Hei Bee Hiam – Sambal Udang Kering

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?

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.