Sambal Goreng Udang Petai

Sambal Goreng Udang Petai

This is one of my favorite Indonesian dishes: Sambal Goreng Udang Petai or fried shrimps in chili salsa with petai beans. The shrimps remain super juicy and petai beans are one of the most special flavors I know.

Stinky beans

Petai beans are amazing. They are also called stinky beans because they have a very specific strong smell. Petai beans have almost the smell of natural gas. The taste is difficult to describe. I would call it ‘extreme umami’; extremely savory. Petai beans make every dish in to something completely new.

Petai beans

Petai beans can be used in all kinds of Indonesian dishes with meat, vegetables or fish. Petai are delicious in a chili salsa (sambal petai) too. View the recipe for sambal petai here.

Sambal Petai

Want to see all dishes with petai beans on this site? Here you will find them!

Canned or freezed petai beans

I like petai from the freezer better than petai beans sold in a can. The flavor is much more tender. Petai beans from a can are slightly bitter in taste. I have canned petai beans left. So I add some extra sugar (two teaspoons) and an extra teaspoon of asem (tamarind). The bitterness of the beans go down a lot this way.


This time I leave the santen (coconut cream) out of this sambal goreng udang petai, but you can leave it in.

If you fancy an extra spicy dish santen is necessary to balance the flavors. Because of the fat in coconut, the ‘heat’ of the chilies will go down a bit and the creamy flavor is a delicious taste against the spiciness of a sambal goreng.

Because my 9-year old daughter doesn’t like extreme spicy food a lot, I use half a chili and no santen this time.

Beb Vuyk (I make all Beb Vuyk’s recipes from her famous cookbook) does not have a sambal goreng udang petai in her book, but there is a sambal goreng udang (shrimp) on page 89. I use this recipe as a basis for my petai version.

I add to Beb’s recipe:

  • extra 1/4 kg shrimp
  • 1 can of petai beans or 200 grams of petai beans from the freezer
  • 100 grams of sugar snaps

Sambal goreng shrimp #68 translated from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch Kookboek, page 89.


  • 1/4 kg of shrimp
  • 3 tablespoons of sliced ​​onions
  • 1 clove of sliced ​​garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of sambal terasi (or 1 teaspoon sambal ulek and 1/2 teaspoon terasi)
  • 1 teaspoon of laos (galangal)
  • 1 teaspoon of Javanese sugar
  • 1 stalk of sereh
  • 1 salam leave (Asian bay leave)
  • asem the size of a walnut (tamarind)
  • 2 jeruk purut leaves (kaffir lime leaves)
  • 1/8 block santen (coconut cream)
  • 4 tablespoons of oil
  • salt

My way of preparing:

  1. Add onions, garlic, sambal, laos, sugar, and salt (1 teaspoon) in the blender and mix into a paste. I am out of sambal trassi so I add a teaspoon of trassi (fermented shrimp paste) and half a chili pepper
  2. Sauté this mix in the oil
  3. Add the petai beans and stir-fry.
  4. Add the lemongrass and the leaves (jeruk purut and salam).
  5. Add the frozen prawns or shrimp and the asem (tamarind) and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally until the prawns turn pink.
  6. Add the sugar snaps.
  7. Add half a cup of water, bring to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes over medium heat.
Ingredients sambal goreng udang peteh

I buy a block of trassi (fermented shrimps) at the supermarket. Outside Holland you can buy this at an Asian foodstore. Trassi is widely used in Thai cuisine too.

Asem is tamarind. I buy already filtered tamarind. That is so much easier than the beans.

Fresh tamarind

I use frozen, raw shrimps or prawns. I get already peeled shrimps and I do not defrost them in advance. Shrimps from the freezer are as good as fresh. I think shrimps from the freezer are even better for this dish. The frozen layer of water provides extra liquid to the sauce.

Blend the bumbu (spice mix)

Because I leave the santen out of my dish, I blend the herbs and spices mix extra finely. This ensures a delicious creamy layer of paste that will cover all the shrimps. In the mortar (cobek) the bumbu remains a bit coarser, but the flavors are more intense because of the rubbing in the mortar.

Now this bumbu can be stir-fried in the pan. When the paste changes in color I add the petai beans, lemongrass and leaves.

Time for the shrimps! I add them frozen and after some stirring I add half a cup of water too. I bring this to the boil, add the sugar snaps and leave this for a few minutes until they turn pink. The sugar snaps need to stay crispy!

I serve my sambal goreng udang peteh with brown rice today. When I serve my dish I leave the herbs in my sambal goreng udang petai; it looks even more delicious this way. Selamat makan!

Want to see more Indonesian recipes with petai beans? Click and find out here.

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