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Shrimp (dried and paste)

Two invaluable ingredients for oriental cooking

Shrimp paste: This Thai ingredient is made from fermented, salted shrimps that are pounded into a concentrated paste, but it must be cooked and not used in its raw state. Once opened, you need to store it in the fridge with a tight lid on and place it in a polythene bag, as it has quite a strong aroma. But that said, it helps to give a wonderful authentic flavour to Thai recipes.

Dried shrimps: These have lots of concentrated shrimp flavour, unlike tired and tasteless frozen prawns, which have no value at all. They are available in oriental shops, but have only a short shelf life – about 4 weeks – so buy them in small quantities and keep them refrigerated. They need to be soaked in hot water for 15 minutes before using.

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