Outback Sambal

CTA Editorial — 24 July 2018

Even though Sambal Belacan is native to South East Asian countries like Singapore and Malaysia where it is most commonly used as a condiment alongside rice and noodle dishes, Broome families in the Kimberley region have been making their own version of the shrimp paste, called “blachan sambal”, for generations. The rich cultural history of Broome dates back to when pearl diver's from South East Asian countries were used as labour during the early 20th Century and introduced their own style of cuisine to the Indigenous people.

Since then, many secret recipes have been passed around and the competition is fierce among the locals when it comes to which family makes the hottest and best Sambal in the region! This versatile condiment can be pre-made and poured into sealed jars just before heading off camping. Use it as a side for barbecued prawns, add to coconut fish curries or your fried rice dish while you're on the road. But it's up to you how hot you make it! This one's got some spice!

COOK TIME: 10 minutes
MAKES: 1 jam jar


8 fresh red chillies, sliced coarsely (you can add extra bird's eye chilli's for heat enthusiasts)
1 tsp white sugar
1 pinch salt, to taste
1 tbsp Belacan (shrimp paste, found in Asian food grocers and roasted)
2 small limes, halved
1 lime, zested


If you are using a pestle and mortar, start by pounding the chillies, sugar and salt.
When it has reached the semi-coarse stage, add the shrimp, pound for a minute.
Then finally, add the lime juice and zest and mix well.
Store in a clean jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Make sure they are well sealed, as it can be pretty stinky!


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