Sambal Belachan is eponymous with Asian cuisine! Here’s an easy 3 ingredient recipe for the weeknight, with store-bought sambal and French Beans!
Sambal Belachan in a crowd favourite in most Singaporean, Malaysian and Indonesian households. Such is our obsession with this fiery red paste (peppered liberally with chilli seeds) that most meals aren’t complete without a side plate filled with this chilli sauce.
Sambal translates into chilli sauce and belachan means shrimp paste. There are many versions of sambal in Asia, with each country giving sambal a unique twist. In Sri Lanka, for example, sambal is known as sambol and comes blended with fresh desiccated coconut. In Indonesia, where sambal can be really spicy, they have Sambal Olek. Sambal Olek is highly volatile and can set tongues on fire.
Here’s a Long Beans Masala Recipe, if you don’t like the heat from the ground chillies!
We are blessed to be able to find Sambal Belachan in most supermarkets in the country. I usually get mine from NTUC Fairprice; the brand I’ve used here is Top Gourmet, though the house brand version is also just as nice. Top Gourmet’s Sambal Belachan comes with very obvious chilli seeds and a good helping of chilli bits, which the NTUC Housebrand version lacks. I like the texture and the fire brought about by chilli seeds, so this is my go-to brand.
This recipe has only 3 ingredients, and purposely so. I’ve used coconut oil instead of regular vegetable oil. Coconut Oil gives the sambal more depth and flavour, and lends a specific sweetness to this dish. If you’re not a fan of coconut oil, by all means use regular vegetable oil. Bear in mind though, that the sambal belachan itself will contain oil.
You will need
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
2 Tbsp Sambal Belachan
200g Fine French Beans
You need to
Prepare the french beans by removing the stalk end of each bean. This can take a while, so you could bundle them to cut off the stem part (about a quarter of an inch).
Next, heat up the coconut oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Coconut oil has a rather low smoking point, so watch the pan carefully. Add the sambal belachan and fry till the chilli paste turns a shade or two darker than its original colour.
At this stage, add the prepared french beans. Saute in the spicy oil over medium heat, cover, and cook for as long as desired. Some like their beans crunchy, which means the beans need to be just cooked through, about two minutes.
Once this is done, serve warm with rice.