When Delhi-based food lover, Atul Sikand invited me to join his food lover’s FB page – Sikandalous Cuisine – I have to admit I hesitated for a minute. Why? Well, I have been writing about Indian food for ten years now and had not heard of a cuisine in India called Sikandalous. I Googled and found nothing. I joined anyway. SMART decision. Close to 5000 lovers of Indian food post several tried and tested recipes daily with photos. Members answer cooking questions. Along with his pal, cookbook author Rocky Mohan, Atul has created the go to place for Indian cuisine on Facebook.


Oh, and that cuisine – I am slow. I finally figured it out — it is his last name! 🙂


Now this recipe ROCKS but let me tell you it is SUPER SPICY and I am not kidding when I say that. I hope you will try it… reduce the heat if you need to. We just loved it so much!!


Shrimp in Sambal and Coconut milk by Atul Sikand

(With some notes and modifications that I made)


From Malaysia comes this spicy prawn dish cooked in sambal and coconut milk . The main characteristic in traditional Malay cuisine are represented in this recipe with the generous use of spices ( sambal ) and coconut milk . In this recipe I have made fresh sambal paste , but a commercially made one is an acceptable option too . Use the sambal depending upon your tolerance levels as its quite spicy !

Sambal Paste?12-15 Shallots, peeled and diced

10 Bird’s Eye Chilies ( also known as Thai chilies ).

5 Dried Red Chilies( soaked in minimum amount of hot water for 10 minutes , keep water).

6 Cloves Garlic.

3″ Piece tender Lemon Grass

2 tablespoon tamarind paste – I used store-bought tamarind chutney instead — adds a touch of sweetness

2-3 tablespoons brown sugar


Fine grind / blend all the above except for the sugar . You may de seed the chilies if you desire .

In about 100 ml oil cook the sambal paste 5-7 minutes over very low heat and then add sugar and cook another 5 minutes till oil separates . Use as much as you need to , store the rest in the fridge.

Now the shrimp:

10-12 Prawns ( deveined , keep tails , marinate in juice of 1 lemon , 1 teaspoon oil and 1 teaspoon garlic paste and  a 1/2 teaspoon turmeric for 15 minutes ) (MONICA’s note – I removed the tails)

If you are ‘ dressing your prawns with banana leaf/basil , wrap them in thin strips in the middle and secure with toothpick . Atul used banana leaves, I used basil. His shrimp are in sarongs, mine are in sarees!

Now on to making the curry:

1 1/2 cups Coconut Milk

In frying pan along with 60 Ml oil add the sambal paste spread the prawns over the sambal paste and cook 1 minutes on each side over medium high flame , don’t disturb , just turn over once . Next slowly begin adding the coconut milk in small portions over the next 5 minutes allowing the prawns to simmer in the coconut milk and sambal gravy . Serve over rice.

In pictures:

A big thanks to the folks at Thai Kitchen for sending me these amazing chilies! YUMMMM

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  1. You have bettered the original ! Thank you for appreciating the recipe !

  2. We loved the recipe, Atul! I think I really added more heat than we could handle but we still kept eating it because it tasted amazing! thanks again!!

  3. WOW!! I need to try this. Though I think my husband would be blown away by the heat.

    1. Adjust the heat to suit your palate – no hard and fast rules in cooking , just go with the flow and with whats available at hand . I do believe recipes are mere ideas … the canvas is yours , paint the picture how you would like it to look :O)

  4. Atul deserves to be recognised in this fashion! Thanks, Monica!

    1. I really enjoy reading his and your recipes on the site! Great stuff!!

      1. Whoa!!!
        How did I miss that! Must have been travelling in India at the time!
        But… am I thrilled to read your words, Monica! 🙂

  5. Re: “10-12 Prawns ( deveined , keep tails ….”
    Hard to tell from the pictures, but I believe that the prawns were deveined and peeled?

    Definitely want to try this!

    1. You are correct. I removed the tails. I will add that to the recipe.

  6. Wow! I like SUPER SPICY food but don’t like to cook myself. Your recipe is looking so good and easy to use. I will provide your recipe to someone else who can prepare it same as you mentioned…

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