This Malaysian chilli paste is a spicy accompaniment to any curry, stir-fry or noodle dish. Dried shrimp paste, cherry tomatoes and bird’s-eye chillies are pounded in a mortar and pestle to create the rich, more-ish flavour.
- 5 cm-piece dried shrimp paste (belachan) (see Note), cut into small pieces
- 20 red bird’s-eye chillies, trimmed
- 20 cherry tomatoes
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Place dried shrimp paste in a heavy-based frying pan over low heat and cook, stirring continuously, for 5 minutes or until it turns into a brownish, dry granular mixture.
Using a mortar and pestle, gently pound chillies and toasted dried shrimp until a paste and season with salt. Add tomatoes and pound until crushed. Serve as an accompaniment with the other dishes.
• Dried shrimp paste is available from selected supermarkets and Asian food shops.
As seen in Feast magazine, Feb 2012, Issue 6. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.
Photography by Anson Smart.