Serve this dish with a tall glass of ice water and a stack of cool paper towels, because this sambal udang is gonna make you sweat. For our take on this classic spicy Malaysian dish, we simmer fresh prawns in shellfish stock and hot chili paste to create a fiery meal you won’t soon forget! But don’t worry, the zesty kaffir and tangy tamarind don’t get lost in the heat, its a well balanced intense plate of shrimp.Jump to Recipe
“Shrimp me baby, one more time”-brit
What is Sambal Udang?
Sambal Udang, also known as Prawn Sambal, is a popular Indonesian and Malaysian dish. I honestly tried to find where it first originated, but couldn’t find a definitive answer. But however or whoever came up with this dish, it was certainly born out of an abundance of prawns and chili’s.
The main ingredients used to create this Sambal Udang are fresh prawns, obviously, and a spicy chili pepper paste or sambal. For the sambal we use our Sambal Oelek recipe, or you could save a little time and buy the store bought stuff, like this Sambal Oelek.
For this recipe we’ve also taken some liberties and sauté the shrimp in our homemade shellfish stock, before adding it to the hot spicy sambal sauce. A step that isn’t mandatory, but man we sure recommend it.
Finally, I would really encourage you to seek out kaffir lime leaves, they have such unique zest that transports you directly to Southeast Asia. After years of cooking with bay leaves its just so nice to cook with a leaf that makes such a bold difference. Try sourcing them from an asian super market, if you can’t lime zest will have to do.
Sambal Udang Recipe
Sambal Udang Ingredients
Here’s a list of what you’ll need to make this Sambal Udang Recipe.
- Shrimp: Any kind will do, just make sure they are peeled and deveined.
- Shellfish Stock: Any seafood stock will work, but if you happen to have some leftover crab carcacess and a little time, try making our homemade Crab Stock.
- Tomato: Not in traditional Sambal Udang recipes, but we think they’re a nice effort at cooling this spicy dish down a tad.
- Tamarind Paste: Tangy delicious tamarind paste rounds out this flavor heavy dish.
- Fresh Kaffir Lime Leaves: They can be a challenge to source in the states, but try your damndest to get ahold of these powerfully flavorful leaves.
- Sugar: Just a pinch of brown sugar.
How to Make Sambal Udang
Follow these step by step instructions to make this sambal udang recipe.
Step 1: Heat the Sambal
Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat and add the sambal (spicy chili paste), stir continously and cook until fragrant, 3-5 minutes. Be careful as the chili fumes might cause irritation to your eyes and throat, turn on some vents or open a window.
Step 2: Add ingredients & Simmer
Then add the shellfish stock, tamarind paste, sugar, kaffir lime leaves, and salt, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Stir well to combine all the ingredients and let the sauce simmer for a few minutes until it thickens slightly.
Step 3: Cook the Prawns
Add the prawns and the tomato wedges and stir fry until they are cooked through. The sauce should thicken slightly and cover the prawns.
Step 4: Garnish and Serve
Remove the Sambal Udang from the heat. Garnish with more chili peppers, fresh cilantro, or some micro greens and serve hot alongside steamed rice.
What to Serve with Sambal Udang?
Sambal Udang pairs wonderfully with a variety of dishes that complement its bold and flavorful profile. Here are some options to serve alongside Sambal Udang.
- Steamed Rice: Sambal Udang is traditionally served with steamed white rice, allowing the prawn sambal’s rich sauce to be soaked up by the fluffy grains.
- Gado-Gado: A fun Indonesian salad with mixed vegetables and boiled eggs, served with a peanut sauce dressing. It complements the flavors of Sambal Udang and adds a delightful crunch to the meal.
- Side Salad: A nice simple side salad can offer much needed reprieve form the heat of a spicy Sambal Udang. An oasis of green in a fiery shrimp filled desert.
- Acar (Pickles): Indonesian acar is a sweet and tangy pickled vegetable dish that offers a refreshing contrast to the spiciness of the prawn sambal.
How to Store Sambal Udang
To properly store sambal udang, first, allow it to cool to room temperature, this should happen around the same time your mouth returns to its normal temperature. Then, transfer the sambal to a clean, airtight container and refrigerate. It can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple days.
When reheating sambal udang, use a microwave or stovetop. Just be gentle when reheating, you don’t want to overheat and turn the shrimp into rubber.
As for freezing, I wouldn’t. Frozen shrimp… eh.
Sambal Udang FAQ’s
What is Sambal made of?
Typically the most important ingredients in sambal are a combination of dried and fresh chili peppers. There are many different types of sambal, and many different combinations of spices, aromatics, and chilies used to create them.
Is Sambal Very Spicy?
Typically yes, sambal is spicy.
Where did Sambal Udang originate?
Sambal Udang is found in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.
If you liked this Sambal Udang recipe then you’l enjoy these recipes as well!
Soto Betawi: Soto Betawi or Jakarta beef soup, is a revelation. Succulent beef brisket drowns alongside potaotes in a silky smooth coconut broth. With notes of lemongrass, garlic, and ginger; this soup is a flavor blast and a half! And we haven’t even mentioned the toppings yet!
Bubur Ayam: Tender chicken, fragrant spices, and a plethora of delightful toppings, all combine to take you on a tantalizing journey to flavor paradise.
Sambal Oelek: Using just raw red chili peppers, salt, and rice vinegar, Sambal Oelek is spicy, versatile, and super easy to make; AND it goes well on just about everything. This chili paste is a popular condiment all across Indonesia, and for good reason. Use it to spice up your eggs, soups, noodles, grilled meats, whatever! It’s also a great marinade.