Sambal udang (prawn sambal)

In this simple sambal udang from Ramael Scully, prawns and peas are simmered with a homemade sambal belacan, shallots and fresh turmeric until the prawns are tender and everything is coated in an intense, spicy sauce. It's best enjoyed with hot rice, boiled eggs and sliced cucumber. If you make extra sambal belacan, store it in the freezer and enjoy with raw vegetables or mixed into rice.

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First published in 2023




Sambal belacan

Sambal udang



Wrap the shrimp paste in foil and toast in a pan or under the grill until it starts to smell fragrant

  • 70g of shrimp paste, or belachan

Pound or blitz the shallots, garlic, toasted belacan (removed from the foil), fresh chillies and dried chillies together until they form a smooth or coarse paste. This can be done in a blender or pestle and mortar

  • 50g of shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 10g of garlic, peeled
  • 100g of red chillies, deseeded
  • 100g of whole dried kashmiri chilli, deseeded, and soaked in warm water

Add tamarind and lime juice, then season with a pinch of salt and sugar. Sambal belacan can be stored in the fridge for a few days or frozen. Defrost the paste before using as needed


In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over a medium-high heat. Sauté the shallots, garlic, ginger and turmeric until they are soft and transparent. Add 3-4 tbsp of the sambal belacan, then sauté until fragrant. Add the water and bring to the boil



Add the prawns and peas, then bring everything back to the boil. Simmer until the prawns are almost cooked through. Finish off the dish with the tamarind and season with salt and sugar to taste. Serve with steamed rice, boiled eggs and sliced fresh cucumber on the side

Ramael Scully's vibrant dishes reflect his Malaysian roots, Australian upbringing and European training. After moving to London from Sydney in 2005, he struck up a culinary bond with Yotam Ottolenghi, shaping the brand's menus and heading up fine dining restaurant NOPI. In 2018, he opened his debut venture Scully St James's as a celebration of his colourful cooking.

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