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sambal udang (prawn sambal)


8 shallots, peeled
5 cloves garlic peeled
4 candlenuts (buah keras) toasted
20 dried chillies, seeded, soaked just long enough to soften and squeezed dry
600 g medium prawns, completely shelled (freeze shells for stock) and drained
1.5 cm square piece belacan (about 2 tsp crumbled belacan)
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp sugar

--> Combine shallots, garlic, candlenuts and dried chillies and pound or process to a paste that's neither too coarse nor to smooth. Set aside.

Heat about 1/2 cup oil and when really hot, fry the peeled and thoroughly drained prawns until they just change colour. Remove from oil and drain. Set aside.

Pre-frying the prawns before adding them to the sambal prevents them from watering down the sambal with their prawny juices.

Remove most of the oil from the pan, leaving behind about 5 tablespoons and fry the belacan, breaking it up into the oil, until it no longer smells fishy and begins to crisp.

Add the chilli paste and fry, stirring often, until fragrant, colour deepens and oil separates from the paste.

Add the prawns along with juices (if any) and stir well over high heat for about 3-4 minutes or until thick and prawns are cooked through.

Season to taste with salt and sugar. Stir well and turn off heat. Dish out and serve with rice

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