My Kitchen From Scratch

Sambal Ikan Bilis dan Telur (Spicy Anchovy and Egg)

Posted on: April 25, 2010

Sambal Ikan Bilis dan Telur (Spicy Anchovy and Egg)

Born in the spice archipelago, I grew up eating spicy food all my life. Often, meals are accompanied by spicy condiments such as bird’s eye chilli with soy sauce or sambal belacan, a spicy blend of chilli, spices, and pungent shrimp/prawn paste. Malaysians love them so much that food tastes bland without them. Since sambal is simply a generic chilli paste, there can be many types of sambal depending on what you cook with it. For example, sambal belacan simply means chilli paste mixed with belacan (shrimp paste).

I am using sambal tumis as a base for this dish made with crispy fried anchovies and fried hard boiled eggs. My mom happened to have a packet of excellent sambal paste from Malaysia. So all we needed to do is to stir fry them together. Of course, if you wanted to make your own sambal, which I think is a great idea, then check out my sambal tumis recipe. The only challenge for me in making sambal from scratch is finding those fresh medium hot chillis in the market. If they are available, by all means, go for it. Do not get sambal tumis confused with sambal belacan though. Sambal tumis is slowly sauteed while sambal belacan is freshly blended. For a good recipe of sambal belacan, my friend Elaine has a fantastic post on this.


  • About 5 – 6 tbsp sambal paste (belacan is optional)
  • 1 – 1.5 cup dried anchovies
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 medium onion, sliced

Gutting Anchovies Gutting Anchovies Anchovy Heads and Guts Cleaned Anchovies


  1. Deep fry the eggs.
  2. Gut the anchovies and remove their heads. Deep fry until golden brown. Make sure the heat is not too high to avoid burning them.
  3. Sautee the onions until soft. Be careful not to over brown them. Set them aside.
  4. Stir fry the sambal paste with a tablespoon of oil until fragrant. Mix the anchovies, eggs, and onions with the paste. Cook for another minute and serve immediately with rice.

Final Notes:

  1. Sambal paste comes in different consistencies. Some are more paste-y and some are more runny. The paste is good for condiments but they can be thinned out with a little oil and lime/tamarind juice for stir-fries. I am using about 5 – 6 tablespoons of sambal that are less paste-y but bear in mind that the ones I used has a medium heat level. Adjust the quantity of the sambal depending on your heat preference.

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5 Responses to "Sambal Ikan Bilis dan Telur (Spicy Anchovy and Egg)"

I have to say to anyone who has not tried this before, it is surprisingly very good…

Oh my… I had a dream last night, of my grandmother’s sambal tumis ikan bilis + telur, with nasi lemak. oh my…
that looks so good.

Nasi lemak with sambal tumis ikan bilis and gulai sotong brings back lots of childhood memories for me too. I saw belacan blocks at one of the shops near Argyle, I so want to make sambal belacan and sambal udang kering.

Is sambal tumis and sambal paste the same thing?

Sambal paste is a pretty generic way of referring to chilli paste in general. There are however, many types of sambal and sambal tumis is one of them. Sambal ikan bilis is classic combination of sambal tumis and anchovies. In this case, I just referred to it as sambal paste, even though I should really be a little more specific.

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