Tuesday, September 24, 2013

pan-fried sambal belacan prawns

I love spicy food. And I love prawns.

Since I am the only one at home who REALLY likes prawns, I rarely cook them these days. Normally I would eat them at restaurants but this afternoon, I felt like prawns, and I felt like something spicy.

So I took my pestle and mortar, and I made this.

It was really good fun!!

The ingredients needed to make this sambal belacan prawns are, well, prawns, and a few other things.

I started by pounding the shallots and ginger.

Then I added the buah keras and lemongrass. And pounded some more.

I added dried chilli, and continued pounding.

Since the rain had stopped, I was able to run out to the bbq to toast the belacan - I have an extra burner there. If you are toasting it in the kitchen, open all doors and windows, and hold your breath for the next 3 minutes. Once toasted, the balacan was then added to the spice paste. And pound everything until you are happy with the texture.

Then slice the onion, as well as the chilli.

While you are at it, soak the tamarind in the water and strain it. Reserve the liquid.

In a heated wok, I added the vegetable oil, followed by the spice paste, and I stir-fried the paste until it became fragrant. It would not take very long. As soon as the paste was fragrant, I added the onion and chilli, and continue to stir-fry for another 1-2 minutes.

In went the prawns. I kept frying until the prawns were cooked.

Then the tamarind liquid, sugar and fish sauce were added.

Once the liquid had evaporated, the dish was done.

Serve hot, with rice.

I am really glad I am the only one at home who really loves prawns.


Pan-Fried Sambal Belacan Prawns (Serves 1 domestic goddess wannabe, or 4 normal people)
Adapted from "Kampung Curry" by Patsie Cheong

500g big prawns, trimmed
1 big onion, sliced thinly
2 red chilli, sliced thinly
2 tbs sugar
1 tbs fish sauce
1 tbs tamarind, mixed with 5 tbs water

For the rempah (spice paste):
40-50g dried chilli, soaked
50g shallots
25g garlic
3 buah keras (candlenuts, can be substituted with macadamia nuts)
2 stalks lemongrass
2 tbs belacan, toasted

1. Pound ingredients for the rempah.
2. Soak and strain tamarind. Set this aside.
3. Heat oil in wok. Fry rempah until fragrant. Add onion and chilli. Fry for another 1-2 minutes.
4. Add prawns. Stir-fry until prawns are cooked.
5. Add tamarind water, sugar and fish sauce.
6. Stir-fry until all the liquid has evaporated.
7. Serve hot, with rice.

I am submitting this recipe for Cook-Your-Books hosted by Kitchen Flavours.

Last chance to take part in my giveaway! Giveaway ends at 10 tonight!


  1. Hi Diana,
    If this is served to my family, I've got to make a very big plate! We are a bunch of prawn lovers! Haha! Looks so delicious, and you are so hard-working at pounding the spices, nowadays I use the blender! When I was young, I used to help my mom to giling the rempah using the batu giling!
    Thank you for sharing with CYB!

    1. You have a family of seafood lovers! Hopefully when my kids are bigger they would love prawns as much as I do. Then I can cook more!

  2. Hi Diana, your prawns dish look so inviting and mouthwatering. I sure love to have this with extra rice. :)
    Use mortar and pestle to pound the chilli is still the best even thou a little hard work.

    Have a nice day.

    1. Hey Amelia - totally agree with you. Mortar and pestle still brings the best results! Thanks for leaving a comment! :)