Tuesday, 12 October 2010

spicy dried shrimp relish + congee

I have a lovely bag of dried shrimp sitting in my fridge which I don't use nearly as often as I should.
I remember how enamoured my parents were with the quality of these dried shrimps when we stumbled upon them in a small fishing village in Malaysia last year - I was promptly advised to bring some back to Australia and I didn't need a lot of encouragement; these were definitely dried shrimps of outstanding calibre.

dried shrimp, after toasting
So I decided to rescue them from neglect and make a Malaysian-style spicy dried shrimp relish, using a recipe from my mum which I think is both simple and sensational...

The following made just one small serving for my breakfast, so multiply if you wish:

2 tablespoons dried shrimp (you should be able to find this at Asian grocery stores)
1 shallot, chopped
1 hot red chilli, chopped
1/2 a small lime

- Soak dried shrimps in warm water, rinse well, then lightly toast in a pan. (Soaking time is dependent on the traits of the dried shrimp you have - mine were so light and flaky that they didn't require much soaking at all.)
- Remove and place in a bowl, mix in shallots, chilli and squeezes of half a lime to taste. Toss everything together thoroughly. Leave to sit a little for flavours to develop further, if desired.

served on congee - a well-balanced mix of dried shrimps, chillies, shallots, and lime juice
This also makes a great little salad or side dish and I love it on plain rice porridge - perhaps better known to some as congee. Soothing and easy to digest, congee is a common comfort food in many parts of Asia. Remember to prepare it in advance if you plan to eat it with the relish!

To make congee, simply bring rice and water to boil in a pot, then simmer, partly covered and stirring occasionally, until it reaches your ideal texture and consistency. I usually have mine with still a bit of a bite to them, while others simmer it till it almost resembles a thick soup. This can take awhile - make sure that there is always enough water so it doesn’t dry out. Traditionally congee is made with white rice, but I used brown rice on this occasion.

As far as I'm concerned, the softness and blandness of plain congee provides the perfect foil for this spicy, flavoursome dried shrimp, shallot, chilli and lime relish. And here it is, ready to tuck in and enjoy...

spicy dried shrimp relish on congee


  1. ooooo i want dried shrimps from malaysia... hrmph no way i'd find such nice ones here in melbourne.

  2. I know, right? And even in Malaysia, you don't always come across dried shrimps this good. My parents must've seen millions of dried shrimp in their lifetime and they still got excited when they saw these ones...

  3. That looks absolutely fantastic! I've never bought dried shrimp before, but I feel like I totally should now. And what beautiful presentation. :)

  4. I have never tried this dried shrimp condiment with congee before! :O

  5. Thanks Melissa! If you are curious about cooking with dried shrimp, it is quite versatile and you can use it in stir-fries, add flavour to soups/stocks and as a topping for things like steamed tofu. :)

    tigerfish, they go great together, you should try it! :D

  6. I grew up eating congee with the traditional Chinese toppings of dried seasoned fish flakes and pickles. Your shrimp relish sounds really refreshing.

  7. Hi Jeanette, thanks for dropping by! You're right, as far as congee toppings go this is more refreshing than most. Very stimulating too. :D

  8. I am rather lucky, I can get good quality dried shrimps from a nearby grocery shop. Definitely would like to try this recipe.

  9. What a fabulous relish to go with congee! I like it very much.

  10. Go for it Quay Po, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. :)

    Thanks Ellie! It's definitely my favourite accompaniment to congee. :D

  11. I love jook/congee. I'm Indian, and we call it kanji, and eat it with Indian pickles...

  12. you managed to get thru custom with Msian dried shrimp ?

  13. Indie.Tea, that sounds good - I'd love to try kanji with Indian pickles! :D

    Hey Carol, yes! I had them nicely packaged, declared them and customs didn't have a problem with it. :)

  14. Oh my gosh! I have to try this :D Bookmarked. Will report back when I do!

  15. Thanks Agnes! Please do report back after you try it, I hope you like it as much as I do! :D

  16. Love dried shrimp and congee, both! This is a recipe I've got to try. Just joined your blog and hope you will join mine.
    My Favourite Recipes


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