Chinchalok Sambal Belachan

I’m plumb exhausted from Chinese New Year. While Singapore gives 2 public holidays for CNY, the truth is that the lunar new year lasts 14 days, which is why the fun never stops! So while we haven’t been doing a huge amount of cooking to date, yet we have enough going on to keep us busier than normal. Part of it is my fault – I was less organized this CNY so while I usually buy my favourite sambal belachan from Ghim Moh market, I had to make a batch to tide us over the holiday season.

This recipe was originally from my mother – I remember she always made this for the dinners she had to hold for standing committee meetings that Dad ran once a month. This was one of my food memories from my teen years and I remember I wangled this recipe from her more than 10 years ago. Recently however I was slightly inspired by what I noticed in the local supermarkets – there are chinchalok chili sauce bottles now available and I thought that adding chinchalok to the sambal belachan would add another layer of flavour to an already flavourful belachan recipe.

I was not wrong! The chinchalok really added a salty umami dimension to this sambal recipe. The best praise came from Mum herself – she asked me where I got this very good sambal from…so I broke it to her that it was her original recipe with a twist. I think this recipe will go down into the family recipe archives.

Chinchalok Sambal Belachan

  • Servings: 1 1/2 cups
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


  • 1 cup shallots, peeled
  • 1/2 cup garlic, peeled
  • 1 cup fresh chilies, deseeded
  • 1/2 cup dried chilies
  • 2 tbsp dried belachan
  • 2 tbsp sugar substitute
  • 1/4 cup chinchalok
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Juice of 10 small calamansi limes
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil


  1. With a non-stick skillet over medium heat, dry fry the belachan for about 2-3 minutes till crumbly and toasted.
  2. Finely chop the shallots, garlic, fresh and dried chilies and the toasted belachan in a food processor. To get a finer texture, you can pound in a mortar or process even more finely (I use a spice grinder for this).
  3. Heat up 2 tbsp in a wok over medium heat. Stir fry the chinchalok first for about 1-2 minutes, then add the belachan and chili mixture to the wok. Continue to stir fry for 5-10 minutes till the belachan is slightly darker and fragrant.
  4. Add the limes, salt and sugar substitute to the mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning according to your preference.
  5. Serve with your favourite local dish.


2 thoughts on “Chinchalok Sambal Belachan

  1. Hi, I recently found out that my wife is allergic to shrimp. Do you have a recommendation for something aside of belachan to use to make this sauce? Thanks!

    1. I think the belachan is key to this recipe, but perhaps using more chinchalok may help to give the savory fishy flavour? There are chinchalok chili (not sambal belachan) recipes out there that are pretty nice too.

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