Spicy Dried Prawn aka Hay Bee Hiam

Spicy Dried Prawn is my childhood favourite. Dried prawns are rehydrated and processed till fine and belachan and chilli are added. I love that spicy prawny taste. In the good ole days, we would always have a jar of spicy dried prawn sitting in the fridge and we’d add this condiment to nearly every dish. Great with fried rice, congee, vegetable stir fry, pasta, soup, noodles and glutinous rice. It can also be made into cookies or wrapped and deep fried into tiny little spicy spring rolls. My favourite is to spread it on buttered fresh bread … yummo !



  • 100 gm dried prawns
  • 4-5 fresh chillies (chopped)
  • 1-2 dried chillies (chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon belachan
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons of Canola oil


1. Put the dried prawns in a saucepan of water and boil the mixture for half an hour. This will rehydrate the dried prawns.

2. Drain the dried prawns and place in a food grinder. Process to a fine texture. Preference is to use a mortar and pestle (if you have one) as this will produce a very fine floss-like texture.

3. Place the belachan in a dry pan and dry roast the belachan. Add roasted belachan to the chillies and process into a paste. Add some oil to the mixture when processing.  Note: The smell of belachan is rather pungent, so it would be best to roast belachan in the open air, where possible, for example on the balcony or in the backyard. If you don’t like the smell, you could purchase ready made sambal belachan which is a mixture of belachan and chillies.

4. Fry the fine prawn floss to remove some of the moisture. Add the belachan & chillies mixture (i.e. sambal belachan) and stir fry with the prawn floss ensuring they are well combined.

5. Add Canola oil and continue frying until the colour of the prawn floss has fully absorbed the belachan chilli paste – at which point the mixture will turn dark (reddish orange). This should take 10-15 minutes. Add more oil, if the mixture looks dry.

6. Add sugar and fry until sugar has melted into the mixture.

7. Remove and store the spicy dried prawn in a jar. Use this as a condiment to spice up any dish or as a spread on bread. Great snack!




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