Shrimp paste (aka shrimp sauce) is a very salty paste made with fermented shrimp and salt. It is used a lot in Asian cooking to flavor curries, broths, braised dishes, steamed dishes, and fried rice and is very high in umami-ness.
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How Do You Use It?
It is used in many different ways in Asian cooking and is an ingredient that doesn't have a distinct flavor that can be instantly identified unless you are using it on its own.
When used in broths and Thai curries, it provides a huge boost in umami and saltiness and it gives a more full-bodied flavor. It is also used in steaming meats, vegetables and sometimes added to vegetables and when used that way has a very strong pungent smell that definitely is something that you need to get used to else it can be very off putting. It is also very commonly used in fried rice in south Asian cuisines and gives the rice a boost in saltiness and umami flavor.
Where Can I Buy Shrimp Paste?
You can find shrimp paste at an Asian grocery store - they are usually stored in the aisles where all the jars of sauces are.
When you are looking for it, keep in mind that shrimp paste and shrimp sauce are the same thing and are used interchangeably. Look for a glass or plastic jar filled with a grayish-brown thick paste. If possible, try to find one that only has 2 ingredients - shrimp and salt. If this is difficult to find, you can also find this online as well.
How to Substitute Shrimp Paste
If you cannot find shrimp paste, you can substitute it with half the amount of fish sauce.
How to Store It
Once opened, store this in the fridge. Since it has a lot of salt in it, it will last a long time in the fridge.
Recipes That Use Shrimp Paste
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