Skill level

Average: 4.1 (43 votes)


  • 5–6 shallots, chopped 
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped 
  • 300 g red chillies, roughly chopped (long or small chillies, depending on desired strength, can be mixed) 
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tbsp salt 
  • 3 tbsp sugar 
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil 
  • handful of petai ("smelly beans") (optional) 

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


This quantity of balado is sufficient for 1 kg meat, seafood or vegetables.

In a blender, blend tomato and shallots for 5 seconds, then add chilli.

Continue blending briefly to a coarse paste.

Heat wok over medium heat, add vegetable oil, and stir-fry the paste, add sugar and salt.

Lower temperature slightly, and stir occasionally for 10–15 minutes, until the chilli becomes fragrant, mixture thickens a little and the colour has changed to deep red.

Add lime juice to taste.

Petai can be added at this stage if desired.


Suitable for: Fried prawns, squid, fish (whole or cutlets), chicken, fried boiled eggs, eggplant, tofu, tempeh or potatoes.

For eggs or tofu, sauce should be used as a spread or topping.


Balado prawns (udang balado)
Shell green prawns, leaving tail intact.

Deep-fry briefly, remove from oil and drain on paper towel.

Heat balado in a wok and stir fry prawns and petai (if using).

Serve with sliced Lebanese cucumbers.