Sambal Heh Bee (Dried Prawn Sambal)

My memories of 'Sambal Heh Bee' brings me back to the aroma that came from the kitchen. The pungent aroma would fill up the whole house. There was no escape. Not only did I not escape, I went into the kitchen, the source of all evil. I would watch my aunt patiently pound the ingredients with the heavy pestle and mortar until they become a paste. Then when she toss everything in to the hot wok, the smell starts to build up. Westerners might not like the smell at first but I was so used to the smell, I love it! But please don't be put off by that cause it tastes fantastic!!

Now I have an overload of 'Sambal Heh Bee'!! :D



To blend finely:

  • 300g red onions

  • 1 bulb garlic

  • 4 fresh red chillies (de-seed)

  • 8 dried chillies (de-seed and soak in hot water)

  • 4 stalks lemongrass

  • 6 kaffir lime leaves

  • 2 tsp tumeric powder / thumb size fresh tumeric

  • 2 tsp tamarind paste

  • 2 tbs water

  • 300g dried shrimps (wash and soak in hot water)

  • 4 - 5 tbs oil

  • 4 tbs sugar

  • 1 tsp sea salt


  1. Coarsely pound the soaked dried shrimps or blend it slightly. Make sure they are not fine to give it texture.

  2. Set the dried shrimp aside.

  3. Blend the onion, garlic, chillies, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, tamarind paste and water into a fine paste. This blended paste will be slightly wet because of the 2 tbs of water that was added to make blending easier.

  4. Cook this paste without oil until it dries up. Add a tablespoon of oil and the coarsely pounded dried shrimps into the wok.

  5. Slowly add the oil in as you cook to make sure it does not stick to the wok.

  6. Let it cook for about 30 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid burning.

  7. Add the sugar and salt.

  8. At this stage, the sugar added will caramelise so it will burn easily. Remember to stir.

  9. Let it cook for another 15 minutes or so until it is caramelised and becomes a deeper brownish red.

  10. Serve as is or cook with something else.

  11. There will be plenty left unless you have a big family.

  12. Let it cool before storing in air tight container and refrigerate.


  • This can be kept in the freezer. Thaw before use.

  • Sambal heh bee is very versatile. Stir fry with vegetables or sprinkle on top of steamed tofu. It is tastes good when fried with rice.

Sambal Heh Bee

Make a simple omelette by stir frying the 'Sambal Heh Bee' with oil until fragrant. Then add in the eggs and cook till just set and flip. Top with a scoop of 'Sambal Heh Bee'. So simple yet so delicious.

1 comment :

  1. I can't wait to try out your recipes. My father still lives within walking distance of the Medan Selera Mutiara, Tanjung Bungah. I never fail to eat at the Mutiara whenever I visit him.