Sambal Belacan

When hubby and I lived in Malaysia,  one of the things that was really harnessed in us are our palates.  I personally think that most of Malaysia’s exotic and surprisingly delicious dishes require an acquired taste.  They simply grow into you and eventually, you just realized you are already hooked by it.

One of those which got me and my husband really hooked into are the different sambal concoctions in Malaysia.  Sambal is a Malaysian condiment which is primarily made of chilis.  It varies depending on the other ingredients that one add into the chilis.

Of all the sambals which hubby and I have tasted,  there was one distinct variety that really stood out.  It was made of chili boh (chili paste), kalamansi juice, onion, and tamarind juice.  Our landlady who also owned a restaurant was the one who unselfishly shared her recipe for her own Sambal Belacan.  Belacan by the way is a block of fermented shrimp which is also the base of all the sauces and condiments in Malaysia.  It literally stinks and is not for those who abhor stinky food.  Well, as for hubby and me,  the smell simply just grew into us that whenever I would smell it from our neighbors then,  it was simply divine!!!

When we came back here in Manila,  it was a sad reality that we had to face — NO MORE SAMBAL BELACAN.  And for the last 4 years (that long!!!),  we have not had sambal belacan.  So you can just pretty much imagine my happiness when I found the basic ingredients for Aunty’s Sambal Belacan when I dropped by a supermarket  last week.  Without any hesitation that I might have forgotten about the recipe (I did not write it down!),  I immediately bought the ingredients:


Tamarind Paste, Natural Chili Sauce, Belacan

And so, presenting to you (drumroll please!!!!!)…… I have not forgotten the recipe!!! The moment I tasted it, oh boy did it bring so much memories from our Malaysian sojourn, I suddenly missed our friends and adoptive parents there 🙂


In case you’re interested for the recipe, here it is:

Sambal Belacan ala Aunty Liam 🙂

2 tablespoonfuls of Belacan (roast in pan until the “aroma” comes off)
1/2 cup of the chili sauce
1/2 cup of kalamansi juice
1/4 kg of onions (sliced)
4 tablespoonfuls of tamarind juice

Process all the ingredients together until it becomes smooth.  Enjoy with any fried dish that you have.  You can also use it as a dip for green mangoes!