Sambal chili belacan making from scratch

This is a blog post on sambal chili belacan making from scratch. Chili sambal belacan is a common Malaysian side dish that is great served with plain rice and with some side dishes. Its strong hot and umami flavor pimps up the flavors of bland dishes. Belacan is also known as shrimp paste made from tiny shrimps fermented with salt, it has got strong flavors. Also known as Trassi in Indonesian and Kapi in Thai. Some describe it as strong and foul and rotten smelly.

sambal chilli belacan

It’s commonly found as street food in hawkers stalls in Malaysia. Serve alongside as a relish with rice and noodles. Here is a link on how to make nasi lemak and curry noodle where sambal chilli belacan is served. Now that I am living abroad it is not so easily available. To make it is not difficult but it takes some time to make decent sambal.

Sambal chilli belacan making from scratch

Belacan is available from a Chinese/ Asian grocer also call in English Shrimp paste. It is available in jars or cardboard boxes. Normally it’s Thai shrimp paste is available in Chinese / Asian grocers if you want Malaysian belacan it’s best to go to a seller that sells Malaysian products like on Facebook groups. Belacan is also more fragrant if it is roasted. Fresh chilies are available all year round from supermarkets. Dried chilies are only available from Chinese / Asian grocers there are many different types of dried chilies normally I would go for Kashmiri chilies.


3-4 fresh red chilies

4-5 dried red chilies

1 tsp belacan

5 shallots or 1 medium-size onion red or white

2-3 cloves of garlic

2 tbsp dried shrimps

2 tbsp cooking oil

2-3 lime or kalamansi/ calamondin lime juice only


First of all, soak the dried chilies till it is soft. Remove the seeds to make them less hot / heat. Roast the belacan paste till it’s fragrant with a blow torch or on a hob. Peel and chop the rest of the ingredients. Except for the lime blend the rest of the ingredients together in a blender.

In a frying pan, heat up the oil and fry the ingredients till it’s fragrant and releases the oil. Take it off the heat and serve with lime juice.

Enjoy. It is possible to freeze the sambal. It will last around 5 days keep in the fridge.

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