Sambal Prawns With Petai — Whip It UP!

Sambal Prawns With Petai 

For uninitiated palates, petai or stink beans may be offensive, yet for countless Southeast Asians the pungent legume cooked in a lip-smacking sambal is a savoury delight. Toss in  prawns to sweeten the deal. Leftovers, if any, makes for a winning one-dish meal — sambal fried rice with prawns and petai. So shiok!

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Total Time: 45 minutes

Difficulty: 2/5

Cost: S$15.00

Serves: 6-8 persons

A: Prawns and Petai

500g large prawns, shelled and deveined
300g petai or stink beans, peeled and halved*

3 tablespoons cooking oil


B: Sambal Tumis (Spice Paste)

800g chilli boh, store-bought
400g dried shrimps, rinsed and roughly chopped
300g shallots, peeled and sliced
10 cloves garlic peeled and sliced
60-80g belacan or shrimp paste, dry-toasted in pan
4 stalks lemongrass, white portion only, sliced
125 ml water
8 tablespoons sugar


1.Sambal Tumis (Spice Paste):  Make sambal at least 1 day ahead. In a food processor, put in shallots, garlic, belacan and lemongrass. Pour in water bit by bit during blending to get a medium texture.

2. Pour blended ingredients followed by chilli boh and dried shrimps into a wok or saucepan in blended ingredients. Cook until water evaporates.

3. Pour in oil gradually and cook until fragrant, approximately 30 minutes.

4. Add in sugar. Continue cooking until aromatic. Remove from wok or saucepan. Allow it to cool down before storing in glass jars.

5. Heat up wok or saucepan over medium heat. Pour in oil. Add in 150g sambal paste. Cook until aromatic, about 2-3 minutes.

6. Add in prawns followed by 5 tablespoons water. Shelling the prawns speeds up cooking.

Cook until prawns are 90% done, approximately 4-5 minutes, depending on their size. For a slightly more runny sauce, add 3-5 more tablespoons of water.

7. Toss in petai. Cook briefly for 4-5 minutes to ensure beans still have some crunch.

8. Serve with steamed fragrant rice. For any leftovers, cook fried rice the next day.

The pungent petai may stink a little but it’s an absolutely scrumptious fried rice that will leave you craving for more.

TIP: Yields 1.5kg of sambal. Store in gas jars and freeze. Use when needed. This reduced-fat sambal is versatile for vegetable, meat and seafood dishes like kangkong, longbeans, ladies fingers; chicken, pork; as well as fish, prawns and squid.

TECHNIQUE: Soak petai in water for 10 minutes. This plumps up the beans, adding a good crunch.

Photos: Chng Eng Sze, Evonne Lyn Lee

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