How To : Prepare Shrimp Paste

If you are a fan of South East Asian cuisine, you would know that shrimp paste (terasi in Indonesian or Belachan in Malaysian)┬áis an essential ingredient to spice up any kind of cooking. It has a funky smell – kind of unbearable by its own. But if it is married with the right ingredients, nothing less than harmonious taste would develop and it can be quite addictive!

I just found out a rather interesting way of preparing it the right way – or so I have been told. So this is the way it is done in IndoChine Kitchen. The type we use is not really paste, but rather shrimp paste in form of hard pressed cakes. There are many commercially sold shrimp paste now, prepared in individually wrapped plastics, just like candy. In fact, our housecook mistakenly thought they were candies. The ones featured below is from ABC Terasi, about 5 gr per pack. Enough for one serving of dish.

Step 1

Unwrapped the package (obviously) or cut the blocks of terasi / belachan into small pieces. About 2 tablespoons or 5 grams would be enough for anything prepared for 4 to 6 people.

Step 2

Turn on the stove – under medium heat and place the shrimp paste in the middle part of the burner

Step 3

Leave on for 3 minutes until some part of it is charred and started to crack in the middle part – this is the sign that it is ready

Step 4

Remove from heat and scrape off the burnt part. The shrimp paste is fully toasted and the flavor is wholly released. Ready to rock and roll with the rest of your cooking.

how to prepare shrimp paste

Toasting in stove burner

how to prepare shrimp paste

Nicely toasted and ready to be used

Would love to know how others prepare their shrimp paste. Please do share.

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12 Responses to “How To : Prepare Shrimp Paste”

  1. 1

    Linda — December 27, 2008 @ 3:07 am

    I recently read how this lady prepares shrimp paste, it’s from 1 of the blogs I read regularly.

  2. 2

    Nate — December 27, 2008 @ 7:54 am

    I don’t think we do anything to prepare the belacan before we use it. On top of that, we don’t have a gas stove. I love the taste of belacan but I don’t think it would be nice to fill the house with burning belacan smells.

    Nate’s last blog post..Merry Christmas from House of Annie

  3. 3

    Melissa — December 29, 2008 @ 3:15 pm

    Wow, I have never heard of toasting something on the burner like that, That’s neat!

    Melissa’s last blog post..Schweet Strawberry Cake

  4. 4

    noobcook — December 30, 2008 @ 4:45 am

    I bought a stab of belacan for sometime but still haven’t got down to using it. I didn’t know that you can toast it directly on the burner … nice technique =D

    noobcook’s last blog post..Roast Chicken with Garlic, Lemon and Thyme

  5. 5

    mochachocolata-rita — January 2, 2009 @ 1:56 am

    I normally simply toast in on a fry pan….(is this what we call “sangrai” in Indonesian?) and got on with it. I am too much of a chicken shit to char the terasi on an open flame. :D

  6. 6

    Joie de vivre — January 4, 2009 @ 4:51 pm

    I’ve never seen anything like this before. You’ve introduced me to something new! What do you use shrimp paste in?

    Joie de vivre’s last blog post..French Friday #1

  7. 7

    Jun — January 4, 2009 @ 6:58 pm

    Thank you for the link! I have never seen anyone prepared them that way here. That was really interesting technique.

    LOL. I totally agree with you!

    The truth is, that was my first time too

    If you have a gas burner, you should try this way. It tasted very different

    Yeah. The way you do it is much easier and normal, quicker too, I supposed.

    Joie de Vivre,
    There are many ways to use it, you can use my search box widget to find dishes that use the paste :) Thanks for dropping in!

  8. 8

    pixen — January 5, 2009 @ 3:18 pm

    Hi Jun,
    Happy New Year 2009!

    My family has several ways… one is like your method. The other ways are toasting the pieces on charcoal clay stove grill or wrap it inside Aluminium foil and flip it on both sides on stainless steel pan until fragrant (this way won’t make the whole house smell or your next door neighbor calling the pest control over to your home.)

    pixen’s last blog post..Curry Chicken in Kaffir Lime Leaves

  9. 9

    Jun — January 7, 2009 @ 5:19 pm

    I guess once I have my own house, and if it is tiny (unlike my parents’ house with big outdoor kitchen), I will do it your way … I would hate it too when other people do it. LOL

  10. 10

    beachloverkitchen — January 9, 2009 @ 10:12 pm

    great and cool idea! I remember my mom use to grill belacan directly over charcoal instead of gas stove..

    beachloverkitchen’s last blog post..Stir-fry Sambal Shrimp with Petai /Sator Beans (Stinky Beans)

  11. 11

    How to Prepare Shrimp Paste | IndoStyles — April 22, 2014 @ 10:39 am

    [...] Paste Method 1The first special method is one I discovered on the IndoChineKitchen blog and is definitely the most interesting way to do [...]

  12. 12

    Henk — November 28, 2015 @ 2:51 am

    Hey, that’s exactly the way i have done it all my life. In Holland! Pity youndo not post anymore. Best wishes.

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