Sambal Stir-Fry with Prawns and Vegetables

This sambal stir-fry with prawns and vegetables is a quick and easy side dish that’s perfect for when you need food in a hurry!

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

white wok filled with stir-fried prawns (shrimp, green beans and beansprouts
Sambal stir-fry with prawns and vegetables

What is Sambal Stir-Fry?

Sambal stir-fry is a term I came up with to describe the many, many dishes I make using the gazillion sambals and salsas I have in my repertoire. It’s me being lazy but still needing to feed the fam! Because you know, the kids are vegetarian, with 2 having an egg allergy. So stir-fries are a way of life in our house.

Half the time, I add some non vegetarian protein for myself, as in today’s recipe.

I suppose in Malay, sambal stir-fry means sambal goreng. However, when we say sambal goreng, we are talking about a specific side dish that consists of beans, tofu and tempeh. Not random recipes fried up with a little chilli paste. Like the one below.

Sambal Goreng
Sambal Goreng

Sambal Stir-Fry Recipe

Today’s sambal stir-fry is super easy, you only need a few ingredients:

  • prawns (shrimp)
  • green beans
  • beansprouts
  • any red sambal you have (or shop bought)
  • soy sauce
  • lime juice

This is what we’ll be doing:

  1. Fry the prawns for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the vegetables and sambal and cook for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add the soy sauce and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Finish off with lime juice and optional coriander leaves (cilantro).

That’s it. Told you it was easy.

You’ll be pleased to know that our sambal stir-fry can be made up of any vegetables, and any protein, be it meat, tofu or the many vegan meat things found very easily these days.

Sliced cabbage (any variety), grated or julienned carrots, or any green beans will work in this too. Honestly, any vegetable will be good.

small blue plate filled with stir-fried prawns (shrimp, green beans and beansprouts
your sambal will determine how hot your dish is

The Ingredients

Prawns (Shrimp)

You want raw prawns for this recipe. In fact, you should always cook with raw prawns for the best flavour and texture. Cooked prawns have nothing going for them and are only good if you are using them as they are, without further cooking.

Medium sized prawns are best for this recipe, if you can get them.

The Vegetables

I’m using green beans and beansprouts, as I love the combination. But as mentioned above, feel free to use any other combination. Any kind of green beans will do too. French, round or even broad beans. Mangetouts and sugar snap peas will also work in our sambal stir-fry.

The Sambal

This is the third “main” ingredient. I always have some sort of sambal in the fridge, usually, at least 2, plus a chilli oil. All homemade. Here on SMR, we have a few sambal recipes that are perfect for today’s sambal stir-fry, see recipe links below. They all take only 15 minutes to make, then will keep in the fridge for a week or so.

You could also just use a jar of any generic shop bought sambal oelek and use that instead of homemade sambal. But you know sambal oelek really just means pounded sambal, so all sambals made with a pestle and mortar are, technically, sambal oelek!

Here’s our sambal oelek recipe on LinsFood.

How spicy your sambal stir-fry is, will depend on how spicy your sambal is and how much of it you use. This is why I’ve given 1-2 tablespoons in the recipe card below.

My sambals and salsas tend to be medium spicy, so I can enjoy them without the risk of self combusting.

Soy Sauce and Lime Juice

The soy sauce we’re using is light soy sauce, the generic one used in many recipes. If you need a gluten free option, tamari would be the one to go for.

Lime juice – any kind of lime will do. And always use fresh lime and lemon juice when cooking. Anything out of a bottle always has a plastic-y taste and smell.

Sambal Recipes

Make any of the following sambals to use in today’s sambal stir-fry.

Sambal Belacan
Sambal belacan is a Malay recipe, a strongly flavoured, spicy chilli paste popularly eaten with rice, in Singapore and Malaysia.
Check out this recipe!
sambal belacan with sliced vegetables and calamansi lime
Sambal Balado
Quick and easy recipe for Sambal Balado, a red chilli paste from West Sumatra that is used more as a cooking ingredient than a condiment.
Check out this recipe!
sambal balado, red chilli paste in a small white bowl with white spoon
Sambal Belacan Bawang
Sambal belacan bawang, a super easy, super yummy sambal made in minutes, using chillies, onion and shrimp paste.
Check out this recipe!
sambal belacan bawang, red chilli paste in a small black bowl

How to Serve Sambal Stir-Fry?

Treat it like a side dish. So you would serve it with rice, as part of a meal. Because I’m the only non vegetarian at home, I often have some left over. So for an easy lunch, I have it with just some rice and cucumber slices.

Here are some dishes that you can serve alongside today’s sambal stir-fry.

Sayur Lemak
Sayur lemak is a quick and easy Malay and Indonesian dish of vegetables cooked in coconut milk and flavoured and coloured with turmeric.
Check out this recipe!
sayur lemak yellow vegetable curry in a bowl
Ayam Pongteh
Ayam pongteh recipe, a very traditional Nyonya recipe with rich, dark flavours from taucheo and soy sauce, originally from Malacca.
Check out this recipe!
dark chicken and potatoes stew, ayam pongteh, in a rectangular blue floral bowl
Eurasian Corned Beef Stew Recipe
Eurasian Corned Beef Stew recipe, a quick and easy light mix of corned beef and vegetables, perfect for a midweek meal.
Check out this recipe!
Eurasian Corned Beef Stew

And that’s it, let’s get cooking!

If you enjoy the recipe, drop me a comment and let me know. And if you are feeling like a star, don’t forget that 5-star rating! Thank you!

If you make this recipe, post it on Instagram and tag me @azlinbloor and hashtag it #linsfood.

Lin xx

white wok filled with stir-fried prawns (shrimp, green beans and beansprouts

Sambal Stir-Fry with Prawns and Vegetables

Azlin Bloor
Sambal stir-fry is a super easy recipe that you can adapt using any vegetables or protein. Or keep it vegan if you prefer.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Asian
Servings 2 (2-3)
Calories 155 kcal


  • 1 knife
  • 1 chopping board
  • 1 wok or frying pan I'm using Earth Pan, click to see it on Amazon.
  • 1 spatula


  • 200 g raw prawns
  • 50 g green beans
  • 50 g beansprouts
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp sambal (use more for a spicier dish) (sambal belacan, balado, oelek)
  • 1 Tbsp light soy sauce
  • juice of half a lime or 2 calamansi limes
  • 1 sprig fresh coriander leaves optional


Prep Work

  • Clean and devein the prawns.
    The intestinal vein that runs along the back of the prawn should be visible and just sticking out. Give it a firm but gentle pull. If it's stuck, use a small knife to cut a shallow groove along the back and take the vein out and discard.
  • Slice the green beans into 5cm (2") lengths roughly. My granny would always insist that we slice the beans on the diagonal so they take on more flavour. Granny's always right.

Let's Get Cooking

  • Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan on medium-high heat. Add the prawns and cook for 2 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  • Lower the heat to medium and add the vegetables and sambal. Stir it up and leave to cook for 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the soy sauce and mix well. Cook for a minute more or until the prawns are done.
  • Take it off the heat and squeeze the lime juice all over and serve immediately. You can top it with a tiny, tiny amount of chopped up fresh coriander leaves (cilantro), if you like.


Easy Sambal Stir-Fry


Calories: 155kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 16gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 126mgSodium: 1415mgPotassium: 265mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 550IUVitamin C: 18mgCalcium: 76mgIron: 1mg
Keyword prawns, sambal, shrimp, stir-fry
Tried this recipe?Mention @azlinbloor or tag #linsfood!
Made it? Upload your Photos!Mention @azlinbloor or tag #linsfood!

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