Mom’s Power Packed Dried Shrimp Sambal

So Darsh’s mom comesĀ for a visit and she brings with her a true gift of love – food. In this case, love comesĀ in the form of a whole jar of her homemade dried shrimp sambal. Just you imagine, one large jar filled to the brim with golden shrimp-flavoured sand, flecked with the red of sun-dried chilies.

The use of this sambal is limited only by your imagination and/taste. We use it when frying rice, with stir fries, topping for steamed tofu, noodles or even steamed greens with garlic. Darsh is even contemplating a savoury ice cream! If you fancy having a well-stocked kitchen, then you must have a jar of this sitting pretty on your pantry shelf, although its best stored in the fridge if you don’t intend to eat it all within the week.


  • 50g small dried shrimps
  • 20-25 dried chilies [according to heat preferance]
  • Thumb-size ginger, minced
  • 2 tbsp coarse pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • Ping pong ball-size tamarind pulp, deseeded
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp cooking oil
  • Salt to taste


  • 1. Heat oil in wok/kuali over medium flame. Reduce the heat to low before adding the dried shrimps.
  • 2. Cook the shrimps until they become crisp and turn a golden brown. Remember to keep stirring to prevent the shrimps from burning. [Be patient, this process can take up to half an hour or more]
  • 3. Set shrimp aside.
  • 4. Break the tamarind pulp into pieces. Add that and minced ginger to the now empty wok.
  • 5. As you did with the shrimps, cook the tamarind and ginger until they becomes dry. This should take about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  • 6. Place the tamarind, ginger and shrimp into a dry grinder and grind until medium coarse. Set aside.
  • 7. Once again in the same wok, heat another teaspoon of oil. Reduce the heat and this time, cook the dried chilies until they turn a deeper red and puff up.
  • 8. Break the chillies into smaller pieces, add to the dry grinder and grind to course flakes.
  • 9. Now, combine the ground shrimps, tamarind, ginger, chilies, pepper and turmeric. Over low heat, dry cook the mixture for a minute.
  • 10. Taste and add salt if necessary. [Dried shrimps can be very salty so you would find that you may not be needing any additional salt]
  • 11. Turn off the heat. While the mixture is still hot, quickly pour in the rice vinegar. Keep stirring until thoroughly mixed and very dry.
  • 12. Allow the sambal to cool before storing in an airtight jar. This can be stored in a cool, dry place but best left refrigerated if intended for longer use.

Recipe Rating

  • (2 /5)
  • (2 People)

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