Cheater’s Sambal Prawns
This bowl of sambal prawns (sambal udang in Malay) is made with fresh sambal paste from the wet market as a short-cut. The sambal sauce is deliciously hot with a slight citrusy tang. It takes only 10 minutes to prepare and 10 minutes to cook this dish.
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I think my sambal prawns looked better straight from the wok pan without styling than when I try to plate them :P I prefer a more saucy sambal sauce, so that I can drizzle it over rice.
I bought my sambal paste from a wet market stall in Melaka from my recent holiday. Since young, my family cooked curry and sambal dishes with such pastes from the market. I think it has a more home-made vibe to it than the packets sold at the supermarket. But the flip side about such fresh pastes is that there is no ingredient list, so it is not recommended for those with food allergies. How to adapt this recipe with your own sambal paste from the wet market or supermarket? Since every sambal paste is different, season the final dish to taste with fish sauce or salt, sugar and chilli powder (if extra heat is needed). I prefer fish sauce to salt due to its pungency which complements sambal well. Sugar is probably not needed if you are using plain water instead of assam water.
These are the ingredients for this dish. Besides the sambal paste (not actual amount used), there are onion, red chilli, tomato and kaffir lime leaves. As for the prawns, I am using extra-large (so that I don’t have so many to devein) and frozen (so that I don’t need to peel them lol) ones as a short-cut. The white liquid at the top left corner is coconut cream (optional; adds a richer depth to the sauce). The brown liquid at the right bottom corner is filtered assam (tamarind) water which provides a pleasant tang.