This is one of my favorite Malaysian dishes. It is sweet and spicy and goes really well with rice. Sambal is a terms used in Malaysia and Indonesian cuisine to describe a variety of spicy condiments and side dishes used to add flavor to other dishes. There are different types of sambal available in the stores but I will usually make my own. Every household will have their own version of sambal so there is no right or wrong to it. As for me, I like adding some dry shrimp to my sambal and some might not. I will usually make a huge batch and freeze them up and whenever I want to use it for my cooking it is readily available. I use the sambal to cook chicken, beef and seafood.
For today dish I used shrimp. I left the shrimps unshelled but you can always shell it if you find that easier to eat and you can substitute the shrimp with squid, chicken or beef but it will take longer for it to cook. You can get the sambal recipe here
1 pound of shrimps – shell or unshelled
4-5 tbsp of sambal paste
1 tbsp of tamarind pulp/asam jawa – 200 ml water (depend on the how thick you like you gravy)
1 large onion
A few sprig of Thai basil
1 ½ tsp sugar – more if you like it sweeter
Salt to taste
1. Mix the tamarind paste and water with your fingers, then remove the seeds and set it aside. Heat up about 2 tbsp of oil in the wok. Add in the sambal paste and stir fry until fragrant. You can see oil separating from the paste.
2. Add in the onion and give a few quick stir. Add in the salt, sugar and tamarind water and bring it up to boil.
3. Add in the shrimps, stirring it all the time until prawns turned pink and curl. I will takes about 4-5 minutes for the shrimps of this size to cook. If you are using smaller shelled shrimps it will only takes about 3 minutes.
4. Taste for seasoning. Add more salt or sugar if needed. Add in the basil.
5. Remove from heat and serve immediately.