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When I moved to KL from Penang many years ago, one thing that I was never able to really get used to is the taste of sambal. In this region, sambal is often a pretty sweet affair, prepared with oil, galangal, turmeric, sugar, and involves process of cooking.

What I’m more familiar with instead, is mom’s version that is ultra simple and requires only 2, or maximum of 3 ingredients. This sambal is superb as a condiment with fatty food such as tau eu bak, and can also be used as an ingredient for other recipes such as sambal fried rice.

sambal belacan recipe

Here’s how you can prepare yours, all you need is fresh cili (maybe also some cili padi if you want it really spicy), and good quality belacan.


  • toast 2 tablespoon of belacan in frying pan until dry and fragrant
  • remove seeds from red chili (a dozen), and cut into small chunks
  • pound with pestle and mortar until they’re crushed
  • keep in fridge, squeeze a calamansi when serving and it’ll be instantly “fresh”

Good luck, stay safe, and happy cooking!

Discuss : KY cooks – Penang Style Sambal Belacan

  1. Exactly how I do it…but I will only use our Sarawak’s Bintulu belacan -simply the best but the last time I bought, it was RM50 a kilo.

  2. I suppose must pound with pestle and mortar for that authentic taste…lol. P/S: That looks like more than 2 tbsp of belacan wei. ^_~

    • eatwhateatwhere: oh yess, the old school style! Hahaha ya this particular time I may have used too much belacan 😛

  3. That’s a very big piece of Belacan!

  4. don’t forget to add a dollop of otak udang

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