Someone gave me some calamansi, and straight away it reminded me of sambal belachan.

Sambal belachan – this is a must have Malaysian condiment with most of our dishes and an important element for many delicious curries and dishes.

First, what is “sambal”?

Sambal is a hot and spicy sauce or paste, typically made from a mixture of chilly as the primary ingredient. Secondary ingredients are lime juice, garlic, fish sauce, shallot etc.

So, sambal belachan is a mixture of pounded chilli paste and belachan!

Sambal Belachan – in the bottle. The fresh red blended chilli paste mixed with the belachan powder.

Two very important ingredients:

  1. Pounded chillies
  2. Belachan – and I am using belachan powder.

And whether you add calamansi, it is entirely up to you.  Balanchan is salty in taste, chilli is spicy and calamansi is sour… and when you add calamansi juice, it adds a sourish “kick” to the sambal. If you don’t have calamansi, you can substitute it with lime or lemon juice.

How much belachan to add to the chilli is entirely up to your taste bud. Some people like it salty – thus add more belachan and vice versa.

Some sambal belachan recipes have only 2 ingredients, and some added the calamansi; however, I have seen other recipes that add shallots or tomatoes. I am not used to shallots or tomatoes, so I am going to just talk about chillies and belachan here, and optional calamansi juice.

Pound chillies with motel and pestle Modern way – blending chillies

Chilli paste – In the oldern days, we had to pound the chillies manually; however nowadays, we can use the blender to blend the chillies or buy the readymade bottled chillies.

So whenever I had the opportunity to visit the fresh food market, I would purchase a box of chillies from the market; it could be around 8 kilos of chillies. I would then wash and blend all the chillies and deep freeze them for future use.

So when I need some sambal belachan, I will scoop 2 tablespoons of fresh pounded/blended chillies, and mix with belachan powder. [Refer: What is belachan]

How to eat/consume sambal belachan?

We would eat it with noodles or rice, and you can find sambal in most Malaysian curries, which would have sambal belachan as well. With this, you have sambal belachan added to all the spices, and you stir fry them.

Recipes that use sambal belachan:

Sambal from the stores:

Nowadays we have many types of sambal in the Chinese grocery stores or your local super markets;  so do check the ingredients before purchasing.

Let me know your thoughts about sambal belachan. Have you made it before? Did you have to toast the fresh wet belachan or did you use the powdered belachan? Do you use pestle and mortar for pounding your chillies, do you blend them, or do you get the chillies from the readymade pastes off the shelf?

Love your thoughts and enjoy this wonderful condiment.

> What is belachan?

> Where to get belachan powder?

How to panggang/pan roast belachan?

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Purchase your roasted belachan from Nyonyalicious

Normal & Vegetarian version

Check out all the belachan range from Nyonyalicious: 

Sim Seng Lee Belachan Block
Sim Seng Lee Shrimp Paste Block
Aeroplane Golden Fish Brand Belachan Block (Hock Lee)250g
Aeroplane Golden Fish Brand Belachan Block (Hock Lee)250g
Belachan Powder Richmond - 200g
Belachan Powder Richmond - 200g
Belachan Powder - Vegetarian 200g
Belachan Powder - Vegetarian 200g

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