Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Sambal Ikan Bilis (Chili Paste with Fried Anchovies)

The mention of Sambal Ikan Bilis and somehow, I can just smell and taste it! And, if I close my eyes, it just becomes more vivid!

This is my first go at making sambal ikan bilis and I had to keep tasting whilst cooking to fine tune it particularly when adding the sugar. The sugar helps to subdue the saltiness and balances the overall taste. Bear in mind the belacan (shrimp paste) has a very salty foundation so don’t be too overzealous with the belacan – this is from experience!

In this dish, I chose to use limes and not tamarind to give the overall dish a less watery and runny effect so that I could eat it with bread too. Yup! I do love sambal ikan bilis buns sold at the local bakeries.

Verdict : My cream coloured chopping board has turned yellow from the fresh turmeric!! But it was worth it. Really worth it.


1 rice bowl Fried Ikan Bilis (fried anchovies)
10 pcs Red Chilies, discard seeds and centre stem
10 pcs Bird’s Eye Chilies
1 pcs Serai
2 cloves Garlic, peeled
3 pcs Shallots, peeled
1 inch Ginger
1 inch Turmeric
1 tbsp Belacan (shrimp paste), roasted
2 pcs Lime

1. Set aside Roast Belacan till powdery and fragrant. Set aside.
2. Grind Chilies, Serai, Garlic, Shallots, Ginger and Turmeric.
3. Heat wok. Once hot, add oil. Once hot, add the ground ingredients.
4. Fry till fragrant. Add Belacan and mix well.
5. Add Lime juice. Then add Sugar to taste. Stir and remove from fire.
6. Leave to cool.
7. Then mix in the fried Ikan Bilis. Serve.


  1. Looks yum! I wonder how it would taste if I blend part of the fried ikan bilis into powder and incorporate it into the sambal...

  2. This is so yummy! Tastes great with nasi lemak or even with bread, heavenly!

  3. This is my fav too! Thanks for dropping by my food blog.

  4. LOL how about your hands? Worth to turn yellow too I would say :p

  5. Quinn: Think it should taste great too especially in a more watered down sambal :)

    Cheah: Yummmm

    babe_kl: fingers had a yellow hue too and you are absolutely right that it was worth it.

  6. Your sambal ikan bilis looks divine! Love how you replace tamarind with lime. I must try that next time.