Sambal Ikan Bilis with Tang Hoon

Sambal Ikan Bilis is commonly found in many hawkers in Malaysia and Singapore, especially Nasi Lemak vendors. It is the main condiment to Nasi Lemak and can actually make or break the popularity of Nasi Lemak vendors. What is less common would be Sambal Ikan Bilis with Tang Hoon (glass vermicelli) as seen above. This dish is more often cooked at home rather than being sold outside.

At home, we usually prepare the sambal (chilli paste) beforehand and keep them in the refridgerator for use as and when needed. Recipes differ from one cook to another and mine is actually a very simple no-frills version.

This is my recipe for Sambal Ikan Bilis with Tang Hoon


  • 3/4 bowls of ikan bilis (rinsed)
  • 20 grammes / 1 small bundle of Tang Hoon (it is in dried form and it should be soaked to soften it beforehand)
  • 1 large onion (cut into rings)
  • Cooking oil (palm oil)
  • 40 ml hot water

Sambal ingredients (pound together)

  • 4 to 8 red chillis (ensure seeds are completely crushed during pounding)
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 4 cloves shallots


  • Salt and sugar to taste


Heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil and fry ikan bilis till crisp. Remove ikan bilis and discard oil.

Heat oil 2 tablespoons of cooking oil and saute sambal ingredients on medium heat till aromatic and semi-brown. Set aside.

Next, heat up 2 teaspoons of cooking oil in wok and saute onions till beginning to limp. Add sambal and continue to stir briskly for 15 to 30 seconds. Add tang hoon and water and bring water to boil. Let the tang hoon cook for not more than 1 minute whilst you add seasoning. The water should be reduced by now.

Return fried ikan bilis into the wok and mix well with the ingredients prior to serving. The fried ikan bilis is only added in prior to serving to preserve its crunchiness as against the softness of the tang hoon.

Serve with white rice.

Technorati Tags: Recipe, Sambal, Ikan Bilis, Malaysia

My Recommended Recipes


  1. 1
    January 17th, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    The Nasi Lemak I eat in Singapore don’t have Sambal Ikan Bilis ar… there’s only the dried ikan bilis with peanuts.

  2. 2
    January 17th, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    simcooks : So stingy one ar? LOL!

  3. 3
    Rasa Malaysia
    January 17th, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    This sambal ikan bilis is so versatile, put on anything also good taste!

  4. 4
    January 17th, 2007 at 3:44 pm

    rasa malaysia : Yes, it’s delicious asian food ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. 5
    January 17th, 2007 at 3:56 pm

    oh….Singapore nasi lemak cant compare with Malaysia nasi lemak.

    but sambal ikan bilis never try before la,it seem easy to cook…hehe

  6. 6
    January 17th, 2007 at 4:05 pm

    mspretty : Very the easy to cook wan…

  7. 7
    Daryl W.T. Lau
    January 17th, 2007 at 9:40 pm

    wow… that looks spicy indeed.

  8. 8
    January 18th, 2007 at 1:20 am

    No la. Not stingy. Just a different taste. Not everything is the same mah… just like Penang Laksa vs Singapore Laksa is different. The Hainanese Chicken Rice is also different.

  9. 9
    January 18th, 2007 at 7:54 am

    This dish looks good. Alternate way to use sambal. Sambal Ikan Billi really versatile. I remember those VERY VERY traditional nasi lemak (small pack-size of our palm, of rice wrapped wif banana leaf) has these ingredients – 1. Sambal Ikan Billi smeared on another “baby” banana leaf inside the big banana leaf; 2.small fried fish 3. cucumber. 80cens(S’pore)

  10. 10
    January 18th, 2007 at 9:00 am

    simcooks : Yes, I know what you mean. Different place, different style ๐Ÿ˜‰

    tigerfish : Your comment was earlier caught by my spamguard. Lol! Oh yes, those “small packets” are great! Quite difficult to find them in KL nowadays. I guess the vendors want to earn more money by selling “add-ons” such as curry chicken, sotong, etc.

  11. 11
    January 18th, 2007 at 9:22 am

    Wah , you moved house and reject visitors arh ? Scared I dirty your carpet with saliva, is it? ;p
    I just posted a spinach soup (ref. to your spinach living in your “new house”!)

  12. 12
    January 18th, 2007 at 11:39 am

    Looks spicy and nice! When you want to cook for me? Hahaha…

  13. 13
    January 18th, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    Neo : When u want to eat?

  14. 14
    January 18th, 2007 at 1:39 pm

    Hi Pablo, very creative arh u, glass noodles and anchovies, yumssss ๐Ÿ™‚ I did one glass noodles recipe with fish fillet onlyy, nothing spectacular like yours hehe, next time ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. 15
    January 18th, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    meltingwok : This one mummy teach one ๐Ÿ˜›

    It’s not to be eaten as a main dish itself, though. More a condiment ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. 16
    January 18th, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    Any ‘petua’ to share on frying anchovies? My attempts have resulted in either burnt or limp ones. My fried kacang (should be peanuts or groundnuts?) also big failure. =

  17. 17
    January 18th, 2007 at 6:00 pm

    tummythoz : To get crispy ikan bilis, I usually just rinse the ikan bilis (not soaking them) to get rid of dust or dirt. Heat up wok till smoking, add oil (make sure it is really hot) and fry the ikan bilis till golden brown. It almost always turn out crispy. I find that if I soak the ikan bilis too long, it does not always turn out crispy.

    I only toast kacang (before grinding them) so far. Never tried frying them. Not really a fan of kacang though…

  18. 18
    January 25th, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    me so sua koo leh, never eaten with tang hoon like this! u really terror lah

  19. 19
    January 25th, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    babe_kl : My mum is the one who’s terror! I learnt from her one ler…

  20. 21
    January 29th, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    i thought of trying this dish, but don’t like tang hoon.


  1. Hochiak! Delicious Asian Food » Blog Archive » The Best of Delicious Asian Food 2007

Leave a Comment

LinkWithin Related Stories Widget for Blogs