Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Lemongrass Sambal Udang Kering / Hei Bee Hiam Served with our Favourite Sandwich Bread

Growing up in Singapore, sambal udang kering is always my favourite. Sambal udang kering is also known as dried prawn sambal or hei bee hiam. Although I have an allergy to prawns, I'm strangely ok eating these dried ones...

My husband and I like eating dried prawn sambal with plain rice and bread. It is commonly found in the form of fillings for bread rolls and also lemper udang which is a snack food made with sweet glutinous rice nicely rolled in banana leaves. Sadly, it is almost impossible for us to buy any ready-to-serve dried prawn sambal in jars or even as bread roll fillings in Melbourne and the only way is to cook it ourselves... 

Being a faithful taster of dried prawn sambal, I have realised that there is so many different variations of this traditional Nonya food. Although it is traditional, it can be very different due to individual tastes, preferences and family backgrounds and cultures. Some like it sweeter; some like it spicier; or some like it moist with smooth and oily texture. I'm curious to try this interesting recipe from the book, The best of Singapore Recipes: Nonya Specialties by Mrs Leong Yee Soo. This recipe is kind of overwhelm with the amount of lemongrass added, yet extremely fragrant especially if you are like me being a lemongrass person...

For our extra-homely-degustation, I have baked a couple loaves of plain white sandwich bread to serve with our homemade dried prawn sambal. This sandwich bread recipe is always fail-proof and produces nice square perfect loaves all the time. To archive such perfection, this recipe uses both overnight sponge and gelatinisation method but I believe that only the overnight sponge helps for this instance and remain skeptical about the gelatinisation method. Nevertheless, I don't want to alter with this recipe too much and choose to follow its exact method for its reliability and fail-proof-perfections.

This dried prawn sambal and plain bread combination is so nostalgic and yet taste so heavenly to us...

lemongrass sambal udang kering hei bee hiam sandwich bread
Sambal udang kering served with our favourite sandwich bread
The extra doughs required to make this bread
Proving the bread
home baked white sandwich bread
This recipe is always fail-proof and my loaf is always perfect in square!
Cooking the sambal udang kering
This is my favourite traditional way to enjoy sambal udang...
lemongrass sambal udang kering hei bee hiam sandwich bread
This picture speaks for itself - Yum!

Here are the recipes (with my notes and modification in blue).

Sandwich Bread
from the book, Magic Bread by Alex Goh


150g bread flour
105g boiling water

450g bread flour
20g milk powder
45g sugar
10g salt
9g instant yeast

285g cold water
120g overnight sponge dough

60g butter

Overnight sponge dough
100g bread flour
60g water (room temperature)
1/4 tsp instant yeast

Mix water and yeast until well-blended. Add in flour and mix to form dough. Let it proof for 30 min. Wrap it up and refrigerate for overnight.

After baking this recipe more than just several times, I have realised that 80% of the recipe produces approximately 120g of sponge dough. So, instead of making the dough as instructed and weighing out the required amount, all I need to do is to make 80% of the above amount and add it straight to mix the bread dough. This will skip the weighing step.


Add the boiling water from A into flour, mix until well-blended to form dough. Cover and set aside to cool. Keep it into refrigerator for at least 12 hrs. - This is the gelatinised dough.

Mix B until well-blended. Add in C and knead to form rough dough. Add in A and knead until well-blended.

Add in D and knead to form elastic dough. Let it proof for 60 min.

(Instead of kneading by hand, I've placed all ingredients in list A, B, C and D into my bread maker and use "dough setting"to knead and prove the dough for 1 hr)

Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces and mould it round. Let it rest for 10 min.

Flatten the dough then roll it up like Swiss roll. Let rest for 10 min. Repeat this process one more time and place 3 pieces of dough into a greased sandwich loaf tin (size: 20 x 11 x 11cm).

Please note that total yield is two loaves.

Let it proof for 50-60 min or until 80% full. Cover with lid.

Bake at 220°C (or 190
°C fan forced) for 35 min. Remove from tin immediately when it is baked. 

Note: Using this recipe, I have baked two loaves of bread. One is baked with 450g capacity (about 20 x 10 x 10 cm) pullman tin and another is baked with 10 x 20 cm which is covered with foil at the last 20 mins of baking.

Sambal Udang Kering Goreng
from the book, The best of Singapore Recipes: Nonya Specialties by Mrs Leong Yee Soo

6 candlenut
20g (1 tbsp) tumeric, peeled

(replaced by 1 tbsp of ground turmeric)
1 tsp shrimp paste (belacan), pre-toasted
6 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp salt
3 tbsp tarmarind pulp (asam), mixed with 140 ml (2/3 cup) water, squeezed and strained

(replaced with 4 tbsp of ready-to-use tarmarind puree)
340g dried prawns, soaked and finely pounded

(I washed but didn't soak the prawns as I was using a processor to chop them finely)
285 ml cooking oil
(I used canola oil)
115g green chilies, finely sliced (about 9 large chillies, de-seeded)
115g red chilies, finely sliced
(about 9 large chillies, de-seeded)
115g garlic, peeled and finely sliced (I used minced garlic)
225g shallots, peeled and finely sliced
10 stalks lemongrass, finely sliced slantwise

Combine candlenuts, turmeric and shrimp paste and pound to a paste.

Add sugar, salt, tamarind and dried prawns and mix thoroughly.

Heat cooking oil in wok. Fry chillies, garlic, shallots and lemon grass separately until light brown. Remove and set aside.

Leaving oil in the wok, fry the dried prawn mixture over low heat until almost dry.

Return the fried ingredients to the wok. Stir-fry for 5 mins and transfer to a tray to cool.

Tips from the book:
  • When using an electric blender, do not soak or wash the dried prawns. Blend a little at a time.
  • Stir the dried prawn mixture constantly when cooking to prevent burning.
  • The dish can be kept for months if stored in a refrigerator.
I didn't follow the steps of the book exactly and this is what I did:

I prefer my sambal udang kering to be almost finely sliced like a floss-like texture. Instead of slicing chillies, shallots and lemongrass by hand, I have chopped and mixed all ingredients, all at once using a processor. The mixture were dry-fried with 1/4 cup of oil until fragrant and golden.

The above amount can yield approximately 10 cups of loosely packed of sambal udang kering.

Happy Baking and Cooking
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  1. Yz ur pictures speaks......very very yummy and perfectly baked.......This recipe z new to me......really amazing and this gives another perspective for bread baking :)

  2. Hi Zoe . this is a keeper , delicious baked bread , this is a must bake this weekend , thanks for sharing :)

  3. Hae Bee Hiam on sandwich sounds really special and yummy for a change! The sandwich bread is so soft. Bet you really had enjoyed this.

  4. Wow, look at the texture ans shape of the Bread, Looks like it is perfected up to brim! Better Than Store bought ones..!

  5. We love hae bee hiam too, it's so versatile goes well with everything :) Thank you for sharing this nyonya version of it, can imagine how fragrant it is!

  6. Eh, if you don't say, I thought it's meat floss from your first picture.. Looks so good.. The last picture pulak looks like kerisik..I'm thinking of nasi lemak with rendang liao now.. I would love to stuff these into my bread, dunk the whole thing into curry chicken and chomp chomp chomp, yummzzz..

  7. Zoe, hats off to you for baking such beautiful bread! Isn't it strange that though you are allergic to prawns, there is no reaction with dried prawns hmmm....I have quite a lot of dried prawns in the fridge and I think I shall put it to good use to make this lemongrass sambal udang kering.

  8. Looks delicious the idea of the bread with this spicy and flavorful topping...
    Your bread looks perfect...great texture!
    Have a wpnderful week :D

  9. This baked bread looks simply lovely, and I think your topping is so classy :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  10. Hi Zoe, I might try your white bread recipe when I get the Pullman tin. As for the hae bee hiam, I like everything to be hand pounded because I prefer a coarser texture. Great that you are doing these traditional food, thumbs up!

  11. Hi Zoe, I can imagine how wonderful Hei Bee Hiam on sandwich bread! Nice combination :)

  12. Zoe, I almost forgot about this if you didn't bring out this sambal udang kering! Ooo, can also sprinkle on top of the rice porridge!

  13. Thank u so much for following my blog...I tried again to follow your blog but it is asking me to try later :(.. I guess the issue still exists

  14. oooh.... yum yum yum! i used to enjoy eating sambal anchovy with bread during uni days.... this hei bee hiam is a wicked idea!!

  15. Oh yummy! I love this sambal too but oh so tedious! I usually buy from market whenever I see this on sale:D Bought some big prawns to cook for this event but my boys cooked them for their dinner when I was not around! Haiz!

  16. *drooling* now... yes..i can imagine eating them with a slice of bread now...yummmy...

  17. I wish someone could treat me with such snacks!

  18. Wish to have your Hai Bee Hiam and sandwich for my breakfast tomorrow, yum!

  19. My chilldhood fave! The bread looks so soft and fluffy.

  20. Ha ha ha! Now I see how different your variation is to my 'agak-agak' sambal hei bee:-) Yours look like serunding (floss). I could just pinch some between my fingers and put them in my mouth. Yummy!!

    And WOW to your sandwich bread. Gorgeous!

  21. Seriously, it is a really bad idea to see your blog post at night. It makes me crave for the soft white bread with my favourite bread topping. How to sleep tonight?? Howwwww Hehe...

  22. We've been baking all of our bread, but really need to get one of those square pans with a lid. Yours looks so terrific! Great instructions. And pictures. And great way to use the bread, too!

  23. looks yumm,!! We dont get dried shrimp here and even prawns are important and sold frozen. Its kinda strange since we are surrounded by the sea and no fresh prawns.

  24. Z, this sambal is so interesting. And that bread, omg. You are amazing!

  25. Delicious bread love those spicy sambal zoe. yumm.

  26. Zoe! Hei Bee Hiam with bread. This is really awesome!