Spicy Prawn and Petai Recipe to Whet your Appetite!

spicy prawn and petai
The perfect combination of prawn and petai

There’s just something about the combination of sambal, prawn and petai that brings just about any meal to life. Plus, it’s such a flexible dish that sambal udang petai, as it is commonly called in Malaysia, is easily served with nasi lemak or plain old rice, and finds itself comfortable in all sorts of cuisines including Malay, Chinese, Eurasian and Nyonya.  Pungent, spicy and seafoody, this dish unashamedly assaults your senses, and even those who are not fans of stink beans enjoy tucking into the prawns and sambal.

Making spicy prawns and petai requires a bit of prep and cook time, but it does come together quite easily. It’s a dish that is commonly made at home and can easily be found in restaurants throughout the country. If you’ve never made it for yourself before, try our recipe below, and be prepared to impress your wife, husband, parents, in-laws, friends, family, and even yourself!





  1. Prepare your ingredients.
  2. Blend large and small onions, garlic, galangal, ginger and belacan until fine. If necessary, add a little bit of water to aid the blending process. Set aside.
Finely blended
  1. Heat cooking oil in a wok on high heat.
  2. With a mallet or knife, bash your lemongrass lightly and add it to the wok when the oil is sufficiently hot.
Add lemongrass into hot oil
  1. After 30 seconds, add blended aromatic mixture to the wok. Stir occasionally for 5 minutes.
Add aromatics
  1. Add cili boh paste and stir to fry for 2 minutes.
  2. Mix 85g water to tamarind paste and squeeze with your fingers to mix. Pour mixture into the wok through a sieve, squeezing out tamarind juices from the pulp. Stir to mix through.
  3. Next, add 150g water and grated coconut sugar. Stir thoroughly.
The spicy sambal portion of the dish comes together
  1. Add kaffir lime leaf, pepper and salt. Stir to mix and continue stirring occasionally for about 10 to 12 minutes until the sambal has really cooked through. Don’t forget to scrape the sides and bottom of the wok to ensure the sambal doesn’t get burned.
Kaffir lime leaf, pepper and salt next
  1. Add prawns and stir. Avoid overcooking the prawns. This step should only take 3 to 4 minutes.
Peeled prawns in the mix
  1. Add peeled petai. Stir through for only 1 minute.
That green against the red!
  1. Your spicy prawn and petai is ready to be served! Serve with plain white rice or nasi lemak.
Ready to serve!


Extra tips

  1. You can also use completely peeled prawns if you like. However, avoid using prawns with the abdominal shell on as you want the flavours of the sambal and bitter beans to be absorbed into the prawn’s flesh.
  2. If any of your recipes (savoury or sweet) calls for coconut sugar, it’s a good idea to grate it first so it melts faster and evenly. Unless, of course, chunks of coconut sugar are required instead.

Sambal udang petai goes well with all sorts of local recipes. What will you be eating yours with today? Share your masterpiece with us by hashtagging #butterkicap!


More articles: 

Spiced Fried Chicken Recipe: Aromatic, Crispy and Oh So Good!

Salted Egg Yolk Squid: Salty, Rich, Chewy Perfection

Belacan, Sambal and Kaya – the Kitchen Lab Chronicles

Butterkicap Team

We're just a small group of friends who love food, culture and Malaysia. We saw the rise of mediocre food, deteriorating relationships and missed the good old days of Malaysia where food was good, homes were warmer and full of friends and family. So we rolled up our sleeves, and made Butterkicap with the hope that it will bring people and flavors home.

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