A Horseradish Root
A Horseradish Root

This rather gnarly looking object is not a withered old tree branch, but is actually a Horseradish Root, the source of that sharp, pungent white condiment usually only encountered in jars purchased at the supermarket. The purchased varieties are fine to use, as long as you don’t let them age too long, but there are some benefits to using the fresh article that are also worth investigating…

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Dry-fried Green Beans and Bamboo Shoots
Dry-fried Green Beans and Bamboo Shoots

This recipe for Dry-fried Green Beans and Bamboo Shoots is based on a very popular Sichuan dish called ‘Dry-Fried Four-Season Beans’. In that particular dish, the long green beans are first deep-fried in order to make them deliciously crisp-tender, and then pan-fried with other ingredients. Here, bamboo shoots get the same treatment as the beans, and then they are both stir-fried together with ginger, chili, and umami-rich reconstituted dried shrimp.

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Kimchi with Conpoy and Dried Shrimp
Kimchi with Conpoy and Dried Shrimp

Many recipes for Kimchi call for fermenting cabbage, or other vegetables, with some type of seafood in order to add an extra umami dimension. The seafood typically used is often Korean brined-shrimp, but oysters, octopus, and even fish guts are sometimes used. Here, in a twist on the more traditional blends, Conpoy and Dried Shrimp being added as the umami boosters.

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A selection of dried shrimp
A selection of dried shrimp

Do you use dried shrimp in your own kitchen? If not, then you really should think about adding this very versatile foodstuff to your pantry. Like mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, or Conpoy, the drying process highly concentrates the flavors of shrimp and produces a tremendous umami-punch that makes them very useful indeed. If you would like to learn how to prepare and use dried shrimp in recipes, along with tips for buying and storing them, then read on…

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