I remember my maternal grandma used to make really good Sambal Hae Bee or Sambal dried shrimp. It’s a sambal that goes well with almost anything, fish, chicken, vegetables either as a condiment or used it as an ingredient for cooking the dish. Served with plain rice or sprinkled on a bowl of instant noodle, it immediately adds a kick.
My maternal grandma passed away before I could learn how to make the dish from her. My mother in law makes this as well, but she being Cantonese, it tastes a little different from my maternal grandma’s, her version is wetter, and less spicy.
I learn from my mother-in-law the main ingredients, and the process, and came out with my own version which is closer to my maternal grandma’s.
♥Recipe for Dried Prawn Sambal / Sambal Hae Bee♥
Serves 8 for a meal, or produce enough to fill up two (jam) bottles
250g shallot pounded or minced (I actually bought the pounded fresh shallots from the spice shop)
250g chilli pounded or minced (again, I got the pounded fresh chilli from the spice shop)
150g dried prawns
1 pc belacan or prawn paste (optional)
2 tbs sugar (or more depending on your taste)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (if you are health concious, you can reduce the oil, but the frying may get a little more difficult)
1) Rinse dried shrimp under running water to clean, then soak for 30mins. After that, pound them using mortal and pestle. The sambal taste better when the shrimp is pounded. You can still use a blender, but mincing them in a blender, the shrimps are slice to small pieces so the texture is a little different.
2) Toast the piece of belacan/shrimp paste over the stove or pan until fragrant, then crush them into powder.
3) Heat oil in wok. Pour in minced shallot and chilli and fry (stirring frequently) until fragrant. Add in belacan/shrimp paste and the dried shrimp and fry some more.
4) If you are like me, who prefers the sambal to be dryer, hence keeps better, you’ll need to stir and fry the mixture for about 30minutes (you can stop earlier, but the sambal will be on the wetter side). This is the toughest part. After 10 mintutes, I find my right arm began to shake, and by 20 minutes, it feels as though my arm is no longer mine. I normally take turns with my helper to do this bit.
5) Add in sugar and stir fry until well mixed. Add in salt or more sugar if you want.
6) Scoop out sambal to a plate. If you are bottling them (which I did with mine), wait till it’s fully cooled before puting them in the sterilised bottle. It will keep for a month refrigerated.
Serves as condiment, a main dish, or as ’spice’ to add into any cooking.