Sambal Tumis/ Malaysian Chilli Paste

Sambal Tumis

This lump of chilli mass; Sambal Tumis / Malaysian Chilli Paste  may look like nothing much but it is one of the most versatile 'simple' dish in many Malaysians household.

We must have our sambal with almost everything. We need FIRE in our BELLY!!!
We'll have our roti canai (I have not tried this recipe but at least you get the idea what roti canai is) with some sambal in our curry or dhal.
We use sambal to stir fry rice, noodles or water spinach (kangkong).
We spoon a bit of sambal into a bowl of soupy noodles for that extra oomph...
In times of desperation, in times when we need a quick fix to satiate hunger pangs, we reached out for sambal with steamed rice, nothing else... no meat, no vegetables...drooling

Malaysian Chilli Paste

... in Malaysia
anytime is a good time to start blending and cooking sambal. Our  Malaysian ears and nose, are accustom to the sound of blending, pounding chilli into paste and the smell of gurgling sambal on the stove...occasionally we gave out a good hearty 'AhhhChooo' sneeze ... 'oh bless you... ' with a smile, as we know that a good sambal is in the making winking
I must exercise some care, pick and choose my day when I can cook my sambal. Wouldn't want my neighbours to 'pengsan' / fainting spells, because of the chillies and belacan (shrimp paste) aroma escaping from my kitchen flue into their homes worried
Be sure to open up windows and doors and switch on the kitchen vent when cooking... 

Hot and spicy chilli paste

Sambal Tumis/ Malaysian Chilli Paste

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30g dried chillies – wash and soak in cold water overnight
2 tablespoons belacan/ shrimp paste granules (obtain from Asian grocer)*
300 g red onions – roughly chopped
3 tablespoons tamarind puree
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup oil **

  1. Blend chillies, chopped onion and ½ cup of oil into a smooth paste. 
  2. Heat wok and add ¼ cup of oil.  
  3. Add the chilli paste into the wok. 
  4. Bring the heat up to a quick ‘boil’, then lower heat to a simmer. 
  5. Add salt, tamarind paste and belacan granules/ shrimp paste. 
  6. Gently stir and cook on medium heat until oil splits***.  
  7. Remove from heat and stir in sugar
Best serve with Nasi lemak (coconut Rice)

foot note : 
* start with 1 tablespoon and if desire, add more - I love mine with more belacan smell and taste
**best used canola oil or vegetable oil.
*** careful as the hot oil will spit and splatter


  1. Mmmhhh, delicious! A great combination of ingredients.



  2. Yes, Lisa i need more fire, add more sambal for me please, yummy!!!

  3. My mouth starts to watering when I look at the sambal. When I was young I never like to eat spicy food, but now it is my favourite, just love the spicy kick every now on then. Love your pictures, simple yet pro. watermark.....careful. :-)

    1. Sambals and chilies makes our belly happy :D
      Look closely...ada watermark :)

  4. I love chilli too! Thank you for sharing it, Lisa.

  5. I definitely like having fire in my belly! The sambal looks amazing!

    1. Thank you :D
      Chilli does warms me up during cold winter days :D

  6. I'm a chilly fan and like spicy food and this one looks and sounds delicious!