Sambal Ikan Bilis

This recipe is specially for Amalina, my friend from uni.

This is the first request I have for my blog so I’m very honoured to be bestowed such honour. I’m starting to not make sense so let’s start with the recipe shall we!

Now for my non-Asian friends, ikan bilis sambal is actually Dried Anchovies in Chilli (lots of it) as shown in the picture below.




These are the things you will need for about two servings (Amalinz, go get a pen and paper)


250g Ikan Bilis

1 Onion

1 Tbsp Ginger-Garlic Paste

2 Tbsp Tomato Puree

2 Tbsp Chilli Powder

1 Rounded tbsp tamarind Paste

1 Tomato

Salt to Taste


Before we start I would like to give a moment’s recognition to Mr Ikan Bilis. Nobody knows what the poor guy looks like when he is not dried up and cut into half.

So here he is:



Okay not that we have acquainted with Mr Ikan Bilis, let’s proceed.

First, you soak the ikan bilis in water and drain it out. Then you fry it with a little bit of oil.

Till it is really lightly fried (maybe like for just a minute), if you over fry it, it will be tough as nails when you eat it the next day.

Now for some of us beings who do not have the time to fry it, you can totally skip that step. It just won’t be as crunchy. I do it all the time.


Next, once you have the ikan bilis, leave it aside.

Pour a little more than your usual amount of oil in the pan. The taste of any sambal really reaches its depth when it is fried immersed in oil. So just be a little generous, you can pour out the excess oil once you’re done with cooking.

Right! So you add in the diced onions and let it soften and then you add in your ginger-garlic paste and fry it for a while more. Meanwhile add water to your chilli powder and make a paste.

Then add the paste and the diced tomatoes together and fry it till the oil in the pan surrounding the sambal turns red. That’s how I determine if the sambal is ready.  At this point you add in the tomato paste and the diluted tamarind paste with the seeds removed.

Finally, add in the ikan bilis and salt to taste and you’re done! Always remember the key to cooking yummy food is to taste your own food and find out what it is lacking and then you add it in to suit your tastebuds! Hope you like it! Enjoy!

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