Sambal Belacan

'Sambal belacan' is a raw hot and spicy condiment that goes well with meat, seafood and even noodles. Its explosive flavours of spiciness, savouriness and sourness tantalize the taste buds and stir up the appetite.

5 stars

Preparation 5 mins
Cooking 15 mins


Raw Chillies with Shrimp Paste

Malaysian, Singaporean

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Nutrition per Serving

32 kcal
7 g
0 g
2 g

Sambal belacan is raw spicy sauce and is very easy to prepare. This spicy raw sambal is made with fresh chillies and is great when taken with either rice or noodles.

Types of chillies to use

Sambal belacan is made using fresh chillies. You may choose between cayenne chillies or bird eye chillies which are very spicy. It is also possible to make it using a mix of both types of the chillies.

Where to buy belacan?

Belacan or dried shrimp paste is a dry hard paste and has a pungent smell. You can buy it at the Asian grocers.

How can I substitute calamansi

As you saw in the video, I prepared sambal belacan with a bit of calamansi juice. Calamansi is not easily available in Europe. So, the best substitute is lime juice.

How to store sambal belacan?

If you like, you may prepare a big batch of sambal belacan. It can be kept frozen for up to 3 months. Otherwise, it can be kept for ca. 1 month if refrigerated.

How to serve sambal belacan?

Use it as a dipping sauce. For this specific sambal belacan recipe, it is best served with braised pork in soy sauce (tau yu bak), stir-fry yam bean with dried squid (jiu hu char), chilli pan mee or nasi ulam.


10 g
shrimp paste (dried)
bird-eye chillies
fresh chilli (red)
1 tsp
1⁄4 tsp

Steps to Prepare

Sambal Belacan Step 1

Step 1 of 2

Toast shrimp paste on a dry pan until fragrant. Pound chillies and shrimp paste until evenly mixed.

Sambal Belacan Step 2

Step 2 of 2

    • 2 calamansi
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 1⁄4 tsp salt

Add calamansi lime juice to the pounded chillies and shrimp paste. Add sugar and salt to taste. Store sambal belacan in a clean and dry bottle. It can be kept for up to a month if refrigerated.

Published: June 11, 2014

2 Discussions

4 years ago


You suggest to use lime as a substitution for calamansi. Since regular limes are much bigger than calamansi I assume that I need the same amount in terms of juice, right? So, for 2 calamansi I'll use ca. half a lime. Or should I adjust for sourness as well? And if so, is a calamansi more sour than a regular lime? I have no idea, do you?

Mira - Community Happiness Manager
4 years ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Half a lime sounds good. You can add more if you like. Some prefer the sambal belacan to be more sour ;)

Matt Malay
4 years ago

Matt Malay

If you don’t have belacan as in fish ale form, can you use shrimp paste? Probably won’t have the same kick, but wondering. MattMalay

Mira - Community Happiness Manager
4 years ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Shrimp paste in any form will work with this recipe.

Matt Malay
4 years ago

Matt Malay

Still awaiting reply ta.

Matt Malay
4 years ago

Matt Malay

Sorry Mira, did not see your reply. Ta.

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