Belacan is a Malaysian dried shrimp paste that is made from small Acetes shrimp. The krill are steamed, mashed, and then aged before being fried and pressed into pungent cakes. Belacan is essential in Southeast Asian cuisine in making dishes such as nasi lemak and different types of curry. Belacan particularly potent with a strong distinctive odor, flavor, and umami relative to other types of shrimp paste.
Uses: Break or shave off pieces of belacan with a knife and stir-fry to bring out their flavor with other aromatics before adding your other ingredients. Belacan pairs exceptionally well with other aromatics such as shallot, garlic, lemongrass, chili peppers, galangal, and ginger.