Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Dried shrimp

Dried shrimp are shrimp that have been sun dried and shrunk to a thumbnail size. They are used primarily in Chinese cuisine, imparting a unique umami taste. A handful of shrimp are generally used for dishes. When cooked, the flavor is released as an ingredient. Despite the literal meaning of the name "shrimp rice", it has nothing to do with rice other than the fact that the shrimp are shrunk to a tiny size similar to grains of rice.


In East Asia

In Chinese cuisine, dried shrimp are used quite frequently for their sweet and unique flavor that is very different from fresh shrimp. They have the coveted umami flavor . It is an ingredient in the Cantonese XO sauce. Dried shrimp are also used in Chinese soups and braised dishes. It is also featured in Cantonese cuisine, particularly in some dim sum dishes such as rolled and rice noodle roll and in ''zongzi''.

Dried shrimp are also used in Korean cuisine, where they are soaked briefly to reconstitute them, and are then stir-fried with seasonings--typically garlic, ginger, scallions, , sugar, and hot peppers--and served as a side dish. It is called ''"mareunsaeu bokkeum"'' in . They are also used in some Korean braised dishes and used for making broth.

In Southeast Asia

In countries like Malaysia, shrimps are used to make a condiment called ''sambal udang'' . In Southeast Asia, prawns and shrimps are distinguished by their size and therefore it is not practical to make ''sambal udang'' with prawns. The Malay people developed ''sambal udang'', which uses fresh shrimp and is wetter, while the Chinese living in Southeast Asia, especially those of Peranakan descent, developed ''sambal udang kering'', which uses dried shrimp, is drier, and can be served as pub grub. Most major supermarkets in Malaysia and Singapore sell fresh shrimp from which the shells have already been removed.

Known as ???????? in Thai cuisine, dried shrimp is used extensively with chilies and Thai herbs to produce chili paste and various types of curry paste. Dried shrimp is also used as is in Northeastern dishes such as somtam.

Dried shrimp paste, called ''kapi'' , is also eaten in Thailand.

They are also used in Vietnamese cuisine, where they are called ''t?m kh?'', and are used in soups and in fried rice.

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