Sambal Belacan: The Calorie-Burning Dip

Posted on June 10, 2015 · Posted in Blog, General, Personal


Often found at restaurants serving Indonesian cuisine or nasi padang stalls, sambal belacan is an acquired taste for some people. They can’t do without the hot, pungent dip made from roasted shrimp paste, chilli padi, sugar and lime juice. The ingredients are pounded together and then fried in oil. Nutrition-wise, sambal belacan has its fair dose of goodness. “Shrimp is a good source of protein and vitamins D and B, and is low in saturated fat. Red chillies are a good source of vitamins A, K and C, and lime is alkalising,” explains dietitian Sheeba Majmudar.
Watch The Sugar
However, take note of the amount of sugar per portion. According to the Health Promotion Board, there is 1g of sugar per serving (12g) of sambal belacan. This doesn’t seem like much. Yet, Majmudar has some advice for you: The more sugar you consume, the lower your body’s immunity. So when you’re sick, it’s best to avoid sugar, regardless of its source, she says.
Healthier Than Other Condiments
According to the HPB, sambal belacan has 227mg of sodium per serving. Salsa dips – the bottled types sold at supermarkets – have a whopping 1,993mg of sodium per portion. (And there’s an incredible 5,356mg of sodium per serving in Thai chilli sauce.) So the pungent dip is definitely a healthier option. Also, the fiery chilli in sambal belacan raises the body’s core temperature, helping you burn calories. And it aids in suppressing appetite. But there’s a caveat. Majmudar says: “If you are unaccustomed to eating chillies, you benefit from it as an appetite suppressant. But if you eat it frequently, your body adapts and its effect is lessened.”

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