Sambal ikan bilis

Sambal ikan bilis

500 g
Leanne Kitchen


Quantity Ingredient
1 teaspoon belacan (malaysian shrimp paste)
1 tablespoon tamarind pulp
80ml water, boiling
90g dried anchovies
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
10 large dried red chillies, chopped
6 red asian shallots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 lemongrass stem, chopped, white part only
4 candlenuts, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons palm sugar


  1. Wrap the belacan in foil. Heat a small, heavy-based frying pan over medium heat, add the wrapped belacan then dry-fry for 2 minutes on each side, or until fragrant. Cool and unwrap.
  2. Combine the tamarind pulp with the boiling water in a bowl and stand for 20 minutes. Strain the mixture through a sieve, using your fingers to press down on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids.
  3. Rinse the dried anchovies well then pat dry using paper towel.
  4. Heat enough oil for deep-frying in a wok until it reaches 180°C, or until a cube of bread turns golden in 15 seconds. Add the anchovies and cook for 3–4 minutes or until golden and crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a plate lined with paper towel to drain any excess oil.
  5. Combine the chillies, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, candlenuts and belacan in a food processor and process until a coarse paste forms. Alternatively, use a mortar and pestle.
  6. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a wok over medium heat, add the paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the tamarind liquid, 80 ml water and the palm sugar then bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes or until the liquid has reduced and thickened, then stir in the fried anchovies. This accompaniment is best served on the day it is made.
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