How-To: Sambal Tumis Belacan (Stir-Fried Belachan Chilli Paste)

I am so happy that I have finally I have managed to pen down this recipe to share with our readers.  This sambal paste is so versatile to use and it is a very handy paste to have on hand, especially when you love your food spicy hot. It is such a good condiment to add to the Singapore Hokkien Mee as it enhances the flavour of this already delicious noodle dish. It can be used to cook spicy dish such as Sambal Squid, Sambal Egg and many more.

I will always make more than what I need so that I can either store them in the fridge or freezer for later. If you do not want your sambal to be too spicy remove as many seeds (not all) from the chilli as possible. Otherwise what is sambal without the spiciness right?

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For pounding / blending:

100g dried chillies

5 to 6 pieces of bird eye chillies

20 pieces shallots, roughly chopped

10 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

5 stalks of lemongrass, cut into small pieces


8 candlenuts, roughly chopped

2cm fresh ginger, cut to small pieces

3cm length of a block of belacan

4 to 6 tablespoons tamarind/Assam juice

4 tablespoons brown sugar/gula Melaka

Some salt to taste

8 to 10 teaspoons cooking oil


Preparing Tamarind/Assam Juice:

  1. Soak a large chunk of tamarind/Assam pulp with hot water for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Strain through a sieve and discard all the seeds and impurities and set aside.

Preparing ingredients for pounding/blending:

  1. Cut the belacan into smaller cubes and toast it in a dry pan.
  2. While it is toasting, chop it with your spatula to break it up, till aromatic and powdery.
  3. Soak the dry chilli with warm water till soft.
  4. Then put the toasted belacan, shallots, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, and candlenuts into the blender. Add in some oil if necessary, then blend till you get a smooth paste.
  5. Remove and set aside.
  6. Cut the dry chilli and fresh chilli into smaller pieces.
  7. Put them into a blender and add in some oil if necessary till you get a smooth paste.
  8. Remove and set aside.

Note: If you are pounding, you do not need to add oil into your ingredients.

Cooking the Sambal:

  1. Heat up 8 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan over medium low heat.
  2. Add in the chilli paste and the spice paste and stir once in a while to ensure that it is not burnt.
  3. Add 4 tablespoons of assam solution after 10 minutes and continue to stir to mix well.
  4. Add the brown sugar or gula Melaka and allow it to melt into the sambal.
  5. Add some salt to taste and stir to mix well.
  6. You need to stir frequently to ensure that the mixture is not burnt and add some more if it is too dry.
  7. After 30 minutes, you will see that the oil is separated from the mixture you can stop stirring. The sambal will turn a deeper red and you’ll see the oil oozing from it.
  8. Now it is ready for use, or you can leave to cool before storing.


  1. Add oil and not water if you are blending the ingredients so as not to alter the taste of the ingredients.
  2. If you prefer the sambal to be:
  • Sweeter – Add more gula malaka or shallots/red onions
  • Spicier – Remove less seeds from the chillies or add more chillies
  • More pungent – add more garlic
  1. The layer of oil on top will preserve the sambal for about 1 month in the fridge.
  2. Store them into small containers or Ziploc bags and freeze them for months.

Mummy's Kitchen

Hi! My name is Josephine Go. I blog at in a segment called Mummy’s Kitchen. I love to use fresh and natural ingredients in my cooking to promote healthy eating. Some of my recipes may not be in line with the traditional methods of cooking to the extent that some of the ingredients are different, but hopefully new recipes are being created in my style. I certainly hope that what I do will help guide kitchen first-timers on how to cook their first meal as well as further equip kitchen veterans with new recipes. My loving husband and two wonderful children are my best guinea pigs and critics. They have enjoyed (or endured) the food that has been served to them for all these years. Mind you, I did not know how to cook or ever knew that I could cook till I got married. So there is hope for everyone. If I can cook, you can cook. You will not know how good or talented you are until you put your hand in the plough.

6 thoughts on “How-To: Sambal Tumis Belacan (Stir-Fried Belachan Chilli Paste)

  1. Pauline Siew says:

    Thanks for sharing these wonderful recipes

  2. Boy, am I glad that I’ve just signed up to be one of you; I’ve just browsed through three of your recipes and I find them really good ….yes, I could tell by just going through them. Bless you guys for being so generous and ever ready to share. I’ve hardly cooked all my life and am only beginning to learn “the tricks of the trade”; thank you.

    1. Hi Ivy, we are beyond thrilled that you’ve found us! We’re glad that you’re enjoying our recipes and we hope that you would continue to support us and learn through Beyond Norm. Happy cooking! 😀

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