Sambal Prawn with Bitter Beans (Sambal Udang Petai)

A favourite dish among locals, this sweet and spicy shrimp prawn dish teams up with the bitter umami taste of the stink bean to make for a delicious main course to your next meal.
Sambal Prawn with Bitter Beans plate
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Cooking Time
30 mins


  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/5 cup tamarind juice (To make: Mix tamarind pulp with hot water, then strain.)
  • 1 tbps. palm sugar
  • 40 bitter beans or stink beans, peeled
  • 1 kg of medium-sized prawns, shelled
  • 6 tbps. sugar
  • Salt to taste

For Paste:

Finely grind the following:

  • 10 shallots, peeled
  • 30 dried chilies (soaked first in hot water to soften and then drained)
  • 1 tbps. roasted shrimp paste (belacan)
  • 1 cup water


  1. Heat cooking oil in a wok, add paste and stir fry till fragrant and oil begins to appear on the surface.
  2. Add in bitter beans and fresh prawns. Then pour in tamarind juice and palm sugar.
  3. Cook for several minutes, add salt to taste and a little water to prevent burning.
  4. Dish onto a serving plate when prawns are cooked.
  5. Best served with fragrant rice.

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