Belacan paste in general
Belacan is a type of Malay condiment made of udang geragau that has been salted, dried and fermented for four months.
(Udang geragau is a small shrimp that resembles krill).
Udang geragau is only available in certain places such as in Malacca and Tanjung Dawai in Kedah.
In English, belacan is known as shrimp paste and one of the essential ingredients in Malay cooking
The recipes that had belacan are sambal tumis, asam pedas, air asam, sambal belacan.
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.
How I toast belacan
Take a small portion of belacan and make into a table tennis ball.
Then, using the heat from the stove, turn into a medium heat.
Pressed the belacan so it flatten a bit. This is to ensure the belacan is evenly cooked.
Carefully brought the belacan that being place on the pan.
Toast the belacan and rotate the belacan evenly so that all the parts is cooked.
How to know the belacan toast is cooked?
Let the belacan cooked until it turn dry or changed the color from pink to pale brown. You can see that it will slightly cracked and no longer sticky
It takes about 15 minutes to toast the belacan.
Take it out and let it cool.