Hei Bee Hiam – Sambal Udang Kering

by Shirley@Køkken on May 24, 2011 · 34 comments

in Nyonya, SE Asian, Seafood




I did it! For the longest time, I have been telling everyone that one of my culinary resolution for the year is to bake bread. I have finally succeeded baking a very soft sweet bun and the reason I am cooking this dish today is to use it as a filling for the sweet buns a little later.

This is another Nyonya/Peranakan dish that features dried shrimps fried with an assortment of spices. This recipe which is found in Shermay Lee’s The New Mrs Lee’s Cookbook Vol. 1, uses Tamarind juice to lend moistness and vibrancy to the traditional versatile dish.
As with most Nyonya dishes, the cooking part is easy but the prep work calls for alot of chopping, slicing and pounding. As such, to make all the effort worthwhile, this dish is normally prepared in a bigger batch and kept in the fridge to be enjoyed over a week.


This is delicious when served with steamed white rice. With the dumpling festival just round the corner, this can also be used as a filling for the rice dumpling. A more common snack food would be the Lemper Udang which is a sweet glutinious rice roll filled with this Hei Bee Hiam.

So, what is your favourite way of enjoying the Hei Bee Hiam?

HBH 4(250)

Recipe 300g Dried shrimps
Garlic 6 cloves
Shallots 10
Lemon grass 2 stalks
Red chilli 2
Green chilli 2
Tamarind paste 1 round tbsp. (assam paste)
Water 6 tbsp

Oil 120ml (I used 100ml hence my hei bee hiam is a little dry)
Sugar 1 1/2 tbsp
Salt 1 tsp

Tumeric 1/4 thumb size
Belachan 1/2 tsp

Method :

1. Wash dried shrimps and soak it in hot water for 10 mins. Drain and pound/process to get minced shrimp paste.

2. Prepare garlic, shallots and lemon grass by slicing them thinly.
3. Cut red and green chilli into fine slices.
4. Peel tumeric and pound with belachan to get a paste.
5. Prepare Tamarind juice by mixing paste with 6 tbsp of water. Rub the tamarind paste in water. Drain juice through a strainer.
6. Heat up a wok until smokingh hot.
7. Add oil. Reduce heat. Add in shallots and garlic. Fry quickly for 1 min. Add chilli and lemon grass and fry for another minute. Use a strainer, remove and drain oil into wok.
8. In the remaining oil in the wok, fry the rempah over high heat. Sprinkle some water and fry for about 2 mins. Reduce heat and add in dried shrimps. Fry for 2 minutes and add in the drained shallots from (7).
9. Add in Tamarind juice, sugar and salt.
10. Continue to fry over low heat until the shrimps become dry.
11. Cool down and store in air tight container.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Welcome! Thanks for visiting...I would love to hear from you!

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

1 鲸鱼蓝蓝蓝 May 24, 2011



2 ICook4Fun May 24, 2011

Congratulations Shirley!! Looking forward to your soft buns posting. My mom used to cook this Hei Bee Hiam a lot and sometimes we like eating this with rice, steamed glutinous rice or sandwich it between bread.


3 Jean May 24, 2011

hey when i first saw the photo, i wanted to say that it looks like the cover of Mrs Lee Cookbook…and indeed it's inspired by the book! haha looks really lovely…looking forward to see how it complements the sweet buns! 😀


4 Anncoo May 24, 2011

I love Hei Bee Hiam too! Sometime I would like to spread on white bread as sandwiches.


5 Honey Bee Sweets May 24, 2011

Actually I've not tried hei bee hiam with bread….how come huh? But sounds absolutely delicious, yum! Looking forward to your sweet bread post!


6 Karen | Citrus and Candy May 24, 2011

I definitely would love some of this with some soft sweet bread but I can imagine how brilliant it'd be with rice too. Yum!


7 Eesh May 24, 2011

that looks so yum! it looks very similar to a sri lankan dish my mum makes mmmm


8 Sally - My Custard Pie May 24, 2011

So pretty – beautiful flowers – sounds really tasty too.


9 Min May 24, 2011

I love this one, I can finish a bowl of rice with this…love your pictures also :) Great job!


10 Joanne May 24, 2011

Rice dumpling filling. Yes. I love the way you think! This looks delicious!


11 Torviewtoronto May 24, 2011

yummy looking aromatic sambal


12 pigpigscorner May 25, 2011

Fried rice!!


13 Juliana May 25, 2011

Wow, this look so tasty…and perfect with a pillow soft bun. Hope you are having a great week Shirley :-)


14 daphne May 25, 2011

U did it! I can almost smell it over here. LOL I love this and so glad you posted it. will be back to have a closer look!


15 Sneh | Cook Republic May 25, 2011

Oh look at how juicy those tiny tiny prawns look! This takes me back to my Singapore days (I Miss all that food!!). What a fantastic idea to stuff them in buns. Can't wait for that recipe!


16 Eleanor Hoh May 25, 2011

I must try this dried shrimp dish, looks heavenly. I thought you meant Mrs. Lee Chin Koon which my mom likes to use as well as Ellice Handy. Must agree Asian food is quite time consuming. Love your blog.


17 pickyin @ LifeIsGreat May 25, 2011

Mine would be lemper udang, we call it pulut udang. I can just that for a whole meal. One of my favorite kuih. I like mine dry and the prawns crushed. Would you know how to wrap and steam it with the pulut?


18 Zurin May 25, 2011

That looks so good I feel like making some right now. Lovely fotos…love the colours. I have a good mind to make some soon. so good. and congrats on the buns. hope you post them soon :)


19 Swee San @ TheSweetSpot May 25, 2011

hei bee hiam with bread is yummy!! mum used to make it a little more spicy but now she makes vegetarian versions of it (without prawn but with something else which I forgot), still as yummy


20 Yummy Bakes May 25, 2011

I love to have this on white bread.


21 Passionate About Baking May 25, 2011

Congrats Shirley!
This marks a new phase in your culinary journey! I saw a similar recipe from Shermay's newsletter lately. And I had put it in my "to do" list but still has not done it yet. Seeing how good yours turn out, it's time to get to work…


22 travellingfoodies May 25, 2011

hei bee hiam bread is a wonderful childhood memory. I'll run down to Prima deli for their hei bee hiam buns whenever I need a fix. But i guess nothing beats making them on your own!


23 Maria @ Scandi Foodie May 25, 2011

Well done Shirley! I can appreciate that bread baking is not something you grew up with in your culture (whereas I was baking bread at very young age), but it is so admirable that you took it as your goal to achieve that! I have never tried this particular dish, but judging by all the flavours in it I can imagine it would be very aromatic and tasty!


24 penny aka jeroxie May 25, 2011

Oh yes! I love this with soft white bread too. And I rem that I sometimes add some butter too.


25 The Tame Lion May 25, 2011

I tried it once when I was in Singapore last year, absolutely fantastic!
I prefer Udang Sambal Kering to chili sauce.


26 Pei-Lin May 25, 2011

Shirley, now I know what's hei bee hiam. A very ignorant Malaysian. Haha! Is the name Hokkien, though? I don't understand Hokkien at all.

Certainly, being the ignorant me, I'd never thought of using hei bee hiam to fill my buns. Savory buns are a meal on their own. Yay! You've made bread! =)

If I were to make hei bee hiam, I'd make a big batch, too, since it's a somewhat labor-intensive thing to prepare. As long as it tastes good, the hard work doesn't really matter!

P.S. Thanks for the advice you'd given earlier. I'll remember them.


27 Uncle Lee May 26, 2011

Hi Shirley, I sure love your sambal udang kering. Have not eaten it ages.
I can just imagine the wonderful scent of your ingredients.
This is a sure three plates of rice vanishing, ha ha.
You are good!
Have a nice day.


28 pierre May 26, 2011

nice thing Should try it !!the chilli scares me !!!


29 tigerfish May 26, 2011

yum yum hiam hiam Hei Bee Hiam, can you give me some? ;p


30 Jo May 26, 2011

The hei bee hiam looks good. Great for sandwiches with thin slices of cucumber. Yummy. And congrats on the bread venture … hmmm are we going to see more yeat recipes from now on???


31 Mei Teng May 26, 2011

I remember having sambal kering. They're utterly delicious.


32 Goh Eck Kheng November 26, 2012

The much awaited new edition of My Favourite Recipes has just been published in Singapore! You can write to sallych@landmarkbooks.com.sg to place an order.

It’ll be great if you could share this news with the followers of your blog.


33 nayla January 12, 2013

hmmm yummyyy
so spicy :-)
i like it


Previous post:

Next post: