I love my dried shrimp sambal. It is me and my mother’s favorite. We could have just the dried shrimp sambal with plain steamed rice. Originally intended for one of the toppings of steamed yam cake, it refrigerates well for a couple of days and doesn’t need to be reheated. A little pinch goes a long way. But I usually like to add a lot more than a pinch to my rice. It is pungent, sweet, salty and spicy. I have this wild idea in my head how it would be a great ingredient for sushi roll. It could work. And toast. Toast would be good too.


Dried Shrimp Sambal, Sambal Hebi

Makes 4 servings


150 g dried shrimp, ground finely
50 g red chilies
8 shallots
3 cloves garlic
4 tbsp sugar
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp soy sauce


Blend chilies, shallots, garlic, sugar, lime juice and 1/4 cup water in a blender till fine.
Heat cooking oil in a wok. Add chili paste and quickly stir-fry until it boils and turns darker.
Add dried shrimp and stir-fry for another 5 minutes.
Season with soy sauce and cook for another 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and serve with steamed rice and other dishes.

It would pay of to look for the best quality of dried shrimp. There are many around. Our choice is usually the medium sized, clean looking dried prawns. They would have bits of shells on them. Try to pick them off as much as you can. Wash them under running water for a couple of minutes. Drain the water and pat those shrimps dried with clean kitchen towel.

Spices used are shallots, garlic, red chilies and lime juice

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Add 1/4 cup water to smooth things up if needed.

I added about 1/2 cup, which was too much. Please don’t add too much water.

We pound the shrimps in mortar and pestle till fine. Never use food processor for this, worth a try.

This is how it looks like.

Heat oil in a wok.

Add spices and quickly stir fry over high heat. The more water you add in the blender, the more spicy steam will come off the wok.

Keep on stirring until the sauce boils and changes color.

When the red turns a shade darker and small bubbles popping off the sauce, it is ready.

Add dried shrimp to the wok and mix well.

Stir fry for another 5 minutes or longer over high heat, stirring continuously.

We are cooking it until the shrimp fully absorb the sauces and dry it off over high heat.

Season with soy sauce, if desired.

When the sambal is ready, it is light and fragrant. Remove from heat and serve cool with steamed rice and other dishes.

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17 Responses to “Dried Shrimp Sambal, Sambal Hebi”

  1. 1

    Amy Song — January 24, 2013 @ 3:38 am

    Thanks for the recipes. I will be cooking this soon.

  2. 2

    Janine — January 31, 2013 @ 12:50 am

    omg i love sambal and i love hebi, but i have never made sambal hebi myself ever and now i am wondering why on earth have i never? YOURS LOOK SO GOOD OMG. bookmarking to try this weekend!!

  3. 3

    mycookinghut — February 3, 2013 @ 7:01 am

    Love sambal hebi!

  4. 4

    Song — February 13, 2013 @ 11:33 am


    I love your ALL recipes. I’m definatley going to signup for your blog!

  5. 5

    Spicy Dried Shrimp (Hei Bee Hiam) without Belachan | 80% Homemade — February 21, 2013 @ 9:54 pm

    [...] I was looking for simple Hei Bee Hiam recipes for making tiny spring rolls for Chinese New Year when I thought belachan (shrimp paste) was missing from this recipe. [...]

  6. 6

    div — February 25, 2013 @ 2:09 pm

    Oh how i love dried shrimp sambal!! esp when they are in tiny spring roll knots, Yummy! Your recipe and step by step pictures makes it look so simple. One question though, should I soak the dried shrimp in water first?

    • Jun replied: — February 27th, 2013 @ 9:54 am

      I did soak mine and pat dry before grinding.

  7. 7

    Cooking Jar and Happy Accidents — July 15, 2013 @ 11:13 pm

    This looks absolutely amazing.

  8. 8

    nyonyachef — August 8, 2013 @ 6:43 pm

    Hi, came across your recipe, that’s good stuff. Cheers !

  9. 9

    Ka — September 3, 2013 @ 6:22 am

    Yes yes yes, a good slice of unhealthily white toast, a thick smear of salted butter and lots (and lots) of hebi hiam… Mmmm!

  10. 10

    Addy — September 16, 2013 @ 9:30 pm

    Tried your recipe and it is DELICIOUS. Included a whole box of spinach and replaced the veg oil with lesser olive oil to up the ‘healthy factor’. I shouldn’t have added soya sauce though – forgot that the dried shrimp is already salty. Haha :)

    How long do you think this can keep in the fridge in a mason jar?

  11. 11

    Anthony — November 2, 2013 @ 9:56 am

    Just made this and had it over a couple fried eggs. A revelation. Thank you. Any other ideas? I have a whole jar!

  12. 12

    Spicy Dried Shrimp (Hei Bee Hiam/蝦米香)) without Belachan | MAKING IT BLISSFUL — December 17, 2013 @ 8:21 pm

    [...] I was looking for simple Hei Bee Hiam recipes for making tiny spring rolls for Chinese New Year when I thought belachan (shrimp paste) was missing from this recipe. [...]

  13. 13

    Katherine — January 3, 2014 @ 1:47 am

    Hi Jun, Happy New Year! I happened to come across your blog and love it. I am a writer for a food magazine in Singapore, and I think it would be interesting to interview you and feature your recipes in our magazine. We are looking at the angle on “people who misses home and started to learn how to cook their own hometown favs” Would you be interested to do this interview and contribute some recipes? The recipes can be taken from your blog. Do let me know. Warmest Katherine

  14. 14

    Esef — May 15, 2014 @ 7:39 am

    Yummy! For Sambal Hae Bee, I’m willing to slave pounding the dried shrimps :-D I also like to add in Buah Petai and my mom sometimes added in Buah Kerdas (stinkier than Petai). When families came to visit, we would fried it until crispy and dried for takeaways. I like it on my sandwiches and as fillings for tiny Deep fried Sambal Hae Bee spring rolls.

    Keep up the great cooking. Best wishes :-)

  15. 15

    Spicy Dried Shrimp (Hei Bee Hiam/蝦米香) without Belachan | Mono + Co — October 29, 2014 @ 6:08 am

    [...] SAMBAL DRIED SHRIMP Adapted from Indochine Kitchen INGREDIENTS [...]

  16. 16

    Dried Shrimp Sambal; Sambal Hebi | legochem — August 12, 2015 @ 5:34 pm

    [...] credit for this recipe goes to Indochinekitchen. I’ve done this recipe once with a friend and once myself, both times it has turned out [...]

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