How To Make Sambal Belacan And 9 Other Awesome Malaysian Condiments

No meal is complete without sambal belacan!

Cover image via Resepi Sahabat's Facebook

1. Sambal belacan

25 to 30 Bird's eye chili or Thai chili (a mix of red and green)
1 thumb-sized belacan
1/2 tsp sugar
Pinch of salt, if needed

Pound and grind down all the ingredients until you get a rough paste. This makes about half a cup of basic sambal belacan.

1. For an added kick, mix 1 tbsp of sambal belacan with the juice of 1 kalamansi lime and 1.4 tsp of finely sliced lime skin.
2. Goes like a dream with ikan masin, hot rice and ikan goreng.

2. Sambal tumis cili kering

2 large onions, peeled and sliced
5 cloves of garlic
1/2 inch ginger
1 cup minced dried chillies
1 piece tamarind (asam gelugur)
Cooking oil
Salt and sugar to taste

1. Blend together onions, garlic, ginger, and minced chilli.
2. Sauté blended mixture with cooking oil until crisp.
3. Add in tamarind as well as salt and sugar to taste.
4. Keep sautéeing until the mixture is fully cooked.

PRO-TIP: Add in dried anchovies (ikan bilis), prawns, or cuttlefish to make a delicious side dish!

3. Kuah kacang (spicy peanut sauce)

1 kg peanuts, dry roasted with the skin removed
3 tbsps cooking oil
Milk from 2 coconuts OR 2 cans/boxes of coconut milk
5 tbsps of asam jawa or tamarind paste, mixed with 2 cups water and deseeded, OR the juice of 1 lemon
Salt and sugar to taste

Blend together:
3 stalks lemon grass, use bottom 1-inch only
1 inch ginger
1 inch galangal or lengkuas
1 inch fresh turmeric OR 1 tbsp turmeric powder
4 to 5 tbsps of brown sugar
4 to 5 tbsps palm sugar
15 dried chillies, soaked in hot water and then removed, OR 6 tbsps cili boh (dried chilli paste)
20 shallots or small onions, OR 4 large onions
6 cloves garlic
1 inch belacan piece or shrimp paste (optional)

1. Blend the peanuts into a sand-like consistency. You can also have it chunkier if your prefer.
2. Put all blended ingredients into a heated wok or pan. Stir until the liquid has dried up a bit.
3. Add in the cooking oil, and keep stirring the ingredients for about 5 minutes or until fragrant.
4. Add in the coconut milk and tamarind water or lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Add in the ground peanuts and simmer until oil appears on the surface. The longer the time, the more oil is produced.
6. Check for consistency – the sauce should not be too watery or runny, but thick enough to stick on when you dip ketupat, nasi himpit, satay, or cucumber into it. If it's too watery, simmer for a bit longer. If it's too thick, add a little bit of water.
7. Add about 1 tbsp of salt and sugar to taste.
8. Remove from heat and serve it hot or cold.

PRO-TIP: Serve with satay or lightly steamed vegetables such as long beans, bean sprouts, fresh cucumbers, and fried tofu a la Indonesian style Gado Gado.

4. Cincalok (fermented shrimp sauce)

9 cups geragau shrimps or krill
3 cups cooked rice, cooled down to room temperature
2/3 cup salt
Rice wine
Red food colouring

1. Stir fry the salt in a wok or pan, until light brown. Set aside to completely cool.
2. Rinse the geragao/krill, and fish out all the dirt.
3. Place the clean geragao/krill in a colander and drain of all water.
4. Mix rice with the stir fried salt. Set aside.
5. Place the geragao in a mixing bowl, and add in the rice. Stir until well combined. At this stage, you can add in red food colouring should you wish to.
6. Scoop the cincalok into some clean jars and seal them tightly.
7. Store them in room temperature for 24 hours before moving them into the fridge.

5. Pickled green chilli

Image via Goody Foodies

15 green chillies, washed and sliced
1/2 bottle vinegar
1 tbsp sugar

1. Combine vinegar, salt, and sugar in a pot and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and leave to cool.
2. Pour the cooled mixture into a jar. Add in green chilli slices. Seal tight and refrigerate.

PRO-TIP: Usually eaten with fried noodles, bihun, and koay teow.

6. Budu (fermented fish sauce)

Image via mummysayf

1 kg fresh anchovies (gutted, cleaned, tossed and dried)
1 cup coarse salt
5 pieces of tamarind (asam gelugur)
1 piece nissae (gula melaka)

1. Combine cleaned fresh anchovies and salt.
2. Scoop the mixture into clean, dry jars and seal tight.
3. Ferment for 44 days. During the fermenting, you should occasionally dry it out in the hot sun with the cap open. Do not stir.
4. After the fermentation period is over, uncap the jar. Stir the mixture quickly so that the anchovies disintegrate.
5. Add in tamarind and gula melaka.
6. Seal tight and ferment until gula melaka dissolves.

PRO-TIP: Add in some cut up cili padi, fresh onion slices, and lime juice into the prepared budu paste.

7. Sambal kicap

Image via neenaanuar

12 cili padi
2 cloves garlic
4 tbsp sweet soy sauce
1/4 tsp sugar
Pinch of salt

1. Blend or ground cili padi and garlic until it becomes a smooth paste.
2. In a bowl, combine blended mixture with sweet soy sauce, sugar, and salt. Mix well.

PRO-TIP: Eat it as pisang goreng dip. Trust us, it's delicious!

8. Sambal tok tok

A fistful of anchovies (washed and crisply fried)
1 large onion, roughly sliced
15 cili padi
2 red chillies, halved
Belacan (optional)
Some lime juice
Salt and sugar

1. Fry all the ingredients (EXCEPT anchovies) until fragrant and soft.
2. Ground with anchovies. Add in salt and sugar to taste.

9. Sambal belacan Brunei

10 red bird's eye chilli (cili padi)
10 green bird's eye chilli (cili padi)
1 inch belacan, ground
1/2 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tbsp tamarind water
Cooking oil
Salt and sugar to taste

1. Heat up some oil. Fry red and green chillies, onion, and garlic until fragrant and soft.
2. Add in belacan and fry over medium heat until fully cooked.
3. Roughly blend fried mixture, then stir in tamarind water, salt and sugar.

10. Sambal ikan & kelapa

1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup shreded grilled fish fillet (ikan bakar)
1/4 cup ginger, sliced and minced
1/4 cup lemongrass, sliced and blended
1/2 cup minced onion
Salt to taste
1 tbsp black pepper powder

1. Fry shredded coconut until it's light and dry.
2. Add in the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT black pepper powder. Fry until the onions become soft. Ground the mixture for a finer texture.
3. Combine with black pepper powder and mix well.

PRO-TIP: Serve with rice, sambal, budu, ulam, and roasted chicken or beef.

What is your favourite local condiment? Let us know in the comments below!

P.S. Feel free to attach the recipe too! :p

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