Dried Shrimp Balachaung

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Dried Shrimp Balachaung

Postby scientist22 » April 19th, 2010, 2:54 pm

My father was born in Chittagong in what was East Bengal before the partition and is now in Bangladesh. That part of Bangladesh is neighboring to Burma and their cuisine has a lot of Burmese influence.
He often told me about dried shrimp balachaung. Apparently the peasants and boatmen who live in gut-wrenching poverty eat this fiery hot condiment (read below to see exactly how hot it is!) with lots of rice and thin watery daal made with red lentils. Thats all eat frequently, when they have money to buy rice.

Dad had made this when we were kids many moons ago....a vastly tempered down version and we loved it! Maybe it was Dad's nostalgic narrations of the carefee life growing up in a village that caught our imagination...may be the pungent flavors of dried fish and seafood of all description cooked in hot curries always caught our fancy.

Fast forward, 30 odd years and I stumbled across a packet of shrimp balachaung, readymade at out local asian store run by a Bangladeshi. I made steamed rice and the lentil daal for authenticity and tried the rice and daal with several teaspoons of balachaung mixed in it. Folks, this was not the baby food our dad made for us! This was the fully-radioactive, tastebud annihilating, biological weapon that should require a containment-and-detoxification protocol on its label. I am surprised that the plastic pouch that held it did not melt!

What I tasted had about 50% dried shrimp, 20% garlic, 15% onions and 15%...yes folks about FIFTEEN PERCENT...chili flakes. This is not deseeded refined chili for the musky flavors....this is crunchy bits of chili seeds and flakes which brings pain thresholds to the point that would make Marquis de Sade seem like a boy scout. You sweat, your nose drips...you yelp....and then eat some more!

In any case, if anybody is interested in the recipe, here is a link. Lose the tamarind because the version I ate, did not have any. And replace the chili powder with whole dried red chilies. Lots of em!

http://www.myanmardotcom.com/Recipie.aspx?DishID=72
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Re: Dried Shrimp Balachaung

Postby sunflower » April 19th, 2010, 3:29 pm

Not sure if belachaung is just another name for belacan (belachan) in Malay.

What you have there sounds very similar to Malay style dried shrimp sambal (sambal udang kering).

This is my recipe http://sunflower-recipes.blogspot.com/2008/03/sambal-udang-kering-dried-shrimps.html. You can add as many dried chillies as you like. I don't like it too fiery hot. Great with plain rice and nothing else needed. Great sprinkle on cold cucumber or pineapple.

Shame dried shrimps can be quite expensive over here about £3 for a mere 100g. My family in the far east buy dried shrimps in 1 - 2 kg bag. If it is cheaper in UK, I would make this more often.
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Re: Dried Shrimp Balachaung

Postby scientist22 » April 21st, 2010, 12:03 pm

That recipe sounds great sunflower. Will have to try it sometime. The thing that I got is nowhere near the refined condiment that you have in your recipe.....but i guess the roots are the same :)
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Re: Dried Shrimp Balachaung

Postby AZCook » April 21st, 2010, 9:38 pm

How interesting, SC22 and many thanks for story and for the recipe link. I'll be trying that one as I love hot/sour pungent shrimp and fish pickles and dishes.

I'm a huge Goan food fan and this Prawn Balchao Pickle by Mamta is really excellent, too. Likewise her Prawn Patia, one of my favourite main dishes.
http://www.mamtaskitchen.com/recipe_dis ... p?id=13074

That sambal recipe looks excellent as welll, Sunflower - will definitely be making that too!


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Last edited by AZCook on April 21st, 2010, 9:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dried Shrimp Balachaung

Postby ianinfrance » April 21st, 2010, 9:50 pm

AZCook wrote:. Likewise her Prawn Patia, one of my favourite main dishes.
Norarf. I used to love it in the Durbar, which was my local when I was a poverty stricken student, but until I found Mamta's recipe, never found one that compared.

Talking of Goan and shellfish, have you ever had Tisrya Dum Masala (Spicy steamed Mussels)which I understand comes from Goa?
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Re: Dried Shrimp Balachaung

Postby AZCook » April 21st, 2010, 11:14 pm

No I haven't , Ian - sounds interesting.
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