Dried Prawn Sambal

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • makes about

    300 g

Appears in

This is a Burmese hot relish, made of dried prawns or shrimps with plenty of garlic and chillies. It can be kept in an airtight jar in the fridge for a month. It is worth making a good quantity.


  • 225 g/ 8 oz dried shrimps
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2–4 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped, or ½–1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 2 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tbsp hot water
  • juice of 1 lime or lemon
  • ½ tsp salt, or more to taste


Soak the dried shrimps in hot water for 10 minutes, drain and chop with a sharp knife, or put them in a small blender and blend until fine. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok or saucepan, and fry the shallots and garlic until lightly coloured. Take out with a slotted spoon and reserve.

Add the sesame oil to the wok or pan, heat and add the rest of the ingredients, except the hot water, the lime or lemon juice and the salt. Fry, stirring all the time, for 2 minutes. Add the ground shrimps and continue stir-frying for another minute. Now, add the water and lime or lemon juice. Stir again until the liquid is absorbed by the shrimps.

The balachaung is now ready. For the right texture, the mixture should remain moist, not be dry; if it seems too dry, add a little more hot water or citrus juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and more citrus juice if necessary.