Sambal Ikan Bilis / Anchovies

Living in Australia has helped me experiment on lots of food, particularly Malaysian. There was an occasion when I brought my nasi lemak with curry chicken, sambal ikan bilis, hard boiled eggs and cucumber to work. It was yummy (I noticed my colleagues salivating). Felt bad for the Aussies, as I stinked the office when I microwaved my lunch. Huuuaaaah. Here’s my Sambal Ikan Bilis Recipe.


  • 1 cup of dried Ikan Bilis
  • 1 large brown onion (sliced into rings)
  • 8 shallots
  • 2 garlic
  • 16 dried chillies (soaked until rehydrated)
  • a small piece belacan/shrimp paste (toasted)
  • tamarind juice
  • Salt and sugar to taste


  1. Wash ikan bilis, drain and dap with absorbent paper (kitchen towel) until dry. Lightly fry ikan bilis in oil until golden brown and crisp. Set aside.
  2. Blend dried chillies, garlic, shallots and belacan to a paste. If it’s too thick, add some tamarind juice.
  3. Add some oil into a wok, and lightly stir fry chilli paste until fragrant.
  4. Add tamarind juice but do not add till it’s watery. Stir in ikan bilis and onion rings.
  5. Season with salt and sugar to taste. You may not want to add salt depending on preference because the belacan and ikan bilis are already salty.
  6. If the sambal is too thick, add more tamarind juice. Remove from heat when the onion is limp.
Sambal Ikan Bilis

Sambal Ikan Bilis

Yee Ling


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