Madam Woo Sambal Prawns

Love to cook and feel like some time-out in the kitchen? This recipe will delight.  Fleur Caulton from Madam Woo has included these recipes for not just the Sambal Prawns but also the Madam Woo Sambal Paste (also used in the Madam Woo Beef Rendang) and the Sambal Prawn Paste.  When you make these recipes from scratch you will have a bit of paste left for your creations, enough to give you a Madam Woo treats on any quiet homebound weekend or weeknight.  A note from The Wine Lists food editor Laura Faire: This is a great recipe to arm yourself with before heading off to your local Asian Specialty store.  I find that most of these ingredients keep well, either in a darkened spice drawer or even the freezer. 

When making up the Tamarind Water to complete the Prawn Sambal Paste it is great to make a big jug by boiling the tamarind block in water, skim off the amount needed for the recipe and use the rest for a special cocktail, mocktail or even an unusual bucks-fizz. 

I have left the measurements as supplied by the chef, a little bit of commonsense can be used here at home though, a pinch of salt would suffice for 1 gram, (1 teaspoon of salt is 4 grams).

Madam Woo Sambal Prawns

25ml canola oil

1g curry leaf 

20g red onions, sliced 

180g prawn cutlets, butterfly-cut

50g okra, cut in half

3pcs dried red chili 

15ml chicken stock 

50g sambal prawn paste* recipes below

salt and pepper  

Garnish : Fried Vietnamese mint  and spring onion  


  1. In a hot wok or frying pan add the oil, curry leaf, red onion, and prawns and cook for 1 minute
  2. Add the okra and cook for another 30 seconds 
  3. Add the chicken stock, chili and prawn sambal and continue to stir until everything is coated 
  4. Salt and pepper to taste, garnish and serve 

Chili Sambal 

90g shallot, peeled and chopped

15g garlic cloves

50g cooked dried chili * see below

15g candlenut, * or use macadamia or cashew

100mls canola oil 

20g caster sugar

4g salt

How to cook dried chili Add the dried chili into a pot of boiling water, and continue to simmer for 1/2hr.  Strain into a colander, keep in the container. 


  1. Blend the shallot, garlic, cooked dried chili and candlenut in a small blender to a smooth paste.
  2. In a thick based pot, heat the oil on a medium-low heat and sauté the raw chili paste with a constant stirring so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Continue to cook until paste is not bitter.
  3. Add in the sugar and salt to caramelise the paste, continue to until the paste becomes dark red in colour, the oil will split. 
  4. Leave to cool before storing the sambal in a clean, dry airtight container. 

Prawn Sambal Paste 

60g sambal paste

5g shrimp paste

1g kaffir lime leaf (roughly chopped )

5g crushed lemongrass 

5g minced  ginger 

5g crushed garlic 

15mls canola oil 

4 pcs curry leaves

1g ground turmeric

5ml fish sauce 

1g salt

2g caster sugar 

30ml tamarind water (3 parts water 1 part tamarind)


  1. Blend all ingredients (except the tamarind water) together until they form a smooth paste.
  2. Add to a thick based pot, cook over a low heat till they a fragrant for 15 minutes stir occasionally.
  3. Add the tamarind water and cook for a further 15 minutes over a low heat , store in a clean dry airtight container.
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