lastly, add in some coconut milk and let it simmer for a few minutes. This prawn sambal pairs well with nasi lemak, which is coconut rice.

What's the difference between prawn sambal and crispy prawn sambal?

Prawn sambal is a spicy and savoury dish made with prawns and sambal paste, while crispy prawn sambal is a dish where the prawns are coated in a batter and deep-fried until crispy. The crispy prawn sambal is then served with a sweet and spicy sauce.

Is there a quick and easy prawn sambal recipe?

Yes, there is! You can make a quick and easy prawn sambal by using store-bought sambal paste. Heat up some oil in a pan and fry the sambal paste until fragrant. Add in the prawns and stir until the prawns are cooked. Lastly, add in some sugar and salt to taste.

What are the key spices used in an Indian prawn sambal dish?

An Indian prawn sambal dish typically uses a blend of spices such as cumin, coriander, turmeric, and garam masala. The prawns are cooked in a tomato-based sauce with these spices, along with onions, garlic, and ginger.