How I toast belacan

In English, belacan is known as shrimp paste and one of the essential ingredients in Malay cooking.

It is made from udang geragau that has been salted, fermented and dried for months.

Belacan is keep fresh in Labu Sayong.

How to toast belacan

Take a small portion of belacan. Then, make it into a round shape.

belacan ball
Make the belacan in this size

Pressed the belacan to flatten it. This is to ensure the belacan is evenly toast.

belacan being pressed
Pressed until it becomes flat so that it evenly toast.

Then, place a non-stick pan on a kitchen stove and turn into a medium heat.

Carefully place the belacan on the pan.

Toast the belacan for 7 minutes on one side and rotate the belacan and toast for another 7 minutes on the other side.

It takes about 14 minutes to toast the belacan.

belacan on the pan
Place on the pan.

How to know the belacan is cook?

The belacan is evenly cook when the colour change from pink to slightly brown.

In addition, you can see that it has slight cracked and the texture are no longer sticky.

Now, you can add belacan toast in cooking.

belacan bakar
Belacan toast is ready. The indicator that the belacan is cook can be seen the colour turn pale after toast.

How belacan is made

Cleaning the fresh prawn

The maker usually cleaned the prawn thoroughly by removed the head of the prawn and all the debris that stick to the prawn. They only took the flesh of fresh prawn.

Mixing with the fine salt

After being caught, udang geragau are unloaded from the jetty and being carried to the kitchen for wash.

Then, the prawn is mixed using fine salt. They used only 10% of fine salt.

For instance, given 50kg of cleaned fresh prawn, they used 5 kg of fine salt.

Drying the mixture

After mixing, they will spread the prawn and salt mixture on the mat for drying.

Drying can be done either on plastic mats or on the ground under the sun. Let it partially dried.

Pounded the mixture

Subsequently after the mixture is partially dried, they will pound it with slight amount of water using a big mortar.


The pounded mixture is then wrapped with clean cloths and stored in a big pot for fermentation process to be done.

If the mixture is still moist, they will dried it under the sun and then pound it once again until the belacan texture is fine and turned into paste.

Repeat the process

The fermentation or grinding process is usually repeated several times until the paste fully matures.

How many days the belacan last?

Belacan can last up to six months if it is wrapped in plastic and kept refrigerated.

This is due to the salting, fermentation and long drying process of belacan ensures that it has a long shelf life. 

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