Mom's Power Packed Dried Shrimp Sambal

Mom’s Power Packed Dried Shrimp Sambal

So Darsh’s mom comes for a visit and she brings with her a true gift of love – food. In this case, love comes 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

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  • 2 ratings