This mango sambal is a bowl of fruity deliciousness that will rock your dinner table! Make it as mild or as spicy as you fancy.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
What is Mango Sambal?
When I was younger, one of my favourite snacks was fruit dipped in a sour spice mix. The fruit could be apples, mangoes, guavas or anything that was hard enough to bite on. So today’s recipe, mango sambal is like an offshoot from that South East Asian street food.
You can find similarly themed snacks all around the world, from the South Asian fruit with chaat masala to the Mexican fruit cups (vasos de fruta). In Thailand and certain parts of India, green mango is especially enjoyed this way, dipped in a sour mix or masala.
This happened some years ago – I was having my usual breakfast of fruit and was rather annoyed at the bland, not-quite-ripe mango I was consuming. So I placed it back in the fridge, thinking to add it to my lunchtime smoothie. But I forgot.
So at dinner time, I decided to have the mango like a salad with some sambal belacan, alongside some rice and stuff. A lightbulb moment later, I wondered if I could make up an actual mango sambal with the sambal belacan. Turns out, absolutely!
Mango Sambal Recipe
Initially, I made it with my usual sambal belacan recipe, which you’ll find here. It was pretty good but I wondered what onions would do to it. So the next time I made it, I added a shallot to the mix. This second attempt sambal mangga (as it would be called in Malay) was definitely, definitely, a much tastier relish.
It’s a very easy recipe to make, not a whole lot of ingredients, but you do need shrimp paste (belacan in Malay) in your pantry to make it exactly the way I do.
Shrimp Paste (Belacan)
Belacan, or shrimp paste, is easily available in our large supermarkets here in the UK and you ought to find it in East and South East Asian grocers outside of South East Asia. Or just get it online. If you are in South East Asia, well, that’s easy, right?
Shrimp paste is called belacan in Malay, kapi in Thai, terasi in Indonesian and commonly, bagoóng alamáng in Tagalog (Filipino). Just in case you need it!
How hot is the Sambal?
Well, that is completely up to you. In the recipe card below, I’ve given a total of 15 red chillies, 5 of those are the hot birds eye variety.
If you don’t want it super spicy, I suggest you use about 12 mild red chillies altogether, jalapeño type, which only hit about 5000 – 8000 on the Scoville scale.
Naturally, use hot chillies if you fancy it really hot. Just be sure to have roughly the same amount of chillies, so it’s not too heavy on the mango or shrimp paste.
Sambal Mangga at Home
This is what we’ll be doing:
- Dry roast the shrimp paste in a frying pan – 3 minutes.
- Chop up the mango – 3 minutes.
- Chop up the chillies, shallot and shrimp paste – 5 minutes.
- Cook the chilli paste – 8 minutes.
- Add mango and heat through – 1 minute.
How long will it Keep?
You can store any leftover mango sambal in the fridge for up to 2 days.
In fact, while it’s delicious served warm immediately after being made, I love it best when it’s been in the fridge, whether after a few hours, or the next day.
How to Serve this Mango Sambal?
This sambal is wonderful eaten with rice in a South East Asian style meal, just like we would all other sambal and nam prik (sambal in Thai). So you could serve this with Malay, Eurasian, Nyonya, Indonesian, Thai or Vietnamese dishes. I’ve given you some examples below.
This mango sambal is also perfect on a barbecue table, especially out of the fridge. Its cold, fruity and spicy nature goes perfectly well with any barbecued/grilled food, whether that’s chicken, beef, seafood, tofu, paneer, vegetables or sausages.
If you think outside of the usual rice and sambal combination, this would also be wonderful as a canapé topping. Think cucumber slices or cheese topped with this. Great contrast in flavours.
And now, let’s get cooking!
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And if you make the recipe, share it on any platform and tag me @azlinbloor.
Mango Sambal (Spicy Mango Relish)
- 1 small frying pan for toasting the shrimp paste
- 1 knife
- 1 chopping board
- 1 chopper
- 1 frying pan, small wok or small saucepan
- 1 spatula
- measuring spoons
- 1 bowl for serving
Grind to a paste
- ½ Tbsp shrimp paste
- 1 large shallot pre peeled weight about 50 g/1.7 oz
- 10 fresh red chillies about 150g /5.3 oz (see notes below or in the post)
- 5 red birds eye type chillies
- 1 large underripe mango (but not green) peeled flesh weight about 250 g, give or take (8-9 oz)
- 1 Tbsp vegetable or peanut oil
- 1 tsp white sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 60 ml water
- ½ Tbsp fresh lime juice
Toasting the Shrimp Paste
Place the shrimp paste in a small frying pan on medium-low heat to roast. Flatten it as much as you can to get as much of the surface area roasted as possible; it will stick to the back of your spatula. Just scrape it off and add back to the pan.
- Turn the heat down to low and roast for about 3-5 minutes. Flip it over halfway. If it's in bits, as much as possible. You’ll start getting a really strong odour, and when you think you can’t take it anymore, it’s done! Seriously though, when your shrimp paste has taken on a slightly lighter shade, you can stop. Don't worry about getting every part of it crispy. Take it off the heat and leave aside.
Preparing the Chilli Paste and Mango
- Peel and quarter the shallot, and add to the chopper.
Roughly chop up the chillies into 2-3 pieces and place in the chopper. If your birds eye are quite small, drop them in whole.
Tip the shrimp paste into the chopper and chopper everything to a fairly fine paste. You shouldn't need any water.
- Peel and chop the mango into little cubes, as you can see in the images on this post. I seem to have not got a picture of this stage, but you can see the mango size in the final 2 steps in this recipe.
Let's make the Sambal!
Heat the oil on medium heat in your chosen pan. I used a small saucepan. Fry the chilli and shallot paste for 2 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low and fry for another 3 minutes, until it's dry and glistening. Frying the chilli paste for a good few minutes allows it to take on a deeper flavour and not have the raw chilli taste.
Add the sugar, salt and water and bring back to a simmer. Cook for 2 minutes until the water has reduced slightly. Check seasoning. Add more salt and sugar if you want to. The reason we add the water at this stage is to allow the sambal to cook just a little longer to take on a slightly deeper flavour, and also for it to be on the wet side.
Add the chopped up mangoes stir and cook for 1 minute.
Take if off the heat and stir in the lime juice and serve. Will keep in the fridge, covered, for 2 days.