If you are a fan of South East Asian cuisine, you would know that shrimp paste (terasi in Indonesian or Belachan in Malaysian) is 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.
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.
Turn on the stove – under medium heat and place the shrimp paste in the middle part of the burner
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
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.
Toasting in stove burner
Nicely toasted and ready to be used
Would love to know how others prepare their shrimp paste. Please do share.