sambal santan

Amazing Sambal Santan: a Creamy Prawn Sambal

Welcome to another sambal recipe! Sambal santan is a sambal that is mixed with santan, or creamed coconut. This creamy sambal is a curry like dish that is definitely one to try out with your favorite rice dish!

To make sambal santan, simply chop and grind chillies, shallots, and garlic like usual with sambal. Fry this sambal in lots of santan and add some shrimps if you’d like, that’s it!

What is sambal santan?

Sambal santan is like a prawn curry, blending zesty green chilies, garlic, and shallots with creamy coconut milk. It’s a culinary gem from Malay roots, a delicious spoonful of tradition.

The spicy sambal mixed with creamy santan creates a special touch to Malay food. It’s not just a dish; it’s a cultural celebration of land and sea, enjoyed at gatherings and daily meals.

Let’s get started with the recipe!

Step 1: Collect the ingredients

sambal santan

Sambal santan

Sambal santan! This amazing curry-like dish is definitely for you if you're into spicy and creamy flavors. Try this one out with your favorite rice dish and enjoy!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Sambal
Cuisine Indonesian, Malaysian
Servings 4
Calories 238 kcal


  • Food processor


  • 3 green chillies (~10cm)
  • 400 g raw, frozen shrimps (devilled and peeled)
  • 2 shallots
  • 3 garlic
  • 100 g santan (creamed coconut)


  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • salt to pepper


  • Collect the ingredients
  • Chop the ingredients
  • Fry sambal santan
  • Serve and conserve sambal santan
Keyword Sambal santan

Note: The given kcal count is an approximation given by a calculation tool used online.

What to consider when choosing the ingredients

In making sambal santan, each ingredient is super important. So, choose wisely! For chilies, go for bright green ones without spots, bursting with freshness. You should pick large ones for this recipe, but feel free to pick your own favorites as well!

When it comes to shallots and garlic, pick firm ones for that powerful flavor that makes your sambal special. Alternatively, use any other type of onion or use dried garlic flakes if you’d wish!

No sambal santan is complete without juicy prawns. Choose raw, fresh prawns for a delicate sweetness that pairs perfectly with the bold sambal. I went for frozen, devilled prawns for convenience, try any you’d like!

sambal santan ingredients

Step 2: Chop the ingredients

Chop up your washed chillies, shallots, and garlic roughly and grind them in your food processor until you get a smooth paste. Add the curry powder, turmeric salt and white pepper and mix well.

grinding ingredients
ground ingredients
mixed ingredients
adding spices

Step 3: Fry sambal santan

Take a frying pan and set it on medium heat, add a tablespoon of santan to your pan to melt. Add the ground ingredients and fry lightly. Add the shrimps and fry them until cooked on the outside.

adding santan
frying spice paste
fried spice paste
adding shrimps

Here’s a trick to save both time and flavor. While your shrimps fry, add hot water to the food processor. Add the santan to this hot water to let it dissolve and soak up excess flavors from the food processor.

melting santan

Don’t worry if the santan doesn’t fully dissolve, this will happen once you add the mixture to the pan. If the shrimps are (partially) fried, add the mixture from the foodprocessor and stir well.

frying sambal santan
fried sambal santan

Let this mixture simmer and thicken for some 10 minutes or until the curry has a consistency of your liking, that’s it! Have a taste and add some more salt if needed.

Step 4: Serve and conserve sambal santan

Sambal santan is best enjoyed fresh. Serve it over warm, fluffy rice or steaming, fragrant noodles. The flexible nature of this dish also allows it to accompany vegetables, meats, or tofu—each bringing a unique result to the recipe.

sambal santan zoomed

I can recommend serving this with nasi minyak, like I did. You can also try out one of these dishes to serve this sambal with:

If you like this sambal, deifnitely try out my other ones:

Alternatively, store the sambal in the fridge for a few days but again, best served fresh!

I hope you’ve liked this recipe and if you did, please leave a rating and let me know what you think!

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