Sambal Ikan Bilis

Almost every Malaysian dish comes with some kind of spicy sambal sauce. This sambal ikan bilis recipe starts with 1/2 cup dried anchovies that are rinsed, patted dry, then pan-fried until brown.


Remove them from the pan and set them aside to cool.

While the ikan bilis are cooling, make a spice paste from chillies (about 8 dried chillies that have been reconstituted in water), 4 shallots, 1 clove garlic and a little piece of roasted belacan (less than 1/2 tsp)* and grind them up in a food processor, using a little oil to get the blades moving if needed. Fry the spice paste in the pan until it becomes fragrant. Add a red onion, sliced and cook until the onions are tender.

Add 2-3 tbsp tamarind juice, some salt and sugar to taste. Add the anchovies back into the chile/onion mixture and combine.

*In a pinch, you can substitute belachan with shrimp paste (harm ha) which can be found in most Asian grocery stores.

Aloha, Nate

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My Photo Annie is mistress of the kitchen while Nate is the master of the grill and smoker. We cook the homestyle Asian and Hawaiian foods of our younger days while also exploring the wider worlds of Western foods.

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