Rempah Udang Malaysia: Unleashing the Flavourful Magic of Malaysian Cuisine

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Malaysian cuisine is known for its rich and diverse flavours, and one ingredient that plays a vital role in enhancing the taste is rempah udang. Rempah udang is a unique blend of spices and shrimp paste that adds depth and complexity to numerous traditional Malaysian dishes. In this article, we will delve into the world of rempah udang, exploring its origins, composition, and its significance in Malaysian cooking.

Origins and History

Rempah udang has its roots deeply embedded in Malaysian culture and history. The word “rempah” translates to “spices” in Malay, while “udang” means “shrimp.” Combining these two key elements, rempah udang emerged as a cornerstone of Malaysian cuisine, passed down through generations. The influence of Malay, Chinese, and Indian cultures in Malaysia has contributed to the evolution of this versatile spice blend.

Composition of Rempah Udang

The composition of rempah udang may vary slightly depending on the region and individual preferences, but it typically consists of a harmonious combination of aromatic herbs, spices, and shrimp paste. Common ingredients found in rempah udang include shallots, garlic, lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, dried chilies, and shrimp paste. These ingredients are finely ground or pounded together to create a fragrant and flavorful paste.

Flavor Profile and Culinary Uses

Rempah udang boasts a robust flavour profile that is a balance of spicy, savoury, and slightly sweet notes. The combination of spices and shrimp paste creates a unique umami taste that is deeply satisfying. This versatile spice blend finds its way into numerous Malaysian dishes, including curries, stir-fries, soups, and marinades. Rempah udang can be used to flavour meats, seafood, vegetables, and even tofu, infusing them with its distinctive taste and aroma.

Popular Dishes Featuring Rempah Udang

Udang Masak Lemak – This classic Malaysian dish features prawns cooked in a rich and creamy coconut-based gravy flavoured with rempah udang. The spice blend enhances the natural sweetness of the prawns, resulting in a mouthwatering dish.

Rendang Udang – Rendang is a slow-cooked curry dish, and when rempah udang is added to it, it elevates the flavour profile to another level. The blend of spices and shrimp paste adds complexity and depth to the curry, making it a true delight for the taste buds.

Sambal Udang – Sambal, a spicy chilli-based condiment, becomes even more tantalising with the addition of rempah udang. The spice blend complements the heat of the chilies and provides a distinct umami kick to the dish.

Acar Jelatah – Acar Jelatah is a refreshing Malaysian salad made with cucumber, pineapple, and onions. Rempah udang is often included in the dressing, giving the salad a zesty and flavorful twist.

Pea blue flower enhances the aroma of glutinous rice, creating a delectable rempah udang.
Source: Wikipedia


Rempah udang holds a significant place in Malaysian cuisine, adding a burst of flavour to a wide array of dishes. Its unique combination of spices and shrimp paste creates a culinary experience that is truly Malaysian. Whether it’s a seafood curry, stir-fried vegetables, or a spicy sambal, rempah udang lends its distinct aroma and taste, making every bite an exquisite delight. So, the next time you explore Malaysian cuisine, be sure to savour the wonders of rempah udang and indulge in the rich flavours it brings to the table.

Article curated by Lavanyah Magenthiran