The Wokingham Paper

IN THE KITCHEN: Spicy Prawn Sambal

Prawn Sambal
Spicy Prawn Sambal Picture: Gavin McArdell

This spicy prawn dish with fermented fish paste packs a lot of chilli and big flavours. Serve with plain or egg fried rice.

Ingredients for 4

  • 3 Medium onions, peeled, and chopped roughly
  • 5 Cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 lemongrass stalks, white part only discard the green layers and top part chopped roughly
  • 2 to 5 Red Birds Eye chillies to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon belachan fermented shrimp paste or similar
  • 8 TBSPs vegetable oil
  • 2 Tsps turmeric powder
  • 1 TSP Galangal paste or ginger paste
  • 600g Peeled Raw king prawns
  • 1 Aubergine cut into chunky bite size pieces
  • 100ml hot boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 Tsp light soy sauce or more to taste


Using a food processor or stick blender puree the onions, garlic, lemongrass, galangal and chilli into a paste.

Heat up a pan or wok until very hot. Add the oil and heat it for a few seconds until it starts to shimmer with a blue haze then add the paste mix you have pureed and the belachan and aubergine.

Fry over a medium heat for a few minutes, stirring regularly until the aromas are being released and the aubergine has softened.

Add the turmeric and fry for another minute then add the prawns and the water.

Stir to combine the prawns with the sauce. Add the tamarind, sugar, and soy and continue stirring, until the prawns are pink and cooked through. Serve with rice of choice.

Gavin McArdell

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