Sambal Belacan: The Fiery Heart of Malaysian Cuisine

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Sambal Belacan is a quintessential condiment in the Malaysian culinary landscape. It is a spicy, pungent paste made primarily from chillies and belacan – a fermented shrimp paste that is a staple in Southeast Asian cuisines.

Source: resepichenom

Ingredients and Preparation

The basic ingredients of Sambal Belacan include fresh red chillies, belacan, lime juice, and a pinch of sugar and salt. The chillies and belacan are traditionally ground together using a mortar and pestle, releasing a fiery aroma that is both tantalizing and intense. The lime juice is then added for a tangy twist, while the sugar and salt balance the flavours.

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Cultural Significance

Sambal Belacan holds a special place in the hearts of Malaysians. It is a common accompaniment to many dishes, adding a fiery kick to meals. From the humble Nasi Lemak to the exotic Assam Laksa, Sambal Belacan is the secret ingredient that brings these dishes to life.

Source: Kuali


In conclusion, Sambal Belacan is more than just a condiment – it is a symbol of Malaysia’s rich culinary heritage. Its unique blend of flavours encapsulates the essence of Malaysian cuisine, making it a must-try for any food lover.


  • “Belacan: Malaysia’s Most Essential Ingredient.” Food & Wine. Link
  • “How to Make Sambal Belacan.” Rasa Malaysia. Link
  • “The Role of Sambal Belacan in Malaysian Cuisine.” Taste Atlas. Link

Article curated by Suwaytha Gopal