Shrimp Paste Recipe

Give your dishes a tasty kick with this ferment. Creating this pungent, flavorful seasoning is easier than you think.

| June 2019

Photo from Adobe Stock

Makes: 1 cup
Prep Time: 10 minutes, 20 minutes soak time
Fermentation Time: 3 days, 3 days refrigeration
Skill Level: Beginner

A classic seasoning for everything from soups to curries to sauces in Southeast Asian cooking, homemade shrimp paste is a vibrantly bright condiment with a pungent aroma and big flavor, unlike store-bought versions, which tend to fall flat in both color and complexity. If you are having trouble finding whole dried shrimp, check out a local Asian or Latino market, where they are generally available.


  • 1 ounce dried whole shrimp
  • 4 or 5 dried Thai chiles
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon whey

Photo from Adobe Stock


  1. Place the shrimp in a small pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, cook for about 3 minutes, turn off the heat, and leave them to steep for 20 minutes.
  2. Drain the shrimp, reserving the cooking water.
  3. Place the chiles in a bowl, and cover them with the hot cooking water. Set aside to rehydrate for about 20 minutes.
  4. Add the shrimp, rehydrated chiles, garlic, sugar, salt, and fish sauce to a blender, and process for just a few seconds, until chunky. Add the whey and a bit of the cooking water — add about a tablespoon at a time — until you have a smooth paste. Puree until very smooth.
  5. Transfer to a jar, cover it, and leave the shrimp paste to ferment at room temperature for 3 days. Refrigerate it for 3 more days before using. Open and use within 2 months.

Also from DIY Fermentation

diy-fermentationFermentation has given us some of the food world's most treasured delights, and with DIY Fermentation, making delicious probiotic foods in your own kitchen has never been easier. Accessible overviews of fundamental fermentation techniques and step-by-step recipes provide the basic skills you will turn to again and again as you experiment with nourishing ferments at home. Work your way through a wide range of do-it-yourself fermentation projects with 100+ recipes to make your own sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, kefir, yogurt, vinegar, kombucha, hard apple cider, and more; recipes ranging from beginner to advanced to put your skills to the test; detailed troubleshooting guides to ensure fermentation success; insider tips and anecdotes from fermentation experts; step-by-step illustrations to stay on track; and a bonus chapter integrating homemade ferments into everyday cooking. Enjoy all the health benefits and delicious flavors of naturally fermented vegetables, fruits, dairy, beverages, breads, condiments, and much more with this invaluable guide to unleash your inner DIYer and master your fermentation skills.

Reprinted with permission from DIY Fermentation: Over 100 Step-by-Step Home Fermentation Recipes by Katherine Green and published by Rockridge Press, 2015.



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