Posted in Spicery

Spice Blend: Sambal Belacan

In a previous post featuring an Indonesian spice blend called Sambal Terasi I noted that one of the ingredients, a dried shrimp paste called Terasi, is also known on Malaysia as ‘Belacan’. Not unnaturally,  Malaysia has a preparation similar to Sambal Terasi called Sambal Belacan, and, as with the Indonesian variety, there is a great deal of diversity in the constituent ingredients and the methods of preparation.

My Sambal Terasi interpretation was a simple, raw (and fiery) preparation that cleaved to the basics, but today, I want to try something a little more complex. Last year, my wife brought home from Singapore a jar of a commercial paste called ‘Sambal Belecan’ and I enjoyed it so immensely that it was used up in no time at all. I am hoping, with this experiment, to try and reproduce the taste… Continue reading “Spice Blend: Sambal Belacan”

Posted in Experiments, Recipes

Prawn Curry

Back when I was 8 or 9 years old, my father took me to an Indian restaurant in London and I remember having a curry of giant prawns in a lovely hot curry sauce. Even now, over 40 years later I can still recall the taste of it quite vividly and have tried many times over the years to duplicate it. As I mentioned in my ‘Foodstuff’s’ post featuring Patak’s Hot Curry Paste, it was only using this very nice Masala that I was ever able to come close to that delicious taste I remember from all those years ago. Patak’s has changed the makeup of their paste a couple of times since I first used it (in fact, I currently have two jars that are clearly made using a different recipes), so I will be interested to see how the newest variety works in this experiment… Continue reading “Prawn Curry”

Posted in Foodstuffs

Foodstuff: Dried Shrimp Paste (Belacan/Terasi)

Fermented shrimp products are widely used throughout southeast Asia and even, albeit to a lesser degree, in India and China. Indeed, it is almost impossible to imagine Thai, Malay or Indonesian cookery without this unique and interesting ingredient.

Essentially, shrimp pastes are made by salting and then partially drying shrimp, allowing them to ferment, and then pounding the resultant mass into a generally homogenous mush. In some cases, the paste is then sold and used in it’s ‘wet’ form (particularly in Vietnam and China), but it is also dried and pressed into hard blocks. I use the soft paste forms from time to time, and I will feature one or more of these in an upcoming post, but for today we are going to have a look at the hard, dried variety… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Dried Shrimp Paste (Belacan/Terasi)”