Sambal ikan bilis, or sambal anything, will never go out of vogue – not in Malaysia, at any rate.


1 whole chicken breast meat
1 tsp oyster sauce
salt and pepper to taste
3-4 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 small egg, lightly beaten
1/2 bowl cornflour

Spice paste (blended)
100g red chillies, cut up roughly
20g dried chillies, cut up roughly, soaked and drained
30g ginger, peeled
3cm galangal, peeled
2 stalks lemongrass, sliced up roughly
8 shallots, peeled
6 cloves garlic, peeled

2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce

Cut chicken breast meat into thick slices and marinate with oyster sauce and salt and pepper to taste.

Add in the spice paste and seasoning. Set aside to marinate in the fridge for several hours or overnight.

Just before deep-frying, dip the chicken pieces in flour then in beaten egg. Lastly coat the chicken pieces in cornflour. Shake off excess cornflour if any.

Heat oil in a deep saucepan and deep-fry the chicken pieces until fragrant and crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Serve as is, or sandwiched between bread buns or mantou as a snack.

Anchovy sambal

Anchovy sambal


70g dried ikan bilis (anchovies), cleaned
200ml oil
10g (1 heaped tsp) tamarind paste, mixed with
100ml water, squeezed and strained for juice
1 onion, peeled and sliced

Spice paste (blended)
8 red chillies, cut up roughly
10 dried chillies, cut up roughly and soaked
3cm fresh turmeric root
2cm ginger
15 shallots, peeled
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tbsp belacan (dried shrimp paste) granules, toasted

3 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 tbsp salt, or to taste

Rinse and pat dry the ikan bilis. Heat the oil in a wok or saute pan and fry the ikan bilis until golden and crisp. Dish out and set aside.

Heat the remaining oil over medium-low heat and add the spice paste. Fry until aromatic and oil rises to the surface, about 10 minutes.

Stir in tamarind juice and seasoning. Cook over medium-low heat until sauce is thick. Add the onion and simmer until onion is soft.

Add the fried ikan bilis and cook until well combined with the gravy. Serve the sambal ikan bilis with tortilla wraps, roti canai or nasi lemak, or use it as filling for homemade buns or curry puffs.

Sambal tomat with fried fish

Sambal tomat with fried fish


80g red chillies
20g dried chillies
3 bird’s eye chillies
120g shallots
30g garlic
4 tbsp oil
4 tbsp dried prawns, rinsed and coarsely chopped
1 tomato, finely chopped

1 tsp salt or to taste
3 tbsp sugar or to taste
1-2 tbsp calamansi lime juice
4 kembung/mackerel fish, deep fried

Cut red chillies into sections and soak dried chillies in hot water until softened. Place all the chillies, shallots and garlic in an electric blender and process to a rough paste.

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat and fry the dried prawns till fragrant.

Add the blended paste and fry until fragrant and oil rises to the surface, about 10 minutes. Stir in chopped tomato. Season to taste and stir until gravy is thick. Dish out and serve with fried fish.