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Dried Shrimp: Is this a Southern thing?


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#1 Creola

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 09:22 PM

In Louisiana the stores sell small bags of dried shrimp that are used as snacks or to cook with.We also purchase the shrimp, or catch them, to dry ourselves as I have done. Do others eat/ use these shrimp and if so how? I recently bought 120# of 60/80 shrimp and we boiled them in very salty water and lay them out on a metal sheet to dry while picking through and removing the heads .They are then put in crawfish sacks. After a week of taking in at night and putting out in the day and shaking the shells off we now have 15# of dried shrimp,so i would appreciate ideas on using them. I have only used them as a snack shrimp 001.JPG . nov 2012 133.JPG

#2 heidih

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 09:34 PM

I am sure some more knowledgeable folks will chime in but I do know that dried shrimp are important in Asian and Hispanic cuisines. They are sold even in my local big chain markets. I had no idea about their history in the South. Eager to hear more.

#3 liuzhou

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 10:22 PM

They are widely used in Chinese cuisine in stir fries, soups, egg fried rice and hot pots.

http://liuzhou.co.uk...-food-44-xiapi/

I too, would be interested in what you do with them in your neck of the woods.

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#4 ScottyBoy

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 01:10 PM

I love frying big batches in plenty of oil and saving it. This shrimp oil is a big part of making certain Thai dishes and was that "as good as a restaurant in Thailand" revelation for me. But they use fresh shrimp shells. I like the dried because it so much cheaper bought from my local hispanic store.
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#5 HungryC

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 04:48 PM

Dried shrimp in SE LA Cajun cooking used to be pretty common, prior to freezing of shrimp. How else would you make seafood gumbo in the dead of winter? Many old school cooks still use dried shrimp to flavor gumbos and stews. I'm especially fond of a dried shrimp and potato stew (with a roux). Dried shrimp also show up in mirliton (chayote) dishes, cooked with white beans (navy beans), and are eaten out of hand as a snack. Powdered dried shrimp are a powerful boost to any seafood stock. In short, use em to deliver shrimp flavor to the backbone of a dish in the same way you would use smoked meats to flavor a dish....

#6 Creola

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 08:38 PM

I am sure some more knowledgeable folks will chime in but I do know that dried shrimp are important in Asian and Hispanic cuisines. They are sold even in my local big chain markets. I had no idea about their history in the South. Eager to hear more.

They are widely used in Chinese cuisine in stir fries, soups, egg fried rice and hot pots. http://liuzhou.co.uk...-food-44-xiapi/ I too, would be interested in what you do with them in your neck of the woods. Posted Image

heidih I didnt realize they were used in Hispanic cooking. liuzhou, the xiapi looked to be dried from a raw state as they are white,but I imagine they are so tiny it would not matter.

I love frying big batches in plenty of oil and saving it. This shrimp oil is a big part of making certain Thai dishes and was that "as good as a restaurant in Thailand" revelation for me. But they use fresh shrimp shells. I like the dried because it so much cheaper bought from my local hispanic store.

I will try this soon ScottyBoy because I love Thai food and need to practice more Thai recipes.I do use my shells in my stocks.

Dried shrimp in SE LA Cajun cooking used to be pretty common, prior to freezing of shrimp. How else would you make seafood gumbo in the dead of winter? Many old school cooks still use dried shrimp to flavor gumbos and stews. I'm especially fond of a dried shrimp and potato stew (with a roux). Dried shrimp also show up in mirliton (chayote) dishes, cooked with white beans (navy beans), and are eaten out of hand as a snack. Powdered dried shrimp are a powerful boost to any seafood stock. In short, use em to deliver shrimp flavor to the backbone of a dish in the same way you would use smoked meats to flavor a dish....

HungryC, I have had people tell me they use the shrimp in gumbo but I was thinking instead of fresh shrimp which the texture would not appeal to me,but to use powdered shrimp is a revelation. I could use the powder in more ways than whole,like fritter batters or a shrimp dip. We are putting away a portion for our emergency supplies, Cajun jerky lol.

#7 liuzhou

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 08:50 PM

liuzhou, the xiapi looked to be dried from a raw state as they are white,but I imagine they are so tiny it would not matter.


Yes. The xiapi are salted and dried raw.

Edited by liuzhou, 24 November 2012 - 09:05 PM.


#8 ChefRobb

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 04:30 PM

I just had an interesting thought.
If you dried shrimp, made a stock from the shells and rehdrated them in the stock would the flavor be more pronounced?
I think Ill be trying this soon. I will post the results.

#9 HungryC

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 06:20 PM

Dried shrimp have a concentrated flavor of their own. It is not precisely fresh shrimp flavor...it has a slightly fermented tang, a concentrated essence without the sweetness of fresh shrimp. Kinda like salt cod vs the fresh fish. Rehydrating the shrimp yields a soft, slightly mealy texture, but dried shrimp are quite small, so you dont get much shrimp in any one bite. Dunno what purpose a separate stock would serve, as they're not lacking in flavor. In my culinary tradition, they're not used as a principal protein in a dish, but rather as flavoring.

I do wonder about dry toasting the already dried shrimp, in a similar fashion to dry toasting shrimp paste in SE Asian cooking.

#10 Crouton

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 07:00 PM

Alabama checking in. Nope, not a "southern thing". I know all of 0 people who would even know what to do with such a thing.

#11 ScottyBoy

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 07:07 PM

Anyone ever ran the very small ones through a spice grinder and maybe crusted something with them?
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#12 Creola

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 07:22 PM

Anyone ever ran the very small ones through a spice grinder and maybe crusted something with them?

Any suggestions on what to crust? My mind keeps going to batters like a pakora or hushpuppie.

#13 ScottyBoy

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 07:34 PM

Well the store down the street has the smaller ones so maybe I'll mess around.
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#14 Creola

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 07:49 PM

I'm thinking eggplant and shrimp go well together, maybe put some ground shrimp powder in the crust mixture before frying.I left the shrimp at my weekend place if i get a chance to go back during the week I will try this.

#15 HungryC

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 08:45 AM

Anyone ever ran the very small ones through a spice grinder and maybe crusted something with them?

Depending on how "dried" your shrimp are, you might fare better with a mortar and pestle rather than a spice grinder...some are pretty flexible, not quite jerky-like in texture.

I can buy powdered dried shrimp at WalMart or just about any supermarket, so I don't need to run them through a spice grinder. You can generally find small whole shrimp, crushed 'fluff' shrimp, and shrimp powder, packaged in little cello bags, stapled to a large cardboard display card. Local dried shrimp are most often sold w/o shells--the imported Asian stuff is usually shell-on.

Here's a link to a 100+ year old dried shrimp maker in Houma, LA: Blum & Bergeron's website will give you an idea of the "usual" sizes and varieties available in south Louisiana.

And here's an interview (see video & overview here, and transcript here) conducted by Sara Roahen/Southern Foodways Alliance with Robert Collins, a dried shrimp producer in Grand Isle, LA.

ETA: the dried shrimp tradition in Louisiana has its roots in fishermen from Manila, who dried shrimp in the sun & open air on raised platforms. A marshland community called Manila Village, north of Grand Isle, was well known for "dancing the shrimp", a custom of walking on the nearly dried shrimp in order to break off the shells. Photo of "dancing the shrimp" here; more background on Filipinos in LA here. Color-enhanced arial photo of Manila village, showing the shrimp drying platforms here.

Edited by HungryC, 27 November 2012 - 08:52 AM.


#16 ScottyBoy

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 08:54 AM

Well then, there you go.
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#17 huiray

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 07:51 AM

(snip)
Local dried shrimp are most often sold w/o shells--the imported Asian stuff is usually shell-on.
(snip)


Perhaps in New Orleans, where I think you are located?

Personally I see and have seen mostly dried shrimp ["Har Mai"; 蝦米; Yale: ha1 mai5] without shells in all the Chinese/Vietnamese/"ethnic" markets around me where I've lived in the US. (Midwest, NY/NJ area, etc) although shell-on stuff is also available. Certainly in SE Asia (Malaysia, Singapore) most of the stuff sold is without shells. Korean markets might have more shell-on stuff but I'm not certain about that. I do recall the Han Ah Reum stores in NJ having shell-on dried shrimp rather than shell-off although the latter could also be found there.

Many dishes (at least in Cantonese cuisine) in my experience are better made with shell-off dried shrimp, (Example) if not anything else because it is easier and less prickly to eat. :smile:

#18 Bjs229

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 02:00 PM

I have seen them used mostly in Asian cuisine. Ground with mortar and pestle for condiments

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