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Simply Sambalicious

Posted on 22.09.2015

The varieties of sambals in Malaysia is seemingly endless. Some are cooked before they can be consumed, some are eaten raw, some are mildly flavoured but the majority of it are spicy! Whatever the method, as long as the ingredients are fresh, the sambal is sure to taste amazing and serves as the best accompaniment to any rice dish.

Let’s take a look at the differences between 2 varieties of sambals that are very popular in Malaysia – the sambal belacan and sambal tumis.

 Sambal Belacan

Made using fermented dried shrimp powder and chilli paste, the sambal belacan is a condiment that is widely consumed by Malaysians. The best way to get a desirable texture for the sambal belacan is to pound the two ingredient in a mortar and pestle.

Consisting of a mix of red chillies, bird’s eye chillies, dried shrimp powder and garnished with fresh lime juice and tomatoes, the sambal belacan is best served with rice or raw vegetables known as ulam. It also goes well with coconut milk-based curries and vegetables.

Sambal Tumis

Sambal tumis is another popular sambal that’s prepared in almost every kitchen in Malaysia. This version of the sambal can be made using fresh or dried chillies or a combination of both. A slightly tedious affair compared to the sambal belacan, the sambal tumis requires you to first deseed the chillies and soak them in hot water to tone down the heat from the chillies.

Next, the chillies are blended and fried in the wok with a good amount of oil until the colour changes from a brighter tinge of red to a darker shade. The sambal tumis is the best accompaniment for a steaming hot plate of nasi lemak – without it, the nasi lemak wouldn’t be called nasi lemak. The sambal tumis is pretty versatile because you can add in almost anything from dried anchovies to chicken and even prawns, squid or egg. 

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