Spicy Dried Shrimp (Hei Bee Hiam) without Belachan

I was looking for simple Hei Bee Hiam recipes for making tiny spring rolls for Chinese New Year when I thought belachan (shrimp paste) was missing from this recipe.

Belachan (shrimp paste), that pungent, ubiquitous ingredient  in many Indonesian dishes, teamed with sambal, makes one of the best condiment for stir fries (french beans (below) , firm tofu, kang kong).

The end product with this Belachan-less recipe misses out on that pungent kick, but nonetheless just as satisfying when teamed with my white jasmine rice.


Recipe for Sambal Dried Shrimp – adapted from Indochine Kitchen

150 g dried shrimp
50 g red chilies*
8 shallots
3 cloves garlic
4 tbsp sugar
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Wash dried shrimps under running tap briefly, pat dry with clean cloth.

Finely ground the dried shrimps.  I had no mortar and pestle, so I chopped up the 150g dried shrimps (in 3 batches)  in a food processor.

After 1-2 minutes in the processor, I got this:

Next, the 50g chili* + 8 shallots + 5 garlic cloves + 1/2 of a lime juice + 4 tbsp sugar goes into the blender.

I added about 1 tablespoon of water to make the blending easier.

Next, heat the 1/2 cup of oil in a wok.

Add the blended spice mix in and fry it till it turns darker and thicker in consistency.

Add grounded dried shrimps, and continue frying, till the shrimp absorbs the spice sauce mix, around 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and serve immediately.

My Notes:~

* If a less spicy dish is preferred, use normal red chili, instead of bird’s eye chili/chili padi

* Hei Bee Hiam can be kept in the fridge, up to 1 week.

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