sambal udang

How to Make Sambal Udang (Fresh Shrimp Sambal)

Welcome to this amazing sambal recipe! Sambal udang is a really nice type of sambal which uses fresh shrimps as one of the main ingredients.

To make the sambal, simply fry a chili paste with a range of spices and add the shrimps. Eat cold or hot as a side dish with rice, pasta, potatoes, wraps, you name it!

What is sambal udang?

Sambal udang is a popular Malaysian dish that consists of shrimp cooked in a spicy, flavorful chili sauce. It typically contains a mixture of onion, garlic, chillies and various spices.

The dish is served with fresh vegetables such as cucumbers and tomatoes, as well as rice or noodles. Sambal udang is believed to have originated in the state of Johor in Malaysia in the late 1800s when Chinese immigrants brought their own style of cooking to the region.

It quickly became a favorite among locals and visitors alike, and has since become very common in local cuisine. Sambal udang can be found at street stalls throughout Malaysia and Singapore, as well as in restaurants all over Southeast Asia.

Let’s get started with making sambal udang!

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Step 1: Collect the ingredients

sambal udang

Sambal Udang

Sambal udang! A very nice shrimp sambal that is a great side dish when served fresh! Enjoy.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Sambal, Side Dish
Cuisine Indonesian
Servings 2 servings
Calories 250 kcal


  • Food processor


  • 300 gram shrimps
  • 6 shallots
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 10 cayenne peppers (~10cm)
  • 2 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp ketjap manis (Indonesian soy sauce)


  • 2 tsp laos powder (ground galangal)
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 leaves salam
  • 1 stalk lemon grass
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • a pinch of salt


  • Collect the ingredients
  • Wash & chop ingredients
  • Fry the sambal
Keyword Sambal udang

What to consider when choosing ingredients

Like always, I will break down the ingredients list and tell you what to think about when creating your own variation of the sambal udang.

Of course this is a traditional recipe, you won’t have too much freedom to experiment. However, you can play around with the main ingredients a bit to adapt spiciness. Vary in amount of chillies, shallots, type of chillies or onions to get a level op spice you like!

Adding more or less shrimps of course is also possible, I personally liked the ratio as it is. The outcome I got was quite spicy, great in taste and had a really nice bite to it because of the shrimps.


The spices are very traditional, very commonly used in sambal. Play around with different types or amounts but personally, I really like the dish as it is so I wouldn’t change much. Try to replace any spices or ingredients that are hard to find and see what happens.

A very common replacement for the salam leaves is to use kaffir leaves (lime leaves), adding a very fresh taste to the sambal.

You can also use these ingredients and spices to make your own variations of sambal, combine them with my other sambals and play around. It will be a great experience for developing a sense of taste.

Let’s continue with how to make this sambal:

Step 2: Wash & chop the ingredients

After gathering all of the ingredients, wash the chillies and peel the garlic and shallots. Chop them roughly before adding them to a food processor or hand grinder. I highly recommend getting a food processor to use for various recipes, get one here.

Ingredients all
Chopped ingredients

Now grind the garlic, shallot and chillies and get ready to cook.

Step 3: Fry sambal udang

Add some cooking oil (any) to a frying pan on medium-high heat. Let the ground ingredients simmer for a few minutes.

ground ingredients
frying ground ingredients

After a couple of minutes, add the spices (apart from the ketjap manis and tamarind paste) and shrimps and let them cook until they curl and color pink.

adding spices and shrimps
frying sambal udang

At this point, add the ketjap manis, tamarind past and some (50ml) water, stir well and let it integrate.

Cook for another 5 minutes, the sambal udang is done once the water has evaporated and returns to it’s former structure. Congratulations, you have made an authentic sambal udang!

Turn off the heat and let the sambal cool down, keep the lemon grass and salam leaves until you eat or store the sambal. As you use shrimps in this sambal, it will only last a couple of days so be careful.

I ate the sambal in a wrap with fresh salad, really nice and highly recommend it! Definitely feeds two people.

Be sure to check out some of my other sambals:

I hope you enjoy this sambal udang, let me know what you think in the comments below!

sambal udang


What is the meaning of sambal udang?

Sambal udang means spicy prawns. Sambal is a type of chili-based sauce that is popular in Southeast Asian cuisine, and udang is the Malay word for prawns.

What is the history of sambal udang?

Sambal udang is believed to have originated in the state of Johor in Malaysia in the late 1800s when Chinese immigrants brought their own style of cooking to the region.

How to make sambal udang petai?

Sambal udang petai is a variation of sambal udang that includes petai or stink beans. To make sambal udang petai, you will need to follow the same steps as making regular sambal udang and add roughly chopped petai beans towards the end of cooking.

How to make udang sambal Indian style?

To make udang sambal Indian style, you can use the same sambal udang recipe and add Indian spices like cumin, coriander, garam masala, and turmeric to make it more flavorful. You can also add coconut milk to make it more creamy.

How many calories in sambal udang?

The number of calories in sambal udang will depend on the specific recipe and portion size. However, prawns are generally a low-calorie and high-protein food. You can reduce the calorie intake by using less oil and sugar in your recipe.

How is sambal made?

Sambal is typically made with chili peppers, garlic, shallots, and shrimp paste blended together. Other ingredients like tamarind and sugar can also be added to taste. The ingredients are fried in oil until fragrant and combined with other ingredients like meat or seafood to create a flavorful dish.

How long to cook sambal?

The cooking time for sambal will depend on the recipe and ingredients used. Typically, sambal is cooked on medium heat for around 10 minutes. However, make sure to follow the specific recipe instructions to ensure the dish is cooked properly.

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