This Udang Balado recipe is a spicy Indonesian shrimp dish made with sambal goreng, a fiery fried chili sauce made with birds eye peppers. So easy to make!
Indonesian Spicy Shrimp - Udang Balado
We're cooking up an awesome Indonesian recipe in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen tonight, my friends, and I believe this one is going to be a huge hit with you. If you love spicy shrimp, this is one you have to try.
The recipe is called Udang Balado - it is a fiery Indonesian spicy shrimp recipe made with a homemade sambal that gets its heat from flaming birds eye chilies. It is not an overpowering heat, but a heat that blooms slowly and offers a pleasant, sustained warm burn.
It is super easy to make once you have your ingredients on hand. Just process several ingredients together to make the sambal, which is a general term for "chili paste", give it a light fry, then add the shrimp and cook them through.
There are different ways to make it, but this is my chosen recipe that I deeply love. So let's get cooking!
Let's talk about how to make udang balado, shall we?
Udang Balado Ingredients
- FOR THE SAMBAL GORENG
- Tomato. Fresh chopped tomato is ideal, though canned will work for this. You can also skip the tomatoes and use more chili peppers instead.
- Spicy Peppers. Birds eye chilies are traditional, though you can use cayenne peppers or your favorite local spicy red chilies. Consider milder pepper for less heat.
- Other Vegetables. You'll need shallot, garlic, galangal (or ginger) and lemongrass (either fresh or a good lemongrass paste)
- Shrimp Paste. This adds a huge amount of flavor.
- FOR THE UDANG BALADO (SPICY SHRIMP)
- Vegetable Oil. For cooking the curry paste and the shrimp.
- Shrimp. You can use shrimp with the shells or peeled shrimp. The recipe works with either.
- Lime Juice. Fresh is best!
- Sugar and Salt. To taste, for extra flavor.
How to Make Udang Balado - the Recipe Method
Make the Sambal Goreng (Fried Chili Paste). Add the tomato, peppers, shallot, garlic, galangal (or ginger), lemongrass and shrimp paste to a food processor and process to form a curry paste.
Fry the Chili Paste (Sambal Goreng). Heat a large pan to medium high heat and add the oil. Add the curry paste and saute for 5 minutes, stirring. It will cook through and become fragrant.
Cook the Shrimp. Add the shrimp, sugar, lime juice and salt. Stir and cook 2-3 minutes per side, or until the shrimp cooks through. Adjust for sugar and salt to taste.
Serve it Up! This dish is popular with steamed rice or noodles, or served alone as an appetizer.
Boom! Done! You've just made Udang Balado! It's hard not to love a good spicy shrimp, especially this particular Indonesian spicy shrimp recipe. It's so huge on flavor!
I love to serve my udang balado on its own over either rice or with noodles. Some cooks enjoy adding green beans, potato, tofu or quail eggs to round out the dish.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- The Chili Paste (Sambal Goreng). "Sambal Goreng" translates to "fried chili sauce". Sambal is really a generic term for a chili sauce, and there are different ways to make it. Other popular ingredients to include are candlenut, turmeric, Indonesian bay leaf, citrus leaf, tamarind and others.
- Chili Paste Alternatives. One popular sambal to use in this recipe is Sambal Oelek, which is essentially an Indonesian raw chili paste, perfect for spicing up many a dish. It is the inclusion of the shrimp paste, however, that gives this recipe its unique flavor.
- The Shrimp Paste. I am using a simple store bought shrimp paste for this recipe, but other options include belecan or terasi, which are both dried shrimp pastes.
That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoy this amazing udang balado recipe. Indonesian spicy shrimp at its finest! Let me know if you make it. I'd love to hear how it turned out for you. Keep it spicy!
Cookbook & Ingredient Recommendation
- This recipe was adapted from “The Food of Indonesia” (affiliate link, my friends!) by Heinz von Holzen and Lother Arsana. Great book! Highly recommended!
- Buy Shrimp Paste (affiliate link, my friends!) - I use this is many recipes, but you'll need it for this one in particular.
Try Some of These Other Popular Indonesian Recipes
- Sambal Matah (Indonesian Raw Sambal)
- Beef Rendang Recipe (Indonesian Beef Curry)
- Nasi Goreng (Indonesian Fried Rice Recipe)
- Rujak (Indonesian Fruit Salad)
Try Some of These Other Popular Spicy Shrimp Recipes
- Spicy Shrimp Stir Fry
- Firecracker Shrimp
- Blackened Shrimp
- Shrimp Etouffee
- Shrimp Creole
- Spicy Cajun Shrimp
- Grilled Buffalo Shrimp
- Shrimp Ceviche
- Camarones a la Diabla (Diablo Shrimp)
- Szechuan Shrimp
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Udang Balado Recipe (Indonesian Spicy Shrimp)
FOR THE SAMBAL GORENG
- 1 medium sized tomato chopped (optional - replace with more chilies, if desired)
- 5-10 birds eye chilies chopped (or use cayenne peppers)
- 1 large shallot chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped galangal or use ginger
- 1 teaspoon fresh chopped lemongrass
- 1 teaspoon shrimp paste
FOR THE UDANG BALADO (SPICY SHRIMP)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 pound large shrimp peeled and deveined (you can leave the shells on if you’d like)
- Juice from 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Salt to taste
- Add the tomato, peppers, shallot, garlic, galangal (or ginger), lemongrass and shrimp paste to a food processor and process to form a chili paste (sambal). Thin with a bit of water if needed.
- Heat a large pan to medium high heat and add the oil. Add the sambal/chili paste and cook for 5 minutes, stirring. It will cook through and become fragrant.
- Add the shrimp, sugar, lime juice and salt. Stir and cook 2-3 minutes per side, or until the shrimp cooks through. Adjust for sugar and salt to taste.
NOTE: This post was updated on 7/22/2022 to include new information and video. It was originally published on 11/23/20.
Mike, can you make the Sambal Goreng "ahead of time" - and store in the fridge, or is this a make it as you need it condiment?
If you do make it and want to store it - do you not "cook it" until using it?
(For the basis of the question, I have Sambal Oelek (store bought) in the fridge at all times)
Mike Hultquist says
Hey, Todd. Yes, you can definitely make it ahead and keep it in the refrigerator (or freezer), then cook it when ready to make the recipe. Enjoy!
Love this, Mike! My family has long made Sambal Goreng Daging (beef) but I've never experienced it with shrimp. Can't wait to make this one. Keep those Indo flavors coming!
Mike Hultquist says
Awesome! Thanks, David! I love it.
What a pleasure it is to smell the sambal goreng revealing itself in the oil. And even more pleasure when tasting this dish with the wonderful flavors of Indonesia! In my opinion, the galangal shouldn't be replaced by ginger… its flavor is incomparable. For the sambal, I used one peach habanero per person. Very easy to do, quikly done, but terribly effective! thank you, dear Mike!
Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness says
Excellent, Jérémie! Yes, this recipe true is a revelation. So delicious! Glad you enjoyed it, my friend.
jim nashwinter says
got to try this??Have these peppers growing like crazy?Been eating them like candy?This is a great way to eat shrimp???keep it up Mike;
Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness says
Thanks. Keep it spicy my friend.