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.
How to toast belacan
Take a small portion of belacan. Then, make it into a round shape.
Pressed the belacan to flatten it. This is to ensure the belacan is 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.
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.
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.